Posted November 13, 2013 by Felix Chrome in Features
 
 

DIY Porn with Carey Christie and Kelly O


By Patrick Stewart

HUMP! – now in its eighth year – is a DIY amateur porn film festival put on by The Stranger. The Olympia showings are at 9:30pm and midnight on Friday November 15. As of this writing, tickets are still available, and students can get in half price by ordering online and using the promo-code GREENER13 for the midnight showing. The CPJ sat down with HUMP! producer Carey Christie and HUMP! marketing extraordinaire/Stranger columnist Kelly O to get some answers on what HUMP! is all about.

Patrick: So how did this whole HUMP! thing get started?

Carey: The story I heard was that Dan Savage wanted to do this for a long time, a couple years at least. Dan’s whole mission is this “sex positive” notion, being comfortable with who you are. It fit really well with the Savage Love motto [Dan’s weekly Stranger column]. But everyone was kinda nervous about it.

Kelly: (laughing) Really nervous.

C: There was concern about making sure no minors got in… You know, pornography is a sensitive subject. But Dan always gets what he wants eventually, so they decided to give it a try.

K: And it was successful, too. Even that very first year, there was a line around the block. There weren’t as many entries that first year, people were pretty shy. There were quite a few Barbie movies, where people were like “oh look, Barbies having sex!” And we thought “oh, no…. This isn’t what we wanted. We wanted real porn.”

C: Which makes sense, the trust had to build up, right? I think the reason Dan wanted to do this was to bring to life the philosophy that “hey, sex is fun, and cool, and…”

K: And that it doesn’t have to be anti-feminist, too.

C: Right.

K: People say thin

gs like “oh sex is just against women, and it degrades people” and just all the negativity of it. And Dan was saying “no, it’s people having fun!” It’s positive sex.

C: And I think in the commercial porn industry, there is a lot of that. So having a DIY festival is great, where you get regular looking people, doing stuff that you might like to do. Or maybe stuff that you don’t like to do.

K: Oh yeah. Really regular people. Like the first year, the video store that I used to go to all the time around the corner from my house, one of the guys that worked there made a porn, and every time I went in there after, I was like “Ooh!” (laughs)

Print this out and bring it with you to HUMP!

Print this out and bring it with you to HUMP!

C: That’s one of the side-effects of HUMP! And it is in the Pacific Northwest, you know, and if you’re in the arts community at all, or know someone who knows how to make any films… The first barrier to most is people is not knowing, “how would I even make a film?” So a lot of the stuff we get in is from people where it’s the first time they’ve ever used a video camera, so that definitely happens.

P: And it’s pretty obvious?

C: For some, yea. We try not to make decisions about what gets in based too much off that. I mean, obviously it’s better if we can hear you. And sometimes the camera moves really fast, to where it’s unwatchable.

K: Or sometimes it doesn’t move at all. There’s a couple where people just put the camera on a tripod, and just filmed one take of them under sheets.

C: Yeah, sometimes there is a lack of inventiveness, that’s also a problem. I feel like a lot of HUMP! submissions start with a title, they come up with a name, and then they film the concept around the name, and the next thing you know their filming porno’s! And they’re your buddies, or they’re serving you coffee, and you think “hey, I saw you in that porno!” And I think it’s really cool, and brave, the people who perform in HUMP! films. I mean, it’s one thing to be the producer, or the camera person, but still no one really knows who you are. But then, when it’s your ass on the screen, literally, then that’s different. I think it’s really cool.

K: Every time I’ve ever seen someone outside of HUMP! I always thought about it in a positive way.

C: I’ve talked to people who have been in some films, and asked them how it felt to be sitting in the audience with everyone watching you up there. They all had different response, but in general what they said was “awesome! Super awesome! I win!” So that’s really cool. That’s the idea, right? Everyone’s in it together.

K: And I think, this is the eighth year, and we warn against that every year. Don’t make fun of the people in the films, they may be sitting right next to you. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard any bad heckling, ever. People are either really positive, or their jaws are just hanging slack, and they can’t believe it. (laughs) It’s really fun if you go more than once, because you know when certain moments are going to happen. Like the extreme kink moments, when you know those are about to happen, I stop watching the screen and start watching the audience.

