Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ex-Porn Producer Advocates Education Over Legislation

Warning: This article has adult content.

Donny Pauling was a Porn producer for nine years. Donny's clients included major networks such as Playboy. Donny talks to True Feminism on why he quit the industry.

SD: How did you become a porn producer?

DP: That was a process that started when I first brought a computer into my home in the late 90s. When my wife was at work or asleep I'd look at porn on the Internet. I started thinking, "I could make money producing this stuff" and had this fantasy about how great it would be to be paid to photograph naked girls. I contacted my favorite sites and asked where they purchased their content. One of them gave me a shot, and it turned out others hired me simply because that first one was well known. I often heard, "If you can produce for them, you can produce for us". My career was launched, albeit part time and behind my wife's back for the first 3 years.

SD: What marketing techniques did you use to hook your audiences?

DP: I specialized in shooting first time amateurs. I'd photograph any woman willing to pose, no matter what her body shape or size. I knew enough about human nature to know there was a market for just about anything. My network had 12 million unique monthly visitors at one point. I received good reviews for my willingness to put just about anybody in front of a camera.

SD: Why is Playboy not seen as porn or a mild version of it?

DP: I'm assuming you're referring to the main Playboy magazine - the company actually owns some of the most hard core porn sites on the Internet, with names so raunchy you wouldn't be able to print them.

As for the main magazine, I think many people DO consider it porn. It's mild by today's standards, for sure. Porn is progressively more extreme. I suppose the same can be said for many aspects of human existence, however. Because of the extremes some go to, many people tend to label Playboy magazine as mild or non-pornographic. The truth is, even some of our network TV shows are pornographic, despite the fact that clothes might be kept on. Let's not fool ourselves.

SD: Prof. Robert Jensen, an anti-pornography activist says capitalism plays a big role in the success of the sex industry. Do you agree?

DP: Of course. Porn brings in more money than professional hockey, major league baseball, and NFL football combined. Anywhere there's money to be made you'll find people trying to get their piece of the pie. Porn's no different. Porn companies have a market that is hard wired by nature to want to indulge in their product.

SD: The very first issue of Playboy magazine said, All sophisticated Playboys are interested in virginity. Is this the reason why producers go after younger or fresh faces?

DP: There's a big market for innocence. It's very appealing to a certain segment of both men and women to be with a person who has never been with anyone else. Porn involving younger people creates that fantasy. Young, fresh faces were always popular, but in the latter years of my career "mature" women were becoming almost as popular. Some credit the movie American Pie for that. I think people go through phases. Notice I'm using the term "people" rather than "men". Porn isn't unique to men. More than 70% of women admit to using it, too - and that number is increasing. And just thinking back over the headlines in recent years about all the female school teachers who have been arrested for messing around with male students is a good indication that perverted sexuality isn't a male-only issue. Women are no longer being told, "Ladies don't act like this!" and are instead being told, "Why not?" The younger generations, in particular, are showing the results.

SD: You mentioned that you edited out things you did not want your audiences to see. What was edited out?

DP: Let's say a girl started crying on a set. While a small percentage of the population might find that appealing, I didn't want to put out that sort of work. That's one of the things I'd edit.

Another would be hygiene problems. Put it this way... baby wipes are a good thing to have sitting in every bathroom. Dry toilet paper doesn't truly clean a person.

Another thing... if certain STDs showed up on film, I'd take those out too... such as genital warts or a herpes outbreak. A large percentage of adult performers are affected by STDs of some sort.

Porn's not the glamorous fantasy most people get in their heads. The final cut never shows in the credits declarations such as, "This girl was curled up in a ball between takes, sucking her thumb in the corner because her mind is so blown by the scene you just witnessed" or "this model had to undergo surgery to repair the damage done to her body by the scene you just witnessed" or "this model had to do take after take to get the scene right... it took awhile before we could get her to convincingly look as if she was enjoying this, and she knew she wouldn't be paid if we couldn't get usable content".

By the way, those things in the last paragraph wouldn't keep happening if consumers weren't a reality. Supply and demand dictates that all of us, from producer to consumer, are needed to keep the cycle going.

SD: Why did you decide to quit being a porn producer?

DP: One of the biggest reasons I was in porn, besides the money, was hatred. I hated the church. I sometimes hated God. Porn was a way to vent that frustration on the world. Using that to fuel me, I'd justify what I was doing to people. I'd tell myself things like, "They're adults making adult decisions. They signed a model release. They were warned about what was coming." etc, etc. But the truth of the matter is that I still knew I wasn't having a positive effect on lives.

I met a missionary group called XXXChurch.com at a porn convention. Over the course of 4 years I watched them truly love people. I saw them inside our conventions telling people God loved them no matter what they'd done. They didn't condemn. They did crazy things like bringing in women to do makeup for porn stars, and while the girl was in their makeup chair they'd hear how much they were loved and be told there was someone to talk to if they needed to do so. I raged against them from time to time, but always received love as a response.

Those 4 years of interaction broke down my hatred. Because of that, I was able to take a better look at my life. Excuses didn't seem relevant anymore. I couldn't delude myself any longer. Other aspects of life started weighing on me more, making me see first hand what it was like to be on the other side of the camera. I just reached a place where I couldn't continue devastating lives.

On the day Playboy offered me an additional $4,000 a day to shoot a new series, I prayed to God, thanking Him for blessing me no matter what I did. He responded by physically touching me - a literally shocking experience that took my breath away. That touch seemed to say, "This is petty... I have so much more for you than this." After that September day I could no longer pick up a camera.

SD: Why are you opposed to censorship? Even free speech has its limits.

