Kay Brandt Interview: Director of the Baumgartners Series
The second installment of the Baumgartners saga, Adventures With The Baumgartners, is beautifully filmed in a dream location with super star couple, Mick Blue and Anikka Albrite. Based off of author Selena Kitt's bestselling book series and directed by award-winning powerhouse Kay Brandt, Adventures shows the continued growth between Doc and Mrs. Baumgartner as a sexual and happily married couple and introduces us to some new characters as well.
In Adventures With The Baumgartners, we meet two new couples that enjoy experimenting with open relationships and partner-swapping. The movie portrays these couples as having very happy and healthy attitudes towards non-monogamy. We asked Kay Brandt to tell us about her experience filming the series and her thoughts on non-traditional relationships.
No, I don't feel that way at all. A massive shift in consciousness and acceptance would have to take place in society first for polyamorous relationships to go mainstream, and I don't think we're even close to being there collectively. It's been how many decades for gay rights and the entire LGBQT movement to find true societal acceptance? There's too much religion dictating the importance of one-on-one, and there's safety in tradition. To be cool with the three adults living in the house next door, and not question or judge when seeing them openly loving each other on their front lawns requires a very evolved way of thinking and judging others, and we're just not there yet. And we may never be. That's why polyamorous relationships make great foundations for storytelling in both movies and books. It's a fantasy situation, and what so many people would want to do if given the freedom to at least explore it. When you think about it, having a third person in any situation where emotions are on the table and love is shared would probably drastically reduce the divorce rate. Especially if the three-way scenario's one male and two women. Women do better when there's a bestie close by to buffer moods, wants, and needs. It makes perfect sense to me.
What were the most important aspects of Doc and Mrs. B's non-monogamous relationship that you wanted to be exemplified onscreen?
Their love for each other. Selena created a deeply in love and very happy couple in Doc and Carrie. They were written as a loving, trusting husband and wife where the open boundaries feel like natural extensions of their love. There's a magical aspect to their love because Carrie feels entirely safe openly exploring her sexuality and passionate needs without worrying about how Doc will handle it. He's so super okay with it all, and constantly lets Carrie know she's his one and only, even when his dick's in another woman's pussy. That's where the magic in their relationship exists – both Doc and Carrie are getting their needs met and everyone is safe and happy. I feel like I captured that dynamic in the movie and so much of that honest translation from book to screen was due to Anikka and Mick being similar to the characters in real life.
You write about different types of relationships within the film. Open relationships, threesomes, and foursomes are shown in a loving and exciting way. What would you say is the main focus of your dialogue when you write about these characters navigating these types of sexual situations?
See, the thing is, it's not all my dialogue – it's Selena's. In Babysitting the Baumgartners, I literally transcribed the novel into script word for word. The dialogue spoken came directly from the book, which was written by Selena Kitt. Selena approved the script before I made the film, and I wanted it that way. I wanted her to be happy. We're talking about a novel that's sold millions of copies and put Selena on the map as an erotic novelist in a big way. I pulled as much content from the book as I could realistically film and kept the integrity of the original story. That was important to me because part of the intent in making a New York Times bestselling novel into an X-rated film was to connect with Selena's readership base. For so many of her dedicated readers, bringing the Baumgartners to life was like seeing a fantasy come true, and I didn't want to disappoint them. For Adventures though, the book was in process and in first-draft stage when I had to start writing the script. We'd decided that instead of filming the next book in the series, we'd create a brand new one. Creatively, Selena and I collaborated from start to finish with Adventures, which means together we decided how many sex scenes there should be (ten) and what they should be (boy/girl, BGG, BGGG, three GG, and more). I loved that we decided to make one of ten scenes between one male and three females because I'd never directed a scene like that before and I wanted the challenge. And a challenge it was, indeed. Four on a bed can sometimes look and feel like a game of Twister, and it's tough for the camera crew, too.
Is there a difference you have experienced when writing for a heterosexual storyline versus a lesbian-themed narrative? What is the most challenging aspect of writing about any relationship for you?
Depth of honesty and emotion are first and foremost for me, and that goes for farcical comedy, too, like what happened in the movies I wrote/directed for the Mother-Daughter Exchange Club series when I was working for Girlfriends Films. In my all-girl 2012 Cherry movies, there's a firestorm of emotions going on, and same for my boy-girl movie, Safe Landings. So, no, I haven't found a difference writing lesbian or hetero material. Love is love, sex is sex, and emotions are emotions. These aspects don't change due to sexual orientation. Not for me, anyway.
In Adventures, we see Sara Luvv's character, Ronnie, really take what she learned from the Baumgartners’ relationship and apply it to her own romantic life. However, Ronnie's love triangle between Vince and Gretchen gets somewhat entangled when Gretchen has jealous feelings over Ronnie’s other relationship. Do you have any advice on handling jealousy for couples in open relationships?
Oh my gosh, no, I don't have advice to give on jealousy. It's such a raw and common reaction that doesn't respond to rational thought or analysis. It's the bug that stirs within. But, my assessment on poly couples is that they aren't jealous people to begin with, therefore, it's not an issue. I think it would be tremendously difficult to be poly if you're someone who suffers with jealousy. Trust, like in traditional relationships, must be the strongest part between all involved. Without trust, you can't build a solid foundation for anything to work or grow.
How did you become involved with Adam & Eve?
I emailed them. Simple as that. And it took a few years before I made my first movie for them, Safe Landings.
In addition to your directorial role with Adam & Eve, you are a bestselling author of erotic fiction. What made you want to begin writing erotic literature and how did you begin presenting stage plays?
