AVN award-winning director Joe Gallant is currently editing the first in a series of hardcore scenes produced by Manhattan-based collective Artists of Erotica.
"It's an attempt at combining sort of off-Broadway theater craft with hardcore," Gallant told AVN.com. "The director, Gary Mizell, is attempting to teach adult stars nuances within scripts and within dialogue. It's a different approach, and it seems to be working."
On Gallant's recommendation, Artists of Erotica enlisted the services of adult performers Brina James and Dino Bravo for the group's first hardcore shoot. Based on Mizell's script "The Voice," the scene explores a power-play of dominance and submission that Gallant likened to the mainstream film Secretary.
"I've never seen anything like it," Mizell said of his first experience directing hardcore porn. "I'm moved as I think back on it. I did the narration, the actors did their lines, and Joe helped direct the sex. One of the major things I stressed is that we have got to have dialogue during sex, and not all this fake enjoyment you often see in porn, which is boring to me."
Mizell began formulating his plan to break into porn after writing a feature film script called Necro. In polishing his screenplay, Mizell enlisted the help of filmmaker Roy Frumkes (Document of the Dead, Street Trash). While the spec script was not designed as a hardcore film, many people received it as such.
"The impetus for me getting into porn was that I wrote Necro and had hopes of getting it financed," Mizell explained. "And when I started showing the one-sheet poster for Necro around, people were saying 'this is porn,' I started showing it to people in the porn industry, and I'm into that lifestyle anyway. I really like Deep Throat and a lot of the other golden age movies, so that was also an influence."
Mizell's first Artists of Erotica project was a porn acting class led by theater actress Lissa Moira. Aiming for an avant-garde approach, he tracked down Gallant to shoot the instructional session.
"Gary found me through SCREW magazine," Gallant explained. "He was talking to them, and they recommended he get in touch with me. I'm really deferring to Gary with this project; it's sort of like the way the Jefferson Airplane listed Jerry Garcia as 'spiritual guru' – I'm like his advisor, his big bro in the industry."
Next up for Artists of Erotica is a sketch called The Third Date, which will feature AVN's Best Male Newcomer Tommy Pistol.
Gallant is also attached to direct Mizell's Necro script this spring.