An AnC Hanukkah Video

In honor of the last day of Hanukkah, I am posting the AnC Movies 2011 Hanukkah video. We made this as an incentive and released it when we gained 80 backers in our Kickstarter campaign. We had been making lots of little videos for this campaign; Dollar Days, Thanksgiving, and then we promised a Hanukkah video next. I asked Barnaby if he had any ideas. He said he did, but he didn't want to talk about it till we were shooting. This is the result.

Just so you know, Charlie and I were both raised Catholic not Jewish. Barnaby's family is Jewish on his father's side, but I suspect he's only slightly more knowledgeable than we are. I can't explain the lack of Greek food knowledge except to say that things fall out of your brain when you're looking into a camera.


A Scene and a Lot of Thanks!!!!!

It actually happened. We made our $20,000 fundraising goal by 8pm EST on December 17, 2011. I'm telling you, our friends and family are stellar. People were giving us shout-outs left and right all day. We gained about 25% of our backers in the last 24 hours of the campaign: friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, even some random Kickstarter wanderers. We also had a lot of our backers upping their pledges at the end, and at the last 30 minutes, the pledges were coming in like crazy. People made sure we got there (if we didn't make the pledge goal, we wouldn't have gotten any money at all). Our friends were blowing up Facebook and Twitter, it was...really cool. I can't tell you how excited, and humbled, and everything else it makes me feel.Thanks.

Now the work begins. Our collaborating composer, Nathaniel Blume, will be busy in the next few months, and we'll be tweaking the final cut of the movie and thinking hard and long about publicity and festivals. It's pretty awesome to know we will be getting our score recorded the way we hoped we could. The sound will be getting finalized, and we'll have a finished movie in a few months. It's almost not believable. It's been so long in the making...

On another note, we promised we'd release another scene from the movie when we got to 150 backers which happened late on the 16th (then we got another 43 backers by the next evening). We did release it, and now, I'd like to share it here on my blog. Obviously there is no music, so just imagine what our awesome score will sound like over it!!


Final hours of Kickstarter.com Fundraising! Help this Movie Out!


Okay, as I write this, our Kickstarter campaign is in its final 10 hours. If we don't make our $20,000 goal by tonight Saturday, December 17th at 8pm EST. We don't get any of the money at all. We are close, but not there yet. We still need help. Here's the link to pledge http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/204199111/science-sex-and-the-ladies

So, I have honestly have no idea who reads this blog, but if you do, I'd sure appreciate if you backed this movie. I don't care how much. It can be a dollar if that's what you can do at this moment. We've had such a lot of positive responses. Our Kickstarter project page has 800 likes on Facebook, and we have some amazingly generous friends, family and fans who are promoting the hell out of us. If we can get even another tiny fraction of that positive energy into pledges, we'll easily make our goal...and remember, you actually get something when you pledge - like a DVD of the movie.

It has been a real tough roller coaster at times going through this campaign, but overall, it's been really lovely to be a part of, and I want to thank everyone out there who has helped in some way so far...Now go get me some pledges!


Our First Scene Release from "Science Sex and the Ladies"

As you may know, we are in the last 5 days of our Kickstarter.com campaign to fund the score and sound finalization for Science Sex and the Ladies. We are 51% to our goal amount, and if we don't get all the way there by 8pm EST on Saturday, December 17, 2011, our backers won't be charged for their pledges, and we won't get any money at all. That's how Kickstarter works - all or nothing. So, we need pledges and we need people to tell their friends about it. If you haven't yet, check it HERE - then pass on the link.

Although I've been kind of an obsessive nervous wreck since this fundraiser began, and it's been frustrating in a lot of ways, it's also been really cool and satisfying too. This is really our first time to truly promote the movie, so it's felt good to know we're getting the word out there. We've also received shout-outs, press, and pledges from some really fantastic feminist people and organizations; Betty Dodson, Annie Sprinkle, BookWoman, Filament Magazine, Early to Bed, The Feminists' Guide to Hollywood, university newspapers, local publications, and a fine arts auction house (http://www.antiquehelper.com/) will be donating a portion of its proceeds to us this Thursday. So, we're getting a lot of support and great press, but we still have a ways to go, so please help out if you can...and spread the word if you're down with this movie.

Now, when we made it to 110 backers, we released a little piece of Science Sex and the Ladies. We chose this one for a couple reasons. 1. It showcases several of our actors. 2. It gives a little taste of how the movie will move through a variety of on-screen and off-screen narrators. 3. It gives away a little about the movie's content, but it's not a full long argument. It is actually the transition between 2 arguments really.
Obviously, there is no music (and it could certainly use some), but it's a nice little cut from the movie....a touch of fun, a bit of cheese, some era costumes. When this scene begins, it has just finished discussing the roots of our modern cultural understanding of female orgasm and sex drive. Then the scene finishes just before discussing why it has changed so little (in some important ways) since then.
P.S. The book that's being read is one of the "sex manuals" for married couples that became quite popular after WWII. Here ya go....


The Future - The SSL Review

The Future is an independent arthouse movie written and directed my Miranda July, who is a performance artist, writer, and director. Charlie and I stopped in St. Louis on our way home from seeing his brother in Kansas to see this movie. We'd been wanting to see it, but we'd missed the short amount of time that it was playing near us. We really liked her previous movie You and Me and Everyone We Know. I'm not going to recommend that one to you unless you feel unfazed by watching, say, John Waters or Todd Selondz movies. Otherwise it might be a little too disturbing, and hey, if that's not what you're into, no need to watch.

Charlie liked The Future a little more than I did, but we both were a little under-impressed - probably because we loved You and Me, and Everyone We Know so much. The Future is about a couple who decides to adopt a stray cat, and then their whole perspective changes, literally altering space and time. The cat sorta narrates the movie, and its voice is Miranda July's but all soft and creaky. July is also the main character in the movie. There were some fun parts to this movie. I don't regret watching it by any means, but it just didn't come together as a nice piece for me.

However, it did have a very small depiction that I thought was worth an SSL review. Normally, I reserve SSL reviews for movies that specifically depict or discuss female sexual release. There are simply too many movies that show sexual acts involving women. If they don't also give the viewer some insinuation or blatant information about how the woman physically responded to that sexual act, then reviewing it isn't a helpful way to understand and critique what Hollywood is insinuating about what is normal and how women should respond sexually.  I made an exception with this movie though, because it showed something a little novel, and I thought it should be recognized.

Sophie, Miranda July's character, becomes interested in a man who is not her boyfriend. She meets with him once or twice. Before she sees him, we see her getting all gussied up. It's obvious there is sexual tension. At one meeting, they are sitting on the couch, and he makes a rather course and abrupt move towards Sophie in a sexual way. She gets up as if she did not want the advance and moves off screen. We then hear a little noise just off screen. I believe it was kind of a gentle creaking of furniture and a little cloth rubbing on cloth sort of sound. It is then revealed that Sophie is just feet away from the man; standing and facing a chair, rubbing her vulva area against it. The man then comes over, pulls down her undergarments (she's wearing a skirt), and then we see a shot of the chair being pushed against the wall in one thrust. That's the end of the scene.

