Sex Ed 1965 Style

Stephanie Fritz, a good and observant friend, again tipped me off on something fun to write about. She spotted a record in the window of an indie record store while visiting Chicago. She took this picture and sent it to me with the fun and witty tag "You made an entire movie about what this claims to do in 25 minutes."

And so I have. Well, that's not exactly what the movie is completely about, and technically the movie hasn't been made. It's in the process of being made, but fair enough. I had to see if our movie had been trumped by this record.
Luckily, Stephanie found a recording of this on the internet, and I had the good fortune to listen to it. There was also a "Sex and Your Son" recording you can listen to, and I most certainly did. You can too here.

First there is about 9 minutes for only the parents to listen to. Dr. Sims talks to the parents telling them that they need to get comfortable with the subject so they can present themselves as people that their child could ask questions to without embarrassment. Good suggestion. Then he goes on to say that this record (the 19 minute part that the child will listen to) is such that your child will spontaneously turn to kiss you at the end of it. I find that to be a wierd and overly optimistic foretelling of the future, but I guess I can appreciate his emphasis on affection between parent and child.
The parents are supposed to be sitting with the child as they listen to the second part, and it is set up like a kind of play where the parents ask the doctor to stop by and talk with their child about sex. Dr. Sims rings the doorbell, greets everyone, and then there is a series of questions, answers and interactions between Dr, parents and child. It's pretty cheesy as you might expect, and I think the funniest thing is that the kids always seem to have a kinda Wisconsin accent.

All in all this is probably pretty progressive for the time, and in general gives good advice for parents. Be actively available for questions. Get correct information before informing the child. Don't make it wierd. Talk to your child throughout their life, conveying appropriate information for their age. The records even discuss masturbation - even if it is brief. It tells us that there is nothing physically harmful about masturbation, but there could be moral issues and your religious leaders are the best people to discuss that with. So it's not exactly a glowing review of masturbation (as I might have added in my sex ed record), but it doesn't ignore it either, so that's something. It discusses the egg-sperm deal, pregnancy, and even breast feeding, menstration, and wet dreams.
Only in the son's record do we ever actually hear that this whole marriage-love-conception thing involves an erect penis being inserted into the vagina. The girl does ask for more details about this, but even though her questions were scripted, the good doctor is still able to avoid it.
It's from the 1960's, so not surprisingly it heavily emphasizes the baby-nurturing part of the female reproductive system and is a bit old fashioned about the whole period thing. But the overall vagueness of the information is pretty much par for the course still today.
All in all, it's a pretty funny listen, and probably could even be used for a nice drinking game (everyone drink each time Dr. Sims says "That's right Bob!")



The super awesome Stephanie Fritz has been keeping me informed about what's going on in pop culture with female sexuality. I got a text from her Monday saying "NPRs talking about female desire." I checked this out. Turns out "Tell Me More" had 2 interviews back to back dealing with the issue of women's sexual desire in their "behind closed doors" segment.

The first (find it here) was a woman named Lorri Brocco. As the host said, "Lorri Brocco is a psychologist in Vancouver, Canada. She is considered one of the world's leading specialists in hypo sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in women." Hypo sexual desire disorder is a disorder involving lack of sexual interest. The host began by saying Ms. Brocco was leading the effort to update the HSDD definition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that will be updated in the next few years.

One point she made was that HSDD is currently officially defined as a lack or deficiency in fantasies or desire for sexual activity. She says, "the focus on the lack of fantasy is highly problematic because when we interview women...they don't necessarily talk about fantasies as being a hallmark sign of whether or not they have desire. In fact, many women will often say that they deliberately bring up fantasies in their mind as a way of focusing on the sexual situation, promoting desire, becoming aroused."

She goes on to say, "The second problem with the definition, desire for sexual activity, stems from the finding that there may be any number, in fact several hundred different reasons why women might engage in sexual activity, and very often it may have nothing at all to do with desire. It may relate to not being in the mood in the present but wanting to become in the mood, wanting to please a partner, wanting to experience emotional connection, and the list goes on and on."

There was not really much more to the interview except an acknowledgement that there is surprisingly little data-driven knowledge about women's sexuality even in this sex saturated culture. Ms. Brocco also stated that the 1998 approval of Viagra probably started the increased interest in studying female sexuality and that she believes the tides are changing for the better.

I thought that this interview fell into the same category that most well-meaning media tidbits on female sexuality fall into. It acknowledges that there is a strange discord between a feeling of ignorance about how women experience/express sexuality and a feeling that there is actually too much female sexuality in the media. It acknowledges that men and women experience sexuality differently. Then it vaguely references emotion as a missing link for women's differences to men, women's sexual problems, and for our culture's strange disaccorded feelings about female sexuality. However, it never articulates anything beyond these very general ideas.

As you might imagine from my other blogs, I think any current discussion of female sexuality that doesn't investigate our culture's utter ignorance of the physical female orgasm, is not even scratching the surface.

