How to Work in XXX

The most common email I receive is from people requesting advice about starting their own personal porn website. I was featured in the HBO’s  Pornocopia : Going Down in the Valley : Women on Top in 2004 about my experiences as a webcam performer and whenever this episode plays on television people get inspired to contact me in hopes of replicating my experiences. Many things have changed since that interview and the business is not what it once was.  I began building my website in 1998, back when there were only a little over a hundred of similar sites on the Internet. A couple of years later and there were thousands of ‘solo girl’ sites as well as vast amount of free porn to be found online.

Given the current economic climate and the state of the adult online industry, starting up a personal adult site for profit is much more difficult than it used to be. It is nothing something I would recommend. Too much has changed. The business model of the early days does not work anymore. It is a new era in consumer porn and there are new ways to participate in the adult industry.

One thing that has not changed is…

If you perform on the camera and share the content on the internet, you must also expect that anyone and everyone will have the opportunity to discover it – FOREVER.

My website was up a mere three months before someone I went to high school with discovered it. He told other people and everyone in my hometown learned about  it. You have to expect the same could happen to you and decide if it is worth it. I have a cool bunch of friends outside of the porn industry and my family loves me and supports me even though they do not agree with what I do. Still, they all at one time or another have had to deal with the stigma of what I have chosen to do. It’s a lot to deal with. It was really bad for quite some time before they came to accept it. And not everyone is as lucky as me.

I know of many performers who have had difficulties after being discovered. Some of these cases have been in the news recently. They have been publicly slut shamed, cyber-bullied and their lives have been threatened. They have struggled to keep their children, their dayjobs and have experienced great family stress and social exclusion because of their choices. Not everyone can handle this.

Before you choose to become an porn performer decide if you can handle all the consequences. Once your content is online, you have reached the point of no return and will have to love with it for the rest of your life.

Still interested?

Some Options

You can create your own porn content and sell it. Homegrown Video is a great company that is always in search of high quality amateur porn content created by real-life couples and friends. The scenes they are seeking need to meet their guidelines and all of your legal paperwork needs to be order and submitted to them. Payment varies based on the quality of your submissions and what they are in need of at the time.

An alternative to creating amateur porn is Make Love Not Porn. Their focus is on what they call real world sex.

Perhaps you aspire to makelovenotpornstardom? Or are more of the sharing persuasion and would like to earn some ducats to play with to fund your madcap dreams? In that case, you submit blazingly hot video of #realworldsex in your #realworldlife to our curators, along with $5 (non-refundable submission fee). Should your video meet all of our criteria and pass muster for #realworldsex and #realworldhottness, you start earning fame and fortune as others rent your videos. Because every time someone rents your video, you get half of the rental proceeds (we’ll tell you exactly how much on payout; it will vary slightly based on cost allocation at different times depending on how many videos we carry. Quelle boomness!

Pink and White Productions has a terrific programme to help people create and distribute their own porn films.

The Point of Contact project fosters up-and-coming adult filmmakers through a micro-production model, allowing Pink & White Productions to further its mission to improve the world of adult cinema by providing opportunities for alternative voices. Point of Contact equips individuals with a small budget, camera, and guidelines, enabling them to produce their own four-part series. Once their work is shot, the final content is edited by Pink & White Productions and distributed on PinkLabel.TV, where a direct percentage of the sale goes to the filmmakers.

You can also perform in live webcam shows from home. There are many platforms to choose from. What you earn depends on the crowd you draw, but it is a good way to get your feet wet in this business. Some webcam platforms include Streamate and My Free Cams. While the sites do have some traffic of their own you must be prepared to hustle. You need to be able to promote yourself on a variety of social media platforms and develop a following on your own.

Legal Issues

There are many legal concerns to consider before entering the porn industry. Here are a few to think about.

Regardless of where you live there are laws and regulations regarding obscenity and pornography. Do your own research with the help of a lawyer to know what is permissible on your jurisdiction and what paperwork is necessary for you to perform and/or produce explicit photos, video and webcam shows.

In the United States the basics include having proof that the people in the photos and video are 18 years or older and that they have signed legally binding consent forms that allow you to use their image. Specific requirements must also be met in terms of the kind of documents you need to have from the performers and where these documents are stored. These are the 2257 regulations. Other countries may (or may not ) have formal laws and regulations about the contracts necessary for porn work. Do your research!

Next, we have copyright issues. The photographer/videographer ultimately owns the copyright of any image/footage they take. It is a normal procedure for models and performers to sign a waiver to allow the photographer/videographer to sell or publish the pictures to whomever they choose.

Often married, common law or dating couples that shoot porn together do not consider these issues. However, all these issues apply even if you do not have a formal business arrangement. Break-ups happen and you may be left with a murky situation regarding who owns the content. A number of  entrepreneurial porn couples have split up over the years and have had legal battles over the closing down of their once mutual porn site. To avoid this or any other legal issues it is best to do your homework, have good legal and business representation, and to have a business plan and contracts in place.

Performing on Camera

It took me a little getting used to having sex on camera. When you have sex in private it is one thing, when you try to make it look good on camera it is another. You have to think about camera angles and lighting. What feels the best doesn’t always look the best on camera. Once you figure out what works for you, your body and what is going on your head during the performance, things can be quite pleasurable and interesting.

Still you have to prepared for the unexpected and the uncomfortable. Your camera might fail right before you were to have an orgasm or, like what happened to us frequently, light bulbs might burn out during webcam shows. It is important to have a sense of humour when these things happen. You have to expect that you will have plenty of content that you can’t sell or only in as part of a blooper reel.

I have always worked for myself so I cannot speak to what it is like to work for others. Read the resources below for more on that.

Other Resources

How Do I Get Started as an Indie Porn Star? by Courtney Trouble
Great advice by indie queer porn star Courtney Trouble on the realities of working in indie porn and her recommendations on how to apply for the job.

The Hardest Thing About Being a Male Porn Star & How Do I Become a Porn Star? by Susannah Breslin
The first article is an excellent Q & A on the realities of men working in the porn industry. The second looks all the email requests the author gets from wanting in on the biz. Enlightening and depressing at the same time.

An Open Letter To Any Plus Size Women Wanting To Get Into XXX by Kelly Shibari
Awesome explanation of what to REALISTICALLY expect when working in the porn industry as a plus sized woman – time-wise, effort-wise as well as financially, personally and professionally. Much of it applies, in my opinion, to people of other sizes as well. Excellent sober thoughts on the biz.

I update this page regularly with new resources and to reflect the changes I see in the adult industry.

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