C: Definitely. It’s fun to see which moments they laugh at, and which ones make them go “woah!” And it’s a surprise to see which moments get the big reactions or the big laughs, the moments that people really seem to love.

 

P: What has the feedback been from this year?

C: Mostly what I’ve been hearing from people is that they really like this year because it’s really balanced, a lot of different kinds of things happening.

K: Some years it tips a little bit. One year it will be heavy on the queer with men and it’s like “where are all the lesbians?” and then the next year it’s “oh my gosh now it’s all lesbians.” One year it was all comedy, no one was actually having sex. But they were really good comedies! It’s hard to pick a good balance from what comes in.

C: It’s true. And everyone thinks they want to be a judge. The judges don’t pick the winners, just the movies to be shown, since we obviously can’t include all the movies that are submitted. So everyone thinks that they’d like that, but when you’re sitting in that room for ten hours, just watching back to back to back to back back to back porn, there’s like a zeitgeist. I mean there are special credit things that you know you’re going to see, like Hillary Clinton and butt plugs and bowling pins, that’s this year’s special credit, but then there are other things, like “what is it about sex in cars that people are really into this year?”

You can make a really good porno on your iPhone.” – Carey Christie

“My cousin made one on his iPhone.” -Kelly O

K: One year it was all Star-Trek spoofs, there were like three all at once. This year it was the woods, everything was out in the woods.

C: Which is funny, whenever people ask me about ideas for HUMP! submissions, I always tell them to get the cheapest, best lighting that you can.

K: Daylight!

C: And have a good story, tell it right. And then make sure your sound balance is okay! We did include one this year that didn’t do that, because we really wanted it in there, but it’s so jarring to the audience when the volume keeps jumping all over the place. But it all comes down to the storyline. As you’ll see this year, good story doesn’t even necessarily mean dialogue. The coolest thing that I like to see, that I think is the hardest things to do when you’re making something for HUMP! is the true connective moments. Actual human drama, what are the significant moments, all those basics of storytelling.

K: “Real” porn doesn’t have much of a story, usually. Maybe that’s what people respond to, they want that story.

C: Last year’s Best in Show was called Magic Love, it was a clever stop-motion animation, and I know people really liked that, but I think what people really responded to was that there was this delightful surprise that happened in the middle of it, and it was a story, it progressed. And it also didn’t have any dialogue. And then- people get these really childlike expressions when they’re watching, their faces are so big and exaggerated.

K: This might be a totally separate subject, but it’s really fun to watch gay men have to watch lesbians, because they would never watch that on their own, but they want to see all the films. Maybe not so much shocking, but I hear a lot of gasps from them when there are giant lady-parts on the screen. And ladies sort of wince when it’s the guys stuff, but not as much. I sort of like that they have to learn a little bit of human anatomy.

C: It’s also funny when you hear feedback from people about what they liked or didn’t like, you learn so much more about the person giving you the feedback. One person will say “How come there was hardly any sex this year?” And another person, same exact show, will say “Oh my god, there was so much more sex this year than last year.” (both laugh). And I looked over the ballots from last year and this year, and I think it’s about the same percentage of movies that have actual real sex in them, which is quite a lot of them. But it’s what do people think of as being “real sex.” For gay guys it will be “not enough gay sex this year” or for lesbians the same. Whatever somebody’s favorite thing is, there’s not enough.

I mean there are…things that you know you’re going to see, like Hillary Clinton and butt plugs and bowling pins.” -Carey Christie

K: Never enough!

C: And there was too much of some other thing that they didn’t really like. And you kind of know you’re doing it right when it’s that mixed of a feedback loop. “Not enough,” I don’t know, “furry porn this year.” It’s definitely an unusual adventure.

K: You’d think it would get old, I’ve seen every year, but it’s completely different every year. After that comedy year I thought “Well it’s just going to be comedy from here on out” but no, the next year there was lots more kink.