So, I think the part that interested me about this was that Sophie was depicted doing something that is not traditionally a movie sort of thing for women to do in a sexual situation. She was stimulating her vulva area. We don't usually see women doing that or being interested in that, even though almost all women who masturbate do so by stimulating their vulva/clitoral areas, and most (I argue in the movie that it is actually probably all) women who orgasm during intercourse do it by...that's right...somehow stimulating their vulva/clitoral area during the ol' in and out.

I'll skip all the strange emotional stuff involved in this scene, and just point out that the viewer saw a woman in this scene who made a choice to have a sexual interaction, and when she made that choice, she decided to begin it by stimulating herself in a way that is a fairly realistic; a way that may actually stimulate an actual woman. That, in itself, is rare and refreshing. Good work Miranda July.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 vulvas
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Betty Dodson, You Are Awesome!

Betty Dodson has backed Science Sex and the Ladies! I'm kinda stoked about it. I'm using this Kickstarter campaign not only to fund our music and sound, but also to let people know this movie exist. So, I've been writing people about it...people I imagine would never write me back. But, you know what? Sometimes they do, and sometimes it's famed author and female sexuality activist Betty Dodson. Sometimes, she's totally cool and pledges to your crazy movie.

She really is a neat woman. Here's the thing I love about her. She is one of the very few "sexperts" that I know of who doesn't bullshit when discussing the G spot. So many times sexperts give mixed messages...emphasizing the clitoris, but also singing praises about the g-spot and the g-spot orgasms that some women can get. As I've said before many a time in this blog, an orgasm caused by rubbing inside of the vagina alone has never been recorded. The only physical sexual release ever recorded that was caused by rubbing on the inside of the vagina is an ejaculation, and that's a different thing than an orgasm.

Betty's first response to my email was to ask me for more information about what I was really getting at in the movie. Actually, I'll back up and say I sent her a letter through her website "contact us" form, and it was a hot mess. The form kept telling me it sparked the spam filter and wouldn't send, so I kept messing with the links and stuff. It wasn't my best work. Anyway, I sent her a long ass email telling her some of the main points. I have a little problem with being long winded, but I think it was worth it because she told me my more "detailed message confirmed that we are on the same page." There's no one's page I'd rather be on.

I'll be the first to admit that you may look at Ms. Dodson's life and say, "that's an eccentric lady!" I think she'd take it as a compliment, and I'll tell ya - that eccentricity has done a lot of good for people. She is a masturbation proponent (love it), erotic artist (what's not to enjoy), no-bullshit sex educator (we need more of those), and she's got a cool website with Carlin Ross HERE. They're an inter generational dream team. Like I said, Betty's point of view is right on, so I highly recommend the "Ask Betty" section. There are also just fun things on the site. I might recommend checking this post HERE which, should you so choose, take you to a place where you can see a woman masturbating to orgasm on Norway Television. Maybe that's creeping you out a little, but frankly, too many women have no idea how that goes down. Seems silly but there are a lot of reasons why women aren't quite as equipped to understand how to do this as men are. We certainly go into those reasons in the movie, and none of them have to be that way. Ladies, let's just say it. If you don't know how to make yourself orgasm, things don't get much easier when you throw a partner in the mix. Betty Dodson would agree. Check out her site, and just wander around. It might be fun!


Thanksgiving and The Binner

This is a short Thanksgiving video we made to compliment our Kickstarter campaign to fund the score for Science Sex and the Ladies. Check out all about that ol' fundraiser HERE. Anyway, I thought I'd post it for those of you who've already begun to miss Thanksgiving. Plus, you will learn a very special new word..."binner."


A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas 3D: The SSL Review

It's no secret that I am a Harold and Kumar fan. I fell in love when they were going to White Castle. I enjoyed their visit to Guantanamo Bay, and have recently spent Christmas Eve (in 3D) with them. I have a strong appreciation of the Harold and Kumar comedy style. It is comedy for comedy sake. There is no explaining, dwelling, or questioning. As an audience member, you must just...go with it. I know it’s not everybody's cup of tea, but A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas 3D made me laugh…oh I laughed, and that’s exactly what I wanted and expected.

But that’s not why I’m here. SSL reviews critique specific depictions or discussions of female sexual response. Not every movie contains this. A lot of movies have sex in them, but stop before any indication about how the woman physically responds to it. So, when there is a movie that shows or specifically talks about a woman’s orgasm or lack of orgasm or anywhere in between, I have to write about it. What do we know or can we assume was physically happening to elicit or not elicit the response?  What was insinuated? How does it fit into our cultural understanding of how females are supposed to respond sexually? Etc.

The depiction that occurred in Harold and Kumar was quick and classic. At a party full of rich high school kids (cause why wouldn’t H&K be there) someone is opening doors while looking for something (vague enough?), and sees random activities going on behind closed doors. Let’s just say there are a lot of drugs at this party. One door reveals some sex. A guy is laying face up on a bed and a gal is bouncing up and down on top of him. I’d call it cowgirl style. She’s straddling him with her knees on the bed. Her face is towards his, but she is sitting straight up; her body perpendicular to his. Unsurprisingly, she is vocalizing in a screamy moany porn style as if she were orgasming, and her hands are up. The door quickly shuts.

Okay, so it’s a classic party scene to have in a movie. But, here’s the deal. There was no contact between her vulva/clitoral area and his body. Her hands were up, so we know she wasn’t touching her clit, and his hands were not near it either. That means she must have been orgasming through intercourse alone; as audience members we can assume that the simple act of  moving the penis in and out of the vagina was making her scream like a porn star. Or, you might be thinking, we can just take it as a silly exaggerated scene in a silly exaggerated movie.   I know it’s a small scene in a goofy, don’t-take-this-too-seriously kind of movie, but this is not an isolated depiction. This is a scene that takes its place among many many similar scenes that make up our cultural lore about how and why females experience orgasm. It is a standard way to show wild, young, unbridled sex; a woman bouncing on a penis and having the orgasm of her life. The problem is that most women do not orgasm at all during intercourse, and the majority (I would argue all) of women who do orgasm during intercourse do not orgasm because of penis friction inside the vagina. They orgasm because their clit/vulva area (the actual organ of female sexual pleasure) is also being stimulated in some way. I would (and do in Science Sex and the Ladies) argue that there has never ever been 1 study that physically records a woman having an orgasm due to friction inside the vagina. There have been recorded instances of ejaculation (which may be enjoyable to some of the women who have them, but are something physically different than an orgasm), and there have been instances where weak orgasms occurred because the movement of the penis in the vagina pulled vulva skin around the clit causing clitoral stimulation, and subsequently, an orgasm. However, these are admittedly – by the researchers – uncommon and the weakest orgasms these women were recorded having (the strongest being through masturbation).  It may seem trivial, but when women and girls, men and boys, see these seemingly harmless depictions so often, we all start getting the wrong ideas about what to do and what to expect during a sexual encounter. 