The second interview (find it here) on "Tell Me More" was with a woman that wrote a play called "In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)" set in the Victorian Era when women used to be treated for "hysteria" by getting their vulva stimulated (manually or with the newly created vibrators made for this particular medical problem). The play seems interesting, and it got good reviews - and that was mostly what the interview was about. However the host did briefly delve into more general questions about female sexuality though. He asked, "But what do you think it is that people are responding to in this play? Do you have a sense that for all of our talking about sex and having it all in our face all the time that we really haven't advanced that much at all?"

There was no reference to the fact that our cultural understanding of how a woman physically obtains and experiences an orgasm is ridiculously similar to our understanding in 1945. No, the answer came back to - no surprise - a vague notion involving our inability to completely deal with the emotions of sexuality.


Thanksgiving - A little late

We're a little late on this since the appropriate holiday for this has already passed, but I thought I'd write about a couple things AnC is thankful for - well thankful for in relation to this movie at least.

1. Cast and Crew

We recently sent out questionnaires to all the cast and crew so we could get some info about them for their pages on the Science Sex and the Ladies website. Barnaby is putting together the bios, and after he read the first few he mentioned that he missed everyone, and we all reminisced about those crazy people that for some reason decided to work with us.
The truth is we had very little money, no fame, we were shooting all the way up in creepy warehouse in Anderson, and frankly - it wouldn't have been crazy to think we were tricking them into shooting a nasty, low budget porno - but they showed up anyway.

2. Digital
Strange to say now, since everything is digital, but when AnC first started making movies in late high school and early college (gems, these movies were), we were shooting on SuperVHS and editing from VCR to VCR. There were no consumer digital cameras. Let's just say, things shot on VHS look like they are shot on VHS. The only real option to make a quality movie was to use film - which is super crazy expensive. Luckily, during college, movie quality digital cameras started becoming relatively affordable. We hatched a plan to save and buy a Canon XL1. We now have a new baby that shoots in HD, but our first born digital camera will always be close to our hearts. It was sold 2 years ago to a couple shooting wedding videos in Rhode Island.

3. Mild Spring Weather
The first shoot for this movie was fairly cold (especially for Chris West and Brandi Payton who had to sit half naked on a pedestal with a fan blowing directly on them...sorry about that you two). The last couple shoots were pretty hot (especially for the dancers in layered clothing busting a move in 80 some degree weather with lights beating down on them...sorry about that too, but I didn't enjoy it either. I realized later I has a 102 degree fever that day). The days in between were just right though. In the past we have shot in some of the hottest and bitterly cold places I could imagine, Since we were shooting in a non heated or cooled warehouse, we tried to plan this in mild weather. In the long years and months of pre-production we were never sure if we could get to the shooting part at the right time, but somehow the stars aligned, and we got about the best weather period we could hope for.


The AnC Holiday Card is Back!!!!!!!!

We've been discussing something. Something beautiful, monumental, intriguing and kinda creepy. Something that was missing last year. Something we're very excited about....something called the AnC holiday card. That's right. We are back in the groove and sending one out this year. So those of you on our mailing list, be looking for that in the mail come New Year. If you have no idea what we're talking about, then here's the quick back story. We've been putting out strange, elaborate holiday cards (usually it's New Years but sometimes Christmas or Valentine's Day) since about 2000. We didn't get one out last year because we were a little overwhelmed with pre-production for this movie. They take an intensive amount of time to do because of the assembly and planning time involved with many of them. We really are excited though because we have a lot of fun creating these. In the past we've done an online "choose your own adventure" video that included Barnaby in a bubble bath. We created exercise videos were I wore spandex shorts with a thong over them. They have included some oh so lovely pictures too. You can see our retrospective of these here. This one won't be as elaborate as in the past, but it should be fun...plus it's really just an appetizer to the crazy one we'll send out when we introduce the premier of Science Sex and the Ladies a bit later in 2010.


Scene 39 Rough cut

Here is a screenshot from the newest scene to get a good rough in. The words might change in content and form in the final version. Scene 39 deals with sexual education and the particular points that make it less useful and even useless in some instances for women. The happy couple here is Ben Aaron and Michele Morones. We shot this on our second green screen we built. We had learned a lot from our first one (which worked great) and we were able to make use of the largest room in our shooting space for this long walk (about 145 feet). It turned out really nice.  We hope to have a complete rough cut in the next week or week and half then we can start talking about pickup shots, music, and the future!


70 minutes rough!

Hey guys, I'm giving Trisha a break from blogging this week. She's been making a lot of posts about things related to Science, Sex and the Ladies, but what about the actual movie? Well, I'm here to give you an update. We have 70 minutes of rough cut footage. It looks like the rough cut is going to come in somewhere around 100 minutes. Its been really fun reliving all the exciting days on set as I build each of these scenes. I feel like our actors brought something that wasn't in the script everytime they were on camera, and I'm making a lot of use of that. This is an extremely information filled movie and its easy for it to get bogged down under a lot of Voice Over, and Explanation. The cure, I always thought, was creating interesting ways to impart that information, while maintaining a strong visual theme, that is supported by interesting characters who are fun but authoritive. Our actors have really helped us get to that point.

