The InsiderOne Daily Report

  Wednesday, February 21, 2001

The Porn Flick

InsiderOne's Michael Goldberg writes: I was 19, in my sophomore year at U.C. Santa Cruz, when I decided I was going to make films. The first was a film class project, shot in black and white using a Super 8 camera (this being the early '70s, before consumer video cameras existed). It was a film-noir take-off called "The Great Donut Robbery." A young woman and I — she was also in the film class — co-wrote and co-directed. We also co-starred. The film began with some moody night shots, filmed from a moving car — the neon signs of Santa Cruz bars and a pool hall. I was the cinematographer, too. Backed by the Doors' "Riders on the Storm" (my choice for the initial music), my co-star and I pulled up in front of the donut shop. Through the storefront window you could see that this was the most jumpin' spot in town. It was a real scene: Floyd Dixon's "Hey Bartender" (courtesy of my buddy Jim Cushing) was on the jukebox, and people were dancing like crazy. Everyone was dressed in retro thrift-shop gear, fedoras and baggy suits. At the film's climax, we pulled off the heist, tossing trays of donuts into a suitcase, and took off into the night to the tune of the Rolling Stones' "Moonlight Mile." It was supposed to be kinda funny and arty and moody. We certainly thought it was. Of course, when I showed it to my wife years later, her only comment was "Kinda dark. It's hard to see what's going on." My second film was going to be a takeoff of French New Wave cinema, films like Eric Rohmer's "Claire's Knee." We shot some of that one, but never finished it. It took place in an empty classroom. The plot: a girl is sitting at a desk, and then she gets up and leaves the room. That was it. Like I said, kinda like "Claire's Knee." The reason we didn't finish Film #2 was because we suddenly had a "big idea." I can't remember exactly when the "big idea" hit, although I seem to recall a late-night brainstorming session, possibly fueled by booze (fruit flavored brandy was a college favorite), an illegal substance, or both. We were going to get into the porn business. We would make a porn flick, then charge students admission. Since the film would star a couple of students, there would be a natural audience — people who would pay to see a film of people they actually knew having sex. We would then use our profits to finance some of our less sensational movie ideas. True, none of us had ever seen a porn movie, but that didn't stop us for even a moment. This would be easy. We'd have a throwaway plot, just like in the real porn movies we'd read about — an excuse to get to the action: hitchhiking girl gets picked up by a longhaired guy who lures her to his dorm room, slips some kind of drug into her drink... and away they go. We actually filmed the movie. It was very explicit. There was nothing sexy about it, though. I remember us — my female co-director, her female roommate, our "stars" and I in one of their dorm rooms, shooting footage of the "actors" in bed, from every conceivable angle. Our male lead was a guy named Don; his girlfriend (I don't remember her name) was an African-American woman. (Still in the afterglow of the '60s, we didn't even consider that the racial element in our little epic added some potential high-octane controversy to what was already not exactly a college-sanctioned project.) We completed an edit of the film, but then one of our stars got queasy. The film was never shown, which was a good thing. Let's just say that "The Great Donut Robbery" remains the high point of my movie-making career. After all, getting thrown out of college for making a porn flick was never part of the plan.

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Michael Goldberg is the president of He founded Addicted To Noise in 1994.

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