Porn Valley- The running gags on this past weekend’s Mitch Spinelli shoot- I Like ‘Em in Pigtails were Jazmin’s blurting out that she’d suck dick for an ice cream. Then there was the suggestion that Jessica Sweet [shown in the photo] would part her ass for roofies and a Budweiser. Spinelli joked about it so much, he finally realized that people might have taken it seriously that the roofie man paces himself behind the El Pollo Loco man to Spinelli shoots.
Actually that’s not the way it went down. The same way that Jack Hammer’s attempts to act in a Spinelli shoot didn’t. And though he could pass for a porn actor [I keep busting his balls that he looks like Nick Manning], Spinelli’s camera guy these days is Paolo Banana. Banana has been doing a lot of editing and shooting for Spinelli’s Acid Rain line.
“But I’m also trying to get gigs with other companies,” Banana, who also directs, points out. With more competition and company budgets getting smaller [remember the days when AVN advised everyone to shoot BIG?], Banana said that things are tight. Even locations want you in and out in less time that you’re normally used to shooting. “You’re out in six hours maximum,” he says. “Maybe you shoot two, three scenes for the day which is crazy and hectic. It’s hard for you to deliver good product on tight budgets because we’re trying to push the limits to the next level,” he adds. Banana’s of the opinion that you’re really pushing your options in an attempt to make a good movie for $15,000.
“That would be simple boy-girl, five scenes,” he continues. But, as the need for d.p.’s and double-anals go up, so do the budgets. “You’re talking about $18,000 to $20,000 to make a good job where you spend time creating set ups where you show the personality,” Banana says. “But a lot of producers don’t want those- you never know what they want, but you have to go with the flow because, ultimately, you need to get that job because that’s your living and you compromise.”
As a director, Banana has had his pets among the talent pool. But he says that’s even getting out of control. “Some of the [male] talent are asking for $700 to $800 per scene,” he points out. “With all do respect I have for those guys, it’s not worth it to pay that money to a guy when the market price is $500. You can say that, well, Rocco charges $10,000, I don’t know, a $1,000 per scene. Nacho does that. But those guys have been over ten years in this business and they’ve proven to be the top guys for those ten years. So they don’t want actually to get more work. They don’t want to work for anybody so they put those price tags because they’re just challenging you. If you pay me a $1,000 a scene, yeah I’ll do it. But for less than that I don’t really want to work for anybody.
“But all these kids are coming in and labeling themselves the best guys in the market,” Banana continues. “They think they can charge $700 to $800. Some of those guys come to the set and they want that money. And they also want certain type of food. Like they want gourmet food delivered to the door. I’ve heard names and I’ve seen situations where people can be prima donnas. It’s making the whole market upside down. Girls are thinking they charge $1,000 for an anal scene so if this guys gets $800 to fuck me then I went to charge more if this guy thinks he’s so high value.”
Banana says he generally works with agents. “It’s safer that way. They see they get to the set and are tested.” But because some of the agents will over price girls, Banana said he narrows his selection process down from there. He likes L.A. Direct Models, for one. “They set the price but it’s a faur price. And their guys are $500 and that’s it. The guys are also delivered to the set and if they fail we give the agency a call and somebody else is going to show up. They’re really responsible in that manner. I try to work with people that are trustworthy and they know me and there’s no problems.”
Banana used to love working with Manuel Ferrara and Steve Holmes. “They’re exceptionally good,” he states. “But they don’t want to work. They’re off market. They’re only working for the guys at Red Light and the sister company Platinum X. And they’re working with their friends at those two companies. So it’s hard to get those guys. I’ve been working with Sasha. I think he’s pretty consistent. He delivers the same every time. That’s the kind of guy I need. He goes, does his scene and it looks good. I also like working with Ben Bratt but right now he’s in the $700-range which I’m really glad for him because he’s a really good performer. But on the budgets I’m given I can’t afford to have a guy like Ben Bratt.”
Banana said he’s been working, lately, with a performer from L.A. Direct named Marco – very good from what Banana is saying. “He’s a Spaniard.” Banana also likes a new male black performer to the scene named Junior King as well as Zenza Raggi who’s from Morocco. “He’s really good too- really aggressive. We like to keep those guys handy. We need those guys. If you have three guys like that in one video, you have enough.”
The input Banana receives from producers is their desire for young girls, fresh and inexperienced. “I did a job for Vertigo not too long ago,” he says. “It’s a new company on the market and a sister of Caballero. They asked me what would be the concept of the video I’d do. The concept would be more girls, less guys; no d.p.s- but if there is a d.p., let’s get a girl on straps and have her doing a d.p. while a guy’s fucking another girl in the ass. It’s going to be called More Chicks Than Dicks. They wanted young girls, fresh. No artificial breasts. And they want them to deliver a very strong and aggressive scene where they take charge of the guys. I said we can get the thing done as long as we put in one experienced girl. And girl’s like Venus I like. She’s just amazing as is Selena Silver. Every scene she’s done that I’ve seen is awesome.”