eros - issue 9

Empty porn set

11' to read

My job was to catalogue porn movies, give them a name and upload them to the server with codes while dividing them by category.

Here I am. I found myself finishing university in July 2008, it was extremely hot and obviously we were drunk and full of hope. Back then, Facebook had only existed for four years and we still didn’t use it much in Italy, we used Myspace. Those were the years when people still met to talk in the streets without taking selfies all the time and we hoped that making films and photography was passion and creativity. I thought at the time that my friends and I could conquer the world with our mini DVs and that the future would be rosy and we would all become great directors. Poor naive little girl.
Cut.

It is 2010. After some freelance work as a video editor and some internships where I learned very little, I find myself struggling like everyone else and ready to accept any job offer that came my way. After working for two fashion agencies who never suggested renewing my contract, I accepted a random job, the first that called me back. I still remember talking to my mother and saying: “Mummy, I’ve found a job, it’s another internship, obviously unpaid, they’ll pay my expenses, what should I do? Should I take it?”. There was a BUT the size of a house, I would be doing quality control for porn movies: “Yes, you heard right, Mum.” My mother has always been very open and she immediately told me to accept, saying, “who cares, a job is a job and if you don’t like it you can always quit.” I was stunned. (I don’t think everyone has a woman like her on their side and maybe that’s why I have such an open view of life and so few prejudices). Obviously, I accepted the job. The studio was located behind Piazzale Lodi in one of those typical buildings converted into an office with people piled up on top of each other in a huge room. I was already thinking to myself: “Here I am doing an office job, goodbye cinema, eh”, but then, you’ve got to start somewhere, right? They immediately took me on the classic tour: here are the bathrooms, here is the coffee machine and all the other things that every company shows you when you’re new to the job, but it was still exciting for me in those days.

The excitement didn’t last long. Shortly after the tour ended, I had to sit in front of people and next to other people at a Windows PC with an old-school monitor that barely worked and get started on my fantastic new job.
“Help!” I think that was my first thought. I found myself looking at dicks, vaginas, pubic hair, tits, etc. at 9:30 am. All the while with people staring at me waiting for my reaction (maybe they thought I’d run away instantly).

My job was to catalogue porn movies, give them a name and upload them to the server with codes while dividing them by category. It was very important that they contained nothing too hard: young people, animals (yes, of course you can find that online too), transsexuals or anything that was considered “too much” even for a porn movie. By the way, all this work was for Telecom Italia, although I was working for an external agency where Telecom Italia was a client. They basically used a giant server to upload movies to the night TV network for various hardcore pay channels on Digital Terrestrial.

What do all those Italian people who are at home and want to watch porn do? They use television. And that is where Telecom Italia came in, offering pay channels where you could buy porn movies at will. We are used to the Internet nowadays but in those days, older people or the elderly would never have used it, these shows had a precise target: people who did not use technology.

I didn’t last long, I only worked there for three months but most people would probably have scarpered after a week. We’re so used to idealising porn that nobody understands how difficult it is to see 15 or 20 pornos every morning, catalogue them and give them a name.

Here, the typical American pussy with silicone breasts was just a dream. So were the handsome muscles with terrifying pecs and a shaved cock.

Forget all that beautiful porn, pink and precise with hotties and kewl.

There was no choice here, you got what was on offer and it was mainly amateur porn. Yes, let’s face it, people really like the average Italian amateur: elderly people, middle-aged women like your mother or women your grandmother’s age! Yes, you read that right! I remember one title was “Old Countryside Sluts”. Obviously a title chosen by me and a colleague of mine. This was the plot: we find ourselves in the countryside and a lady and gentleman who might be about 70 years old begin to undress and have sex. Now, imagine her toothless with a red headscarf on her head, tits splayed over this man with a beer belly. Very exciting, isn’t it? I still remember people I knew back then repeatedly telling me, “oh how cool, you’re being paid to watch porn. What’s it like? You’re so lucky.” So lucky that I remember that for those three months, I couldn’t even have sex with my boyfriend at the time because my libido was at zero. I couldn’t have any relationship at all. Now, I don’t judge anyone, and I don’t care about people’s tastes, but I certainly didn’t get excited seeing old people fuck, and I didn’t get excited every morning in front of the screen which is what everyone thought when they asked me questions about my work. I managed to take a very detached approach but I don’t think it’s a job for everybody.
Cut.

