Friday, October 24, 2014

A Highly Inappropriate Post About Sex Scenes

FOREWORD: This is me being forward. I've been writing blogs for over a year now and I think that I'm ready to make what I call the "Miley Cyrus Transition." So far my blog posts have been family friendly-- the Hannah Montana of posts.  Today I'm going to  talk about something a wee bit sexier than hard drives-- this is my Wrecking Ball post. *You might not like it, but this is me now.  The following content is NSFW.

*When I say now, I really mean like, this is me RIGHT NOW. Not in the future. I like talking about hard drives too much. 

Everyone loves the sex scenes in television and cinema. It shows the characters’ passion for one another. It’s raw, instinctual, real. But it’s not really real. That’s why it’s awkward when your parents walk in during the sex scene in The Notebook and WORLD ENDING if they walk in on you watching porn. It’s fine if it’s in cinema because they just look like they’re having sex. But they aren’t. Right?

According to a Reddit user who claims to be an assistant director, 

"There is absolutely no necessity for both actors to be naked and both have their ‘uglies’ bumping for real. If the director says “No, no they have to actually have sex,”– he’s not a real director." - Some guy on Reddit (you can see the whole post here)

Awh man. I wish someone had told me that earlier! 

Hahaha just kidding. I knew he wasn't a real director.

Moving on, if the actors aren't actually having sex-- how come it looks so real on HBO

Some movie magic on HBO's "Game of Thrones"
"HBO is sorta different in a lot of regards. For one they’ve made a name for themselves in how realistic they portray things, also they have some of the most highly professional crews in the field. Similar to the BBC nature documentaries, and Pixar for animation. Depending on the scene, the motivation, the cast, and other things regarding that they will make a call scene by scene basis. In a lot of instances I have to break some hearts by saying that it’s most likely a mixture of camera angles, body positioning, fantastic acting, and no doubt a bit of VFX wizardry. (They can now shadow out skin tone with relative ease, especially a show like Game of Thrones, that has their own VFX production crew.)" - Reddit Guy

Television and films have techniques for shooting these sorts of scenes in a safe, "comfortable" fashion for the actors. For example, during the more raunchy sex scenes the boy actors get to wear these super great things called, "*cock socks," and the girls wear "pasties."

*If there's another name for these I haven't found it

There's a "cock sock" made for every complexion

These go on nipples.

See? Now that's what I call a comfortable fashion. Click here to purchase your very own set of pasties!

Directors also place a special importance on the angles they shoot in during sex scenes in order to keep the actors as clothed as possible. For example, a director may have the woman drop her top and shoot her from behind. Or if they shoot from the front, they'll aim for the collar bone up. Many times directors will shoot a man thrusting waist up so that he can keep his pants on. It is very common to see deal terms in an actor’s contract such as, “You can show breast but no nipple; above-the-waist and side of buttock only; and artist has approval of body double, if used.” Body doubles (they are what they sound like) will be used in instances where a film requires more nudity than the actor is comfortable. 

One of the story lines in Richard Curtis' film, Love Actually follows a plutonic pair that are body doubles for adult movies. 

John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page) just "doing their jobs" in Love Actually

Regardless of all of the efforts to minimize on-set awkwardness, filming sex scenes is still always awkward. Fairly recently, director Joe Carnahan released a behind the (sex) scenes look from his most recent film, Stretch. This clip is revealing in more ways than one. 

Disclaimer: There is no nudity in this video. (sorry)

Cool right? My favorite part was seeing the slate clap. My other favorite part was when Brooklyn Decker had to tell Patrick Wilson that she was just, "lifting... it." 

Technically speaking, here's what I noticed:

Carnahan made sure that there was music playing in between each take. This helped ease the awkwardness of the situation and I'm sure helped the actors relax a bit. I can just imagine the "sound guy" anxiously awaiting his cues with a trembling finger on the play/pause button. They probably had a playlist made specifically for this.

And then there was the "sweat spray lady" who came in with an aerosol spray bottle to routinely re-moisten Wilson's back. Despite the absurdity of the job, the wet look makes the scene all the more realistic (and more aesthetically pleasing). 

On a more subtle note, Carnahan encourages the actors by saying, "do another one like that and we got it." While encouragement is nice for the actors, Carnahan also understands that, unlike the real thing (by real thing I'm referring to the act of engaging in sexual intercourse), the faster you can wrap a sex scene the better the results. Not unlike the real thing, too much thought can cause the actors anxiety and their performances may come across rather “limp.”

In 2012 film producer Gavin Polone interviewed a few famous actors about what it's like to really like to act in a sex scene. He didn't include the names of the actors that he interviewed for privacy reasons but he assures the reader that, "...they have all appeared in many films and you have most likely seen each of them onscreen a number of times." 

All of the following quotes void of a speaker comes from Polone's Article. Here's what I learned today about sex scenes told through the quotes of great actors:

Many actors who have sex scenes together are also romantically involved.

Like all actors, I have had an on-set romance and have had a relationship with the actor with whom I was supposed to be in love with. If the producer and director have done their job well, they cast actors who have chemistry, so it makes it easy to fall for them.”

Dev Patel and Freida Pinto met on Slumdog Millionaire and are now happily married.
“I once did a sex scene with a girl I had just started to date on the film we worked on. But it ended up being really awkward, because it felt like we were letting strangers into the bedroom. It also was odd because I became aware of the notion that we were just cliché actors doing what was expected of us; and worse, the notion that both of us started the relationship — more her, I know I'm pointing fingers — in order to help our ‘performances.’”

