Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eddie Powell: a XXX interview with an acclaimed adult director

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 4:16 PM

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Porn is stereotypically seen as being little better than student-films in terms of production value, but it's hard not to be impressed with the quality of work this latest generation of directors is producing with a fraction of the time and money most filmmakers require. Eddie Powell is a featured director for New Sensations and one of the creative forces behind The Romance Series—adult films intended for women and couples. This year alone he is nominated for both the AVN and XBiz’s Director of the Year award, and several of his films have received nominated from both organizations, including Lost and Found, Anchorman: A XXX Parody, Scooby Doo: A XXX Parody, Dear Abby, and She's So Cute.

Alfie: On average, how many films do you direct a year and how many days do you spend on each project?

Eddie Powell: 15-20. If it’s a feature I shoot between 4-5 days (that doesn’t include editing). For all-sex scenes, it varies between a few to several hours.

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A: What is the most absurd title you've directed?

EP: The Great American Squirt Off 2.

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A: In many ways, the adult industry seems to work based on a “quantity over quality” business model. However, with the rise of pirate tube and torrent sites, this seems to be shifting. More companies are producing feature films and parodies. The soft-core 3-D porn, Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, was the top box-office draw in Hong Kong the week it opened. Do you think this trend of plot and production-heavy films will continue?

EP: I don’t think it’s because of the tube and torrent sites. It’s mainly because that is the market trend right now. You want to give fans more than just standard gonzo. I just do what I like. In the U.S., will we ever see x-rated movies in theaters, or even a return of x-rated theaters? Personally, I don’t think so. I’m not sure society as a whole will ever fully embrace pornography.

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A: The sex scenes in the Romance Series seem to be lighted differently than gonzo scenes. Is there a difference?

EP: I light my gonzo scenes the way I light my romance scenes. I like filmic lighting as opposed to flat lighting. I like contrast between light and shadows. I want my gonzo scenes to appear cinematic as well, so for me there is no difference. I want to produce high-quality films.

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A: Are female audiences more accepting of condoms in porn?

EP: I’ve heard mixed reviews from women. Some of the dirtier girls in the world just like to see hot sex, condom or no condom. Some more conservative viewers demand it.

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A: Is it more challenging to direct porn actors in sex scenes or in speaking parts?

EP: With sex scenes it’s more about getting the talent to position themselves correctly for the camera, but it’s still sex. The main challenges arise when the talent isn’t all that into the person they are working with. So it’s essential to get the actors in the scene to have a connection, and if there is no connection then their acting ability comes into play. This is why I would say the greatest challenge is speaking parts because speaking parts require acting ability. Finding actors with acting talent in the adult business can be rare, which is why so many of the porn actors are used over and over again in feature films.

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A: In general, the female actresses in the Romance Series are thin, young, and have subtle curves. Was this a conscious choice? What traits do female viewers look for in female porn stars? How do female audiences feel about plus-size models, or even older, MILF-type actresses?

EP: We try and pick more natural looking women (whether they be rail thin or a little thicker). We try and stay away from plastic surgery so we can appeal to the female market. We want the average, everyday woman to relate to the talent in our films. It creates a disconnect with the female viewers if they are watching women that look like porn-stars. They just can’t relate to those women. Our female audiences don’t have a problem with MILFs or plus-size models to my knowledge. We’ve never had any complaints to date.

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A: Most of the men in the Romance Series seem to have muscular, though slender, physiques and large penises? What does the ideal, male lead look like for female audiences?

EP: I pick the people that would make a good fit and then the women at New Sensations approve them from a physical standpoint. Part of what makes The Romance Series work is the fact that both men and women are key parts of the production process.

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A: I imagine one of the struggles with shooting a feature porn is finding a balance between advancing the plot and arousing the audience. When I watch a plot porn with my wife or friends, we always fast-forward through the sex scenes. When I watch a porn by myself, I fast-forward through the plot. Do you have any consumer reports on how audiences watch plot porns? Have you considered offering a DVD option in which viewers can select the full-length version, an abbreviated version with truncated sex scenes, or just the sex scenes?

EP: The Romance Series offers abbreviated versions of the films so that viewers can watch whatever peaks their interest (sex or dialogue). We do this because of the reason you mention. People’s porn experience depends on who they are with, and for what purpose they are watching it. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to any reporting on how audiences watch plot-porns.

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A: Would a POV scene of a guy appearing to have sex with the viewer ever sell to female audiences?

EP: I am not really sure. A woman would be better equipped at answering that than me. I would imagine it would appeal to some audiences, but again it really depends on what that particular individual gets off on. Based on what I know, most women are more turned on by plot and story-oriented porn, as opposed to strict gonzo.

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A: What is the biggest cost of shooting a feature porn film? To you, what is the most important expense in terms of making a quality plot-porn: the performers, the script, acting, set design, costumes, cinematography, lighting?

EP: The talent usually makes up the greatest expense in the total production costs, but it really depends on location, set, etc. Some features are shot on substantially higher budgets than others. With regards to what is most important, all of them have equal importance in my opinion. Think about it, if any of those components fails, the quality of the film is diminished.

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A: Does directing porn carry the same stigmas as acting in porn. Does it open or shut more doors in terms of landing mainstream projects?

EP: Working in porn, in any capacity, often carries a stigma. However, many of those passing judgment tend to be more accepting of the people behind the lens, than in front of it. In terms of landing mainstream projects, working in porn can definitely, and has definitely, shut doors—although there are always exceptions to the rules and there are always people willing to give someone talented a shot.

Follow Eddie Powell at Twitter.com/MrEddiePowell. Check out trailers for his feature films at AxxxParody.com and TheRomanceSeries.com.


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