I'm a storyteller, so, it was natural for me to find a channel of expression other than writing screenplays. There were professional circumstances beyond my control that led to the transition from writing one format to another, and at the time I felt an overwhelming need to go "long form" and write manuscripts. And writing manuscripts as opposed to screenplays was very freeing creatively because I wasn't restricted by structure, and I mean the structural format used when writing for screen, not books. Screenplays are rigid formats where less is more usually. Books are the exact opposite. It was like a hurricane was let loose in my soul when I was writing my first manuscript, and story after story flew out. Now, several years after my first book was published, I'm amazed at all the content I've produced and grateful I had the opportunity to devote time to the art and craft of book writing. It was an important road to explore and shockingly, it brought me right back into movie making.
When I produced my first stage play, it didn't seem like a big undertaking, but it was. At the time, more and more writers and actors were producing their own plays, and so I thought I should too. This was before social media and YouTube and, as creatives, we had limited modes of showing off what our talents were if not cast in a movie or television show back in the 1990s. Too much creative downtime was the catalyst that spurred me to write plays and produce them. It was fairly inexpensive to do, and the results were mostly rewarding, and opened other doors for work. That's the name of the creative game, to keep work coming in.
You released your first horror novella, Soles, in 2016. What was different about writing horror as opposed to writing an erotic novel?
When I write erotica, the story leads to sex because the characters are in pursuit of it. Soles is about a young man's need to confront his demons. There's the main difference. But writing is writing. Really, writing sex is just about using select words to describe an act, and it's the same thing for writing horror, or any other genre. I had a story to tell, and it just happened to be Roland's (the lead character in Soles), and sex didn't fit into the overall tale. My next horror novel, Cutters is erotic, though, and will contain graphic sex as well as violence.
The World of Cherry book series has a ton of wonderful reviews and so many people have remarked upon the fictional world within the club as being incredibly realistic. The books translated so well into a film series. When writing erotic fiction, do you write with the intention of adapting the books into films?
I didn't adapt The World of Cherry books. The two Cherry movies came first. So, the movies translated well into books, which is probably a first for erotica as well as mainstream films.
You’ve adapted two of Selena Kitt’s novels for the screen. Not only did you adapt Babysitting the Baumgartners, but previous to that release you filmed Safe Landings. How were you first introduced to Selena Kitt and her work?
Selena owns an indie publishing company, Excessica. When I'd completed my first manuscript, I sent query letters to publishers, received a few rejections, and a few invites. Selena's invitation to publish through Excessica was the offer I picked and I'm so glad I did. It was truly meant to be. Making her books into films was the furthest thing from my mind at the time. I'd done research on Excessica and Selena, and was impressed by what I discovered about her and her businesses. Excessica has a good rep in erotica, and that's important when it comes to attracting avid readers who want quality, and then add in Selena's popularity – joining up with her was a no-brainer.
What about the Baumgartners characters appealed to you when you first read Selena Kitt’s book?
They were real yet living in a wonderful fantasy. They were sexual, passionate, and loving. What's not to like?
After the overwhelming success of the first Baumgartners film, what made you want to continue the Baumgartners’ story?
Um, the overwhelming success – that's why. And the fact that there are more books in the series as well as other potential ways to continue the story in new directions, like what we did with Adventures. And perhaps creating movies based on subplot characters, like Daphne and Ari played by Edyn Blair and Derrick Pierce. We touched a nerve by bringing such a beloved book to screen, and turned on a new fanbase – book readers as opposed to movie watchers. There's plenty of fresh ideas for us to explore by continuing the series.
Critics and audiences were blown away at the concept of Forked. Combining a cooking reality show with porn stars, and having them cook their own personal recipes has never been done before. And we certainly learned a lot from watching Dick Chibbles in the kitchen. Forked won at XBIZ and AVN this year, in addition to receiving two XCritic Pick titles. AVN just announced Forked as their critic’s pick and is featured in this month’s publication. What was your inspiration for the porn/reality cooking show concept?
My inspiration was to do something completely fresh and new, to experiment, and to prove movies like Forked are needed and wanted. There's an undeniable curiosity about adult stars, hence the popularity of performers on Twitter. And I wanted to celebrate another side of adult – the human side – where performers reveal more about themselves because, to me, that's interesting. It's almost taboo watching adult stars just be who they are, without the heavy facade of only being sexual creatures, and that turns me on. And that two-day shoot making Forked was the toughest one I've ever done because so much work went into it. It took me four days just to buy all the groceries before we filmed! There was so much magic on set and the cast was so happy to be cooking AND having sex. They loved having the opportunity to be so candid and have fun together, not simply fuck. They actually "thank" each other on camera – when does that happen in porn?
Do you plan to do any more reality-based movies in the future?
I would love to! I have a couple of ideas for different reality-type shows. And of course, I'd absolutely LOVE to make more Forked movies.
Do you have plans to make a third Baumgartners movie?
Selena and I are prepped to make more, as in, we have good ideas about where to take future installments if Adam & Eve wants to continue with the series.
What are the upcoming projects from Kay Brandt that we can look forward to?
In May I'll be filming a new movie based on my upcoming novel, Naked. I don't want to give too much away yet, but Naked is a very original concept and I'm looking forward to the challenge of adapting one of my own novels again.
I also have more books coming out this year, including the sequel to my first BDSM book, At Mother's Command. A few weeks ago my novelette, "Hotwives and their Dirty Desires" was published and is selling strongly. I'll be guesting on more radio shows and podcasts as well as updating my own YouTube channel.
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