There are a million blog posts and opinion pieces from industry insiders young and old about how, in this day and age, it is more important than ever to pay for your porn. As much as I totally agree with this viewpoint, hell my livelihood depends on it, there’s not a lot I can add to this discussion. There is one person who I think, more than anybody else, needs to pay for their porn… And that person is me.
Considering I’m not in Southern California or Miami, the talent pool available to me is considerably smaller. That means that, above all else, the talent must be well taken care of. The producers working on the east coast of Australia are few, so many of these performers have other sources of income. They escort, they do cam work, they self-produce their own content and sell it through OnlyFans or ManyVids or through their own sites. Some of them even, like myself, have day jobs. They work in admin or sales or IT or nursing or whatever considerably less interesting civvie job they’ve wrangled. At the end of the day, some of want to do porn full time, some of them probably don’t. But they’ve all gotta eat.
When I first started putting my feelers out into the Twitter world of the sex industry I was shocked by the incredible hustle that these cats were putting on. They pay photographers to shoot pro level portraiture for their ads and their social media; they’re engaging with followers all day every day on Twitter and IG and Snapchat; they’re camming for eight to fourteen hours at a time, hustling for tokens on MyFreeCams or wherever; they’re filming solo and hardcore content, editing and releasing it themselves, then advertising it through every other channel they’ve got for five to fifteen bucks a pop; escorts especially are touring all over the country every other week, booking gigs months in advance; a lot of them are writing or speaking on the issues affecting them and their industry; some of them are getting hell political in the face of draconian measures that put their fellow workers’ safety at risk.
Sex work has a hard-out emphasis on -work-. I’m watching these feeds go by and it’s non-stop.
I’m not saying every single one of them wants to be full time porn star. But I’m of the opinion that if you go to a shoot that takes the whole day, that puts your body through some serious work, you ought to get compensated appropriately; and, it’s not like there’s no upkeep needed to keep a human body porn shoot ready.
That’s not necessarily what has been lost in the age of not paying for porn. Performers turn up, they do their thing, and they get paid to do that job. But the reduced budgets show up in other ways, and you will have noticed it. Smaller budgets are reflected in the loss of the adjacent crew members. You can’t have a dedicated lighting tech, so the lighting rigs have become simpler, down to as simple as just sticking an LED array on top of the camera. Same goes for a sound engineer/recordist/boom operator, so the sound quality drops right off. There’s no gaffer or best boy or second assistant director running around make the set run smoothly. There’s no dedicated costume or hair and make-up, so performers are just wearing what they own and doing their own face and their own hair. There’s no craft services, no samovars of coffee or bags of crisps even. And because there’s no creature comforts on set, nothing beyond the absolute basics, the best thing to do for everybody involved is just to get the footage in the can and let everybody go home.
So that’s why I need to pay for my porn.
I need to pay my talent on the better end of market rates, which is not uncommon; but, I do it because I’m asking them to act and learn a script as well as fuck on camera. I need to shell out for a boom operator and a first assistant director who knows lighting, so the porn I make looks and sounds as good as it possibly can. I need to pay for the talents of a cosmetic generalist and accept the time that adds to the day to make sure the talent looks perfect and their costume has had more than zero thought put into it. Because of the extra time that having those specialists bring their talents to bear on shoot day, I have to pay for craft services, water, coffee, tea and snacks. After the shoot is done, I take time with editing, colour correction, and post processing before putting the product out in the world and, as they say, that time is money. I choose to pay the performers again by offering a generous referral system that allows them to bring their incredible hustle to bear on the movies that they make with Debauched Films and continue to get their piece of the pie after the cameras have long stopped rolling.
When people say you should pay for your porn, their talking about paying someone like me, a producer, or the owner of a site. But doing so means that people like me can pay for their porn in kind; to make the best porn possible and pay talented people what they deserve.
Please, let me pay for my porn.