The Best Time I Ever Interviewed With A Porn Studio

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Shutterstock

I would love to say this is the story of the time I was big-d-Discovered by a porn studio and then recruited to be their latest, greatest, on-camera talent. Unfortunately, it is not that story.

I was sitting out on my balcony because I had just moved to LA from New York two months prior and I spent every waking moment out there because holy crap I have a balcony, you guys, let’s have barbecues and never stop.

My phone rang with a California area code! Thank god. Someone was finally calling me back about a job.

“Hi, this is so-and-so from NotActualName, Inc.* You submitted your résumé to us last week.”

I racked my brain. As I had been an unemployed film editor for those two months, I was spamming my résumé and admittedly-boilerplate cover letter to every listing so much as hinting at the words “Final Cut.” I had absolutely no idea what job or position this was.

“Of course! Yes I did. So great to hear from you!”

She went over the basic details of the editing position and asked if I was available to come in for an interview that Tuesday.

“There’s two things to cover before you come in. One, the job pays $550 a week and two, you will have to handle some adult content.”

Now, this is not a particularly unusual statement for a production company to make. Documentary and reality television can be filled with profanity, drug use, nip slips, drunken behavior and the sorts of things which might offend people of a certain moral caliber. Of which I am not.

“That all sounds great. See you Tuesday!”

Tuesday came and I drove myself up to the Valley. Their offices were located in a ring of impossibly large corporate buildings, the kind with address numbers printed 30 feet high. A steady stream of men wearing name badges and pleated khakis were returning from lunch to… whatever sorts of jobs people have in impossibly large corporate buildings.

But the second I walked into the lobby, any previous notions I had instantly melted away. Behind the otherwise boring reception desk was a giant poster of a woman’s lips with—what I assume—was a riding crop between her teeth.

Turns out, NotActualName, Inc. is just the vanilla-titled corporate holding of a Major Porn Studio. I won’t say which one, but you know it by name and they produce nearly a thousand titles of hardcore, P-in-V pornography every year.

At this time, it’s worth noting I have absolutely no problem with pornography of any sort. I was raised with the Internet and have seen everything a person can conceivably see. Hell, I can name more niche porn categories than I can countries of the world, which either speaks to my acceptance of erotica or the public school system.

Eventually, my interviewer came and took me through rows and rows of grey cubicles and into a large conference room which would be indistinguishable from any other save the large posters of some of their featured actresses in various states of undress.

She ran me through the usual set of interview questions: my past jobs, my special skills, and, of course, a little about myself. She was wonderfully pleasant and we actually developed a pretty good rapport in our short time together. If anyone had asked, I’d have said I was killing it.

Then she told me they like to have potential candidates perform a sort of technical proficiency test because, according to her, they get a lot of applicants who claim to be adept at Final Cut who are bluffing. To be fair, if it had been five years ago she would have totally caught me.

She led me through more cubicles and up some stairs to a large door marked “The Cave” because every editor in the world thinks this joke is funny (it is). We opened the door and I was greeted with a pitch black room containing rows of about a dozen edit bays, three monitors apiece with a bunch of—I’ll go ahead and say swarthy—guys in ball caps furiously editing.

It looked exactly like every post-production room I’d ever been in except on each monitor was some woman getting absolutely railed by a hairless dude. To my left, one guy was very precisely trying to match-cut the exact moment where the wang entered her vagina. To my right, a guy was scrubbing back and forth over semen flying out and onto someone’s face.

Even better, apparently this studio shoots almost exclusively in 3D now (who knew?) so about half of the editors were wearing 3D goggles while they stared at their monitors. From afar, it just looked like regular porn but blurry, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

My interviewer left me in the capable hands of the lead editor who explained I would have one hour to cut together a 45 to 60 second “trailer” of sorts for the company and their products. He handed me a Firewire drive containing 25 feature films and about 30 tracks of stock music (yes, bow-chicka-bow-wow) and said I could use any elements I wanted and any style I wanted, they just wanted to see how I worked.

One hour is not a ton of time, so I sat down and furiously started screening footage as fast as I could. It was at that moment, as I was organizing clips into guy on girl, girl on girl, threesome, softcore, and so on that I took stock of exactly where I was and what I was doing.

I took off my headphones to clear my head for a second and found the room intensely discussing the draft opportunities for the Indianapolis. I noticed the person next to me had sunglasses made by Shwood, a little company in Portland where I’m from. When I pointed this out, the person behind me piped up that he was from Seattle and we had a few moments of Pacific Northwest bonding.

But the clock was ticking, so I went back to organizing vulvas as fast as my little fingers would fly.

I wouldn’t have guessed it, but it’s a weird thing cutting together a trailer for a porn company. Beyond the obvious, there’s something about the selection process that seems very… exposing. I had to find choice seconds out of several movies and string them in sequence. But I wasn’t just selecting moments that cut well together, I was cutting together moments I thought were arousing.

What did my clips say about me?

Would someone watch this trailer and say “what is this guy’s obsession with that position?” Is there some sort of Freudian analysis you could do on them that would reveal something about my relationship with my father?

In the end, I did the only sensible thing which was small clips building up in what I’ll call the traditional escalation of porn. You start with clothes on, then softcore, blowjobs, cunnilingus, lesbian, missionary hardcore, fancy positions, 3-ways, super vigorous sex, cum shot and fade out.

Pretty soon, my hour was up and the lead editor escorted me out. He took me on a quick tour of the facilities which turned out to be the sound stage where they actually shoot all the movies in question. There were 8 interconnected sets with a working door between each of them. There was a giant art department with props and set dressing. Curiously, I couldn’t find the wardrobe department.

For what it’s worth, they offered me the job two days later. If my trailer did say anything revealing about my psyche, they didn’t mind. It seemed like a great place to work—everyone was incredibly warm and considerate.

I had to turn them down, though, which they understood. I could have used the money but, like they say, don’t turn something you love into work. TC mark

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