We recently recorded VO for our "Happy Hand" scene. Cathy Hammaker, who we have worked with before in our MD Hearts Series as Martinique ( a vengeful fencer and EX lover of Evan Evans who later plans to develop a WMDB "Weapon of Mass Destruction Bomb" in MD Hearts 4 which is my personal favorite of the MD Hearts Episodes although watch them all at ancmovies.com) was excellent. Recording for an animation was a first for us, and we're excited to have finished the first step in bringing the "Happy Hand" to life.

(Also you might notice our blog has added the 3d logo of Science Sex and the Ladies in the upper right.)



Considering the Elusive Vaginal Orgasm via an Article in AskMen.com

I Googled "Female Orgasm" and right up top on the first page was an advice column on AskMen.com asking what a female orgasm felt like. The writer asked friends to give their 1st hand opinions. Most answers seemed reasonable enough, however, one seemed particularly interesting to me.

"I can orgasm through penetration, but only if I'm incredibly turned on. Usually he's from behind and thrusting quite hard. It seems to help if he holds me around my waist so his penis is deep inside me and the thrusting movements are small. I feel an aching feeling that builds and then peaks. Then it's like waves of pleasure radiating. Often the waves will last quite a long time. Because it feels dramatically different than a clitoral orgasm, at first I wasn't sure whether I was actually having an orgasm or not through penetration. But all the girls I've spoken to say this is what they feel when they orgasm vaginally, too: It's a more general feeling than centrally focused."

I ask you, is she experiencing a "vaginal orgasm" or is she not experiencing an orgasm at all? Is it possibly that she is simply experiencing the aroused feelings of being pounded from behind during an intense, and maybe very exciting, round of non-orgasmic love-making, then assuming, like many of her friends, that this is the elusive "vaginal orgasm" we should all strive to achieve?
Just going from the first hand account here, it could go either way. Although, as longtime readers probably assume, I heavily tend towards the later of the two options, and I have solid arguments in the movie to back up a claim that more women than we think are not actually experiencing any kind of physical sexual release during what they claim are "vaginal orgasms."  For now I'd just like to say that if you aren't sure you're having an orgasm...well - are you? And for that matter, if you are, is it that good? If you know clearly that you have had a clitoral orgasm, but have to consult friends to find out if the "general feeling" you're having is the vaginal orgasm  - then is the elusive, much sought after vaginal orgasm all that exciting?


Can Women Actually be Orgasmicly Delusional? Surveys, Pre-Op Male to Female Transsexuals, and the Vaginal Orgasm

A little more in relation to the survey we created for this movie... There was a particular group of people that surprisingly filled out the survey in numbers and gave me some thoughts to chew on. The group is pre-surgery Male to Female Transsexuals who tended to be 45 and older. In case you're not up on the lingo, these are people born as males who are currently living as women, often taking hormonal supplements to assist in the transition, and are awaiting surgery to physically change their genitals from male to female. The survey answers all came in during the same period of time, and they were all generally similar in age. From that I assumed someone found this survey on the internet, thought it helpful, and passed it along to her group of friends or her support group. There is always the possibility that these were just written up as jokes, but if they were, there was considerable care taken in the answers, and I applaud the ingenuity of whoever did it.

Technically, these people shouldn't have been filling out the questionnaires because I specifically asked for only people who have lived with female genitals, and since none of these people had yet lived with female genitals... You get my point, but I'm glad they filled it out because their answers were interesting.

I believe, and discuss in the movie, that many women, not able to identify with any available models of physical female sexual response, make a mostly unconscious decision to experience their sexual response as how they believe it is supposed to be and not what it physically is. These pre-op transsexual males trying to navigate through being a woman are in the same boat. They have little to no realistic models for understanding female sexual pleasure and release, and I noticed a strange thing in their answers. They all spoke about "orgasms" that happen because of anal penetration, and they spoke about them in much the same way as women do who claim to have "orgasms" because of vaginal penetration. Given the research I’ve done, I can be pretty sure in saying that a male did not likely have an orgasm simply through penetration of his anus. It is possible for a man to ejaculate - which is separate from an orgasm - from stimulation of the prostate through the anus, but it is fairly clear from the surveys that no ejaculation was happening. Also in these MtoF transsexual surveys, they were pretty explicit that only penetration was happening - no stimulation of the penis, yet they all spoke about these "orgasms." Like women who claim to have vaginal orgasms, they often used vague reference to joy/overwhelming emotion/love. For both, often no actual physical description of the feeling of an orgasm was discussed. They also often spent a lot of time and added great emphasis to (for instance a lot of exclamation marks and gushing adjectives) discussing the emotional connection instead of the orgasm; as if they chose to speak about the emotional part that they actually felt instead of the physical part that they were sort of creating in their mind. Most importantly, though, the discussion of orgasm  in both these groups almost always turned towards the respondents partner; discussing his orgasm and how wonderful it made her feel, or discussing his knowledge and expertise in her orgasm, as if the women were not first person connected to the orgasm. There was also a large emphasis on simultaneous orgasms. My thought is that both these groups of people, pre-op M to F transsexuals and women who claim to orgasm purely from vaginal penetration, might be relating their experiences based on their assumptions of how a woman experiences orgasm during sex rather than on their experiences of an actual physical orgasm.

