Bree Mills, award-winning director and the Head of Gamma Films Entertainment, lets us in on the truth behind the glitter and glamour of adult film sets. With the help of producers, production assistants and various crew members, INKED peeks through the behind-the-scenes curtain to unveil all the questions you are too afraid to ask.
Photography by Bradley Meinz

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Gamma Films Entertainment, which produces adult content from studios including Girlsway, Pure Taboo and Burning Angel, is creating a new standard for what adult content can be. Bree Mills, the tattooed “brains” behind Girlsway and Pure Taboo, is prized with XBIZ’s Director of the Year and AVN’s Movie of the Year awards. But Mills is far from finished. She is revolutionizing the way we watch porn, through Adult Time—the Netflix-style subscription platform for adult series.

“Coming from a marketing and communication background with a personal love for film, writing and pop culture, ultimately my foray into porn—and later, actual production—has been a perfect marriage of all of my interests,” Mills said. Now established in the adult industry for 10 years, Mills’ first encounter with porn involved a gay movie featuring a massage seduction at a motel that her father had accidentally left in the VCR player. She says she had been innocently watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid the night before, and was shocked to discover that it was not the same VHS tape when she resumed watching the next morning. Mills was glued to the screen.

Married to former performer Sara Luvv, Mills’ typical day starts as VP of Content for Gamma, and transitions to loading her car up with various props and materials, where she heads to the location set as director.

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Lights, Camera, “Action!”

After briefing her Director of Photography and crew on how she envisions each sequence, Mills will begin, what she calls, “porn script theater,” once the talent is through with makeup and styling.

“This is my official way of kicking off the day,” Mills said. “I’ll read the story aloud and riff off it a bit, to explain my vision, any background or context, and discuss the characters with the actors.” This discussion includes who the characters are, how they got to this moment in time, and how they know each other. “Then, we’ll spend the next 8-12 hours shooting each sequence.” She adds, “They are long days, but so worth it in the end.”

While Mills was once petrified of making eye contact with anyone on her first set, for fear she would give the wrong impression, she now chats politics or the weather with the male talent, while he is getting a hard on.

Along with love and loyalty from cast and crew, Mills’ family is another incredible source of support. “My family is very open about what I do, and they have been since day one. They see the passion and hard work that goes into my projects and they are very supportive of my creative work,” she said. “They are always asking to watch my new trailers and are usually the first ones to share a press article with their friends. They are incredible.”

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Making Movie Magic

As a creator and producer, mise en scène is very important to Mills. “The frame composition, color theory, the way the characters and camera are going to interact within a sequence... I want my projects to be intelligent. Not just in the source material I write, but also in the cinematography, scoring and editing,” she said. “I’m all about making a good film that includes sex. But there is no separation between the story and the ‘sex scene.’ They should weave together seamlessly.”

Mills’ creative brilliance comes from a passion that is hard to ignore. “Everything I’ve done is a piece of me, and I’m proud of it,” she said. Her highlighted works in the last year include three of her series: “Future Darkly,” an adult sci-fi anthology series; “Girlcore,” an ‘80s lesbian pulp drama; and “Transfixed,” her girl-on-girl series featuring trans and cis women together. “I’d like to continue to challenge what adult content can be, from a creative and production perspective,” she said. “Let’s elevate the game and make porn worth paying for, by making great series and films that include sex.”

Wanting to usher in a new standard of porn, with high-quality, innovative, and out-of-the-box adult videos, Adulttime.com was conceived. This subscription service that Gamma launched this year features all of their content, and sums up Mills’ vision for what Gamma Film productions are all about. “Just because it’s an adult film doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a great film. We are disruptive, transgressive, sometimes a little controversial... but we are never boring,” Mills said. “We are ethical, sex-positive, and on a mission to de-stigmatize what adult content can be. We are not a porn site. We are a premium platform for everything adult, and one that our members will never want to cancel.”

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Confident that Adult Time will be Mills’ mark on the porn industry, she is dedicated to providing content that makes people get off and be equally excited for the next episode.

The consumers aren’t the only ones who are enthusiastic. Starting as a performer under the stage name Brock Slayden, production assistant for Gamma Films Daniel Caron says that Mills is “amazing at finding new ideas in that brain of hers.” Caron, who says the crew is “all a family,” adds, “Bree is hands-down one of the most creative geniuses I’ve ever met. She understands the porn business in ways nobody else does.”

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Photography by Bradley Meinz

The Crew’s Day In The Life

Caron has been working in the porn industry for a little under a year, and says his least favorite part of his job is “cleaning up cum and dildos, of course.” His day starts early, heading to storage for props, curating the female talents’ feminine kits — “a cute, hot pink lunch sack with everything they may need”— and setting up lights and various other requirements to get the set ready.

“Most people think it’s awesome, especially my guy friends and relatives,” Caron said. “But to be completely honest, some of us that have children like me want to protect them from what we do until they’re old enough to understand.”

Director and producer Craven Moorehead, who has been working in the porn industry since 1998, says family and friends responded well. “They loved it. The money, the women... I started getting invited to all the cool Hollywood A-list parties. It’s been a fucking blast.” For Moorehead’s first day on set, he was having sex with his girlfriend in front of 50 people. Today, he sits behind a monitor and quarterbacks the day. His more tame behind-the-scenes tasks includes paperwork and scanning 10K pieces of paper at the end of the month.

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Manny Bucks, production assistant and third camera, has been working in the porn industry for eight years. While he says he’s never watched porn before, being in this line of work has shown him different fetishes people actually have. Going from professional street dancer to his first day on set—which included holding a couch in place while it kept sliding around during the sex scene—he has proudly PA’d for the film “Half His Age,” which won Movie Of The Year for AVN and XBIZ. On the mundane truth to porn sets, Bucks says, “laundry is a big part of the day.”

