Well, Austin was fun.
We went to visit ChaosMen studios, which is on a vast expanse of land 30 miles outside of the city. Where there are longhorns, scorpions, tarantulas, and roadrunners (we only saw roadrunners and longhorns).
Bryan Ockert, ChaosMen’s owner and director, gave us incredible access to his studios and models. We were there for four shoots – an oral shoot, a ‘Pure’ shoot, a standard fucking shoot, and a guy’s-first-time shoot, and all were really interesting to watch.
*All names (except Bryan and when noted) are the performer’s porn names.
Day 1 – Glenn and Wren
Accidental rhyming scene partners Glenn (left) and Wren (right) were our first shoot, and quite honestly, one I had originally planned on skipping. I’m glad I changed my mind though, because there were a lot of interesting dynamics at play.
Glenn is a ChaosMen veteran. He has been working with the site for about a year, and has 20 scenes online. He identifies as straight. And here this brings to mind a question that I get asked all the time – “Are the guys really straight?” The answer, at least based on what I saw this weekend, is yes.
The running theme that links almost all the ChaosMen models (and I’d imagine most straight performers in gay porn) is a need for money. Pure and simple. There are those that were perhaps curious about being with another guy and see porn as a safe place to explore those desires (doing it for money makes it ok, all the models are tested for STIs), there are some who admit to being bisexual or at least bi-curious, and there are even a couple of gay models, but for the most part these guys are heterosexual and doing it simply because they are being paid.
Glenn and Wren were an interesting pair, as Wren had previously fooled around with guys, and I believe he falls into the porn-as-a-safe-place category. This scene was his second, and his first where he was required to interact with another model. The setup was this: they’d watch some porn, pull their dicks out when they got hard, Glenn would give Wren head, some rimming, they’d 69, cumshot. Bryan made an interesting point during one of the breaks while shooting – you can tell whether or not the model is enjoying himself during the scene by where he is looking – at the straight porn playing on the monitor or at his scene partner. And Wren was pretty locked on Glenn.
This brings us to another interesting dynamic. When I sat down with both of them, after their post-scene shower, I asked them if they had fun. Glenn was first to answer, and he basically answered no. He liked the environment, the people he works with, but no, it was never hot. Now I could tell Wren enjoyed the secene. He was pretty focused on Glenn, so much so that when Glenn came (on Wren’s face no less) Wren was only seconds behind. I’m in no position to label him sexually, but there was attraction there. But when it was his turn to answer the question, he got all bro-y and macho, choosing to echo Glenn’s statements. Maybe I should have interviewed them separately.
Day two saw two veterans (Gavin, left, and Theon, right) in a Pure scene. The pure videos are shot in an all-white room, the idea being that the background drops away and the viewer can focus on the action. It’s a pretty interesting room to be in, and it’s definitely an aesthetic that isn’t seen on other sites. Gavin was a bit sleepy (see fantastic yawn gif) but Theon was an old pro. Travis, who used to model but now mostly helps out on camera, pulled me aside during the shoot to point out how good a performer Theon was, “He really knows how to turn it on.” And he does. It’s impressive (and a little bit jarring) to watch the passion dissolve when Bryan called cut.
This time I interviewed them separately after the shoot. At Bryan’s suggestion I interviewed Gavin in the shower (thanks Bryan!) where we talked pretty candidly about his motivations, how he doesn’t get nervous before a scene anymore (“Just another day at the office”) and how he doesn’t watch his videos because he doesn’t like the way his body looks.
Theon and I spoke afterwards about his fears of his girlfriend finding out, how he’ll read fan comments to see what people liked and didn’t like about his performance, and how he incorporated a few of the more interesting sexual positions into his own personal repertoire. He also interviewed me a bit about how long I had been working on the project, why straight-guy porn, what questions I was looking to answer. He’s a clever kid.
Day three – Gavin and Bay.
Oof, Bay. Bay is relatively new, and I had seen him on the site prior to arriving in Austin. I admit I was a bit nervous to film and interview someone I had previously masturbated to, and he didn’t make it any better by flirting heavily with the cameras. His post-scene interview was probably my favourite, as while he identifies as straight, he admits to having “a bi side”, and laments the fact that during a shoot you have no time to “get intimate” with your scene partner. Check out his repeat eyebrow-raises below.
Day four saw new guy Kellan’s first time having sex with a guy. Director Bryan was nervous about this one, as his oral scene had been a bit of a struggle, but it went pretty smoothly. During the interview he mentioned detaching himself from the moment – “You’re there doin’ it, but your brain is somewhere else.” I also got a chance to sit down with Travis (he goes by ‘Ransom’ on the site) about his work and how he scouts new models and with Bryan about the desire for straight guys and the kind of porn I watch.
So…was it hot? A few people have asked me this since the shoots. The answer is, yes and no. The first shoot yes. the ‘first time’ thing does it for me, and though Wren had been with other guys there was a definite newness to his interactions with Glenn. And Bay’s scene was hot, but that might just be the result of a combination of his white bad-boy look and the fact that he was enjoying himself. Otherwise after a little while it got kind of banal. After some time shooting I found myself concentrating more on framing the shot in an interesting way than the action unfolding in front of me. I also reacted more to (fake?) intimacy than some of the more x-rated acts – the kissing was more erotic to me than some of the cumshots.
All in all it was a very interesting, very productive, super fun few days. Bryan was so welcoming and everyone we spoke to was pretty honest, open, and easy to get along with. Kind of makes me want to make porn myself.
Final thought: because we were staying at the same hotel as the models were, we got to spend a bit more time with them. We rode back together after the shoots (thanks for the lifts, Bryan), had a meal with Theon and Gavin, got driven into the city in the hotel’s electric limo (ha!) with Gavin and Bay. As friendly as everyone was and as good as we may have gotten along, they seemed to draw a line at hanging out with us beyond that. None of the models were ashamed of the work that they did, but it felt like they wanted to disassociate from it after it was done. Discussing our dinner options on the ride into Austin, I asked Bay what he was in the mood for. “A hot blonde,” he answered. We went our separate ways after dinner.