I know this might seem judgy and rude to insinuate that there are women who don't know enough about their own sexual functions to relay the correct information, but I think we have to consider the possibility that women in general are so misinformed about female sexual release that some women misrepresent themselves not out of malice but out of a largely unconscious decision to mold themselves to the limited environmental clues they have been given. Women who were born female at least have the physical sensations present in their own bodies that they can use to counteract incorrect assumptions about female sexual release. However, pre-op M to F transsexuals do not have the luxury of consulting their own female genitals about the sexual assumptions that surround them. They are more susceptible to the confusion and delusion that exists among women about their sexual functioning. These MtoF women have only the cultural cues, advice, and role models to go from when it comes to their physical sexual release. I never speak about MtoF transexuals in the movie, but I do speak about the cultural delusion regarding femal orgasm which could cause women to lie about thier ability to have vaginal orgasms in surveys.

That normal women can somehow be delusional when it comes to their orgasm might seem far fetched, but I think it should be seriously discussed, and I think it is an important avenue for further research. I’m not exactly versed heavily in psychology, but I have read some things involving the personal stories of gay people from earlier generations that seem to relate. Take this for what it’s worth - the stories I've read tend to go this way. Within their environmental scope, these gay people had no cultural cues or role models that seemed to have the same sensations and emotions that they were experiencing. They could not satisfactorily define these feelings because there was nothing definable in the environment to relate them to. They were forced to hide, adapt, and contort their feelings and desires to be relatable to their world. They often unconsciously chose to live as though, and in ways believe, they were having the same experiences and emotions that they thought they were supposed to have. It was not until they found environmental role models that they could relate these gay emotions to that things began to make sense. I believe it could be this way for women in regard to their physical sexual release. The environmental cues, advice, and role models in this arena rarely match up to a woman's actual experiences, and she too hides, adapts and contorts until she finds something she can relate to that allows it to finally make sense.


Science Sex and the Ladies - Sexuality Survey

Want to take AnC's Sexuality Survey? We made it a couple years ago to gain insight into modern men and women's personal experiences with issues addressed in Science sex and the Ladies. It's an essay style survey. One is for women. It asks questions about how she experiences her own sexuality. The other is for males who have had a sexual experience with a female. This questionnaire asks men how they experienced, first hand, female sexuality. Our movie is written and shot already, but more survey answers could still be useful. We can use them to gain insight into more useful press for the movie, more appropriate discussion topics and questions for focus groups and so on. So if you're interested - it's completely anonymous and you don't have to finish it all in one sitting. Check it out here.

This survey was never meant to be a strong scientifically sound survey; we never verified that the people taking the surveys were who they said they were, and we didn't put time into getting a representative sample. We simply wanted to hear women and men speak from their experience, and take those experiences into consideration when deciding how to speak about the subjects in Science Sex and the Ladies. I could find surveys similar to ours from the 70's and early 80's, but a lot has changed since then. I thought if I could get answers from modern men and women in a completely anonymous setting, I could see if I was headed down the right track or if I was getting really surprising answers that led me down another avenue.

Our survey has been up on the internet for a few years now, and survey answers continue to come in from random people doing searches on the web - or so I assume.

We just had one come in yesterday from a woman that was told to take it by a friend who had previously sent in answers. Like the many other survey answers we have received, the answers were far from surprising. Actually, I shouldn't say that, they are actually surprising in the fact that they were so in line with how we were thinking about this.

I have to say, I love these surveys. It is (and I don't mean to get sappy) an honor to gain such entrance into the very private details of a person's life. It is supremely interesting and useful to me, but it is also so human and I feel very connected and grateful to the people who have taken the time to fill out the survey. I always, rightly or wrongly, assume they find as much use in telling these things as I do in reading them. I think these intimate parts of our sexuality are so rarely spoken about that it is kind of nice to just have the chance to verbalize them - even though they don't know who exactly they're telling.


A Side Note about Roller Derby

I know this is a blog about all things related to the movie Science Sex and the Ladies, but I want to talk about another movie instead - just cause I'm excited about it. Whip it is a movie about Roller Derby - and that's all I need to know. I hope it's a good movie - female written, directed, and about a grass roots female driven sport. Any one of those things on their own is rare, but all 3 together - ridiculously unheard of. I'm pulling for this movie, and will be seeing it tonight.

