One of the wonderful things about working freelance is you get sporadic time off throughout the year. What was going to be a long weekend out on the West Coast snowboarding in Mammoth during gay ski week has turned out to be an extended stay in Los Angeles where I have nothing better to do than keep producing the ideas that have been rolling around in my head.
Two years ago I made a somewhat jarring, somewhat controversial (although I had no intention of it being so) advertisement that deals with second guessing the choices of your sex life when you find yourself at the STD/HIV clinic awaiting the results of your next test. The ad was both well-received as well as criticized for its level of "fear campaigning."
In the writing, producing and directing of the ad I never once sat down and said to myself, "Ok. How can I scare people?!" Never the case. Not once. I took an experience as a modern, sexually active, sexually positive gay male and translated it to film with the hopes of encouraging others to slow down, think before they act and take their sex lives seriously and responsibly.
"Don't let this be your second date" is more or less the tag line for the piece and that's simply all I meant. Know what you're doing comfortably and confidently and be in control of your sex life before you wind up in a testing chair uncertain of a test result which will set a new direction upon your life. If "fear" was a part of my being honest, then what can I do?
It's a situation I've been through, and it was scary as hell and I'm not going to tip-toe around that issue. I needed that feeling to encourage myself to learn from the past to be healthier in the future. If you want to call that a scare tactic or fear campaigning- so be it. It's simply a catalog from my honest gay life.
Now, with the power of YouTube and online viral videoing, I don't have to ask permission of anyone to make a certain ad, I don't have to go through the bureaucracies of distribution to air my piece, I don't have to use straight people or straight tactics to get at the core issues of gay life and the gay lifestyle, and I certainly don't intend on doing so.
So here I am. In Los Angeles about to begin production on my next ad and in pitching the idea to friends, activists, filmmakers and gay folk of all different ages and cultures I have received wonderful, positive and supportive encouragement as well as the dismissive "you don't know what you're talking about," "that's a scare tactic," "you're wrong," "Why bother?" and the always fist-clenching, but totally expected eye rolling.
The truth of the matter is - I'm just going to push on. I love gay men and I love gay sex. I love being gay and I love having sex. Never will it be an intention of mine to scare gay men out of having sex. I want gay men to have sex. I want gay men to enjoy sex and I want gay men to know that sex can exist in its most hottest and passionate forms when you feel as though you know what you're doing and are in control of what you're doing.
It will always be an intention to be as honest and forthright as possible and if fear comes into play while I try to translate certain realities of mine and maybe other's gay experience then all I can say is.... So be it.