Maestro Claudio - The Man Behind the Gonzo Lens
I sent some questions to Maestro Claudio to see what one of the long time, respected, industry veterans had to say, and who he is. It took him a bit to get answers back to me, as he had a full schedule, and he had some surgery in the middle of it! Trooper that he is, he did provide some in-depth and awesome answers to my questions, let's check them out! Turns out he's a pretty humble guy that just happens to be really great at what he does!
1. Your twitter bio lists the following occupations and hobbies: Engineer, airplane pilot, stock trader, adult actor/producer, alpine
skier. I noticed director isn't currently listed, which is what many of us in the industry think of you as these days. Can you give us some background details on each of those listings? What kind of engineer? Which aircraft are you certified for? Things of that nature.
In adult movies the use of the word "director" most of the times makes me laugh. In my opinion it can be used in those cases when the movie is a feature, but in the case of a gonzo movie, which is what I shoot, who is the director? In the majority of the cases the cameramen is the director, with a great deal of help from the male performer (and sometimes the female too), if this is a good one.
People may say the director is also in charge of the casting, the initial dialogue, the outfits of the girls and things like those. I don't do that, I have people who do that for me, I just supervise and approve and I don't want to assume the merit for that.
What I care the most is the visual aspect of the sexual act and what I do is to concentrate all my energy on trying to depict it in the most realistic and effective way, with a careful use of the light and camera angles, making all the efforts to offer the most vivid and impressive image to the viewer.
Under this perspective I consider myself a director of photography/cameramen, but it was too complicated and long to fit that on my Twitter bio, this is why I decided to use the terms actor/producer (because I am both).
It may be just a matter of semantics, but I don't like the word "director" for gonzo porn and especially in my case, however you can call me director if you like it better.
I have a master degree in mining engineering and I was working as a free lance engineer in Italy until I decided to come to the US.
In Italy I had a private pilot license and I came here to get all the other licenses: commercial, multiengine and instrument. I got them all, but my secret dream was to be a porn actor and, as it always happens when someone firmly want something, this is what I became.
I still have my licenses, but I haven't flown in more than ten years. The last time it was to bring a crew of German pornographers to Mojave Airport, where we shot the whole day.
When I became too busy between performing and shooting, I decided it was safer to stop flying, since I couldn't dedicate much time to that activity anymore. I still hope one day I'll do it again, maybe with helicopters, an activity I've never tried.
When I was flying, I used to do that with a Piper Seneca, a six seater twin engine, and with it I visited most of the National Parks of the West.
An interesting story to tell is that one time, together with a very experienced pilot friend of mine, I brought a Piper Comanche, a small four seater twin engine, from Rome Italy to Tulsa Oklahoma and that for sure was an interesting experience.
The Stock Market is more of a hobby for me than a real job, but now and then I'm able to make some money too.
Skiing is my favorite sport and I've practiced it since I was a little kid, for that reason I own a second home in Mammoth Lakes, a beautiful place in the Eastern Sierra. I try to be there as much as I can, both in Winter and in Summer.
2. Your performer credits at IAFD start in the mid-90's and are still going. That's not a bad run, Sir! Five years after that is when the IAFD has you moving behind the lens in addition to being in front of
it. That is a somewhat common occurrence even in mainstream media but there's always a backstory. Will you tell us yours? Was it for more creative control, or a desire to get hands on in a totally different way than in front of the camera?
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Sorry if I disappoint you, but my backstory is very simple. I was perfectly aware that you cannot be a porn actor forever and also I needed another source of income, I've always had a kind of an expensive life.
Since I was young I've had the hobby of photography and I consider myself a good photographer, for this reason and helped by my scientific and technical education, the transition from still photography to video was seamless and effortless. Now I do both, stills and video.
During the years of course the performing career was taken over by the shooting career, nowadays I still perform once in a while, but only for fun.
3. You currently have two labels under the Evil Angel umbrella that I'm familiar with, Perv City and BAM Visions. The former is a collaboration with Mick Blue and his wife Annika Albrite, and the
latter is all You. Is that correct? Attentive viewers with an eye for detail might have noticed that the BAM Visions titles list both You and Mick as directors, while Perv City titles usually don't credit a
director. Why not stamp your name on them?
The description of Perv City and BAM Visions made by you is totally correct. I only have to specify that I have a partner in Perv City too, an IT guy who created the website and is in charge of everything connected to the on line aspects of the business.
I believe I extensively explained the reason for the directorial credit to Perv City in my answer to your first question. I simply don't want to deprive my assistants of their merits, a Perv City scene is the result of a team effort, the Perv City production team.
I absolutely need to mention that my wife Tiziana has a vital role in the whole operation, besides being the chief editor, she manages all our companies, assists with any critical decision and especially takes great care of me.
4. Please tell the techies and budding videographers of the world what's in your camera and gear bags these days and why. You're noted for shooting really up close and personal, often in what I call the "splash zone" due to the nature of many of your titles. What keeps the camera safe in those instances?
I believe in simplicity and with my shooting style I need a compact camera, for this reason I use a Sony NX70U with a 0.75 wide angle adapter, which roughly gives me the 35mm correspondent of a 20mm lens.
