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The Porn Ranch, Part I

When you’re making a low budget movie, you try to save money anywhere you can. Deferred payment for the crew, low-budget SAG contracts, and especially cheap locations.

I’ve worked on many a direct-to-video feature, where the “stages” we shot on were actually just warehouses with sound proofing. (Sometimes without the sound proofing; there was one movie where we had to stop filming whenever it rained.)

Many of these places are more than a little unseemly. Down the hall from one shoot, there was a casting session for a porno. A lot of guys hung out in the hallway while the cameras were rolling.

The worst was this cheap horror movie I was on a few years ago. About half of the story took place out in the woods, so we had to find a movie ranch. Obviously, we couldn’t afford one of the major ranches, so we ended up shooting at this little place up in Tujunga.

The movie blew, but the location was nice. It was quaint and out of the way. It had these winding streams with rope bridges spanning them, and a huge house atop a hill.

I ran into the owner one day, and asked him, “So, is this how you make your living? Renting the ranch out to small movies like us? Must be nice.”

“Oh, no,” he says. “That’s just a small part of our business. Here, let me show you.”

He goes into his office, and comes out with a business card. It has a picture of a falcon, or an eagle, or some kind of bird on it, over the text, “Falcon [or Eagle or whatever] Pictures: Erotic Image Archives.”

I stared at it a second, and I must have looked confused because he said to me, “We provide about 45% of the erotic images on the internet.”

Wow.

I don’t know if you’ve checked lately, but there is an awful lot of pornography on the internet. And 45% of an awful lot is still a lot.

Up to this point, I hadn’t noticed anything indecent (other than our cast’s acting! ZING!). The guy told me, “Oh, well, we usually shoot for three weeks, then take three weeks off.”

“When do you start up again?

“You’ll start seeing some stuff real soon.”

And boy did I ever.

Continued tomorrow…

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