Canada is known for many great things: Maple syrup. Michael Cera. Joni Mitchell. Ellen Page. "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" Peanut butter. This list goes on and on. And today, it just got one web series longer.
Toronto-based and women-run FOUND Productions is releasing Smokebreak, a new web comedy about.... drumroll... just kidding you already read the headline. It's a comedy about porn actresses. And lucky for us, the whole "what happens in Vegas" rule doesn't technically apply to Canadians, because writer, actress and FOUND Productions member Madison Walsh tells us how this came to be:
Porn is bad. Porn will steal your boyfriend. It will misrepresent your orgasms. It will forever give you an unrealistic and unhealthy idea of how quickly a plumber will come to your house. That is why we women do not watch porn.
Fuck that. I watch porn. So do my girlfriends. In fact one third of porn consumers are estimated to be women. You may not have a subscription or attend the fan expos but you can admit it, your secret is safe: you've watched porn. Haven't you?
The four of us women who make up our little indie-company-that-could decided to come out about watching porn. In fact we decided to to make a web series about it. We saw an industry controlled by men that runs on women and we saw a lack of female representation on the matter (bleached buttholes and baby-voice web cam shows aside). Who are the women behind the fantasy? How are they struggling with the industry decline (the more free internet porn the less money to pay talent)? Why are they queens on your laptop and pariahs in every other respect? Any woman can do porn but only certain women do. We want to know why.
During a whirlwind trip to Las Vegas, my aforementioned compadres and I were thrown down the rabbit hole and so began our obsession with porn - more specifically the realities of it. One lucky night at a burning hot craps table we met a recently retired porn star and her porn producer boyfriend. We hit it off immediately. Craps led to dinner and fascinating tales about their lives in and out of the industry. All this led to the mecca: a rare invitation to visit a real live porn shoot. Uh, yes please. Nerves were shaken, notes were taken and fantasy overturned. We left that surreal experience with the knowledge that we had to write a show about this. It was far too funny not to.
And so our characters were born. Porn stars Courtney Luvs Coxx, Sylvia Plowed, Brandy-Lynne Ridez, and “civilian” Abi Patel. We wanted to explore all types of women who get into porn; addicts, artists, and entrepreneurs to name a few. Our Abbi represents a common female POV on porn. Now don’t get us wrong - this is a comedy - there’s no doubt we took plenty of liberties with with these girls and we definitely weren’t writing a “porn star with a heart of gold” show. We wrote women we knew - who just happened to get paid to screw for the camera. Fun, right?
As actors and writers we wanted an “in” to these women. Though we all watch porn and can now say we’ve seen full-on paid for penetration up close and personal; porn stars we are not. So we made them unemployed. We “laid them off” (har har har). I am a twenty-something woman who struggles day to day to find the next opportunity to get on camera and get PAID. I’m also a woman in a man’s world. See what I’m getting at? You may not relate to someone who fucks on film but I’m sure most of you out there can relate to being marginalized, discriminated against, or just plain down on your luck.
Smokebreak is a sexual comedy - on our terms. Who says women's content has to be serious? We love the fact that there are women out there leading countries or spreading aid and compassion to the needy. We also know that some women out there are mean, dumb assholes - we love that too. We four women are comfortable enough to admit there is a complete spectrum and we want to show its complexities. We’re proud of the fact that, at the crux of it all, we are human beings. All of us. Porn stars or otherwise.
(Madison Walsh is an actress, writer and content creator based out of Toronto Canada. FOUND Productions consists of Madison, Supinder Wraitch, Sam Coyle and Bryn McAuley; all Toronto natives. Check out www.laidoffpornstars.com for more content and info.)