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How affordable digital cameras and editing equipment are changing the gay porn industry

Text by Glenn Greenwald
Photography by Joe Oppedisano for HX

Only in his early 20s, Jonathan Dubuque is already a successful and increasingly prolific porn producer. What makes Dubuque's success so striking is that he does not use - and does not even own - the items that the large XXX studios deem to be absolutely necessary for producing and marketing successful gay porn.

Dubuque uses no porn stars, scripts, costumes or plots; nor does the director instruct guys to act as the top or the bottom. He does not have teams of editors to incorporate the latest trendy editing techniques into his sex scenes, nor does he hire the large lighting, sound and camera crews who populate the set of every video made by the large studios.

What Dubuque does have - and, he will tell you, all he needs to make great porn - is a couple of digital video cameras, a set of lights and the ability to find "real" guys who have never before done porn and to persuade them to have uninhibited, wild, unscripted sex while Dubuque films it.

These days, Dubuque's straightforward, no-frills method of making porn is hardly unusual. To the contrary, the market for this type of porn is exploding. Just as reality television programs have overtaken fictionalized shows, consumers seem to be yearning for more reality porn like Dubuque's. As a growing number of people get their hands on digital cameras and are able to produce a flood of real sex videos, an entire industry is being created to provide an outlet for these videos.

One of the earliest and most aggressive promoters of this porn has been New York-based StudMall.com, which devotes itself exclusively to promoting and distributing hard-core, non-studio, reality porn. "Some people call it amateur porn. We don't," said Stud Mall founder Jordan Moore. "More than anything, our porn is 'reality porn.'"

Moore says he created Stud Mall because he was not finding the videos he wanted. "For me, good porn is like good sex. Actual sex is hottest when it's spontaneous, unpredictable, unscripted and edgy. Sex with another person is boring - even horrible - when it's routine, predictable and, worst of all, fake. Exactly the same is true for sex videos."

Stud Mall now promotes and distributes Dubuque's videos, along with a growing roster of young porn producers devoted to keeping porn videos free from contrived acting, plots, pre-scripted sex and intrusive production values. The creation of companies like Stud Mall has now provided a way for this new breed of porn filmmakers to find their audience.

From the 1970s onward, virtually all gay porn was produced by a handful of large porn studios that monopolized the industry and churned out title after title featuring recognizable porn stars, vaguely enacted plots and a handful of obligatory costumes. But affordable digital cameras and editing software are clearly - and rapidly - changing the industry. "What is happening,"" Moore says, "is nothing less than the democratization of gay porn. It is changing the entire industry."

Dubuque, who once worked for a large porn studio, explains that "once I found Stud Mall and knew that I had a company devoted to the kind of porn I wanted to make, I was free to make innovative, unscripted, uninhibited porn and know that the people who want these types of videos would be able to find them. That has let me push the limits more and more as I try to make videos that have that real edge that I think porn consumers want."

Moore points out that because the cost to produce "reality videos is a fraction of the cost of studio videos, reality porn producers can also offer very specific fetish videos that are wildly popular among those devoted to that fetish." He continues: "The guys who produce videos for us are genuinely into the sex they are showing, as are the guys in the videos. They are not acting. They make these videos because they got hot having that sex, not because they are being told to act like they're getting hot. For guys into real, specific fetishes and sex, that makes all the difference in the world."

Perhaps the one downside to the consumer is that so much porn is being produced that it's hard to differentiate the quality from the garbage. Moore says that is why he created his company. "I spend most of my day reviewing videos that are sent to us by new producers, everyone from students in their 20s to retired pilots in their 50s, wanting us to distribute their videos. Some of it is awful, most of it is mediocre, and some of it blows me away. The stuff that is truly awesome ends up on our site, and we believe that those videos are going to change the way porn is viewed, marketed and consumed."

Judging by the enthusiasm among porn consumers for this new type of reality porn, the changes Moore predicts may, in fact, already be occurring.

Give It Your Best Shot

Stud Mall offers Do and Don'ts for Making Reality Porn

DO find guys who, based on pictures you show them, are into each other before pairing them in front of the camera.
DON'T let the guys meet before filming to "practice" or "test each other" out; let the initial explosions occur once the filming starts.
DO make the focus of the videos the sex, sex and sex.
DON'T forget about the sound. If you're shooting in New York, close your windows! Nothing is worse than the sound of hot sex being drowned out by sirens, passing buses and couples fighting next door.
DO take pictures. They will sell your video when it's completed. But don't take them during the shoot.
DON'T dress guys up in plumber costumes, police uniforms, construction outfits or anything else worn by the Village People or 10-year-old boys on Halloween.
DO treat your performers with respect and pay them fair. It's good karma.
DON'T have bottoms pretend to be tops, or tops pretend to love being pounded, or guys who aren't into a certain kind of sex pretend to like it. Fake sex is the worst, and so are fake sex videos!


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