crashpad-behind-the-scenes
The Crash Pad Series is the award-winning love child of Shine Louise Houston, director and producer at Pink & White Productions. With creativity and positivity, Shine Louise has given new life to the conversation about the many shades of gender and abilities through erotic, thoughtful, sexual play. No matter what you believe to be your "preferences", her films will open you up to modes of consideration about sexual fluidity and the right to sexual pleasure for all.

"I believe there's a lot of room and need to create adult content that's real, that's respectful and powerful … I think it's the perfect place to become political. It's a place where money, sex, media, and ethics converge." - Shine Louise Houston Director and Producer, Pink & White Productions.

This month, SheVibe has the honor of asking Shine Louise a few questions, joined by our friends Hey Epiphora and Kara Sutra:
SheVibe:
It constantly fascinates me how many pioneers that our friends at Good Vibrations have launched in this industry (SheVibe included amongst those inspired by their example). What was it about working there that gave you the desire to create Pink and White productions? Or did you already know you had a future in filmmaking?
Shine Louise:
I had a film degree from San Francisco Art Institute, but found the industry in the Bay Area small and very competitive. I wasn't able to break into anything, even internships. So I got a job working the floor at Good Vibrations and was there for about five and a half years. I think the big catalyst for me was when I turned 30. I had a film degree but wasn't putting it to use, and one day realized, "OMG, I'm 30 and I'm still doing retail. Well, why not make porn?" It was one of the avenues I explored as I was reinventing myself – including thoughts of furniture making, finishing my welding certification, or going back to grad school. I was checking out a lot of stuff, and the doors that opened at that time were for porn.
SheVibe:
What does sex positivity mean to you?
Shine Louise:
Simply put, sex positivity is about not dissing other people's preferences and proclivities. It's giving other people the kind of space and respect that you would want, for them to be themselves. They're behaving consensually and safely (safe, sane, and consensual). And if you see someone engaging in something that could be done safer, or in a way that's more mindful of the community, you can say: "Hey look, I see that you're into this, here's a safer way to do it."
SheVibe:
Do you think porn can be used as a vehicle for people to gain a better understanding of what it means to be a sexual being?
Shine Louise:
Sure! Porn can help you create your own identity as a sexual being, especially by seeing explicit images of other people being sexual -- whether or not you can identify with them. If you're seeing examples of people being sexual and expressing themselves -- it's kind of monkey-see, monkey-do: you can identify with them and think, "Yes, that's something I want to do", or "Hey, that's something I do, and somebody else does it too, so I'm not a freak." It can be validating and affirming, and give you permission. And it can open you up to an idea about someone else's sexuality, giving you an opportunity to expand your sexual vocabulary and fantasy life. So yes, I think it can help people figure out who they are sexually.
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SheVibe:
For folks who do not understand why it could appeal to them, what's your "definition" of queer porn?
Shine Louise:
Queer porn is everything that's out of the box of "normal" heterosexual sex. Normal heterosexual sex being defined as conventionally beautiful (white man and white woman) having missionary sex. So anything outside of normal is queer sex. Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Trans, Cis… any combination you can think of outside the norm.
SheVibe:
Can you share any funny mishaps or stories from the set?
Shine Louise:
There's been squirt on a camera, cameras kicked by high heels, no poop stories… no puke stories… knock on wood.

I think the most bizarre situation was when a performer came to set not realizing it was a porn shoot. Heavenly Spire is a visual study of masculinity on different bodies. So, we have this one guy show up and maybe he didn't read the email very well. We're doing the pretty-pretty section – which is non-narrative, close-up of body parts, capturing pretty stuff with the camera -- then after that it's a solo scene. This guy has told me he's into contact improvisation and a lot of movement stuff. We're filming and he's getting into it, he starts to do his thing. 15 minutes goes by and he's just taken off his shirt, a lot of movement, stretching… now it's a half an hour of movement… hasn't taken off his shorts yet… and we're filming and I'm like, "Okay, let's give him space, let him do what he wants." And then he does this funny movement where he rubs his face, grabs his shirt and puts it on real quick. I'm thinking that he's freaking out, so I check in with him: "Is everything okay, are you all good? " and he's like, "Oh yea, I'm fine!" I'm ask, "Okay so, you do know that this is a solo scene… " And he wasn't too clear about that. I explain, "Well, we want to see you jerk off." And he was like "WHAT?!?!" (Laughs)

