This blog entry will expand a little bit more on why you don’t buy books, and you owe it all to the lady who cut my hair today. I didn’t even ask her name, so I cannot tell you exactly who to blame. No, we didn’t talk about porn while she cut my hair. Like far too many people in the world, she’s a closet writer. We talked a little bit about writing while she was lowering my ears.
She claimed her problem with writing wasn’t the writing itself, but the fact she had to outline and stick to it rigidly, otherwise when she started writing one story it branched out to three or more stories that had nothing to do with the first one. I told her a good writer would simply add one more chapter before the ending and tie them all together. She wasn’t big on that idea, but admitted she hadn’t tried it.
Hours later, after I was home and catching up on email, I began to think about the easiest way to blend her stories together. I could actually hear her shock when I thought about….”simply set the story in Wisconsin and have a fuel truck fall off an overpass into a brewery parking lot.” Oh, don’t call that story contrived. It wasn’t all that long ago when that exact thing actually happened. I remember watching it on the Channel 7 news. All of the reporters were saying just how lucky the place had been. Had the truck went off the overpass half an hour later, people would have been lined up waiting to be let into work. It wasn’t too much later in the day when we got all of the follow up stories about everyone on the planning commission who was opposed to building an overpass with that sharp of a curve for just this reason, and the documents stating all of the buildings had to be moved out from under the overpass in the name of public safety.
I went searching the Web for this story so I could post a link, but that story must have been from back when I was in college. There did seem to be quite a few “truck fell from overpass” stories though. During the month I was driving an 18 wheeler around the country, I often wondered just how many went off overpasses. Have you ever driven south to north on the overpasses in St. Louis where they seem to go up forever, but limit truck speed to 45MPH?
At any rate, that got me thinking a little more about background and back story. It also got me thinking about the TV series Crash. I watched some of the episodes of Crash, and liked the concept, but I missed some, and kind of got out of the groove on it. Crash is/was a STARZ series that actually came out stating all of the different story lines were going to collied like a traffic accident and you wouldn’t be able to look away. I must admit, while some of the story lines were kind of “Soap Opera” in nature, others were quite good. It was somewhat difficult to see how they were going to bring it all together. It might have actually been a better sell if they hadn’t told people they were going to do it. While it pulled me in to watch it initially, it did take some of the magic away from the show.
In today’s publishing world, a person would have to self publish a story which culminated with a tanker truck falling off an overpass into a brewery parking lot tying all/most of your story lines together. We’ve heard the old maxim “If your story doesn’t really get going until page 56, throw out the first 50 pages!” It wasn’t until today that I realized this is exactly what happened to the porn industry.
When VCRs first came onto the market (and standardized on a format) the porn industry was a license to print money. Movies had good budgets and people really liked them. Okay, some people watched them only for the sex, but others watched a real movie which didn’t have to be coy about the sex. In the case of my brother, I think he was simply going alphabetically through all of the titles in the back room.
I was in some form of college when he brought home “Corporate Assets”. I think I can say in all honesty that this is the last porn movie I ever watched. Yes, I’ve seen 3 minute snippets here and there, but I haven’t actually watched a porn movie since then. Here is some information on it: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0196472/
Had they wanted to get into regular theaters, they could have simply cut about 15 minutes of hard core and done well. This was a well written story, and for porn, incredibly well acted. Most people do not see that massive left hook coming at the end, I know I didn’t. Some reviewers call this “the last movie of Adult’s Golden Era”, and I have to agree. It has been more than 20 years since I’ve seen it and I still remember it.
What is striking about this tale is that immediately after the release of that movie, porn adapted the maxim “If your characters don’t start having sex until page 56 of your script, throw out the first 50 pages.” Porn basically devolved into videos where characters didn’t even start with their clothes on. It went from being something most women liked to watch to something which disgusted them, and rightly so. Hell, I wouldn’t even rent it, and I was in my 20’s then. Occasionally someone would tell me about some incredible moment in some otherwise worthless flick and I would rent it, fast forward as far as they told me, watch the scene, then rewind and return the video. Usually I wouldn’t even bother to do that. Porn simply became a bunch of “collections from the cutting room floor” in my mind.
Of all of those scenes I was told to watch, there is exactly ONE that I remember. I even kept the movie a while and showed the scene to some female friends. A guy had built this round table with a whole in the center which was just high enough off the ground for him to lie down under. A girl got on top and well…yeah…but the cool part was the table had ball bearings so it could be spun while they were doing that. It was totally unexpected. Nearly every 20-something girl I showed that scene to said they were game to try it if I could build the table…I just never got around to building the table. I still remember that table though. I don’t remember anything else about any of the other things. Eventually, as I got older and my friends got married, I stopped getting recommendations about porn to rent. Everybody says that free amateur Internet porn is killing the porn industry. Well, no. What is killing the porn industry is the fact that the stuff being passed out for free on the Internet is just as bad as the stuff being pressed onto DVD, but we will tolerate it for free. You haven’t put out a movie like “ Corporate Assets” since 1985 and everybody knows it.
Perhaps “Corporate Assets” needed the porn scenes to keep the lesser minds involved in a story which wasn’t going to really get going until the last 15 minutes. Shakespeare had to sprinkle jokes and humor in his plays to quiet the rabble in the pit. Two things are certain. Shakespeare wouldn’t get published and “Corporate Assets” wouldn’t get filmed today.