Making Porn: The Toughest Job You'll Never Love  

keepitrealnasty 53M
8 posts
6/16/2006 7:10 pm

Last Read:
6/18/2006 2:44 pm

Making Porn: The Toughest Job You'll Never Love

Haven't posted anything new in about a week - work has been absolutely crazy, but I made it through unscathed and things should be a bit more settled in the coming week. But fuck worrying about that now - it's the weekend, and weekends were made for not thinking about work. At least, not my day job...

This weekend I have to wade through and edit about 8 hours of solo-girl masturbation video footage and try to put it into some semblance of a finished product so I can get it off to distribution and (hopefully) recoup some of my investment. I've been considering doing more shoots, but it's been difficult finding girls in Atlanta and even harder finding attractive M/F couples who want to perform. Not sure why - in L.A. there was as eemingly endless supply of people who LOVED to get freak-nasty for the little camera - they'd have fun, get their rocks off, make a few bucks, and all would be well. Here, it's not so easy. First off, it's more spread out here. I'm in Roswell, they're (usually) downtown, bitching about the gas cost to come up (and really, unless they're driving a Hummer, what's it cost to round-trip it to Roswell? Five bucks, MAYBE? Cry me a freakin' river.

Plus, every skank with two tits and a shaved cooch is convinced she's Jenna Jameson, looking for a RIDICULOUS daily rate for what amounts to two hours of work. Jenna earns that kind of money - her vids sell massive numbers, but you can bet your strap-on that when she first started out she was posing for gap shots on the cheap. Why? Because if nobody knows you, there's no incentive for anyone to check out your video, unless it can be sold inexpensively, and for that to happen, you have to be reasonable in what you want to be paid for the shoot.

Remember, after you've done YOUR part, the producer has to boil it all down, put in the titles, bumpers, organize and maintain the compliance records required by 2257 AND get the video into distribution (that is porn-speak for making the title available to video stores, mail order outfits, and on the 'net). If the producer is a one-man show (like me) the distributor usually gets a full 50% of the selling price, per unit. So, let's say your video can be edited down to a 45 minute scene. 45 minutes of an unknown woman masturbating has a street value of about $10.00 retail - sounds like a bargain, but that is the hard reality. That means the producer ends up with $5.00 - BEFORE TAXES AND EXPENSES.

Expenses are things like video stock, equipment (cameras, lights, toys, maintenance, seamless/backdrops, makeup, wigs) and all the time that goes in to making the movie - the logistics of getting the girl from the ad to the shoot (a lot of time-consuming hand-holding required right there), plus the shoot time, the editing time (about 3 hours for a 45-minute finished product) - all in all I might spend 12 to 15 hours end to end to wind up with a 45-minute video. FIguring my expenses at 50% of gross revenue (which is a very conservative estimate - have you priced pro DV cameras lately?), and taxes (30% of gross profit), I wind up making a whopping $1.50 on each unit sold.

A buck and a half a piece. Not bad if I'm selling 100,000 units, but who am I kidding? I'd be happy to sell A HUNDRED units! None of my previous titles ever sold more than 40-50 units - and it isn't that there's anything WRONG with my work - my porn is hot, sublime, there's subtext, and I work really hard to capture and maintain a solid connection with the model that absolutely comes through on the finished product. There are two basic reasons I don't sell more volume: 1) there's a glut in the marketplace and 2) the power players in the adult industry control almost ALL of the "conventional" distribution channels - so my vids can't even get IN to the adult video stores, peep shows, and the larger international market.

So why do I do it?

Well, it is my art, for one, and for two, it's still kind of cool, when someone asks at a party "So, what do you do?" to tell them "I'm a pornographer!"


KC_JJ 54M

6/16/2006 8:39 pm

There has some idea going around for awhile that the porn industry makes heaploads of money but who is it that really gets the biggest slices of that alleged profit? Certainly very few of the performers.

Plus many DVDs are going for so dirt cheap on eBay these days it looks like very little profit per unit there is had by anyone.

Who's really doing the gangbuster profits in the industry? I'm guessing that maybe the older Porn Stars like Tom Byron who seemily have a sense for business might actually be doing pretty well. Or maybe maybe guys like Seymore Butts?

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keepitrealnasty 53M

6/17/2006 8:54 am

Yeah, Seymour is definitely doing very well for himself. He was a groundbreaking guy, though - doing hardcord, gonzo anal, double fisting, DVDA, long before anyone else did. Plus his work is top notch - great production values, and again, that real connection with the models that you just don't find in everyone's work.


KC_JJ 54M

6/17/2006 12:36 pm

Yeah, I figured it had to be maverick types like him who both have a good handle on both the "grunt" end of the spectrum (pun intented) and the business/marketing side as well.

I saw Seymore on the Conan O'Brien show last year and he does appear to be a quite bright guy who's doing quite well doing exactly what he wants to do. He knows where to save on his expenses too. He hired his own family members like his own mom to work the distribution end of things and says that part of her duties are to assemble the physical elements of the DVD and it's packaging prior to getting them shipped out in bulk. Apparently a lot of that type of stuff he has done at home and not at some factory.

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