So, although Harold and Kumar did nothing worse (at least within this topic) than depict a status quo Hollywod depiction of female sexual release, it is still problematic because it simply adds credibility to incorrect cultural lore. It seems strange to imagine it, but what if men were shown as orgasming due to anal penetration over 90% of the time that sex was depicted. What if it was so common that it showed up in movies like Harold and Kumar. Probably, people would kinda know that all men couldn’t orgasm that way. Some men need added penile stimulation in order to come (like we know some women still need added clitoral stimulation). However, it would somehow make sense that some men could orgasm just from something moving in and out of his anus, I mean some men can ejaculate by massaging the prostate through the anus, so men can probably orgasm that way too, right?

That’s how far off we are on depictions of female sexual response; so far off that no one seems to notice. And Harold and Kumar, while being quite helpful to Santa Clause, are no help on this one.

I’ll give them 3 vulvas for a lack of imagination and reality in depicting female sexual response, but without any ill intent.
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Our Kickstarter Campaign!

T minus 40 minutes until we push the "Launch" button on our Kickstarter page. I'm eating Papa Johns and it's really good, but my stomach is still all jumbly about this. It's like Science Sex and the Ladie's coming out. We're all set to blast this news all over hell. The people I work with will finally know I'm a crazy person who spends years making movies about women's orgasms and masturbation and other such dirty thing. I always feel filthy asking friends and family to fund something of mine. What if they think it's ridiculous (or immoral), or don't give to this kind of stuff , or just don't have the cash at the moment, or they forgot? I understand that completely, but what if they don't understand that I understand? Also, we've never been great at getting funding - like a few hundred dollars is elusive to us. It just seems like there's no way we'll make $20,000 - and really, asking for $20,000, isn't that a little insane or greedy or something? Plus, after all these years of working on this, we've got to put up or shut up. It's scary and exciting and unreal.

Anyway, on top of all that, we've been trying to get all the sites updated and the press kits ready and all that crap that takes insanely longer than you'd think and way too much brain power. But it's about to happen. Now, I honestly have no idea who reads this blog. I know my friend Sherry (I just thought it's be fun to mention you in the blog) does most of the time, and some other friends and family from time to time. Chances are, if you are friend or family, you will also the information below on me, Barney, Charlie, and AnC's facebook page, plus get an email about it, so sorry for blowing you up so much. Anyone else - here's some info about our Kickstarter campaign.

At 8pm EST Thursday, November 17th, we begin a 30 day fundraising campaign through Kickstarter.com. Our goal is $20,000 by 8pm EST December 17, 2011. However, because Kickstarter only wants backer money to go to fully funded projects, our movie will not get any money (and backers will not be charged for their pledges) unless it meets the pledge goal. Check out our kickstarter page HERE.  You will find information about us and our project, pictures, and a 5 minute video that includes us telling our production story and the movie trailer. As you will see, we offer a variety of prizes for different levels of pledges including stills of the movie, signed pieces of our green screen, advanced DVDs of the movie, and hand crafted art pieces based on Science Sex and the Ladies among other cool gifts. Plus you can see how close we’re getting to our goal!


Our Second Festival Submission and Near Future Plans

We just shipped off a DVD of Science Sex and the Ladies for our 2nd festival submission. It is still not a final version, but it is a very watchable movie. The biggest changes from the version we sent to the first festival is, well, a whole lot of vulva and penis animation. The whole section explaining what is scientifically known about sexual response, the physical description of Master and Johnson's pleasure cycle in particular, is a strange sort of animated graphics. There was animation for this in the last version, but it was a rush job. This time it was worked over pretty good, and I'll tell ya what - it's pretty fun and explanatory.

I'm not tootin' my own horn here either, Charlie rocked this (and really all the technical post production bad ass-ery). He did things that I didn't even imagine were possible when we finished writing this a few years ago. Whether it's deemed sucky or worthy, one thing that can be said for this movie is that it taught Charlie a shit load. I mean it schooled all three of us pretty good, but Charlie got some professional level compositing skills out of this. Other than the animation, there were a few other small changes, and the scene relating to the book Dilemmas of Desire got a nice revamp.

Right after our first submission, the 3 of us went through the movie with a fine toothed comb and made a ridiculously large (and Charlie would say a bit confusing) spreadsheet with every change that we thinks needs to be made in order to get this in a polished final form. The changes that were made for this 2nd submission were just the top priority ones. Now Charlie will be starting at scene 1 and moving through all the changes till he gets to the end. Barnaby will be helping out with some rotoscoping and that kind of fun thing, and B and I both will be working on putting together the couple of short reshoots and obtaining needed materials, like pictures, sound effects, and voice overs.

But...before that, we will all be focused on one single thing for the next few days - getting our kickstarter.com fundraising campaign started. It's an awesome site that brings backers together with for-profit creative endeavors. Projects offer project related rewards for different levels of funding. The thing is, though, that once we set a fundraising goal and a campaign time frame, we have to make that much money in that amount of time, or we don't get any of it, and the backers who pledged don't get charged. Kickstarter does that so that backers' money only goes to projects that are fully funded and thus can actually get finished. Anyway, what all this means is that we have to have a kick ass project page and project video, and we have to have our press kits and get-the-word-out-further-than-our-circle-of-friends campaign ready to go as soon as we launch. So, you'll be hearing more about that soon. In the meantime, I will go to sleep and dream of the cinnamon rolls and bacon I will be eating for breakfast tomorrow, cause that's important too.


SSL Interview: Dana Edell of SPARK part 2

If you haven't checked out the first installation of this interview, check it out HERE. I particularly encourage you to check it out if you're thinking, "What exactly do you mean by the sexualization of girls?" or "Maybe it's not too big a deal, that's just how things are." Otherwise read on as I talk with SPARK director Dana Edell about how SPARK and what it is.

SPARK came out of research the APA (American Psychological Association) conducted; an amazing research project - looking at the impact of sexualization of girls on girls and young people all over the country. It was a massive study where there were a lot of researches involved and their research findings were not so surprising. They realized there's a lot of sexualization of girls happening in this country...and it has a huge impact on all areas of girl's lives; on their mental health, their self esteem, and their academic achievement...It's oppressive, and it's getting worse quickly, so one of the big things at the end of the study is researchers said, "Well we know things are really bad. What do we do about it? We have all this evidence now. We've collected all this data. What do we do?" And, one of their core recommendations for what we do now is we actually need to create a movement in collaboration with girls to really address this problem. We need to talk to girls. We need to create ways that we're not just protecting girls from this problem, but we're inspiring them and training them to be active agents and activists in their own lives, and that's how we're going to solve this problem, and get out of this crisis.

