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Jason Sechrest: My Interracial Stinks

Jason Sechrest posts on www.jasoncurious.com/diary: Just after returning home from a fabulous weekend in Chicago, I happened to notice that the first review of my directorial debut, My First Interracial, had been posted at ManNet.com. Apparently, the movie is so bad they had to find a whole new category to rate the damned thing: “Consider.” And so, for the first time, I “considered” the movie myself. I had seen the trailer and thought it looked fantastic, but I had yet to actually pop the movie in with a bowl of popcorn and watch it in its entirety.

Having now done that, I can review the movie myself. Truth be told, ManNet was actually being very kind in their review of what has got to be one of the biggest disasters I’ve seen all year.

As the movie’s director, and one of the directors in this business who genuinely cares about their product, watching My First Interracial made me physically ill. My stomach was turning as I sat there in awe, feeling like I was watching this beautiful child I’d given birth to go off and marry Kevin Federline.

So what’s the problem with My First Interracial? Well, there’s two problems. A. They didn’t edit it. B. They cut in behind-the-scenes clips that, instead of helping the scenes along, were obviously placed there to hurt the movie. Or perhaps, more specifically, to hurt me since Lexington Steele and I had a falling out just before the movie went into editing. Let me give you some history here and then we’ll all get back to the kid.

Lexington Steele originally hired me with an agreement to shoot four movies back to back for his company, Mercenary Pictures’ new gay division, Black Viking. I shot four kick ass scenes and one disaster of a scene that could have been salvaged or scrapped. Lex was happy with the sex, cast and directing but not with the camera work and insisted that for the next movie, he have one of his own people do videography. Fine by me! Since the sets were extremely low-budget, I had hired a camera man who came with a monitor and his own lighting equipment, as I was not being provided that by the company. So, I wanted to make sure that I would have that on the next shoot. I was assured everything would be fine.

Less than 48 hours before we were to begin shooting the next movie, I get a call from Lex. “So, check it out, check it out,” he says, “You’re not going to have a monitor on the set.” To Lex’s way of thinking, a monitor with a cord attached to the camera would impede the camera person’s (and I say “person” because it was going to be a woman, by the way) mobility. Now for those of you who aren’t on porn sets every day, let me inform you that I have never, in seven years of going to sets every month, sometimes every week, ever seen a set that didn’t have a monitor. Otherwise, how would the director see what was being shot? It’s pretty imperative that they be able to see what is being captured in the lens obviously.

If this were my 100 th film and I had worked with this camera person 100 times, maybe I would be more likely to give total control up to a videographer. “But Lex,” I said, practically whining, “This is the beginning of my career as a director and I really care about my product and I can’t have my name on something when I don’t even know what in the heck is being shot! You’re asking me to be a glorified P.A. (Production Assistant) and if you want me to do that, great but take my name off the movie as director. I’ll do casting and help with sex and whatever you want, but if I can’t see what’s being shot, I can’t direct so just use someone else’s name.”

Lex said having my name attached to the project as director was the entire point and he took great offense to me “not trusting in” his crew.

“But how can I direct?! How am I supposed to see what’s being shot?!”

He suggested that I stand close enough to the camera person that I could see what was being shot through the little monitor attached to the camera.

“Wait, wait,” I said. And you’ll probably never believe me, but I was so polite I said it just like this. “Look Lex, I don’t mean to step on your toes or anything and I’m sure you know way more about this than I do because let’s face it, you’ve been doing it a lot longer and you’ve won awards out the ass. But I just don’t understand how my standing hip to hip with a camera person the whole shoot is going to ‘impede their mobility’ LESS than a cord.”

Lex went silent for a moment and it was then that I realized we had reached the point of no return. I had challenged the great Jesus Christ and for a person who fashions himself after King Kong (there’s posters of the movie all over his office), you can imagine how that went down. Honestly, this is someone who I have never seen open a door for himself. He has managed to surround himself with so many yes men that the idea of someone saying “What if you’re wrong here?” was a completely foreign concept. But the fact remained, the emperor had no clothes and I was to be sentenced.

“We don’t use monitors, that’s not the way we work,” he said. “Check it out, ya know, we’re a car where all the wheels are running real smooth and we want to keep it that way.”

“But you’re adding a new wheel, Lex, and it is a totally different shape than the wheels you’ve had on in the past,” I sighed. “Your directors are usually your videographers. And you’re used to shooting straight porn. It’s a different product and it’s a different kind of director.”

“No monitor,” he said quietly.

“What?”

“Check it out, man. No monitor.”

I told him I needed to think about this for an hour and that I would call him back. In that hour, I proceeded to call everyone I knew from famous directors to fellow columnists to AVN staff to agents. After over a dozen calls, everyone had the same reaction when I told them he wanted me to work without a monitor. They all literally laughed in total disbelief and not one of them said I should go through with the project.

I called back and asked to please be released from the rest of my contract if he was going to insist on not giving in on this one little thing I was asking for.