Besides, I truly and deeply love Indianapolis's own Roller Derby team - the Tornado Sirens of the Naptown Roller Girls League. They, and please check them out here, had their 1st bout in 2006. This is their 4th season, and they just keep getting better. They officially became part of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, and continue to play ever increasingly tough teams from all over the country. The bouts are loud, fun, raucous events, with a wide variety of folks in attendance: old people, little kids, rockabilly types, punk types, artsy types, suburban types, trashy types - all loving it. In fact, I believe if you went there, you would see someone you know - unexpectedly. That's just what happens cause all kinds of people try it out just for the novelty of it, but then they get hooked. Plus Naptown Roller Girls are badass at marketing, so they get the word out to all parts of the Indy community. I randomly saw an old high school teacher (with her friends and child), my godfather (with his fellow mechanics from his shop), AnC’s movie buff friends from the IFS, old cast and crew, fellow biologists from work among many others. Someone I went to high school with and hadn’t seen for years sang the National Anthem there.

It takes a little time to really figure out what's going on, but once you can follow it and can see their strategies - it's awesome. I recommend attending a bout to anyone. In fact even more now: This season they have moved into the Pepsi Coliseum. They had been in the Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Fairgrounds. It was nice, but eventually the crowds had been getting so big that it became almost uncomfortable to watch. They got too popular. They had to turn fans away at the door for some bouts, so you had to get their early to make sure you got in and super super early to make sure you got a good seat or a seat at all. Now they’re in a bigger place with better seating. We just bought tickets to their first bout in November.

If you are not from Indy, just look around, there is probably a Roller Derby team very near you. I have to say, though, that I've heard Indy fans support their Roller Derby team a lot better than many other cities do, so you might not find the same crowds we have. What can I say; Indy has its own kind of awesomeness.


Web Site Thoughts

We're all -well Barney, Jake, and I - are coming up with ideas to add into the future sciencesexandtheladies.com website. We'll figure how it should navigate, name buttons, write everything that will be written and write directions so that later Charlie can just read, copy and past when he's making up the site. This way he'll just have to deal with the hellish, horrible issues involved in the actual making of the website. Being a non-profession, never trained, website-making self learner, makes it horrible, I'm not lying about that. In fact there will be some irrational screaming at the computer as if it were actually an evil person actively trying to ruin his life, but in the end he makes it work, and makes it look pretty cool. Plus, he's free, and he probably won't destroy that much in the process.
The website now is just the audition info - which as you might imagine - is a bit useless and out of date. But, oh, it will be beautiful one day...oh it will be lovely. I'm working on the cast page. It's pretty fun remembering all the different characters the actors played. If you are an actor reading this start thinking about links or any info you want up on your page cause I'll eventually be asking for it.
I'm supposed to have another website idea all written out for our next meeting, but I haven't thought of what that might be. I heard someone is doing Science Sex and the Ladies Mad Libs - and he better have some done...Jake. Or Barnaby  -I can't remember which one of you was supposed to do that right now.


An Update and Some Movie Stills

So far a little over half the movie has been rough edited. Some scenes are more finished than others. Since most of this movie was shot in front of green screen, the sets are, of course, added in, and they are slowly becoming as we planned. The best way, but maybe not a completely correct way to say it is that the sets are to look as if the actors are in a strange stage show. Sometimes the actors are standing in front of what looks like huge screen prints of a set. Sometimes the sets are a sort of layered photo-realistic collage. Sometimes the sets look like a community theater stage.  Here are a few stills from the movie so far.

Although we kinda like the airplane wallpaper, this is only a temporary background. We love the narrator and the dynamic duo in this though, so we thought we'd put it up.
(Nick Marson, Sara Lukaszewski (twice), Sara Yanney-Chantansombut (twice))

Our 40's brother and sister
(Nick Marson, Christa Shoot)

Our 40's family
(Sarah Aaron, Nick Marson, Christa Shoot, Richard Clark)

The notorious caveman scene. Our Arrogant Narrator is explaining the most common scientific hypothesis scientists use to back up thier conclusions that men naturally evolved a higher sex drive then women.
(Joshua Ramsey (twice), Abigail Wright, Joanna Winston, Andrew Borowicz, Lisa Smith, Katie Sheets, Brandi Payton)

The Silhouettes. These ladies shot this the very last day of shooting. They did fantastic, and they got to say some of the craziest things for the Voice Over that goes with this scene.
(Sylvia Borowicz, Joanna Winston, Sara yanney-Chantansombut, Abigail Wright)

A 50's couple learning about life...
(David Charles, Christa Shoot, Trisha Borowicz, and Nick Marson)

Our 50's husband - grilling some hotdogs and learning some interesting facts.
(David Charles)

Our cover model giving us the real scoop on the G-spot.
(Lisa Smith)