I don't like to change often my equipment and when I'm satisfied with what I use, I keep it until it breaks or a new camera using a really innovative technology becomes available.
Regarding shooting in the "splash zone", my camera is dust and water resistant, so I'm safe.
5. Your movements with a camera seem to be some of the most fluid in the business when compared to others that shoot in similar genres. While some directors film scenes with mutliple cameras on set, you seem to rely on the one you are carrying and just make sure you're in the right spot at the right time. How much effort did it take to master that? Do you discuss a plan with the performers beforehand so that they have an idea which way to be facing, or is it all one big
happy accident that it turns out great?
The smoothness and fluidity of my camera movements are mainly due to the fact that I dedicate all my attention to the shooting action, at the point that I'm only aware of what my camera is filming and totally unaware of everything else surrounding me.
I can't say that mastering my shooting skills took me a lot of effort, it came very natural to me, but the effort I put in properly shooting a scene is remarkable and this becomes evident when you look at the BTS pics I post on Twitter, in which many times it's clearly visible that I'm drenched of sweat.
I don't detail a specific plan with the performers, but before the scene I clearly explain them what I want and I tell them that I'll keep shooting until I won't like something, at that point I'll stop the action, make the due adjustments, give the proper directions and then I'll start shooting again.
Most of the times I work with male performers that know me very well and know what I want, they are usually perfectly able to carry on the action even with the most inexperienced of the girls and they can give me a scene with a very limited number of cuts.
I believe that cuts deprive the action of fluidity and I always aim to cut as little as I can. The ideal scene for me is a scene with no cuts, unfortunately very rarely this is possible.
6. Discuss a typical day and night in "The Maestro's" life. Those fans who follow you on twitter might get the impression that you pick up a camera first thing in the morning, shoot a bunch of film of hot girls getting nailed, and then seemingly hours later you're on a vacation at some random world location. I assume being a pilot plays a role at times like that! But, is that a normal schedule for you?
There is nothing special in a typical Maestro's day. Most of the times I shoot one or two scenes in a day and when I don't shoot I do picture selections, I prepare the elements for the box covers, I check the stock market and I spend a lot of time on Twitter. In the evening I make myself a cocktail, usually a Negroni, I have dinner with my wife and I watch the news on MSNBC and CNN, but since I'm a little masochist and I like to suffer, sometimes I watch Fox News too.
Every time I don't work for a few days in a row, I go to my place in Mammoth Lakes to relax and recharge, skiing in Winter and hiking in Summer.
As I said before, I haven't flown in a while, but I'm still a pilot and will be forever.
7. You were born in Italy and somehow ended up working in Porn Valley. Let us in on how that came to be.
I believed I already somehow answered to this question in point 1. of this interview, but I can add that I was bored and tired of the life I was experiencing in Italy and I needed to try new stimuli and experiences, this is the reason why I came to the US.
The transition to porn was the natural consequence to the fact that I've eagerly wanted to be a porn actor for all my life. Since thought is spiritual energy, which has the power to bring about the circumstances leading to the fulfillment of its object, this is exactly what happened.
8. Which channel gets the most viewing on your TV at home?
As I said before, I watch mostly the news channels.
9. Do you prefer a manual or automatic transmission in your car?
I prefer to drive a car that has an automatic transmission, but the option to change to a manual transmission with the gear shifter on the steering wheel.
10. Which item(s) in your life can't you live without and why?
My iPhone and iPad, because they are basically portable computer and I can carry them everywhere I want, work or entertain myself and I always find a use for them.
11. What's your favorite restaurant and do you have a "usual dish" when you go there?
It's Toscanova in Calabasas and I don't have a "usual dish" there. I know there must be a better restaurant in the whole L.A., but this one for sure is the best one not too far from where I live and I also know the managers, the chef and some of the waiters.
12. With the year already a quarter over, have you accomplished the goals you wanted to in 2017, or do you have your mind set on something down the road?
I'm not even cose to accomplish my goals for this year, but there is still a long time to go. By the way my goals are always so ambitious that rarely I'm able to accomplish them in a predetermined period of time, but if I really care about them, I usually don't give up until I reach them.
Bonus Question: What's your favorite theme park and why?
I don't go to theme parks, but if there were sex theme parks, I can assure you I would be one of their most frequent visitors.
With the questions out of the way, let the fans know about what Perv City and BAM Visions have in store for them soon, and the best ways to reach out to you with suggestions and ideas for scenes and/or talent.
What we have in store is always a secret, but I can reassure the fans that we always listen to their suggestions and they will never be disappointed with us, the content we'll be providing to them will always be of the highest quality.
I'm not very fond of answering to post on Adult DVD Talk, so the best way to reach me is on Twitter @MaestroClaudio, which is the only social media I use. I always reply to my followers, if you're not one of them, you'd better be.
Note: Claudio, like most of my interviewees, mentioned I could edit this to correct for grammar. I don't like to do that. I think his grammar is just fine and I left it alone. Trust me, I hear far worse every day!