“You’re going to turn down $12,000.00, possibly more if the contract is renewed, because you can’t have a monitor?” he asked.

“Yes, I am,” I stated without hesitation. “Because I don’t want to do this just for the money, Lex. If you do anything form of art just for the money, your product is gonna smell really bad. I care about my movies. I care about the people who are getting off to my product. I care about their money. I care about what my name is attached to and I can’t have my name on something if I can’t see what in the hell it is.”

And that was the end of our conversation. We have only spoken briefly since and that’s when I was trying to get promotional materials together to do a release party. He flatly told me he would be giving the movie no additional promotion whatsoever because it was a line that they wouldn’t be continuing. He also told me that he had plans to take Black Viking into his own hands and that he would be directing the next movie for the company. So obviously, why give my movie additional push when he should be saving it for his own? Fair enough.

So I paid to have a trailer put on my own server for download. I did my own press releases. I set up the cast with interviews and appearances to promote it on my own. I figured, if the movie sells through the roof, he’ll be really pissed that he didn’t concede and that’s the best revenge I could ask for.

Then I get the movie in the mail. The box cover is horrific. Of all the shots taken (and I have them all, you’ve seen them here on the site and written in about how you loved them and couldn’t wait to see the movie), they used the ugliest pictures of the guys they could find. They also misspelled my name. Mmm, okay. Maybe not malicious. Maybe just a mistake. “I’m not going to get angry,” I keep saying to myself. “I’m not going to let this affect me. I’m just going to keep promoting my movie because it’s all about the product and getting it to its audience.”

Finally, the straw that breaks the camel’s back: I read the review on ManNet and decide to watch the movie for myself. The movie is not edited. I mean, not edited to the point that transitions between positions are left it. The camera man walking from one part of the room to another with a camera down by his side staring at the floor is left in. It’s enough to make you dizzy. Mmm, okay. Maybe not malicious. Maybe just straight people trying to make gay porn.

Then there’s the scene with Nick Capra. In the middle of getting ready for the penetration, suddenly they cut to black and white footage of me. “Oh Nick, stop. You’re not hard. You’re nowhere near hard. Get out of there. Take your time with it.”

Even someone who has never seen a porno before would know better than to leave that in. Or wait, it wasn’t even “left in.” It was “added in” from another tape. I knew that Lex had decided to use lots of behind-the-scenes footage to set up the scenes and that it was all supposed to be really funny and cute. What I didn’t know is that he had also asked for the footage to be inserted into the middle of the scenes or that the footage would be of any problems we had with the cast. This is the sort of thing that is best saved for a behind-the-scenes extra. The entire movie views like a documentary. And what’s crazy is (the ManNet reviewer was so spot on!) when the movie is good, it’s really really good! And when it’s bad, it’s really really bad. When it’s just sex being shot, it’s the hottest interracial movie I’ve ever seen. And then two minutes later, they halt the action to get a new condom or change position or the camera is moving to another location. It’s not edited! It’s raw footage with behind-the-scenes of me thrown in for bad measure.

And I tried to be nice about all this, I really did. I mean, I could’ve told the story of what an ass Lexington Steele was to me a long time ago, but I didn’t. I thought, let it go. Read your Zohar. Do some KabbalahCurious.com. No one needs to know and nobody fucking cares. But this diary has certainly covered the gamut of my ups and downs in both my career and personal life and for me to leave out the heartbreak that I felt watching that movie last night would be remiss.

So, an epitaph. There’s two things I don’t want to do here and that’s blaming someone else or saying that I hate the movie. Too late on both counts, right? Let me clean that up a little then.

Yes, it does seem to be malicious intent on the part of Mercenary to completely destroy what even the reviewer could see would’ve been a damned good movie. But it’s my fault for having not insisted to be a part of the editing process even after Lex and I had our falling out. I shouldn’t have just thrown my hands in the air and said, “Come what may,” to the whole thing. What I’ve learned from this situation is how important editing is. Your editor can make or break your movie. I will be much more involved in the editing process of all my movies from now on, even when it’s not for my own company.

I also don’t want to say that I hate My First Interracial. It sounds silly since it’s porn, but in any situation where you’re “creating,” that product becomes your child. You have to remember how much time and effort goes into making these things! For me, this was like a folk singer seeing their acoustic song get turned into a techno dance remix. But the best folk singers from Bob Dylan to James Taylor will tell you, you’ve got to believe, as a creator, that these projects hold their own energy. They are their own entities unto themselves and they are always going to become whatever it is they are meant to become. Mine decided he’d rather be a documentary instead of a porno. And a damned fine, hilarious documentary he is!

I’ll give the kid one thing: He’s entertaining as fuck and it’s honest as all hell! It breaks the illusion of porn and reveals the truth which, oddly enough, has been what I’ve been doing since I got into this business. In seeing what life on a porno set is really like, it becomes a lot less erotic, but a lot more entertaining.

And you know what? My First Interracial will find its audience.

 

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