The Movie Making Roller Coaster

All parts of making a movie are like a rollercoaster, but the part we're wading through now is especially so. Footage is beginning to come together in a coherent way, but - frankly - it's not much to look at. The music isn't there, the titling and effects are stagnant and uncomposed, most of the greenscreen work is rough, and there's simply no 'pop' - for lack of a better word. I had been watching pieces Charlie was working on as I get home from work. Some were less than spectacular - and I'd get a sinking feeling even though I knew it would get better, some were ok -  the potential was obvious and I'd be pretty excited, and some just seemed like they needed a lot more work before I could even judge - those make me feel like we would be in post production till the end of time.
Last week when we had our meeting, we watched what had been roughed together so far - about the first 40 minutes. It was, as I said before, not so awesome. But it was strangely rejuvinating seeing it all together like that. There were glimmers of the strange awesomeness that I know this movie contains. They were sprinkled throughout the 40 minutes of this raw movie. And, I could see through the rough mats, awkward silence, unrefined timing, and plane visuals to the things we had imagined during the many months sitting around our meeting table. It became obvious to me that we really would be able to achieve that look we need.  I suddenly regained faith in how we wrote it, how we imagined and discussed it, and what this movie's going to be. I trust in Charlie's unique eye and attention to visual detail, and I know that none of us will be satisfied with half-assed work. To the naked eye, our infant of a movie might seem empty, boring, slow, but to me, watching it this last time was like the slow creaky ride up to the top of the big hill on an awesome roller coaster.


HUNG Schmung

I do love my HBO series Six Feet Under, True Blood, Sex and the City - awesome soap operas with lots of sex and nudity. However, I just can't get behind the HBO series HUNG. (full disclosure - I haven't seen the last few episodes cause I got rid on my evil Comcast, but I believe my sentiments are still relevant). Outside of the fact that I find the main character whiney and boring...well, maybe I'm being too hard. I hate one aspect of this show and that usually colors my enjoyment of all other parts so I'll stop making random harsh criticisms.
I will only criticize the very premise of this show. That is...that because this guy has a large penis it is going to make him exceptional at pleasing women through intercourse - so exceptional in fact that he and a former lover begin a service where women pay to have intercourse with him. I criticize because I have spent years researching a movie that specifically points out that a larger penis will not make a woman orgasm any more than a tiny penis will.

Penises don't make women orgasm - clitoral stimulation makes women orgasm.
I won't go into all the info that backs up my statement. You can check that out in our movie. However, I bring this show and its stupid premise up to make a point. Although many people would maybe agree with the statement above if asked about it, there is enough misinformation and wishy-washiness in our culture about how women actually orgasm, that a show like HUNG is accepted without question. When a woman is depicted orgasming in our media, the cause of that orgasm is overwhelmingly intercourse. That is true in shows like HUNG, mainstream movies and TV, and in mostly women written shows like Sex and the City - (I still like it though - in fact I got hooked on it researching for this movie. Detailed list of all the verbal or visual references to female sexual response in the whole Sex and the City series, anyone?).

Just for fun, start taking note of what is physically happening to a women when she orgasms in a movie, T.V. show, ad, porn, erotica, or in a book you're reading.


The book everyone needs to read

It's the Hite Report: A Nationwide Study on Female Sexuality. You can read pieces of it on the internet Here at google books.
For me, this book came at a time in my research, about 3 or 4 years in, where I was beginning to suspect that sexperts and sexual researchers were rarely to never using substantiated data on female sexual response to back up their theories, conclusions, and advice. I was also beginning to really doubt myself because no authors or scientists or experts were saying the things I was suspecting. Often I would read something that seemed to be on the track I was on and then suddenly would backtrack, or I would read hints that the author was on the same track, but nothing more concrete.
In general, the rule of thumb in every journal article, advice column or book I would read was that women have sexual organs and they play a part in sexual pleasure, but it's really just a crap shoot as to what works from one woman to the other. Of course, most would emphasize the clitoris as something that is pleasurable to most women, but there was always this allowance that anything could cause a woman to have an orgasm and that some woman are built to have orgasms in all these ways and others in none of these ways. Frankly it seemed like the scientific community should know more about this, and the fact that they don't either means they're not trying hard enough or women are simply magical beings outside of the realm of science - which seemed a little unlikely to me. I mean I certainly wasn't finding this wishy-washiness about how men orgasm.
Then I started reading The Hite Report, and I realized that someone (Shere Hite) was saying in the early 70's the things that I am suspecting and that no expert will say in the early 2000's.Women are not strange magical beings. There is research out there that explains female sexual response (Masters and Johnson). It is not mysterious, but our societal structure has made it seem like it is mysterious. It was so simple and so obvious, and I had to wonder how the teachings from the Hite Report weren't ingrained in our sexual culture. I later concluded that the emergence of the 1981 book The G-Spot and other Recent Discoveries about Human Sexuality had a lot - although not everything - to do with it. However, that's for another blog. For this blog, I want to point out that the things Shere Hite was telling us in the early 70's are as relevant and pretty much correct as they were then.
In this book 3,000 women age 14 to 78 speak for themselves in detail about their sexual experiences - both physical and emotional. Shere Hite shows how these women's physical experiences of masturbation and orgasm do not reveal a population of women with various physical capabilities for orgasm, but a population of women with one capability for orgasm who are too often confused, uninformed, ashamed, and afraid about that capability. Hite confirms that these women's physical descriptions of sexual response coincide with the detailed scientific accounts of human sexual response studied by Master's and Johnson. Then Hite describes how societal change can change the harmful misunderstandings and confusion women carry in regards to their orgasms. Even with 30 years of research and societal change between then and now, the Hite Report still stands firm as a useful, informative, and accurate look at how females experience sexual response, and how our society affects that.