In 2014, I was working freelance. The opportunity arose to work with an agency that dealt with VOD and porn movies. I needed a permanent job because I still had to pay my taxes. So here I was again, accepting something erotic.
My job here was to catalogue porn films, create logos and then, once the files had been finalised, upload them to the site. I worked for this guy, his company was in Lugano and I worked in Milan. He went back and forth and took a desk in coworking and I worked alone. I don’t want to name him or the company because I’m convinced that it was all a bit shady but I wasn’t very interested because the money mattered to me.
So, there I was, designing banners for the site, editing files, fixing the site and adding files to the server. I had more creative control in this work (as creative as it could be), had more to do than just quality control and it weighed less on me than the other job. But even this one didn’t last long and after six months I left because it wasn’t what I wanted to do and I didn’t think my boss was very reliable.

Let me explain why: my boss bought porn movies to put on the net and, as we all know, it’s not legal to put porn movies on the net in Italy, it’s not even legal to make them. He bought a lot of films from other people, just as you might buy a kilo of chicken at a certain price and then sell it to a restaurant; he did the same with porn films. He had a site where people subscribed to see porn and he made money from the subscriptions. This was the scam in my opinion: scamming people who don’t understand the internet. And I must say that there were lots of them. There were companies that sell email addresses so he bought countless email addresses and then sent spam or newsletters advertising the site he wanted. A lot of newsletters. It was 2014 and we didn’t have all the privacy laws we do today so you could buy emails for advertising.

With him, I didn’t just stand behind a desk, I also had the chance to do something practical. No, I didn’t act in an amateur porn movie, don’t worry, but I did take a backstage nude photo and a set of “jacking off” shots of a girl who was about to become a suicide girl (again, I don’t want to mention any names). It was all very new for me. Perhaps a normal person would have been embarrassed to feel so out of place. But for me, a vagina is like a bunch of roses, I couldn’t care less. It was all very easy: it was my one and only chance to direct something erotic and it all felt very natural. My boss was in the next room, because he didn’t want to take part in it, I don’t think he felt comfortable. He wasn’t one of those “pimp” guys who tries it on with the people at work, and he trusted me.

We shot a couple of scenes in close up and some others slightly further away and that was a wrap. I don’t have much left of these jobs except the knowledge that I would be a good porn director. My days went on as usual with banners to be published and lots of people writing to me on Facebook to ask the usual idiotic questions about my work in the XXX sector. Many people also thought I was a porno actor; can you believe it? I think all this is part of the Italian taboo: never talk about sex and never give it the right importance.

The average Italian still hides certain things and is ashamed too

I talked a lot to my boss about many of my ideas and how to keep his company going. And he would have liked to shoot more pseudo-erotic videos with other girls. But then we didn’t have a chance to find more models. We also went for business lunches together, and I remember meeting the producers of some Italian amateur film in this sushi restaurant near Loreto. They were two gentlemen (very dandy) with nice attitudes. Until the discussion moved to locations such as hotels or rich people’s homes where they had shot porn movies, discreetly obviously, because it’s illegal in Italy. However, there was no lack of actresses and actors, locations or cocaine apparently. At the end of the lunch they tried to get me to do one, laughing and joking, and I obviously couldn’t tell them to fuck off, because they were the ones who were selling the movie packages to my boss.

I smiled and said goodbye to them. And that’s gone too now. They were months of discovery and interaction with a world that did not belong to me.
Cut.

After six months, I escaped from Italy to live in London. I decided not to work for somebody else’s company but to create one of my own. My friend Simona Scolari and I decided to launch a clothing brand that will be released in November, called Urban Fusion Brand. I think I must be grateful for the path I have taken, because I know what I do not want to do and also what I can achieve. Anything you can achieve, whether beautiful, ugly, erotic or strange, can only make you richer. I think that my experience in the XXX world did enrich me because I’m not afraid of talking about sex with anyone, I simply ask for what I want. I hope that everyone understands that sexual freedom is very important. I’ve met a lot of people who blush and cover their face if you ask them if they’ve ever watched porn. Let’s dispel the myth. Everyone masturbates and everyone watches porn and we women do it too. Obviously each of us makes their own choices and that is why you can choose: bbw, fetish, mature, etc.
I think it is important to talk about it way more, so that it is no longer a taboo and there can hopefully be less violence and possession towards others and maybe we will be able to experiment a little more in our personal sphere.

Hurray for trash!

This story is featured on C41 ISSUE 9 Eros.