 

P: Is that a reaction to the previous years entries?

K: In the beginning I feel like they were reacting more. Then it evened out, I think now in year eight it’s just all over the map again.

C: I like to think people are just getting more inspired. And the technology to make a decent movie now, the barrier to enter is so much lower. You can make a really good porno on your iPhone.

K: My cousin made one on his iPhone. It was a parody of the “It Gets Better” project that Dan originally did. He was worried about submitting it. But he filmed the whole thing on his phone. The very first year we still got a few submission on VHS tapes, we had to transfer them over to digital. Now it’s mostly all digital.

C: I keep being impressed. I sort of dread when we’re about to have to watch everything the first time. I know I’m gonna see stuff that I’ll never get to un-see. We’re weeding things out, so there’s some stuff you’re going to be having nightmares about later. And a lot of the time, it’s not the sex stuff, it’s just the vibe that goes into it. It’s certainly not just carefree, light-spirited individuals who make stuff. But then I’m pleasantly surprised by a lot of the stuff we have in there.

P: Do either of you have a single favorite moment from HUMP!’s past or present?

K: I’ve talked with so many people over the years about what they should and shouldn’t do. And then one year I made one, but we didn’t put it on the ballot since I’m a staffer, but I just thought it would be funny. The Stranger owns a giant corn suit, where you’re an ear of corn. And my favorite moment was watching in the audience, thinking “oh good, here comes mine!” And it wasn’t going to win, it wasn’t votable, but it was a really funny moment to look around the theater and have everyone just not get it, and not like it. (both laughing)

C: What? That’s your favorite moment? “They totally don’t get it!”

K: They totally hate corn porn!

C: I guess you could have been on the ballot!

K: Right, no one would have voted… I mean there’s so many good moments, but that one was funny, just because it was humbling, as the maker and star of a film.

C: There are a lot of cool moments during the screenings. Last year, when it was our first time doing a show in Olympia, Dan was going to be there but had a family emergency at the last minute. So I got [writer and editor] Lindy West to come with me, again kind of last minute, and she did not know what she was supposed to say. But we had a script for her, and she’s quick on her feet. But the theater is so big, and the film before took an extra half hour to get out, and people are just sitting there and sitting there. So I said “Lindy, stall for time!” And we just basically ended up doing an improvised, very extended introduction of HUMP! that lasted like fifteen minutes. But it was really fun, the audience was in a great mood, it felt like a victory. It reminded me of something I believe about live events, which is part of why I got into this line of work in the first place, which is that you can assume that everybody who is in the room really wants to be there, and they really want it to be fun. Just start with that assumption, and be confident about it, and it will be. Part of it, I think, is that Olympia is just more laid back than Seattle. Probably nobody cared how long it was taking, or didn’t even notice.

 

P: What about worst moments? Do either of you have a single least favorite memory?

C: One of the hardest parts of my whole job is having to tell people they didn’t get into HUMP! because it feels so personal to them. A lot of work goes into it, and they only made it for HUMP! It’s not like they made this, and their like “oh well, too bad I didn’t get into HUMP! but I’ll just submit it to the other DIY porn festival that’s coming up this week.” One of my worst moments was when I told a filmmaker that he didn’t get in, and he got really angry about it and started yelling at me about it. That was rough.

K: One year we had a film, and we thought if they could just cut a minute out of a song then it would be a better program, more people could get in, get involved, and the festival would just be richer. I spoke to him on the phone and asked him to cut the minute and he got really really angry with me. And we ended up not being able to use it at all. It was a great film, but he just didn’t want to cut the music because it was custom made, but it didn’t really do anything. It was with credits at the end or something. So that was frustrating. But people work really hard on their films.

C: But we’re just trying to make it really good for the audience, that’s our job.

P: I notice you don’t have any Wednesday showings. Why no HUMP! on hump-day?