So, SPARK kind of erupted as a summit...one day where we're gonna bring together girls and researchers and activists and people who work with girls and have like a one day summit where there are trainings and action stations where girls are learning tools to become activists. There were workshops on things like public speaking for activists, and how to write your own radio show and broadcast it, and dance workshops on getting in touch with your body....There was a street theater performance workshop where girls created monologues that they wanted to perform in public spaces to raise awareness and get people thinking about these issues. Then there's also research presented at this summit, and it was an awesome day. I think there were over 300 people there. It was really inspiring, and at the end of the summit, people were like, "okay, so now what do we do?" It just all came together ,and we're motivated and inspired and pissed off, and ready to take action, and so SPARK the Movement really came out of the summit and SPARK the movement has been taking off in pretty amazing ways since them. 
In the time since I conducted this interview, SPARK has announced the 2nd SPARK Summit on October 29th, 2011; this time in Portland and in conjunction with Girls Inc. Check the summit site HERE. It is sure to be a fantastic event. One of the many interesting aspects of the original one in 2010, was that Geena Davis spoke at the opening ceremony. I never fully realized how passionate an activist she is about the roles and depictions of women in media. She created the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.  If you have a few minutes, watch the video of the SPARK Summit 2010 opening ceremonies HERE. Geena Davis comes in at about 37:30, but the rest of it is also worth watching if you have the time.

Now, as I mentioned in the first installment of this interview, one of my favorite parts about SPARK is the emphasis on girl activists, because girls are the ones living inside this situation. It's not that adult women are unable to understand or to help, but we adult women did not grow up in the same world as these girls, and we may not fully understand the problems we are trying to solve. We need their help and their buy in. However, I also really really love that SPARK cares about building critical thinking in the girls they team with.
We're not just flat out saying that any girl who wants to write anything is gold, and we'll publish because it's from a girl's voice and that means it's great. (What we are doing is) really encouraging girls to see and critique the world around them. One of our core partners is the Women's Media Center , and they do fantastic media training - really guiding girls to think very critically about how media is produced, where it's coming from, and who's interest it is that these images exist and are perpetuated. 
Some of these well-educated young activist blog for SPARK and I recommend you check out their work.

We have what we call SPARK's team which is really at the heart of what SPARK is about which is a girl's movement that is fueled by girls in collaboration with people who work with girls and care about girls. The SPARK team is made up of young women who are amazing, brilliant activists and advocates for girls issues. So, we have a group of girl bloggers. We have about a dozen of them now, really cool girls from all over the country - a very diverse group of girls. The youngest is 13 and the oldest is 22, and the girls iChat as a crew once a week. They talk about the issues that are going on in this country today, what's urgent, what do they need to talk about, what does the world need to hear from them about the status of the sexualization of girls in this country. How is it escalating? What are girls doing about it? How do they feel about that? So, the blogs range from a critique of Kanya West's new Monster video to talking about Bristol Palin's new memoir that just came out to talking about Slut Walks to Forever 21. They're challenging media. They're challenging corporations. They're challenging artists. So, all of the blogs are written by girls, and we're planning in the Fall to have a retreat for those girls, so we're bringing them all to New York and doing a 3 day activist, leadership training for the girls, and really empower them to be stronger leaders as bloggers but also in their communities, their peer relationships, their relationships in school, and in their lives and help them kind of have a greater platform in their activism also. 
We're also going to launch a new program in the Fall called the IT girls, and they will be on college campuses...I'm not saying we're the first group ever to care about girls' issues or women's issues from a college students perspective, but we are a very inter-generational movement, and our focus is on girls, particularly it's on young girls and teenage girls. So, the college initiative is to work with college girls but to also help them create partnerships with local schools, with teenagers, with younger girls, and really creating activist projects with college students and their peers and then also girls younger than them. 

We also have as part of the SPARK team, a young woman who is a research blogger and she is taking research that is coming out now...grounded in data driven projects, grounded in long term quantitative and qualitative research, often published in total academic jargon ,and these are rarely accessible to anybody who is actually dealing with the issues. She does a translation of the research and then blogs about it, so this is a way for us to make the research about the sexualization of girls more accessible to the people who work with girls and to girls - people who are probably not going to subscribe to a certain academic journal and then read these academic research articles. So people can actually use that research in their fund raising and their advocacy work, and it becomes useful. Often academic research feels like it lives in the academic world and it's not often used as an activist tool.  

The other, and I think pretty exciting, part of SPARK is its partnerships.
One of the big things that SPARK is doing is working with individuals, organizations, people who work with girls, girls themselves and raising the visibility and advocate more for the work that they're doing. So, we're not necessarily running our own program, or we're not a direct service organization, but we're really trying to build awareness and help people find ways to take action and really make a change in the ways that girls are being sexualized. So another project that we have going is called the SPARK Kit. These are ways for SPARK to partner with organizations that are working with girls and have specific projects that they do which are sort of an activist training tool kit idea.

For example, we have been working on a SPARK kit with an organization in Canada, and they have a curriculum that is geared towards middle school girls that is sort of a body awareness and self esteem curriculum. We're working with them to take a small piece of their curriculum and repackage it and rebrand it with SPARK and with their organization. It's a couple activities that girls can do, and we make it something that is available on our website as an activity for girls, so it would be a much smaller version of their entire curriculum, and it would be the type of project that would have some kind of creative outcome for it. Let's say they make a collage of media images as part of the project...We have a gallery of all the things that were made with the SPARK kits and then the organization that we're partnered with also has a gallery or links to our site. So it's a way to raise the visibility of the organization; about what they are already doing and then also start building more tools for girls to use across the country.

 We're really trying to build these partnerships over the next few years and have a core base all over the country, and in other countries eventually, with organizations of girls and people who work with girls; people who can mobilize, people who can take action, people who are activists in their community, who are doing amazing work. We are helping scale that work out and raise the visibility and awareness of what they're doing so that it can be replicated in other cities, so we want to really help what's already happening so it can get better and stronger and bigger, but also offer new tools and new inspiration and new energy for organizations that want to do something but don't know what to do or how to do it. One of our big goals for next year is to have 2 partners in every state. We want to be everywhere and not feel as through we're in one particular place, because it's a national crisis and it will be an national solution. 
 I asked her about working with girls and what kinds of challenges that creates.

We were very consciously thinking about ways that we can support their activist work without necessarily having our own agenda and our own strong opinions about it....In terms of working with girls, I mean it's been amazing. They've been so inspiring and surprisingly ready to dive in and learn and grow. The girls that we're working with are brilliant. They're very aware of what the issues are and what the controversies around those issues, and there have been some controversies, like one of the recent blogs was about Rhianna's new video, the S&M video. It was a pretty complicated argument about whether that video was empowering or exploitative.(Rhianna) got a lot of backlash for this video, and a lot of it came from the idea that she had been a survivor of physical abuse from Chris Brown, and now she's making this video that is about S&M and violent sex, and how dare she do this. So our blogger's, critique of this was that she has every right to be whatever kind of sexual person she wants to be, and it has nothing to do with her history of sexual abuse. She got a lot of push back on this. A lot of the comments were like, "I thought SPARK was supposed to be about challenging sexualization and how dare you say that it's empowering - it's not empowering at all. She's being totally exploited and objectified. She's basically like the woman you're critiquing in Kanye West's video. What's the difference?" It was an important moment, I think, for us and for the blogger and for our community. How do we really support girls, not censor their work, not tell them you can write this, you can't write this, but really provide spaces for them to speak honestly and authentically about how they feel about these issues and be prepared to deal with the backlash they might get. We need to really make sure they're trained and confident enough to respond to their criticism.  
I think SPARK is an amazing organization, and as I said in the last post, their mission is a powerful one and one that is crucial to moving female sexuality forward. It was wonderful to speak with Dana Edell, and I again think her for her time. If you are want to support SPARK, want to read their blog, or are just interested, head over to their website HERE