“Actors become very professional and proficient about watching out for each other’s light and not stepping on each other’s lines. All of these things are artificial, and you have to strip that away if you’re going to achieve a sense of intimacy. In real life sex is messy…” -Ryan Gosling to Wmagazine

Many actors who have sex scenes together are NOT romantically involved.

“I have had to do sex scenes with people who on some chemical level I was repulsed by, and that was hard work.”

Usually when there is nudity involved there is no arousal, people are too freaked out. You're more likely to get acorn syndrome than anything else. I’ve had instances when they've been clothed and got hard, but not while naked. And for me, I don't think there was an occasion when I was fully turned-on, but there have been instances where it was pleasant as opposed to me choking back my vomit.

"Every set I have been on save two have had the actors(s) significant others there behind the monitor." - That Assistant Director Guy on Reddit

Sometimes the actors get REALLY into it.

“Not to mention any names, but one actor came on me during the take. I had to surreptitiously wipe myself off with the sheet. Fortunately, I liked the guy. I found it a little flattering and a little creepy. We never talked about it, so I can't tell you if it was Method acting on his part or if he just found me pretty, but I suspect I'm not the only actress who's had this experience. But I can tell you that twenty years later, when I run into him, my first thought is, There's the guy that had on-camera sex with my abdomen.”

“Arousal during a sex scene, ironically or not, is pretty much the only thing that can make it truly enjoyable. It's hard to categorize it as "work" if you're lucky enough to attain this kind of Nirvana on a set. And usually, let's be honest now, who is going to be offended if someone knows they turn you on?”

Amanda Seyfried talks about sex.
“Sex scenes are great. A lot of my co-stars have been sexy guys my age, and so, why not? I’m not going to pretend it’s not fun.” -Amanda Seyfried

Sometimes the actors REALLY don't get into it.

“Making love on camera is such hard work that there is no time for the libido to take over.” - Julie Christie

“You’d think it’d be hard not to get a boner, but it’s relatively easy not too. It’s a totally different situation when you’re being told how to lay, you’ve been on set 7 hours, lunch was an hour ago and it was chilly, the room you’re in is 100 degrees, there’s 10+ people all exhausted and expecting you to perform and get it right the first time so they can move on. It’s it’s all about the girl in the scene, and every time you miss a mark, you have to do it again. All this without taking into account multiple angles, you have to do the same thing at the same time every time, if you have any lines … remembering those lines. Also, you may have just performed a scene in which you were crying and thinking about your dead dog from 7th grade.” -Reddit Guy

“Everyone's got an ego: especially actresses. The offense for many actors, I'll bet my boots, is actually when the actor fails to get aroused — actors are already so insecure that for some, that's all the confirmation they need to realize the entire universe is pitted against them.”

Boys and Girls Have Different “Stuff”

“Men are sometimes as freaked having to go shirtless as women are getting naked altogether. For me, once I was down to my undies, or a string bikini, I might as well go for broke. What's a nipple or two between friends? Several times I'd be in some flesh-colored bodysuit or G-string, but they'd keep catching the edge of it on-camera, so I'd just take it off to expedite the filming process. Since I never did an X-rated movie, I trusted that whatever body parts they caught on film that they didn't want, they'd deal with in editing. Unfair? Probably, but there are so many unfair things about being a woman in film — and other industries — what's one more?” 

This is a hot dog. 
“Let's face it, for male nudity to be anything meaningful they have to show their dick. A woman doesn't have to go all the way for it to be a big deal. Guys have so much at stake: "Is it big enough, is it shaped well, is it all shrunk up?" It is harder for a guy to be aesthetically pleasing when naked, in my opinion.”

“I don't think it's unfair that women show more nudity in movies at all. As a dude, the truth is that a man's package is way more, well, visible. You're never going to see much more than a bit of muff from a woman in a scene, and that is really little more than the coming attraction for what really lies beneath. On the other hand, once you see an actor’s dong, you've got a pretty good idea of the kind of firepower he's packing.”

“Sex scenes can be quite awkward. As a guy, the first thing you want to do is make sure you’re not taking advantage,” he told PopSugar. “You don’t want the girl to feel like you’re getting a free feel or something. I try to make a fool of myself in one way or another to lighten the mood and then just go for it, because you don’t want to be doing take after take.” -Michael Fassbender

Welp, that's all I got. I hope you all learned something today. I know I did. Before I leave you, here's a word of advice for all of you inexperienced actor types courtesy of the infamous (but pretty helpful) Reddit Guy. 

It’s not rude or inexperienced to request things from the crew… Make sure that everyone’s rights are protected. The footage goes to a lot of people, and if it’s an indie film …  I doubt it’ll be like Hollywood where the rushes are kept under lock in key, most likely it’ll all be shot on digital. Due to this, anyone can end up with the footage, so make sure they are only shooting stuff relevant to the film. (Thus the shot list prior.) If an actor doesn’t feel comfortable showing their nether regions, they can shoot it without showing them. If an actress isn’t comfortable the guy being fully nude while she is full nude and simulating sex, they can shoot it to not show it. Film is all fake. Protect yourself from getting into getting into sketchy territory where you have to wonder whether this is all just a way for an artsy fartsy dillhole to get his rocks off while saying it’s for ‘art’. 

Goodnight and Godspeed. 


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