It dawns on him and he's all, "Oooooooooh! Well um, I'm sorry. WHOA! I hope you didn't think I was yanking your chain!" And he was super apologetic and wanted to try to jerk off. But I was like, "Well, if that's not what you signed on for, then it's cool." He still wanted to try, but I was like, "Nope. It's all good!" That moment when he understood that we were making an explicit video -- and he didn't quite get it -- was HILARIOUS. (Laughing) "Ooooooh, you want to see my penis?! I get it!" That's probably the funniest and weirdest mishap story from set.
SheVibe:
When people find out what you do for a living – do they have an expectation about your personal sex life, like you're swinging from the chandeliers? Do they then tend to over-share about their own sex lives? (We run into this a lot with our own interactions).
Shine Louise:
For the most part, I'm super selective about who I tell and by the time I let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, I've known them for at least a couple years, and they're fine. I usually tell people I do "corporate video", and that shuts them right up.
Kara_Sutra is best known for hosting Sex Ed 102: all the things you didn't learn…but should have, a popular web series on YouTube and Blip.tv, designed to shed light on the topic of healthy sexuality. Her sweet and friendly demeanor dotted with sly humor, the occasional trucker's mouth, and fantastic natural cleavage has won her a large and supportive fan base.

Kara_Sutra:
What are the main things you've learned about yourself from creating and developing the Crash Pad Series?
Shine Louise:
Throughout my life, as an artist I've had no real interest in business, didn't know anything about it. So even though it's been challenging, I realized that I like running the business. My mom's kind of an ex hippy so chasing money was a big no-no. So I've found that I like business, and I like money and money can be used for good not greed. In running a company, I still don't consider myself a "team player", but working in a group has gotten a lot easier.
Kara_Sutra:
If you could change one thing about the porn industry, what would it be?
Shine Louise:
I don't know what I would change about the porn industry itself, but what I would change is the "ghettozing" of the porn industry, because that is what leads people to make bad decisions. Even if you're on the side of trying to be a 100% legit business, it's hard to find people who will work with you. It's tenuous to get bank accounts, it's tenuous to get a merchants account, and investors. It's even hard to have electricians come to your building. That's awkward, and it shouldn't be awkward. You hire movers and they look at you funny. Once you get big enough, I think people may not give a shit, but for small and mid-sized companies, it's a big problem.

I don't think the government should target this industry the way it does. There are already laws that protect children and protect human trafficking. The laws that have been laid out in the last 7-10 years, in the last couple years, are ridiculous. I think there are industry-friendly ways to regulate our work. But all the legislation that impacts the industry is coming from a negative and hostile place.
Kara_Sutra:
Who are your favorite performers to watch and/or work with?
Shine Louise:
That's a hard question. Chloe was my first porn crush. There are a lot of people who give great performances. Depends on the day, or who they're with. Sometimes people have an off day, sometimes people have a great day… it's all over the map.
Kara_Sutra:
Do you have any personal favorite episodes, if so which ones?
Shine Louise:
I pull my favorite ones for the CrashPad compilations. I usually pick the episodes based on the communication between the performers, and if I halfway nailed the lighting that day.
Kara_Sutra:
Where would you like to see the Crash Pad Series 5 years from now, 10 years from now?
Shine Louise:
Hopefully still running! The site's morphed on its own. It's its own container and has changed over the years because who has decided to perform. Who's applying, and who actually shows up has changed. I have no idea what it will look like in 5-10 years; it depends on what the community looks like in 5-10 years. As far as personal projects, I have more involved things I want to do. But for CrashPad, I mostly hope that in 5-10 years, it's still here.
Kara_Sutra:
What advice would you give budding adult filmmakers, or those that hope to get into the field?
Shine Louise:
The basics: know your craft. And if you're starting a business, do it legit from the beginning. Have your i's dotted and your t's crossed. You can make a porn film without a business, but if you plan to make money off of it, you need to ask yourself: what's going to happen with the money when it comes directly to me. What if it makes a lot and suddenly you're getting checks for thousands a year? I never thought about taxes until I had to pay $2000 one year, because the money came directly to me. Ouch.