SSL Interview: Dana Edell of SPARK part 1

"The long term goal is we want to reach the cultural tipping point where it is not okay, and it is not profitable to sexualize girls. So that's an ambitious goal, but we're not going to stop till we get there. We have so much evidence at this point for how these negative images are really hurting girls. There have been studies showing links to depression, body dissatisfaction, and eating disorders, and low academic achievement, and getting worse grades, and also it's bad for boys. It's creating very distorted views about what girls are supposed to be like and what relationships are supposed to be like. Boys are often portrayed as predators who only want to have sex with girls. So, it's harmful to everybody, and it seems like a problem that is in plain sight but nobody is really talking about it as a major problem because it's everywhere." This is from the interview I conducted with Dana Edell, Executive Director of SPARK. I had the pleasure of talking with her over the phone this July 30th.

SPARK is still in its infancy.  It began with a Summit in October 2010, and Dana was named their first director in May 2011. It's growing rapidly, though, and there's a lot of energy and enthusiasm in this organization. Dana told me,

Once we started talking about it, people were like, where can we sign up? It's growing very quickly because there's such a need and such a hunger to stop the machine and to just say, what the fuck? What can we do?

What the fuck, indeed. Now, I think Dana makes a really important point when she says that it's a problem in plain sight. Depicting young teens and girls as hyper sexual objects and abundantly marketing items to them that are meant to sexify is the norm. We do not do the same to boys. Now, I know it's hard to get too excited about an issue when the thing to rage against is status quo, so let's just focus on this idea of the sexualization of girls for a minute. Take Dana's comments on the upcoming holiday.

We're really seeing October as a big Take Over October month by SPARK because it's connected to  Halloween, which is really one of the worst times of the year in connection with the sexualization of girls. The corporate culture and the marketing culture and the media culture around what Halloween means for girls and how, you know, it's almost a cliche now - sexy nurse, sexy school girl, sexy fire girl. So, we really want to reclaim that holiday for girls and think about that as a way to launch ideas about taking sexy back and being powerful and sexy in ways that are not dictated by your local Halloween store that is saying this is what a sexy costume looks like, and this is what it means to be sexy. 
I mean that pic up there was on the first page listed under a "girls Halloween costume" Google search. Pirates don't dress like that. It's highly impractical, people, really. The only reason to have a pirate costume with an above the knee skirt, tall lacy boots, fishnet stockings, and an off the shoulder blouse is to make it sexy. Although the "sexy" anything trend in adult women's costumes is annoying at best, at least it seems a little less problematic that the main point of this huge costume trend is to be the object of desire. For 8 year old girls, however, you'd think, as a culture, we would encourage more important reasons to get a costume. We do for boys.

Let's take this a step (or really more than a step) further, though, and look at an ad for the dual-zone climate control feature in a KIA car. This won a Silver Press Lions award at the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Basically, it won a print advertising award, and it's...a bit distasteful. Although direct action projects are not the main work that SPARK does, they did lead one in regards to this ad, as Dana discusses below. (Check out the ad in full size HERE)

There was this ridiculously offensive, horrific, one of the worst ads I've ever seen in my life, that won this huge advertising contest...It was this really really disgusting ad that definitely evokes pedophilia in a "funny" way...It completely sexualizes a girls who is probably 6 or 7 years old in the ad...and it won this huge award, so we were like, "What the Fuck!" This is not okay...This ad is really offensive, and what kind of world are we living in where not only is this totally normalized, but it's winning award? So we launched a petition through Change.org to get Kia to not use the ad and return their award and started putting pressure on them. Since then, Kia has actually released a statement saying (which is kinda ridiculous) that they had nothing to do with the ad - saying some advertising company used their name to create this ad which won the awards. So, I think they were freaking out thinking, "Oh my god, we're a family car company, and we do not want to be connected to pedophilia." So these actions are having impact. We're seeing it. We're trying to put pressure on corporations, on media agencies to be more accountable for what they're producing, to take action, and to also inspire. (The sexualization of girls) is a horrible crisis situation but it is reversible.

So, let's just say that the media situation in our culture is not doing so well by our girls. SPARK is dedicated to remedying that. There are a lot of things I love about SPARK's approach. I love that they are actually engaging girls in the solution. I love that they are not coming from a point of merely protecting girls from sexualization, but helping girls foster a space where they can develop their own unique and healthy relationship to sexuality in our culture. I love that they are taking on this issue.

This issue is only barely touched on in our movie, Science Sex and the Ladies. It is largely outside the scope, but it is an essential sister issue to what we discuss in the movie, and it needs to be addressed if the culture of female sexuality is to move forward. That is why I wanted to include this interview in my blog. Here's what Dana has to say about the organization.

SPARK is about, well, we say that it's about taking sexy back and really empowering girls to understand for themselves what is sexy for them and not what other people are telling them sexy is. Our cultural definition of sexy right now is a very, very limited definition that is not very layered or textured or unique or specific to particular girls or to specific girls' bodies and to cultures and histories and desires. It is a very rigid and very narrow definition of what sexy is...big breasts, blond hair, skimpy clothing.... It's not necessarily defined by the girls themselves. So, we believe fully in having a very healthy sexuality, expressing desire, and expressing your own sexuality in a unique way that is comfortable and confident; that represents a strong girl who is making choices for herself and not following things that corporations or media agencies have decided about what sexy is going to be this year.
 Rock on SPARK. I have plenty more to discuss about this organization, particularly about the amazing girls at SPARK who are putting a critical eye to our everyday cultural happenings and activating for change. However, I will leave those thoughts for my next blog entry. Till then, check out the SPARK site, where I highly recommend reading some of these girl's blogs.

update: check out the 2nd part of this interview HERE.


KLIT-uhr-us or kli-TOR-is?

Okay, I've been neglecting this blog, yet I don't have a lot of time to write, so I'm going to put a question to you, my loyal readers. It is a question of epic proportions. How do you pronounce the word for the female organ of sexual pleasure...KLIT-uhr-us or kli-TOR-is? Maybe you just avoid the issue all together and simply say clit. I have always said kli-TOR-is. Someone recently told me it sounds like the name of a dinosaur, and I will admit - it does kinda sound like it could be the cousin of the Brontosaurus. However, I've always thought KLIT-uhr-us sounds really pompous - like a snooty Englishman from the 18th Century is nervously teaching an anatomy class. Oddly enough, though, it seems I'm a bit mistaken (thanks a lot advice on ThirdAge.com) . My pronunciation is actually the English version and KLIT-uhr-us is the American pronunciation. You can listen to the American pronunciation at MacMillen Dictionary page HERE.