For all of Gamma Films’ videos, Mills believes her purpose is a mission, not a job. One of her favorite career memories being the 48-hours straight she and her crew spent shooting “A Delicate Vice” for her Girlcore series. “A lot of our most successful projects were initially met with skepticism. So, I’m used to the naysayers,” Mills said. “I find that the biggest challenges are usually what motivate me to push harder.” The filmmaker and showrunner prides herself on what it takes to fill both of these roles. She highlights that her work is just like any other director’s, but it just “happens to be within the adult space.”

Smashing the Stereotypes

Despite the perks of getting to produce content for the World’s Favorite Pastime, there are still stigmas for those that work within the adult film sphere. Mills says the best way to beat them is by raising the bar on racy videos and producing “something that people watch for more than just a two-minute masturbation session.”

PA Bucks highlights that people often believe the performers are “uneducated” and “trashy.” “They think porn stars aren’t intelligent enough for anything else, when in reality, there are many people in the industry with degrees, and knowledge in so many things,” Bucks said. “You meet amazing people with great stories to tell. Never judge a book by its cover.” On the uneducated thought that pornstars are “dirty,” Bucks says, “They actually get tested bi-weekly... which is more often than people outside of porn.”

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Photography by Bradley Meinz

“I cannot get porn stars to have sex with you,” Daniel Caron stresses. “Porn girls are normal girls, not prostitutes. People assume these girls are some sort of sex addicts or machines. They’re human beings, professionals, and are normal women. Sure, some can be freakier than others, but that’s just like anyone else.”

Mills adds that people assume women are in this business because they are missing something; that they’ve been mistreated, abused or have low self-esteem. “Some of the strongest, most intelligent women I have ever met are performers,” she said. “There are stereotypes that men are aggressive, sexist and only interested in having sex, but the male talent I work with are smart, sensitive and respectful of their co-stars. They get just as excited about putting in a good performance as their female counterparts.”

The crew’s general consensus is that the best part of the job is the people they work with. “You meet more genuine people in porn than outside of it,” Bucks said. “They’re more understanding, and they don’t have any reason to judge you.”

“The girls have more of a say and take more of a stand than people think,” Craven Moorehead said. “Some of my favorite shoots are the ones where we let the female talent write the story.”

On how Gamma Films ensures safety — sexual and otherwise — of their performers, Mills says, “to work with Gamma Films as a representative, producer, or crew member, you are required to sign a strict code of conduct regarding how we work with our talent, on and off sets.” Gamma Films also has a formal on-set consent checklist and discussion process between their director and cast “to review boundaries, and provide a dedicated support contact to all cast members, to ensure a safe, anonymous way of contacting us in the event that anything takes place they wish to report.” The corporation has also recently become a sponsor of Pineapple Support, a non-profit that provides free mental health services to adult performers.

“Everyone on set—from PA, to director, to talent—is there to help the process go smoothly. It’s a job and we take what we do very seriously.” Bucks added, “Gamma runs a tight ship. Porn is in a better place now than maybe 10 or 20 years ago, and a lot of these performers can act and do more than just have sex. I’m glad that the world is slowly starting to see that.”

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Photography by Bradley Meinz

X-Rated Truths

The environment of a professional set is not, as Moorehead says, “run by creepy Harvey Weinstein-type fuckers.” In reality, they are like most work environments. PA Caron says one of the biggest challenges he faces in his career is learning the different likes and dislikes of the directors and DPs. “And, of course, learning to get along with everyone so the crew works like a well-oiled machine,” he said. “Even if you don’t see eye-to-eye with someone at the moment, it’s about getting the scene shot and doing your job.”

Moorehead—who also creates music videos for artists like Danzig, Hollywood Undead and Broken Hope—says that while “some people believe that girls just walk around naked, sucking everyone’s cocks and doing blow,” with having experience working in both types of studios, “porn is way more professional than the mainstream [sets].”

Bucks says, “People think you come in to have sex and leave, and when shooting it, it doesn’t take much” to make movie magic. “In reality, it’s a big process to make everything work,” he said. “The hard work and dedication I’ve seen from porn is amazing, and it just continues to grow.”

Caron adds, “When we are in crunch time or overtime, the set seems to get intense. It could be a gear issue, talent issue, or even a crew issue. Why you’re late doesn’t matter. You have to have tough skin when things get tense.”

So, have these behind-the-scenes employees incorporated anything they’ve seen on set into their own bedrooms? Moorehead says, “Maybe in my younger years I’d go home and try weird shit. But now I’m happily married and we have a great, very normal life.”

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Photography by Bradley Meinz

Caron says he’s “done everything” that he’s shot, “and then some.” He says he is a “superfreak and proud,” and adds, “I’m as taboo as it gets. That’s why I love working in the industry, because I get to be a part of the creation of some of these taboo scenes, and watch them come together into a finished product that I would see myself watching, even if I wasn’t crew.”

Bucks adds, “Baby wipes save lives.”

Aside from hearing moans of pleasure at the unconventional “office,” as opposed to groans from your boss, it’s clear that working on a professional adult film set is like any other job: the hours are gruelling, it takes creativity and passion to produce crème de la crème creations, and often, the hardest grunt work is done behind the scenes.

Still, those within the adult film industry say it’s a dream job.

“I’m here in Hollywood working with famous talent, legendary directors and creative geniuses making films,” Caron said. “I love my life really. I’m having fun, too, and can’t wait to grow and learn sound and camera, and make my way up to producer/director.”

Moorehead agrees that it’s an amazing line of work to be in. “It’s surreal. I wake up and realize I am making content and films for the world to enjoy.”