Rendering Body Parts

In Scene 2 and 5 there is a significant amount of detailed anatomical discussion. We had pretty concrete ideas about what we did and did not want the depicted anatomy to look like, but actually achieving that look is complicated. Charlie has been playing around with different methods and looks for us to discuss, but this will be a pretty intensive process.
We are concerned most with creating anatomy that looks like real anatomy, from angles and in proportions that make sense to the viewer. Too often pictures of our bodies, especially the genitals, look too stylized, vague, or are in a position that seems strange or foreign. Particularly with the vulva, we are also concerned about the viewer seeing different types. There is so much variety among people that looking at a depiction of one type of vulva by a person with a very different looking one, could be really confusing. Plus, we don't talk too much about this variety, so a depiction of the incredible diversity could acknowledge that without taking any extra time in the movie.
Secondarily, but importantly, we also want the anatomical depictions to be interesting. As with the movie in general, we tend toward a strangeness - incorporating an element that is just slightly off. This actually isn't the hard part for us - at least we don't seem to think so at this time.
So that's what we're doing now, looking at lots of vulvas, testes, birth canals... - all positions, looks, rendering styles.


We're Still Here and Still Working - A Quick Update

It might seem like we've dropped off the face of the earth, but we are in fact still here on earth. We had slowed down a bit the past month. Between the 3 of us we had family weddings, out of town and out of country family visiting, plus we took some time to sleep and catch up with the in-town family and friends we haven't really seen since the beginning of spring. We've also been cleaning up the warehouse and organizing the insane amount of props and costumes we have accumulated. Thanks to the garage sale initiated by Melissa and Stephanie's (two of our esteemed actresses and friends), we made some good money selling some of the more useless props and costumes. The garage sale money will go towards the cast party. That's right, we have not forgotten about the cast party. In fact we're pretty excited about it, and we'll have a date shortly. It is, obviously, going to be much later than we anticipated, but that just means it will be better.

So to wrap up...
1. We've done our post-shoot resting, and we're back to full force
2. Look for an email in the next week or two with some cast party info (that is if you are part of the cast or crew)
3. We will not leave you this long without a blog again. We promise we will be better to you.


Some tidbits

Well, we got our grant in the mail and it only cost us one all nighter. We pushed through and got a very rough cut of about 20 minutes of footage together. We did polish up a few minutes though and I thought I would share a couple screen grabs of that footage. The keys are pulling pretty well and it's actually going a bit faster than Charlie expected.

So now you can see the look we're going for. The background has a sort of stagey feel. The floor and the background are distinct, more like a stage with a backdrop, but just a little more. The background looks like a backdrop and not like a photo real environment. There's going to be camera movement and everything else added soon and hopefully I'll be able to get a few clips up here for you to see.



We've got pics and posts coming but we have been rushing forward for a grant deadline this Tuesday. We'll have some pics and some first looks at a few "finished" shots very soon!


Closing in on a shot movie...

first things first. We started shooting without our Brevis this week. We're able get more out of our lights this way. The HVX could be rated at 320 ISO sorta but with the Brevis on its a little more like 120 so we don't have to light the set so much. This really helped in changes and setup. We were ready to shoot almost as soon as we unpacked. Plus it helps us avoid grain and noise all of which our HVX tends towards in the blacks and you can use the lens controls on the camera so its just easier.

h We shot with David Charles and Christa Shoot and they rocked. They're playing a couple from the 50's and having a cookout while discussing frigidity and some other "relations" issues They were joined by Nick Marson and our very own Trisha Borowicz who stepped in at the last minute.


Sarah Aaron, Nick Marson, Trever Brown, Christa Shoot, and Rick Clark portrayed our 40's family. Sarah filled in a spot for us that we really needed. Thanks! She also made the pterodatcyle that we loved!

Here we have Joanna Winston, David Charles, Curtis Cole, and Barnaby Aaron hanging out between takes for our Romance Novel scene.

Abigail Wright, Joanna Winston, Katie Sheets, and Lisa Smith. Its part of dream sequence at a college campus...

Christa Shoot as a 50's wife and then a 40's daughter. That could actually happen.

Sarah Aaron 40's mother.

Trever Brown 40's politician.

