Film studios are a frequent stop for the typical Los Angeles tourist – and the really lucky ones sometimes get a brief glimpse of their favorite star making a movie.
Technically, things aren’t vastly different for the folks who book their trips through Porn Week – though these vacationers catch a whole lot more than a quick glimpse of the actors. Instead, they’re on the set of a porn film – watching, helping behind the scenes or (if they’re brave enough) perhaps joining the cast themselves.
It’s Fantasyland, to be sure – but Mickey and Donald are nowhere in sight.
A porn-themed vacation is hardly everyday, but it’s not as far from the mainstream as you might think. In fact, the U.K.’s Bravo television network has aired a reality show centered around the Porn Week travel company for more than four seasons.
“We’re a traveling circus that follows larger budget porn productions around,” says Gary
Gazzman, executive producer on the show.
Of course, there are still a few stigmas that go along with porn. Gazzman is an alias. He declined to give his real surname, as he also does work in the traditional film field and is afraid his work with Porn Week (both the company and the show) could affect his reputation.
The vacation industry is the latest business segment to discover the drawing power of porn. While Porn Week’s organized visits to the production sets of Harmony Films’ shoots is a unique product, it’s not uncommon for adult-themed resorts to bring in actors and actresses from porn films to their properties as an added draw.
“Whenever we have adult performers here, it’s really just to put a little more edge into the property,” says Kevin Levee, general manager of Superclubs’ Hedonism II resort. “It’s just really to have something a little different – but we … don’t consider ourselves to be in the adult entertainment business.”
Fetish model Bianca Beauchamp was one of the adult stars to visit Hedonism this year. She also posed for several photo shoots during her nine-day visit to the property.
YOLO Cruises, which charters a Carnival cruise ship for swingers each year, recruited its own porn star as well, bringing AVN hall of fame performer Taylor Wane on this year’s trip.
While couples tend to hit the resorts, single men make up the majority of Porn Week’s customers – but the financial demographics might surprise you. At roughly $2,000 per trip, the vacations aren’t for the cash poor. And the sets are as likely to be to Prague or Budapest as they are to LA, which boosts airfare costs (which aren’t included in the package). This, says organizers, helps weed out the riff-raff.
“We don’t tend to get the raincoat brigade,” says Gazzman. “We’ve had everyone from airplane pilots to doctors to dentists. … Because of the price point of the business, it attracts a certain level of client. There aren’t many yahoos who turn up on our trips. We can have a fairly sophisticated experience – with glasses of wine on sets and watching the porn happening while people are relaxing and kicking back.”
Porn Week, like most businesses in the adult entertainment industry, doesn’t discuss revenue numbers. It does, though, have a multi-tiered revenue model. Beyond what patrons pay for the trip and income generated from the reality show, the company also has a distribution deal with porn film distributor Shane’s World Studios to sell DVDs and operates its own subscription Website.
A handful of the Porn Week customers have come with the proper blood and STD tests in hand to make the leap onscreen. Gazzman says the company has given a start to “four or five” actors – along with one actress, who appeared in a few films before deciding she would rather work in the office of a porn company instead.
Most clients, though, are more than happy to watch – and, like any good tourist, take plenty of pictures
“You forget how amazing it can be to see people actually having live sex in front of your eyes,” says Gazzman. “It’s not an everyday experience for the general population – especially when you have a live group sex scene.”