Anyway, if you are out there and reading this, tell me how it is people.


Fight Club - The SSL Review

Charlie's youngest brother was hanging out with us this weekend, and as we were looking for movies to watch, we realized that he had never seen Fight Club. Being that he was 9 when it came out in 1999, it's not surprising, but we thought we should remedy it. Charlie and I were 19 when Fight Club came out, and it was, well, it was a formative movie for both of us. It is solidly in both of our top 5, although possibly in different places. I realized, though, after seeing it this time, that I needed to write an SSL Review, and that it would certainly not put Fight Club into the "progressive" category when it comes to depictions of female sexual response. I'll get to the SSL criticism later, but for now, I'm just going to talk about the movie for a sec.

After I saw it the first time, it made me feel all excited inside (and not just because of Brad Pitt's rock hard body all over the screen - which to be fair was super hot). It was a movie that really showed me the potential of the movie medium, and watching it again (I've seen it more than a couple times, but I haven't seen it in probably at least 5 years), it brought back all those feelings. This movie is rich and full - the editing, the design, the story telling style - the special effects are detailed and motivated and still hold up 12 years later...and the sound, come on, the sound.

It's a movie that really uses all its resources, as a movie, to immerse the viewer. A lot of people think that books are always better than the movie, but I think that's usually because the movie is trying to engage the viewer like a book, when it should be engaging us like a movie. That's what this movie did, and it really opened my eyes to that idea...and by the way, this movie is better than the book. But, it has it's flaws too (which also - by the way - are worse in the book). The most prominent to me is something I didn't actually notice when I first saw this movie at 19. Let me just say it this way. A story that carves out intricate, dynamic, layered male characters and interesting worlds in which those male characters can act, yet either fails to do the same for the existing female characters or fails to recognize that female characters could be engaged in the worlds that have been created - well a movie like that is not as rich or as innovative as it could be, and let me tell ya - there are a lot of these stories out there.

Also on a similar note, I just want to mention something, because it is so clearly a result of a male lazily writing a female. Marla - the only big female role in the movie is weird and surface interesting, but sadly has no dynamism in this script and ends up just being a classic 1-dimensional girlfriend character but with a darker exterior. Anyway, she walks up to the main character and tells him she's wearing a bridesmaid dress she got from a thrift store. She says something to the effect that "someone loved this dress intensely for 1 day." First off, it's common knowledge that women generally don't like bridesmaid dresses. And secondly, even if someone likes their bridesmaid dress, I feel pretty confident in saying that no woman in the history of weddings has ever loved her bridesmaid dress intensely - ever. So, I'm not saying a man can't write a woman, because I think it can be done well. What I do want to say though, to my dear Fight Club, is that a man can't write a woman well when he is merely thinking about his version of a female stereotype and writing what he thinks this pretend idea of a woman might say and do. That's all I'm gonna say about that. Otherwise I love the film - except I have to do a little more critiquing, because that's what an SSL Review is all about.

Here's some critical points we can confidently know; specifically points that are important in understanding what this movie insinuates about female sexual response.

1.Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) is fantastic in bed. We know this because Marla says he is, and I see no sign of sarcasm or irony when she says this.


Real Job Vs. This Movie

So, in my day job, I'm a corporate scientist. I honestly enjoy the job. I'm not saying that if I won 50 million dollars that I'd still be working, but the work is challenging. There's room to grow. I work beside a lot of really hard-working, interesting and fun people...and the benefits are fantastic. I have no interest in losing a job like this. This, my friends has been on my mind as we here at AnC are beginning to rile ourselves into a promotion fury for our upcoming Kickstarter campaign.

I mean this isn't a cute family movie I'm making here (well, actually there are some moments of cute). This is a movie about the American culture of female sexuality that quite bluntly discusses things like orgasm and masturbation. The word "clitoris" or "clit" is used more times than i could count. So, unsurprisingly, I only talk about this at work with people I've known for so long that they knew me at the beginning of my endeavors into this movie (or with select co-workers I've been drinking with). I rarely even talk about the fact that I make movies, because that leads to the inevitable question, "What are you working on?" I don't want to lie and I don't want to drop the CLIT bomb at work, so this movie has felt something like a secret life at times.

However, I'm pretty much super passionate about the message of this movie, and this subject has consumed my life for years, so now that we have a movie done enough to begin heavy promotion, I'm going to go full tilt. That, however, means that random people at work may hear tell about this movie, notice my name associated and ask me about it. This is all probably fine...unless it isn't.

I'm all about this movie, but I am very much not about making people at work uncomfortable or putting my job at risk in any way. So, just recently, I went to my supervisor and told her my predicament. She was totally cool and supportive, and encouraged me to keep the lines of communication open so that if anyone should feel uncomfortable or make me feel uncomfortable that we take care of it quickly and with the least pain possible. Like I said, it's a good job full of good people, and I'm lucky to have it. I really don't imagine there will be any problems. However, it's good to know things are in place to smooth anything out that may blindside me.


SSL Interview: Miriam Reumann

I will not mince words here. I like Miriam Reumann's book. I've read a fair share of long dry books as I was researching for this movie. Yes, many were quite useful, but honestly Reumann's book was one of the most useful and most informative, and it was not a bit dry. It was fun, and quirky, and tells a unique story about an iconic time in American history. In fact this is such a well-researched and interesting book that as I was looking through it to find questions I wanted to ask her, I found it a little hard to come up with any. I kept reading a few lines and thinking, "wow – that’s so interesting," but there just wasn’t a question because the book was so thorough. It’s just a really great read. 

This book, American Sexual Character: Sex, Gender, and National Identity in the Kinsey Reports  is actually the main inspiration for a section of the movie. Part of the story Reumann tells involves America's "discovery" of the female orgasm in the period after WWII, and she does a fantastic job of discussing the expectations, worries, and talking points  surrounding this new idea that women (married women of course) could and in fact should orgasm. The middle section of our movie Science Sex and the Ladies, considers the impact of this cultural shift on our current understanding of female sexuality (here's a clue - surprisingly little has changed). The historical point of view I was able to take from this book  really helped me illustrate the stark differences between the status quo perception of female sexuality and the perspective of female sexuality that Science Sex and the Ladies promotes.

However, as I said before, this book is chock full of great info, and it tells many other stories too - about marriage, masculinity, and homosexuality among other things. The larger idea in the book goes something as follows: The cultural climate after WWII facilitated a unprecedented public discussion of sex, and in fact, sex became a matter of American "character." How Americans dealt with sex was often discussed as related to the very core of what America was like as a country. Although there were disagreements among experts at the time (were Americans too repressed or too promiscuous?), there was widespread agreement that these questions were utterly important to the American way of life. Screw the 60's. This was the real American Sexual Revolution. 