As the sole person in an LLC, it sucks to dish out the $800/year, but that's way less per year than having to pay when you have all these taxes and if things go horribly wrong your personal assets are shielded. This way, if income goes to a company, it's on the company's books. And you can write off expenses – a tiny office, your phone, transportation. At the end of the year, if you didn't make any profit, you only have to pay the annual LLC tax. If you can manage it set yourself up as a W2 employee so you're not paying large chunks of self-employment tax.

From personal experience, especially when you're young and you're not thinking about taxes, it's a real thing to think about because once money starts happening it's a big consideration. It's confusing, but it shouldn't be that scary. I hate paperwork too, but just do it. It will save you many headaches.
Kara_Sutra:
Has winning the award at the Feminist Porn Awards had an impact on your work, if so how?
Shine Louise:
The Feminist Porn Awards haven't changed what we're making, but it's given us more exposure. It's given us encouragement to keep making stuff. Especially in the beginning.
Kara_Sutra:
Was there a defining moment for you when you knew you were on to something, that it would be a success?
Shine Louise:
The weird thing was when film festivals started contacting US. I'm like, "Really? You want to show The Crash Pad at OutFest?" I got invited to a lot of film festivals. All filmmakers want to get into the film festivals. I had submitted tiny shorts to Frameline right out of college but didn't get in, so it was funny to have not even applied, and festivals found me, saying: "Hey will you come to PhillyFest, OutFest, etc… We'll fly you out, etc…" It was very strange.
Kara_Sutra:
What do you attribute the Crash Pad Series website success to, is there anything specific that you did (promotional or otherwise) to help it stand out and/or grow?
Shine Louise:
The success from the website was due to it piggybacking off the original film, which filled a much needed void, showing queer sex in porn.
Kara_Sutra:
If you had to stop being involved in the adult industry, what would you choose to do instead?
Shine Louise:
If I had endless amount of time and money, I'd still make films, and I'd still make music, though I'd probably go to the beach to skim board more.

Porn's more sustainable than making non-porn films. It's interesting and I can push myself, but there are still are a couple projects that aren't sex related at all, that I'd like to make before I die.
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Hey Epiphora has a very discerning vagina. For six years, she has been testing sex toys and writing about them on the Internet. Her blog is filled to the brim with relentlessly honest sex toy reviews, matter-offact masturbation journals, industry critiques, and sex blogging tips. Highly trusted and well known for her snarky style, she is the antidote to the coy, euphemistic sugarcoating that plagues bad sex writing. Many loyal readers entrust their future orgasms to her.

Hey Epiphora:
Hi Shine! How do you determine which sex toys are used in the scenes you shoot?
Shine Louise:
It's up to the performers! They've brought things like dildos, harnesses, vibrators, and sometimes unusual toys such as a sling shot and a spoon. They show us what they've brought when we talk about the fun stuff (plot, safer sex, boundaries) with cast and crew. Once a model brought an antique wooden paddle from her grandfather's fraternity to use in a scene.
Hey Epiphora:
Do performers bring their favorites to set, or do you provide them?
Shine Louise:
Performers bring their own, or we often provide them. We also supply safer sex barriers and lubricant. (Good Vibrations is our Official Safer Sex Sponsor). Sex toy companies will donate them. We'll often ask performers if they'd like anything special and we'll get it for them. We've had toy sponsors from companies such as Fucking Sculptures, ASLAN Leather, Crystal Delights, RodeoH Harnesses, New York Toy Collective, Pleasure Works Wholesale, and more.
Hey Epiphora:
What happens to them after the scene concludes?
Shine Louise:
They take them home!