Indiana Daily Student Logo

Telecommunications professor speaks about porn documentary


By Alexis Daily



Bryant Paul, an associate professor in IU’s Department of Telecommunication, is a co-producer of “Hot Girls Wanted,” a film that will premiere in the documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 22-Feb. 1.

The film examines the amateur porn industry through the story of a 19-year-old woman looking for instant fame, one of a steady stream of just-adult teens who enter the business.

IDS To start off, how did you get involved in this whole process?

Bryant Paul I have an affiliation with the Kinsey Institute and I’ve worked with Dr. Debby Herbenick, associate professor in the School of Public Health, a number of times, and what ended up happening was Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, the directors of the film, came onto campus to meet Debby and sit in on her Human Sexuality class. That day, she invited me to come in to talk about pornography and explicit sex in the media throughout the years. I met them, they showed me some clips from their former film, “Sexy Baby,” and they told me about this new film they were working on, and we just really hit it off.

IDS As a producer, what was your role specifically?

Paul I had a knowledge in an area they were studying and how the industry works, certainly the nature and effects of sexually explicit content online, so we talked to each other and they were interested in getting data to back up what they discovered in the film. They posed questions to me, and I found data about web traffic and that sort of thing.

I’ve done some specific research for them for the film. In fact, one of the first lines in the credits is a special thanks to the Kinsey Institute and me, which is pretty cool.

Additionally, we had two screenings of the movie where I invited students I knew would be interested in this sort of material. After, we would Skype with the directors and give comments about the film. It’s neat to have a small influence in what went into the film.

IDS What did they think of it?

Paul Everyone who has seen the film has said it has been good. It has changed enormously since the first time I watched it. The amount of effort I’ve put into this as compared to them is ridiculously small.

I cannot stress enough how great they are — smart, so fun, incredibly energetic and somehow objective through the whole process. They have a message, but don’t hit you over the head with a hammer with it.

IDS Are you going to Sundance with the rest of the producers and directors?

Paul Yes, it will actually be my first film festival, with the exception of a small one in Santa Barbara I went to awhile ago. It’s strange, I work in the Department of Telecommunications, and we have people who are constantly working on films. I’m just not one of them, or at least haven’t been. I love to do projects that take our research and expose them to the public. That’s something I feel like we should do more, extend facts and data beyond academia and bring them to the public’s attention.

The film follows a number of girls in the business, but not all of them are out and hate it. There are still people in this film that have adjusted to this lifestyle and like what they’re doing.

IDS Why do you think that is?

Paul I think they enjoy it. I think it’s a job and I think some people’s perspective on life and living and their outlook is such as they think it’s an enjoyable way to earn a living. They are comfortable with it.

I once spoke to Ron Jeremy, a man who has been in more sexually explicit films than any man ever, and you see him all the time in the industry. He said that the porn industry is not going to sort most people out. If you come in with a reasonable head on your shoulders wanting to make some money and only stay for a little while, then you’ll be fine.

However, if you come in with problems, psychological imbalances or drug issues, the industry won’t sort those out for you.

The film shows how rough the industry can be, but it also shows that there are individuals that are fine with that, function in that world and are not scared and broken. Not everyone is abused, and I think the film demonstrates that.

IDS What do you hope people learn from the film?

Paul I hope they learn that these are human beings, that the women and the men they interact with are real people and aren’t characters. The directors asked us at one point who we thought should see this film. I said anyone 18 and older, and everyone in the room said teenagers should see it, and that’s who should see it.

The online pornography industry has become the sexual education for most American kids. Yes, they get sex ed in class, if they do. Almost no kids get educated about what happens after the lights go down.

They know the mechanics, but not the positions and details. It would be hard to argue that at some level, they’re learning that from sexually explicit material.

The film has the ability to teach people about consent and open a discussion about what is constituted as an act of aggression. It shows what really goes into making these films.

Like what you are reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.



Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Indiana Daily Student.