I thought it was important to interview Reumann in this SSL interview series, because, outside of the fact that aspects of her book have added unique insight into the movie we've made, I also appreciate that her work is an intensely researched and incredibly innovative look at America’s relationship to sexuality. Deeply held assumptions about gender, that she clearly reveals to be important influences on the cultural discussion of sex, are  as pervasive today as they were in the post WWII period. Her discussion is progressive, thoughtful, and relevant to a more realistic understanding of female sexuality.

I contacted Miriam Reumann earlier this year and was happy to find that she was funny, engaging, and happily open to an interview. We eventually worked out a time, and I conducted an interview over email. I wrote a question. She answered. Then I wrote another question. The email thing was her idea, and I loved it. I am 10 times more relaxed writing than talking, so I had a great time, and I think she did too.

How did you get interested and started in the type of research you did for American Sexual Character? 

In grad school, when I started thinking about dissertation topics my parameters were pretty broad: I knew that I wanted to do something in the early or mid 20th century, and that I was interested in gender and sexuality. One of my professor/mentors, Anne Fausto-Sterling, said in passing one day that there was very little work on Kinsey, so my interest was piqued. I knew the general narrative about the Reports (huge, shattered common perceptions, important and controversial, etc., etc.) but realized that I’d never actually read any of either Sexual Behavior in the Human Male or Female, so I checked out incredibly thick and heavy copies from Brown’s library. Now, I wish I could say that looking at them filled me with exciting and original ideas, but the reverse was true – I found them so incredibly dull that I instead wondered how on earth anyone had ever seen these studies as remotely sexy, or threatening, or even readable! That, as it happens, wasn’t a bad question, and so as the dissertation research – and later the book – evolved, my central concern remained how they were USED, as opposed to what they actually found, or meant. That turned out to be useful in keeping me focused, since it meant I didn’t have to get mired down in the kinds of debates about accuracy or representativeness that Kinsey’s biographers cared about, and it also meant that I got to look not only at sources like serious journalism but also wacky popular culture – for years, I looked at every Kinsey artifact that cropped up on ebay, and lots of them, like cartoons or film posters, made it into my research. That said, I also got pulled in lots of unexpected directions, like when I discovered foreign policy analyses from the 1950s that focused obsessively on American sexuality as a key to our success or failure in the Cold War, and the central concept and title just flowed from there.  

I'm impressed you read through both the Kinsey reports. I have looked a tiny bit through them, but really couldn't bring myself to do any more than skim slightly and to read books like yours - that were about them. From reading American Sexual Character, it really does seems as though you went though an insanely immense amount of resources. How long were you researching and what were some of the most surprising or interesting things you came across?


Our First Festival Submission!!!!

Oh yeah - we did it...at the very last minute...but we did it. When I say last minute, I mean last minute. I mean 2:59am, the day after it was due - which happens to be 11:59pm the day it was due in the festival office time zone. That's a little too close for comfort, so I didn't really rest easy till we were informed of our submission status, which we now have. We've got the thumbs up from the festival that we've satisfied all submission requirements (the blue check for those of you who have submitted on Withoutabox). We are in the running now.

We knew we'd be cutting it close. We decided to submit in early August. We thought we were close enough and could get it to submission ready if we busted our asses, so we created a timeline to get it done, and really did pretty well (with the help of Nathaniel Blume on Temp Track duty) at getting there. We originally planned to be finished 6 days prior to the deadline so we could mail it and have it be in their offices when it was supposed to be, but then we learned we could upload our screener instead of sending a DVD. Now we decided we only had to be done 3 days ahead of time.

I mean we've dealt with the trials and tribulations of getting a movie finished (finished enough in this instance) and out to a watchable format. It is always problematic - in ways you could never imagine. This situation is where evil lives, and we were aware. We assumed it would take some finagling, and there would be some mistakes. It was much worse than we thought.

Here's how things needed to work. We had to first export the movie from our editing system in a particular format, then upload that onto IMDB/Withoutabox as a the secure online screener. It then needed to finalize. Then it would appear on our Withoutabox account and we could submit it. All our other submission stuff was done. We just needed to give them the stupid movie. Now, a full length movie is a big file, and we were looking at around 4 hours every time we exported or uploaded. That's cool once or even twice, but we had to try uploading this more than once or twice. It would go all the way to the end and then fail. In fact, Charlie watched our last failed upload hit "100%" and then fail.

At about 8pm the day of the deadline, it was in the process of uploading, Charlie had tried yet another format. At this point, he had been watching uploads all day, and I had been obsessing about it all day at work. By this time, he had become calmly accepting that we would not make it, and so we went out for Subway and cat food (we'd been needing to get that, since our new cat Tina eats like it's the end of days) while it slowly uploaded. We got home when it was at about 70%.

For my part, I tried to think the right things so that it would work. I struggled to decide how not to jinx us. I always have a feeling that if I'm too confident, then it surely won't work. But then sometimes, I think maybe being depressed about it will make it surely not work. It isn't easy to control your thoughts to obtain favorable outcomes people. I decided to come to peace with the failure, but continue to look at all possible options towards success. That was my superstitious time passing belief for this instance of life stress.

When it got to 98%, we stared at it, discussing how positive we were that it would fail just after 100% like last time, then.....it gave us the "successful upload" page. This was about 12:10am. We'd already decided that we'd go by the time in LA not here, so we still had almost 3 hours. There was high-fiving, and such, but then we realized that the finalization process might take a while, and by while I mean that it was at 96% when we checked it at 2:56am, and still at 96% at 2:57am. Charlie had got the webpage set up on the upstairs computer so that we could just push the button when the time came. However, it kinda seemed like we were gonna miss it just barely.  It hadn't moved by 2:58, so just for a last ditch, I headed upstairs to check if it had shown up on our page yet. It hadn't, so I pressed refresh again and it still hadn't, then I pressed refresh again, and there it was. It still boggles my mind how it that it actually worked out. I clearly had thought the correct combination of positive, negative and indifferent thoughts.

It would have been fine if we didn't submit. Who knows whether we'll get in or not, but I really would have felt bad if we missed this opportunity, especially since we busted our asses so hard to get it ready. Anyway, that's the story. I have a feeling our next submission will be much less tense.


Final Shoot Before We Begin Submitting to Festivals!

