Courtney Trouble and I didn’t mean to have a drunken online chat; it just happened. I’d been meaning to email her my traditional interview questions and receive tidy paragraphs in response, but fuck that — this was a lot more fun. And informative.
Epiphora: how do things change when you go from behind the camera to in front of it? do you keep thinking about camera angles?
Courtney: when i get in front of the camera, filmmaking doesn’t exist. as a performer, i am completely devoted to creating more space for fat girls, and queer femmes. that visibility, and the sexual gratification of myself and my partner, are all i ever think about.
Courtney: performing also re-vitalizes the whole “why i’m making porn” factor for me — it’s so fucking exhilarating, i can’t help but hope that the people i direct get the same satisfaction from fucking on screen as i do.
Epiphora: do you think we will start seeing more indie queer porn soon?
Courtney: i just don’t know honestly. i do know that good releasing is looking for more indie directors. they are really so awesome, producing films from people like eon mckai, kimberly kane, and dave naz, but also giving funding to people like me who have never been able to afford to make my ideas become realities. and they are hosting this contest, “emerging feminst pornographer award,” for indie artists with porn ideas and no funding. it’s kind of the most brilliant and community focused idea ever
Epiphora: i saw that. i hope they get some amazing entries
Courtney: i wish there were more queer directors, i wish this was part of the porn industry, i wish people understood us — and the only way that queer sex could be recognized in the mainstream world is if there were more people. before shine came along, there was just me, and i felt so alone, and i think me and shine both wish that there were just MORE PEOPLE MAKING QUEER PORN.
Epiphora: i agree. i think more people would be able to get into porn, and it wouldn’t be the big hullabaloo it still is
Courtney: totally. and there are people completely obsessed with me and shine — both of us have changed lives from the bottom up… but what that says to me is that it’s time for more. if queer porn is ever going to get anywhere, we need more people making it, and adding to the definition of queer with their own work.
Epiphora: yep. when people see people like themselves in porn, they get very excited
Courtney: do you feel that way about our movies?
Epiphora: i have always felt strange in that, while i hate fake boobs and bleached blondes, i like seeing society’s version of “hot” women in porn. but when i see a fat girl in porn, i feel really happy.
Courtney: i know that shine and i have totally different goals with our work — her films are rare and brilliant, mine are often and transparent/honest… but together… hot damn
Courtney: i like seeing “hot girls” in porn too
Epiphora: have you seen belladonna’s strapped dykes yet?
Courtney: um yeah
Epiphora: i like, died.
Courtney: well jiz and syd are my friends so i don’t usually jerk off to them
Epiphora: hahaha. yeah, is that awkward?
Courtney: but you can print this, i TOTALLY for the first time in queer porn history jerked off to that movie… jiz and belladonna just did it for me.
Courtney: haha yeah TOTALLY awkward. jiz is one of my best friends and muses, i should NOT be jerking off to her porn. but i did for that one. OOOPPSS
Epiphora: hahaha. well i win, i jerked off to ALL OF IT
Courtney: hahah i know, belladonna and queer porn is a match made in heaven. she could kick our fucking asses. belladonna is my role model. business-wise. she’s my idol
Courtney: she’s the one woman in porn that i truly look up to. she’s a bonafide porn star that makes a damn good living producing, directing, and starring in movies that SHE thinks are hot
Courtney: when i met her last week at avn she was very like, non-pornish, very family-oriented, very happy to be hanging out with her friends and boyfriend. and she also ignored her autograph-line to hug me, dylan and jiz… that’s incredible. the most amazing woman in porn, loving us queerions.
Epiphora: you should seriously collaborate. like tomorrow
Courtney: i don’t even know if i could stand up straight if that were to happen. she’s seriously the ONLY person i look up to in this industry, she’s made a living out of making girls-fucking-girls look REAL and SEXY and MARKETABLE without seeming cheesy or you know, girl/girl style… damn she’s just fucking incredible. i hope to be her in 5 years. she owns TWO companies. WTF? and is still so normal and sweet. dear lord.
Courtney: do my movies make more sense after having a drunk chat with me?
Courtney: yay! i’m so glad. i do worry that people just won’t get it, and if i only had the chance to explain… you know?
Epiphora: yeah, i know the feeling
Courtney: i almost feel like watching john waters‘s films or looking at ellen von unwerth‘s photos is almost like a prerequisite for understanding the language i’m speaking in, i mean, with the weird milk and fisting and et cetera… i don’t know. whether people get it or not, or get off to it or not, at least at the end of the day i know i’m making something totally different and real, and that makes me fucking proud as all hell. amen.
Epiphora: that’s what’s important. and everyone has different tastes anyway
Epiphora: personally, i hate (okay dislike) music in porn, so i grappled with that
Epiphora: and i’m actually not sure if your musical selections/editing got better, or if i got used to it. but i am feeling better about it now
Courtney: oh totally. i’m a total “underground” music slut and a band geek, so i do make music and find music for my films… but think you’ll find that bordello, and everything after that, will have more music-during-the-breaks
Epiphora: yeah. i totally dig that. i just want to hear moaning during the scenes as much as possible
Courtney: and the bordello soundtrack is fucking kick-ass, and does NOT interfere with the sex. it’s like sonic youth is playing somewhere waaaaay back in the background.
Courtney: it all ties in to me actually LEARNING how to make films in the past year
Courtney: i think that putting queer bands and queer musicians, and underground people who are trying to make a statement just like i am, in my films, is a blessing and a curse at the same time. at once i am nominated by the mainstream world for being one of the best when it comes to scoring my tracks, and at the same time, i have to make sure the sex is priority for those (99.9%) who want to just jerk off without questioning the soundtrack.
Epiphora: yeah, very true
Courtney: but i’ve always thought of my “art” as being equal with queer musicians and bands. we just want visibility, and if i can get funding from good vibes to make my films, it’s only fair that i acknowledge the musical, basement-rock-show side of me that inspired my porn to begin with.
Epiphora: that’s why i feel so bad criticizing the music, ’cause i totally get why you put it in there
Courtney: i know, you can criticize it all you want honey!
Epiphora: how do you match music to a scene?
Courtney: instinct. emotion. i edit my own films and score them based on pure emotion.
Epiphora: so the scenes come first generally
Courtney: the scenes always come first
Courtney: and then i find the right song to match. there’s some filler in my earlier releases, but i think you’ll find in roulette dirty south, roulette berlin, bordello, and my future releases that it’s much more selective, and purely emotional.
Continued in part 3!