Ahead of their re-launch, we caught up with Neal, the brains behind The Custard Covered Girls.
Hi Neal, thanks for taking the time to chat to us. How are you today?
Very well thank you. I’ve finally found a couple of models for our first comeback shoots so really excited!
First of all - Do you know how Devon makes it so creamy?
Not a clue! I don’t think they are about to let me in on their secret any time soon either!
You run a very excellent site called Custard Covered Girls. Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea and how you put it in to practice? Have you come across any major difficulties along the way?
Well I’d been thinking about doing some of my own stuff for a while and one day decided to bite the bullet. I struggled though finding models at first before I found the website of a local agency and emailed them. They liked the idea and soon I had a number of models interested in doing it. I shot my first video with Natalie, and we were away! The custard slant came about purely through the agency hooking on to the custard part of my introductory email. They even advertised the shoots as ‘Custard Shoots’. I went with it as there were not many sites purely based on one substance or another, so I figured it would give us a niche market.
There have been difficulties. I don’t have my own studio so I’ve been using my family home for shoots, and none of them know I do this, so I have to make sure they are all out of the house for at least 2 hours so I can do a shoot. I actually stopped making videos for several months because I was beginning to arouse suspicion. I also don’t earn much so I have to limit the number of shoots I do to about one or two a month.
I remember when you first posted on ECGunge that you had 20 odd girls and people had to vote for who they wanted to see messy all the way to a final. Personally, I thought it was a bit of a wind up, another one of those “Vote for which girl gets gunged that never actually happens” type things. Thankfully I was proved very wrong, but did you experience a lot of negativity when you first announced the idea.
To be honest, people were actually quite responsive to the idea. I’m sure there were certain people who thought it wouldn’t work, but I never heard from them. I wanted to find a presenter for my videos and decided it would be great to get a number of girls together and do an interview so people could see what the girls were like and give them a chance to vote for the winner. I’m a big believer in giving viewers a say and a choice in who we film with and what we film and the competition was part of that. As it turns out, money constraints mean we haven’t seen as much of winner Carly as much as I’d like, but I hope we will be able to get her in again in the future.
I like the fact that you way you run the site is very DIY, but it looks like you still work with paid models (is that the case?) How do you get them involved? Have you ever asked girls you know to be involved?
The setup is quite amateur but we do pay the models. Often I will view a model’s profile on the agency site and then either obtain details direct from the agency or I’ll message them myself. Sometimes I get interested girls to text me directly. I think if a model contacts you first, it shows they are interested and very unlikely to let you down. I am also completely honest with the girls about what the shoot involves and where it will be posted, so there are no hidden surprises for them. We even agree the theme of the shoot before the model gets there, so they are comfortable with what’s going on.
I have asked a few girls I know personally, but apart from a couple showing brief early interest, none have actually taken part.
From the videos I’ve seen, none of the models seem to enjoy the fact that they’re getting messy. Have there been any who have really got into the spirit of things and had a good time?
I can assure you that’s not the case. Almost all the models have come away saying they enjoyed it off-camera. One girl even said it was her favourite shoot to date! Most of the girls have been excellent and plenty want to come back for more after we’ve finished.
Have any of your guests tried to get their revenge and get you messy when the camera is off?
No they haven’t, and they better not start either!
Do you have a particular favourite model that you like to see messy? (one you’ve worked with)
I can’t say I do to be honest. All of them do a good job and I do want to bring a few more old girls back in the future, so stay tuned!
I loved the fact that you did a couple of episodes with a gunge tank. Can you tell us a little about how that came about?
Well I decided late 2010 that I wanted to do a gunge tank special. Then Big Dave from Gunge Tank Girls got in touch and offered us the use of his tank. I couldn’t have asked for a better tank! We then let people vote for the 8 girls taking part, but it all went a bit awry as half of the girls selected pulled out, and one didn’t even turn up on the day. Fortunately, I made contact with a local model in the South-West area and she found me a load of models, including herself. The day went really well and the clips are some of our best-selling to date. Dave is a great producer and a superb host for the day. We will hopefully be doing another one in early 2012 but I’ll keep you posted!
Have you ever experimented with different types of custard like chocolate flavour?
I haven’t yet, but it is a great suggestion. I’ll look into it!
What’s the best kind of custard for gunging girls in? Do you use Birds Custard Powder or Ambrosia? What is the best for results?
I’ve only ever used custard in cartons so I can’t give a proper answer on this. Ambrosia does seem to flow better though than supermarket brands.
Have you any tips for folks who want to try this at home?
Give yourself plenty of time for prep and clean-up. Be honest with your models about what a shoot entails and be patient!
Do you find that the competition from other sites is a bit fierce?
There are a lot of very good sites out there but I don’t myself as competing with them. I can’t compete with Dave, the moomins, noise etc because I just don’t have the same resources as they do. I just try to do the best I can and if people buy the videos and like them, then that’s all great as far as I’m concerned.
What’s the new re-launched website going to be like? Have you made any improvements? A lot of people seemed to dislike the shaky camera, have you grown a super steady robot hand… or bought a tripod?
To be honest, the site will largely be the same as before. I got rid of the mothership site because I couldn’t afford to have foreign cheques coming through the postbox, but people will now be able to order through paypal as well as the UMD store. There will be new girls, new games and maybe a greater variety of mess, but essentially the concept will remain the same. We will also be offering custom shoots to try and bring in some extra income and allow us to film more stuff.
My filming has always been an issue. Often I place it on a set of drawers as I have to do the pouring as well. When someone else does the pouring, I tend not to use that, but I think I will for future shoots. I can’t buy a tripod as that would arouse suspicion, so I’ll have to stick with the drawers!
You have been taking requests for new games. What do your viewers want to see? Have there been any popular requests?
I recently published a survey and asked people to send in their thoughts as to what they wanted to see, including shoot ideas old and new. Custard Strip Roulette seems popular and people also like the idea of ultimate gunging, so we will be filming more of those. I also asked questions designed to find out a bit more about viewing habits and what kind of models they want to see. There were some interesting results and I will certainly take that feedback on board.
Do you warm the custard up or chill it in the fridge?
I usually buy it on the day so I don’t really have time to do either. It all depends on the temperature on any given day!
Ideally who would you like to see in a custard wrestling match and who do you think would win?
Cheryl Cole and Keira Knightley would be the ultimate matchup. I think Cole would win, she does like a scrap!
What are your plans for the future?
Hopefully I will be able to get a better paid job, move out and then I would be able to do more shoots and develop a proper members site!
Thanks to Neal for taking the time to talk to us. You can check out the re-launch of Custard Covered Girls early next month.