C: We actually did that last year in Oly! And we got a lot of people bitching about “how come when you come to Oly you come on a weekday, not on a weekend?” You just can’t win. We do it during the time where it’s comfortable for people to break off of their normal schedule and commit to coming to a DIY porn festival. As clever as Wednesdays sound, it doesn’t seem that people actually really want that.

 

P: That’s fair. What’s the one thing you want people in Olympia to know about HUMP! going in?

K: As a filmmaker, or as the audience?

P: Both?

C: There always are super clever ideas that feel like they’re taking a really long time. If they were a two minute entry, bam, they’d totally be in there. But at five or five and-a-half minutes we can’t include it.

K: That’s good advice. Every year there’s the time limit [five minutes] and people always make it right up to the time limit. But the shorter ones tend to do really well. They get the point across really quick, people tend to gravitate towards them. People forget that just because the limit is five, people don’t have to run it all the way to five.

C: Only make it as long as it needs to be, which is generally about half as long as you think it needs to be. Have a story. Make it fun. Make sure you have fun making it, because there’s no guarantees about what else happens. It has to be a good time.

K: Make it real. Pick a category and go for it. If you’re going to make it a comedy, really make it a comedy. And if you’re going to make it kinky, make it as kinky as you can come up with.

C: For the audience, just be open minded. Just remember why you’re there. Hopefully that’s because you want to see something different. It’s not a movie, it’s more of a live event. It’s a show. And just because you may be nervous, you can’t suddenly drink any harder or faster than you can the rest of the time, so there’s no need to get super wasted before HUMP!

K: You want to remember what you’re seeing.

C: And wear comfortable shoes, there will be a line to get in.

 

P: (to Kelly O) And you’ve been to every HUMP! right? So what’s the craziest thing you’ve seen not in a film?

C: Someone broke up in the stairwell last week.

K: Yep, someone broke up. I didn’t see, but we had to make a new rule this year.

C: Blowjob.

K: I didn’t actually see that, but I know that it happened.

C: There was an attempted BJ at a midnight screening.

K: First time ever in eight years. Maybe the funniest thing that I’ve seen, there’s a Youtube video of me interviewing people as they come out of the theater, and at the very end of the video is this cute little old man, walking so slow, taking the tiniest baby steps up this hill because he’s very old, and he said “what’s that line for? what’s going on in there? It looks like a lot of people are having fun.” And I did not know how to answer the guy, I just said “ah, some, ah, some films.”

C: You didn’t tell him?

K: I didn’t tell him, no!

C: I had an older lady show up on opening night this year, about five minutes before the show was going to start, and she was looking around, so I said “hi” and she said “hi, are there still tickets to the show?” and I said “yes, we have just a couple… You do know this is HUMP! right?” I was making an assumption based on her age that maybe she wasn’t really wanting to come and see HUMP! but she totally was. She walked out with a big smile on her face.

K: I should have probably told that little old guy.

C: Maybe. He might have decided it was his new favorite thing.

 

P: Anything you guys would particularly like to see for HUMP in the future? Specifically or just in general?

C: We were joking around with an idea, but I kind of wish we’d actually done this. Maybe next year’s special credit can be that you get extra points if you started making your film the night you saw the previous years’ HUMP! screening. We couldn’t figure out logistically how to prove that. Maybe take a copy of today’s paper or something and have it in the shot. So get started right away! And you don’t have to just send one film. A lot of people do multiple submissions. Hang out with the people who went to the screening. Learn some stuff about each other. And yourself.

K: Just more people having fun. The one’s I really really like are the ones where you can tell they’re having a real authentic experience making it, and having fun with sex. And being not ashamed of sex, like at all, or their body types, or anything. Their just having a ball with their friends. Making a film.

C: We’re trying to figure out a way to encourage this officially, like with the ballots or a new category, but I would like to see more artistic stuff. There’s a spoken word piece in a film this year. I would love to see more stuff like that happening, where people are taking the definition of porn and doing something that is highly original.

K: More conceptual.

C: Right, where they’re making a full commitment to a concept. That’s it. Be more you.

 

P: Perfect. Final thoughts?

C: Tell us what you thought!

K: And make a film!