DP: What limits has God placed on human free will? And who are we to put ourselves above Him? He's given us the ability to do whatever we wish to do. There are consequences for our actions, but those actions are our decision. Censorship will never change hearts, and true change can only come from the heart. Love is the answer, not legislation. Showing people "why" they shouldn't do something is so much more effective than telling them they can't "because we said so".

SD: What would you say to those who might want to get involved in the world of adult entertainment?

DP: I'd tell them they're intelligent adults able to make their own decisions, but to be responsible they need to consider as much information as possible. Then I'd have them read a few articles on my blog such as this one:

http://www.donnypauling.com/blog/2010/03/01/dear-johncmayer-re-producing-porn/

and this one:

http://www.donnypauling.com/blog/2010/03/11/is-this-sexy/

because I think those two articles alone would give them a few things to think about that they've likely not considered before. Ultimately, a person needs to make their own choices. God Himself gave us that capability. He hopes we'll use our free will to choose Him, and I hope people use their free will to stay away from porn.

14 comments:

joyfulpapist said...

Fascinating perspective, Savia. Thanks.

I've also just read about the Collective Shout campaign - started in Australia.

http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/can_you_hear_us_now/

Savia said...

Hi Joyful,

Welcome to the blog!

Thanks for the link. There are millions of us out there, who feel this way, it's time our media start listening.

Matt said...

I didn't see any adult content. Did I blink and miss it?

Savia said...

Hi Matt,

Yes, there isn't adult content to be concerned about, but the thing is blogger requires a warning to be put ahead, when discussing anything x-rated.

Here's the content policy.
http://www.blogger.com/content.g

I just wanted to be on the safer side. :)

And Matt welcome to the blog.

St. Ursula said...

Savia,

Thanks for a very interesting interview. I agree with Donnie's statement:

Censorship will never change hearts, and true change can only come from the heart. Love is the answer, not legislation.

I am not certain, though, that legislation has no role whatsoever.

In terms of reaching hearts what does Donnie propose? It appears he is active in reaching out to those involved in the industry. Does he advocate educating young people about the dangers of pornography, either in school or in church?

How does he think they can best be reached?

Savia said...

St. Ursula,

Donny does speak at churches and universities throughout the country. He can be reached for speaking engagements here.

http://www.donnypauling.com/blog/speaking-engagements/

Donny Pauling said...

St. Ursula,

Good questions.

As for legislation playing a part, when it comes to things such as child pornography, of course we need it. My stance against legislation isn't based on a situation like that, however. When I was a producer and working with others in the adult industry, we were constantly made aware of the various groups trying to pass laws to put us out of business. I don't know why anybody thinks there will be a good reaction to creating such laws. The only result would be more anger towards groups, usually Christian, trying to legislate us out of business. The larger companies would simply move out of the country to somewhere where it was still allowed, and business would continue as usual. With the Internet age, it wouldn't matter where the content was produced, users would still be able to access it.

In terms of reaching hearts...
More groups need to do the kind of work XXXChurch does. I mentioned a few of those things in my original interview. Showing the love of Christ changes lives and changes hearts. It's my personal belief that many people don't really believe in the power of His love, because showing that love is the opposite of fear and legalism, yet we still have many legalists who would rather carry picket signs and shout at people, rather than get down in the gutter with a helping hand to pull them out. Fear based conversions will likely last only as long as the fear lasts. Love is forever.

Donny Pauling said...

Also,

When able to remain anonymous, more than 90% of Christian men and 70% of Christian women admit to using porn - yet most never reach out to their church for help because they are afraid of being labeled, losing a position within the church, etc. That needs to change, too. If we confess our sins, HE is faithful and just to forgive us of them and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness... so why do men and women punish each other more than God does? A minister who admits a problem and is seeking help should not permanently lose his job. A brother or sister who admit a problem should not be shunned. We're supposed to be able to make admissions that bring light to the dark places in our hearts, and should expect loving help (you who are spiritual, restore gently). But so many times that's not the case. It needs to be.

Savia said...

Donny,

Thanks for answering our questions. I know there are women addicted to porn, but the industry by and large is run by men for men. It's very important for men to be on the front lines of the battle because of this.

St. Ursula said...

Donnie,

In the unlikely event you are still reading...Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I am behind on my blog-watching and didn't realise you had responded to me.

May God continue to bless you in this vitally important ministry.

St. Ursula said...

It's very important for men to be on the front lines of the battle because of this.

Savia,

You bring up a vital point. This goes back to the issue you and I were discussing on a previous post about Augustine's view of the Garden of Eden being about the "sin of Adam."

In all the years I have been involved in fighting pornography, I have always believed that no real inroads would be made until Christian men began to stand up and lead us in this fight. I have tried to encourage them to show leadership on this issue over the years and have been met with everything from apathy and non-comprehension to downright ridicule.

It is with this in mind that I am so heartened to read Donnie's story. I hope that your efforts to continue to get this vital information into the public domain through your blog will start some sort of revolution in the minds of Christian men, who I remain convinced are called to be as you say on the "front lines" of this particular battle.

St. Ursula said...

Savia,

Now for the "Question of the Day":

Upon rereading what I just posted, I cannot help but wonder: how many times can St. Ursula use the word "vital" within a span of five minutes?

LOL ~ sorry!

Savia said...

"I have always believed that no real inroads would be made until Christian men began to stand up and lead us in this fight. I have tried to encourage them to show leadership on this issue over the years and have been met with everything from apathy and non-comprehension to downright ridicule."

St. Ursula. This is sad. My youth group does talk about these issues a LOT. We had a entire semester on it. I think the younger guys understand how much it affects their lives on a daily basis.

Most of the ridicule I have experienced comes from the "progressive" crowd.

Savvy

Savia said...

"I cannot help but wonder: how many times can St. Ursula use the word "vital" within a span of five minutes?

LOL ~ sorry!"


Don't worry! We all have our favourite words.