Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Money Shot

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This will probably come as no surprise to those who read my blog even semi-regularly, but I've worked as a photographer for more than a few adult entertainment companies. Those companies include Playboy, Hustler, Vivid Entertainment, Wicked Pictures, Tera Patrick's TeraVision, and more. Quite a few more. Judge me if that's your thing. Have at it. Nothing I say will change your mind, not that I care enough to try. To me, it's a job. Like it or not, someone is going to do it. If not me, someone else. I have no moral hang-ups issues with it. Like I said, it's a job. Period.

That aside, the adult biz has quite a few words, terms, and  acronyms that are unique to it. (Which is what I'm actually writing about.) Example: Ever hear of a FIP? (You say it like a word. A word that rhymes with sip.) A FIP is a commonly used acronym in the adult biz.  It means "Fake Internal Pop." I think you can figure out what a "Fake Internal Pop" represents in the production of a porn scene. If not, use your imagination. You'll figure it out.

This blog, "Pretty Girl Shooter," is so named for a common term used in the adult biz. When I'm working on an adult set and a producer or production manager says, "Jimmy! Go shoot her pretty girls," he or she is referring to the glamour images that will likely be used for packaging, marketing, advertising and more. Those "pretty girls" are decidedly "R" rated, not "X" rated. In fact, often enough many of them are "PG" rated and don't feature nudity. Pretty girl pics are "soft core," not "hard core." ("Hard core" being a term embraced-by and commonly used in mainstream and elsewhere to describe many things of a decidedly non-porn nature, yet a term originating in porn.)

Yep. The language of porn extends beyond its own world and some of its words and terms are embraced (in speech and in writing) by others, others who porn folks commonly refer to as "civilians." The "money shot" is one such term. I'm pretty sure most adults understand what a "money shot" is, leastwise they think they do, even when the term is not used to describe what they believe a "money shot" represents, you know, specifically represents from a biological perspective.

But here's the rub: On all the porn productions I've worked, and I've worked a few, more than a few, I've never heard the so-called "money shot" called a "money shot" referencing that moment of release by a male porn performer. Not once. Not ever. I'm not sure who invented the term, "money shot" to refer to that part of a porn scene, although it likely was someone in porn or someone writing about porn. You see, in  porn parlance one does not call the so-called "money shot" a "money shot" because that's not what it's called. Everyone who works in porn refers to what many others call a "money shot" -- others who have never worked in the adult biz -- a "pop shot."

If you ask me, "pop shot" is a much better and more accurate description of what's going on when a male performer ejaculates. The word "pop," in a porn context, is a multitasking word. It's used as both a verb and a noun: The performer "pops," a verb, versus what the stuff is he's popped, that is, the product of his "pop" which is a noun. The "shot" part of "pop shot"  also serves double-duty.  It  refers to what the performer is doing, you know, sort of similar to what a gun does when it's discharged, and also what the camera is capturing, as in "a camera shot." Personally, I think "pop shot" is a much more accurate and appropriate term from a variety of  perspectives.  "Money shot," on the other hand, just doesn't do it justice. And trust me when I tell you the money doesn't later come to adult industry businesses as a result of "pop shots." "Pop shots"may be de rigueur for many adult flicks, but that's not something set in stone nor does it guarantee money as a result of said shot, or pop, take your pick.

"Money shot," I suppose, is a more politically-correct way of saying or writing about a "pop shot."  I also think it works better for analogies or as a metaphor when applied in different ways. But it's not accurate. It's not what they call that part of a porn scene, that is, the part at the tail-end of most porn scenes.

The etymology  of the term "pop shot" becoming "money shot" (leastwise, in more polite mainstream circles) sort of reminds me of George Carlin's famous riff about the evolution of the term, "shell shock."  If you're familiar with Carlin's "shell shock" monologue, I'm confident you understand my vague comparison. If not, Google the words "Carlin" and "shell shock." You'll find more than a few YouTube videos of the great comedian doing that bit. 

As a photographer, I do think of one type of shot that qualifies as a "money shot" and it ain't the actual "pop shot."  I even refer to this particular shot as a "money shot" when I see it. So do some of my clients. For me (and my adult biz clients), a "money shot" is a shot or shots (the shots being photographic captures) that I know are obvious, jump-off-the-screen, photographic shots that will be later used to generate money for my clients. It's the shot or shots that many non-adult photographers refer to as "keepers."  In actual porn parlance, a "money shot" is the shot or shots that most likely will be used for product packaging, in ads, and for other uses. It's not always the best shot(s) from a purely technical perspective, but that's because there's so much more to a photographic "money shot" than a photo's technical merits.

The pretty girl at the top is the Goddess of Glam, Tera Patrick.  I knew that shot worked well the moment I snapped it. Sometime later, 944 magazine selected and published it in full-page glory in their magazine. Models like Tera offer a different problem at times: It's harder to pick a "money shot" out of Tera's shots because it's sometimes hard to snap a photo of Tera that doesn't qualify as a "money shot." (A few years back, People magazine included Tera in their annual list of the 100 most beautiful women in the world. That should tell you something about the likelihood of snapping a "money shot" when photographing Tera.)

I can make the above comment (about it being difficult to snap a non-money-shot image of Tera) with some degree of confidence. That's because I've shot Tera quite a few times. In fact, for a few years years I was (for the most part) her exclusive photographer. Why's that you might ask?  Well, I'll simply say it wasn't that way because there was a dearth of photographers who could do an equally good or better job of shooting Ms. Patrick, or who wanted to shoot her.  Tera has been shot by many terrific photographers throughout her career, albeit not during those couple of years when I was her shooter.

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