The other day I was filtering possible locations for my next production (to be released in May) and it’s so much fun that I thought it’s worth a post.
For the ones who still think that the only thing you’ll need to make a good porno is a big bed: you poor thing! Choosing the right place can be super challenging, but it’s also one of the most creative parts of the whole producing process. Take it from someone who has had shootings in the most unbelievable places, from a boat in the middle of the ocean (with Erika Lust) to a mountain lost somewhere in the middle of Spain.
So here it is!
1 The bigger, the better
When it comes to locations, the size is the real deal. A good set needs to comfortably accommodate at least 8 people, including direction, crew and cast. Plus, it has to have enough room so that the camera operator is able to walk around (with the camera of course, and cameras aren’t exactly small) and reposition as many times as needed to get a variety of perspectives. It also needs to have room for dressing and make-up, and water and snacks. Let’s say we’re shooting at your place: we’ll use every inch of your bedroom, and your kitchen/living room/hallways will be filled with clothing, technical equipment and two or three boxes of donuts.
2 Its gotta have personality
Rooms with standard furniture, white walls and no personal objects are often boring to watch. The same with hotel rooms. I’m on this to portray real sex between real people, and real people have history! When I see a room, I need to believe that someone is actually living there. Objects, walls filled with frames, curtains that tell a story: that’s what I’m looking for.
3 Coloured walls: the secret revealed
Ever noticed how on TV & films the walls are almost always coloured or decorated, it doesn’t matter the character’s status? That’s because if the walls are clear and white there’s a good chance your character will look like they’re floating on some deep bright void on the screen. Creepy.
4 Cold blue office lights? No, thanks
I might be speaking for myself here, but as a director I always go for big windows, with lots of natural lighting coming in. In my opinion, one of the things that most differentiates a mainstream porn film from an alternative production is the lighting choices. Mainstream producers are normally shooting in empty commercial sets where there’s only a sad stiff couch and some artificial light. This is why every mainstream film looks fake and impersonal. Unless you’re a doctor and you live inside Grey’s Anatomy, you’ll probably never fuck under lights like that. Plus, sunlight always bring the best out of skin tones. And hair. And sweat.
5 You gotta hear the moaning!
The worst surprise you can possibly expect when arriving to the set is that there’s a construction work going on at the floor above yours. Or across the street. Or the building’s façade down the block. The noise will make it impossible for you to catch the yummy moans from sex.
But sometimes unforeseen moves can come for good: when we shot Roomies, from the set we could hear voices from a street protest that were going on that day in Barcelona. It was actually a pretty interesting moment and we were quick enough to get images and make it the whole reason why arousal started. It turned out pretty well.
6 Showers & hygiene
This might not be an issue for films with no explicit sex, but porn actors need to have a place to shower and freshen up before and after the shooting, obvious reasons.
7 Pay attention to the surroundings
Sometimes I choose the location before finishing the script. This way I can incorporate elements from it in the plot. When we shot Eloi & Biel, we decided to place the set in a countryside house in the mountains. It was fantastic as we could use the super romantic surroundings – a forest, the trees, the views – to depict their intimacy, their moment of “falling in love”. I think we would hardly get the same effect in an indoors, more traditional place.
Still from Eloi & Biel
8 No ordinary sheets
Favorite part! I’m a huge fan of sheets, I think they’re the material version of heaven. No coincidence they set the place where the most exciting part of the action happens. The most surprising the sheets are, the more interesting the sex will feel. And this goes for on-screen or real life, trust me! Of course in a porn shooting sheets are a big responsibility, considering everything that can happen to them… If you know what I mean 😉