Here's Charlie stepping in for the romance novel scene. We had an actor drop out at the last minute and we had costumes rented!

Trisha as Marie Robinson.

Rick Clark 40's Father. He cried some great tears for us!

Curtis Cole...magician? No he's an old antique dealer for out Romance Novel Cover.

Joanna Winston Romance Novel Heroine.

David Charles as a Navy man in the 40's, a Yacht captain, and a 50's Husband

Nick Marson, always a pleasure to work with came in as Paul Popenoe, who he does resemble, and a 40's son.

Katie Sheets college girl 60's

Abigail Wright, college girl 60's

Joanna Winston College Girl 60's
We're getting into the home stretch.


AnC's Awesome Parents

We'd just like to take a moment in the time between Mother's Day and Father's Day to give our parents (Sarah and Phil Aaron, Sally and Ernie Borowicz, and Pat and Bill Eberle) a big shout out. They have, in fact, all helped us out quite a bit in the last couple weeks. The Eberle's have provided meals for our shoots, props, and even stepped up to be extras for us. The Borowicz's have helped us out big-time with car repairs for the van that we haul everything around in, and they've also lent us props and their children for use in our crew. The Aaron's have provided space, props and Sarah even made that crazy cool teradactyl in the picture's below. You'll soon see her stepping in as "40's mom".
Anyway, what we really want to say is thanks so much for all the support you always show us - even when we're making a crazy movie like this one.

P.S - our syblings have been helping us out a lot too - with props, acting skills, crew skills, costumes, food, advice. We'd say more about how much we appreciate it, but it's not syblings day - it's the time between Mother's Day and Father's Day. Besides, if we started thanking them, we'd have to start thanking all the other people helping us out - Friends, Aunts, and other family members. It'd really be too much. We'll have to do a whole other blog about that.


another week a bigger green screen

We shot this weekend. Saturday and Sunday. Whew. Barnaby got to nap on set. That bed is made from a wierd box frame and a tumbling mat covered in elegant sheets from Target.
Here Ervin and Brandi share a moment on set. They were playing a prom couple coming home to...experiment.
Alicia Walker and Melissa Bickel as modern women. We only had a two man crew so we're recreating the moment here to photograph it. Notice how our green screen has seriously enlarged (doubled and then some) in size since our last shoot. We're covering more and more of our shots with the green. Its working great!
Heidi Keller Phillips with visor (!) plays the mother of our Prom lady above. Heidi appeared in our movie Embolism about 6 years ago... or maybe it was 7... She is also the secret weapon behind our soon to be shot opening dance number. Multi talented people.
Stephanie Hurt made an appearance as one of our revolutioners. While she's not an actress by trade she knocked out her line with the best of them!
and Kristin Marley returned to portray the illustrious feminist writer Shere Hite, author of "The Hite Report" which is a fantastic collections of accounts from real women about their sexuality. A classic and must read for anyone seriously interested in the subject.
And the day wouldn't be complete without Josh Ramsey stepping in to deliver a line...I mean a page of dialogue. Well...one line short of a page. That's just what he does. I think he could also hypnotize you with that stare. Watch out!

The cavemen

So the other week we shot our caveman scene. Its a fun little bit that presents the "sexed up caveman theory" that we all know and 'love' then pokes it full of holes. The theory is that women evolved to have low sex drives and men high sex drives because of reproduction. We had a lot of fun showing how reproduction and pleasure are not necessarily linked for women. Its a flawed concept but a highly regarded one. We were worried about how all the costumes and sets were going to all come out but in the end it came together better than we could have hoped for.

We had to have quite a few pregnant cave ladies on hand. Here they are all lined up. We stuffed balloons to create their bumps.                                        

This is our low sex drive couple. Complete with sweet little cave babies. Josh Ramsey took on the role the day of, and delivered awesomely. Brandi Payton is the cavelady.                                                                                                

Here's the high sex drive couple. Andrew, Charlie's brother stepped up to help us out in a pinch. We had to fill in both cavemen at the last minute due to some scheduling conflicts.

Here Katie Sheets is just about to put her firemaking sticks to another use. Those rocks are made from masking tape and a couple shades of gray paint. The large rock is industrial wallpaper on a stool. It's not foolin anyone in this shot lol.

Trisha adjust some cave hair on our Low Sex Drive Cave couple. It was a lot of teasing and a lot of hairspray...go aquanet.                                                               

Here's a group shot of Abigail, Joanna, and Katie. They brought lots of energy to the shoot and really made the scenes the best they could be. Thanks!                                                                                                                      

Lisa Smith filled in the last spot as a cavelady. She got to throw a spear and use grass creatively. She's been on our schedule every weekend and she always delivers.                                                                                                          

Mr. Josh Ramsey as the arrogant narrator.                                                                                                     

Here's our Pterodactyl. Isn't he sweet.  We want to disclaim that we understand Caveman and dinasours didn't co-exist. This is a science movie after all.