Behind the Scenes: Marty Stevens (and his dog Bielko)
Marty Stevens holds a unique position within BelAmi. He was one of George Duroy‘s first photographic models in 1991, and has worked with him continuously ever since as a cameraman and photographer. Marty is also the guardian of Bielko, the energetic and clever Jack Russell Terrier who has become the unofficial mascot of BelAmi (don’t tell Paris, the canine resident of our Hungarian office, or Lukas Ridgeston’s pup, either). Bielko has readily adapted to life on a film set and knows exactly when to curl up for a quiet nap when cameras are rolling. He greatly enjoys keeping our boys company and has taken it upon himself to lift everyone’s spirits during long production days.
Marty was one of George Duroy’s first models. After changing his name to Marty Stevens he worked as George’s second camera man, eventually becoming indispensible to the company by virtue of his talent, his reliability and his sense of humor. He directed the first story of “Souvenirs” (the one with Kristian Jensen) and directed or co-directed the “101 Men“, the “Personal Trainers” and “Boywatch” series of videos. Marty directed the hardcore movie “Puda: The Attic” (Forum Studios), more or less shot like a Bel Ami flick, but with a smaller budget. He is in charge of Bel Ami’s model search and casting department.
How did you first meet George Duroy?
A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to shoot a photo layout for an American studio. It was a little bit unusual and the first time I shot nude pictures. But it was fun for me. A new experience.
You had never done any modeling before?
No, nothing. Except for maybe a movie, a shot for a couple of seconds that played on television.[spoiler]
Tell us about what George Duroy was like then. This was even before BelAmi existed.
No, he was just a photographer. He had just one camera. It was funny because a whole group of friends shot for him, we all knew each other.
And you shot only a small amount of episodes, right?
We shot some (softcore-) movies, I believe. I was also in, I think, one of the scenes, a small episode in “Lukas’ Story 1” on the boat. That’s it.
When did you move behind the camera?
After a couple of years, I saw there was more opportunity as a cameraman. I didn’t really ask about it; George offered. I tried it, he was satisfied and I got offered more opportunities. After two or three years I knew about what George needed from me as a cameraman.
You’ve known George Duroy the longest of anyone at the company. Tell us a little bit about him then and now.
In the beginning, it was very hard. He wanted to oversee everything. Also, on the set he is a lion, and I am a lion, and sometimes we clashed. But the difference now is he trusts me and does not find it necessary to check up on everything. Also, it is not just a business for him. He wants to spend time with the guys, and they want to be with him. This has not changed from the beginning. He was very trusting, also, in the beginning. Now he understands better.
Can you define the BelAmi style of shooting?
It starts with the boys, selecting the boys. I would say the type of boys is the Bel Ami style. We move the camera a certain way, we have certain angles. And George looks around, he has new ideas about ways to film boys, and our style changes.
You shoot many duos, threeways, group scenes. Do you have a preference?
With the duos, the boys know exactly what to do and you can move the camera wherever you want. The group scene is very, very difficult. With so many boys together and so many positions, it is very difficult to shoot a correct episode. Sometimes it seems that everything is perfect, then in the photo you see, up in the corner, there is a boy doing nothing! It is frustrating.
You travel around the world for Bel Ami. Do you enjoy traveling?
It is the best part of our job. But also we stay in very nice hotels and visit perfect locations. The first time to Cape Town, South Africa we stayed in the bush for three days and were surrounded by animals at night. It was incredible, perfect. We wanted to shoot there but it was too expensive! It would have been perfect.
Do you have someplace you want to shoot and have not yet?
We have just shot in Hungary with Corbin Fisher boys. And the suggestion was made to go to Costa Rica. So perhaps that will happen.
How do you shoot a new model? What do you do?
It is not my job to prepare the model. That is something Luke Hamill would do, here in Bratislava, for example. This is an important part of the process for Bel Ami, the training. I have tried maybe two times in my life to shoot a boy who was completely new and it was not good. So I shoot them after they have had their training.
Do you give a lot of direction to the boys or do you prefer to leave them alone as much as possible?
There is a lot of direction, although shooting photos is very different from shooting an episode. I like creating illusions; it is all an illusion, so there is a lot of direction. It is very funny because sometimes I am giving direction in bed to my wife! I am telling her, “Hold it like this. Turn it this way.” And she will say to me just, “No. We are not on camera.”
At Bel Ami, everyone spends a lot of time together. Does that make it easier or more difficult to direct, when one or more of the boys are your friends?
It is easier. Brandon Manilow, for example, is my close friend. And he knows what to do, I know what to do. There is almost no direction when it is like this. It is very smooth and the camera just flies around them. It is very good.
After 18 years you’ve watched and filmed a lot of sex. That’s a lot of fucking! How do you keep up your interest?
All my life is one big fuck! [Laughs] I am now 36 and it has been 18 years, so I have been shooting porn all of my adult life. Sometimes, like I said, when I am having sex with my wife I give her direction [laughs] but my friends now all know what I do and they do not care about it. This is different from when I was younger. Now, I go home to my family and leave my thoughts about working here in the office.
That’s good to hear…
Yes, so when I am with my family and friends, I am not thinking about shooting. There are some times, when you have been shooting all the time in the same studio, that you wake up in the morning and think, “Oh, Jesus. What am I going to do?” [Laughs] But we are all friends here and the atmosphere is good. Sometimes, then, in the studio the lighting is good, the model is relaxed, and there is good energy around and then it is easy again.
Do you think about the wide audience you have at BelAmi?
I don’t think about this. If it’s 100 people or many more, I don’t think about that. It is the same in my personal life. If I do something, I want it to be perfect. It is not just about the sex; I want to be satisfied with myself. And to our customers, I hope that our work has helped people with their sexuality. I hope that our customers are satisfied.
Tell us about Bielko.
Bielko is like my brother, my child. He is my shadow. This is my first dog in my life and he wants to be with me all the time. He likes people and he wants to play all the time with somebody. But I have to be around someplace or he gets nervous. If he feels me around, then he is satisfied.
How old is Bielko now?
Three years and three months. So he is still young. He has learned certain words and knows when to be quiet on the set. He is all the time on the set and just goes to sleep. He is very clever and listens even when he is sleeping so he knows what I am doing and where I am going at all times; his ears are like antennas. He keeps everybody happy, especially with new boys who are nervous. Our customers know him now as well. They see him in documentaries. He is very happy as long as he is with me.
The writer of this blog is a huge fan of Marty Stevens and thinks he’s the best BelAmi photographer ever — after George Duroy of course! 😉 [/spoiler]