The weekend shoot went better than we could have imagined. I mean there were issues we had to deal with - a ground loop coming through the boom, a point at the end of the day where Charlie suddenly thought we had lost all the sound recording (we didn't, but even the thought was pretty traumatizing)...and there was the fact that the actors had to see me and Barnaby in skin-tight morph suits. Honestly, other than that, everything got done as it was supposed to. We worked the hell out of our hair and make-up ladies (Lauren Bertelson and Rosalind Ferris), but as you can see from the pics below, they did a fantastic job, and the movie would not be the same without them. The actors were great too, nailin' lines right and left and rockin' the non-verbal acting. Even our good buddy Jake Fritz was helping crew the first part of the day. Thanks to all of you!
Ellie Church and Carlton Mohn on a canoe date!
Sarah Hoback, Bryan Patrick, and Ellie Church helping us discuss Sexy vs. Sexual
We spent all Saturday before hauling everything up there, hanging the green and the white screen, organizing the lighting - plus we shot a scene (using our Doc Johnson props) that day too. So, we spent all day Saturday and Sunday in production mode (which was actually kind of fun after being in post-production mode for so long), and got a total of 4 scenes completely shot. Two of these scenes - the ones we needed our new family of actors to be in - had been a nagging burden for a long time. We had these worked out visually before the first round of shooting in 2009, but they didn't involve actors. Then our ideas got less and less interesting to us and the work involved seem ridiculous. Then all the sudden festival submission time was approaching, so we had to decide on a approach quick-style, and honestly it was better than anything we had come up with before...and after watching the actors during shooting, we were all even more excited about how these scenes were turning out than we thought we'd be. I love it.  I'll leave you with some pics from the weekend. Enjoy!
Alfonso Gomez and Amber Helms (a fellow Mt. Vernon Alum) on a date with...well you'll just have to see the movie to learn why I'm tied up in an orange Morph Suit.
Elle Beals being coy


Doc Johnson, AnC Thanks You For The Dildo With Anus!

Science Sex and the Ladies has its first corporate sponsor, Doc Johnson! That's right, Doc Johnson the sex toy manufacturer. They have donated some awesome and somewhat hard to find anatomical props for the movie. As you can see from the picture, we are super excited about this. These will be the centerpieces of a scene that reviews what the movie has discussed to that point about orgasm and ejaculation in both men and women. Let me just say this will be a fun scene to shoot - not only because we get to manipulate a dildo with anus toy, but it will be a super easy shoot and a quick edit to finish the scene. Before we got a hold of these props, we were thinking we'd have to build a 3D animation to make this work, so we are now saving some serious time. Also, it's a little sentimental because my very first vibrator was a Doc Johnson Pocket Rocket - a bright pink one. Thank you Doc Johnson!!!!!

Need a toy? Check out www.docjohnson.com


Gearing Up For Festival Submissions This Month

Kristen Marley as Shere Hite
We are actually getting close, people. We have a late September deadline we're working toward to get this movie submitted into its first festival. It will be an unfinished submission - which is very common. There won't be final sound or credits, and the music will be a temp track. Which, by the way, the awesome Nathaniel Blume will be working out for us. He's the guy that composed (and managed recording of) the movie's opening number, "Shitty Perspective." If you didn't happen to be a dancer in this movie and thus had to memorize the words and dance to that song, you may know it as the song playing under our trailer - although without most of the vocals. He'll be doing the final score from his home base in LA, but is also helping us out to make the temp track. He's awesome, and we're excited to be working with him - I'll leave it at that for now.
Brandi Davis and Joshua Ramsey as a cave couple
We currently have 14 of the 55 scenes in this movie left to finish. It sounds worse than it is, really, because most of those 14 scenes are at least partly finished. However, it is nothing to scoff at either. We have a strict schedule, we're meeting every other day to asses needs, and we're doing really well so far -ahead of our schedule actually.

Honestly I'm flipping out a little. I have truly been working on this movie my whole adult life. I began the research right as I was finishing college. I put out the first insanely long, rambling, pre-script about 2 years later in 2004ish, and AnC began in earnest really visualizing the script in, I think, about 2007. Shot everything the spring and early summer of 2009, and here we are. It almost doesn't seem real to be this close. Anyway, I just thought I'd let you all know that after all these years of us talking about and working on this, it's gettin' done, baby.


No Strings Attached - The SSL Review

So I said I would SSL review No Strings Attached, and I am  a woman of my word. I reviewed its twin movie, Friends with Benefits (FWB), here, and as one would expect, it's almost impossible not to compare the two movies once you've seen both.

Honestly, as far as the SSL reviewing goes, this movie simply doesn't have as much to go on as FWB had, and frankly what it does have to go on ain't that progressive, or to be more clear, it actually portrays just the type of inaccurate depictions of female orgasm that I'm working against. However, that said, it was still generally fun to watch. It was a formulaic RomCom, but not nearly as formulaic as FWB. Plus, it had moments of strangeness that I really enjoyed. Natalie Portman calling some women pumpkins? Yeah I enjoyed that. Kutcher making a period mix for Portman, all old school on a CD and everything with somewhat witty song choices? Liked it.

I'm not so sure that they sold the relationship in this movie though, particularly in comparison with Timberlake and Kunis in FWB. Probably Kutcher couldn't sell it. He's cute and charming on screen (at least I think so even though many people have an irrational deep hatred of him, which I won't knock because I myself carry deep irrational hatred for particular actors and actresses), but I don't think he has the range or the acting chops or something to make it work. I actually think Natalie Portman could hang, but it just didn't work that well for me.

Now as for this non progressive orgasm depiction, I have to say I'm a little sad about it. I just blogged about Ashton Kutcher giving big ups to this movie for its depiction of a female character owning her own sexual desire. He rightly pointed out that we see too little of that in Hollywood and that in general less emphasis is placed on female orgasm in our sexual culture than on male orgasm. He even stated the obvious, but oh so overlooked truth, that in school male orgasm is discussed (not really as pleasure, but as a necessary means to discuss reproduction), but women's orgasms are simply not discussed because they are removed from reproduction. After reading all this I thought, cool, this movie will have some realistic depictions of female sexual release...or not. Honestly, I think Kutcher's heart is in the right place, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. My SSL type criticisms are not your average types of criticisms, and I'm pretty sure a lot of people have never thought about depictions of female orgasm in the ways I discuss in the these reviews. So Mr. Ashton Kutcher, if you're reading this (and if you are, I'll freak out), know that I still have love for your feminist pro-sex leanings. Take this as an invitation to engage in a friendly discussion about depictions of female orgasm in media.

So on with it. The only scene that had a depiction of female sexual release was during the couple's first sexual encounter. The two knew each other over the years, and although they hadn't spent much time together, they obviously took a liking to one another. Ends up, they're both living in the same city and have mutual friends, and after Kutcher learns his dad is sleeping with his ex girlfriend, he goes on a one night bender with some friends and wakes up buck naked at Portman's apartment. Her and her roommates fuck with him for a little and then Portman leads him back to her room where he can find the pants he drunkenly pulled off the night before.

Well, wouldn't you know, they're sitting on the bed talking when they just bust out kissin' and a touchin'. I would like to stop the story here and point out that Ashton Kutcher's character just woke from a night of drinking so hard that he ended up naked on a friends couch. His breath has got to smell like hot garbage, but I guess Portman's character is into that. Anyway, they quickly move from kissing to naked to condom to doin' it. I mean it was like less than a minute. Then,
Portman's roommate is all like, "come on we gotta leave for work," and Portman looks at Kutcher and tells him he's got less than a minute to do the damn thing (or something to that effect). He says he's way ahead of her, and I'm thinking, okay she means he's got like a minute to get his. However, what actually happens is that Portman and Kutcher both come at basically the same time, and I realize that Portman's intention was probably not to tell him he needed to finish in a minute, but that he needed to finish her in a minute.