I N S P I R E
Welcome to INSPIRE
Industry Newcomer Support Program
This guide is by no means a rigid set of rules or regulations, but a collection of tried & true methods which successful performers have already put to use.
We collected quotes and information from the wide range of talent in the adult community to share the experience, challenges & opportunities that exist in our unique industry.
We are thankful for their words of wisdom and hope it can offer inspiration for a rewarding career in adult entertainment!
Once you work in adult, even once, there’s no hiding it. Your parents, friends, relatives, future employers will have access to images of you naked or having sex on screen. Some people may be open-minded and non-judgmental about sex work, but a vast majority of the population still stigmatizes it.
Overtime, some people may come around, but you must understand the severity of sex worker stigma. You may lose friends, family members may cut you from their lives, ex-partners may use your job against you, current partners may leave you and new partners may not understand the nature of your job.
Once you’ve commited to entering the industry, your favorite performer, director or production company may not even give you the time of day. Don’t assume just because you were a fan of someone that they’re required to give you work, attention or even a second glance.
This industry is tough, so upon entering make sure rejection doesn’t get to you as it is a normal part of this job. Prepare yourself for this.
To not only thrive, but merely survive in this business, you must have a strong core, and have supportive people around you.
NOBODY can know everything about an ethical workplace at age 18, 19, 20. Let the people who call you out, show you what you need to learn. Don’t take it personal, take it as a personal challenge. Don’t attack the people who call you out, or lash out in anger.
Nothing is accomplished alone, so always be open to feedback and be willing to educate yourself and hold yourself accountable even if you want to react. Everybody makes mistakes and I think that you, dear reader, will fuck up sometime soon if you haven’t already. Life demands failure, growth demands a break down. When you fuck up, don’t punish yourself. Instead, treat yourself to more knowledge and open up to an education about identity that perhaps you weren’t offered up in high school or college. It’s not entirely your fault if your institutions didn’t teach you social justice but it’s easy to learn on your own. Take it as an opportunity to be humble and impress/inspire your fans, as well as a chance to improve yourself and improve the world around you.
Once You Have Made Pornography
“The world will view you as an object — but you cannot be broken.”
Pornography will change your life. There is no way to fully convey to you the absoluteness of this. The magnitude with which this is true. This is not the kind of job that recedes softly into the rearview after you quit. This is not the kind of job that you do once and then forget. This job is not forgettable. Once you have done it, anyone who knows you have done it sees a mark on you — believes there is a thing about your personality or life history that is revealed.
YOU ARE RUNNING A BUSINESS, YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOURSELF
1st Steps to Consider
Most people will think of getting their social media in order before any of the proceeding legal considerations. We implore you to turn that thinking upside-down and get as many legal filings in order first or at the very least within the first year of being with the adult industry. Keep in mind, that YOU are the business you are running!
Things to figure out
1. Get an Accountant you trust
2. Get secure Banking
3. Health Care Insurance
4. Short-Term Disability Insurance
5. Have an Attorney advise you
6. Secure your Social Media Accounts
It’s easy to feel pressured to have to push yourself to perform more and more “hardcore” scenes before you or your body is ready. A paycheck is never worth your health, well being or safety. Only perform the sex acts you WANT to and are COMFORTABLE with.
AGENT or INDEPENDENT
Talent Managers or PR Managers, on the other hand, do not have to be employed by a management company. They can work on their own. Their sole function is to provide guidance. Managers are not allowed to set up auditions or negotiate contracts.
Another very important thing to make note of is that you are your own boss, even if you are signed to an agency- they work for you, not the other way around. You need to be in control of your own finances because you are your own business.
1. Taking an Agent
See what performers who are already signed to that agency are saying about it or its agents online, especially Twitter.
Research their reputation. Sometimes a long standing existence within the industry doesn’t translate to a reputable agent that will treat you with respect.
Remember, the talent agent works for you, the talent.
2. Going Independent
You do not have a vetted agent to speak positively on your behalf or securing jobs with producers or directors that have never met you before.
Without an agent, you may have to meet the right director/producer who will take a chance on you, if you set a good impression so they can recommend you to other directors/producers. Sometimes using the right social media platforms to build your audience and gain followers is what will attract work.
What you do online & how you say it will directly impact who will see you and whether or not they will hire you.
Being professional, punctual, reliable, pleasant, and once again, professional are the tenets that keep independent performers consistently working.
Insights from Independent Performers
“Always be careful what you post on social media.”
Always be careful what you post on social media. Companies, directors, and potential coworkers can see your public posts and that can help/hinder you being hired. Be careful of who you surround yourself with in this business as well. Also, it’s easy to get caught up in the “party” lifestyle with drugs and alcohol. If you’re going to partake, make sure you do so responsibly because it will not only take a toll on your appearance, but also your reputation.
“Sometimes you have to be the boring ‘good’ porn star and go to sleep at 11pm before a long day on set instead of going to a party.”
Like any kind of job where you’re performing with your body, you need to learn how to take care of your body. You can’t be partying every night before shoots and expect every scene to go well. Sometimes you have to be the boring “good” porn star and go to sleep at 11pm before a long day on set instead of going to a party. I think particularly in porn when you’re entering the industry in your early 20s you’ll basically have access to any vice and its about finding a balance that will work for you long term.
The biggest thing [about] being an indie pornographer [is what] I’ve done to promote my work is take it into the communities that I know will enjoy it. For me that’s in queer, punk & DIY style venues. I really wanted porn to be something people went [to] see like band or a film screening in the queer punk scene. It’s kind of allowed me to get out of just the normal porn world [&] getting my films out to people who want to buy them.
“Without a reputable agent to secure a gig, you’ll need to present yourself in the best light.”
Some companies work with agents to hire performers, but not all do. If you look at the talent roster of the top industry agencies, you might notice a lack of diversity — for performers who don’t fit the mold, being a self-agent is often the only choice. What makes you different can be your biggest asset. Develop strategies like a self-agent to secure work, whether it’s a niche genre or getting a rare booking with a large commercial company.
Without a reputable agent to secure a gig, you’ll need to present yourself in the best light. Building a strong brand is a task that takes time and effort. But if you’re successful, you’ll carve a unique spot in the industry. Current strategies include creating a social media presence (such as on Twitter), attracting followers by having a good engagement. (Note: do not be tempted to buy followers. It’s easy to tell and will reflect negatively on your brand. Fake followers don’t convert.) Hire photographers or videographers to get a portfolio going, or if you’re strapped for cash, collaborate with trade shoots to acquire head shots, body shots, and photo sets, and even videos. Depending on your agreement with photographers and videographers, you might also post these videos and photosets on clip and membership sites like Clips4Sale, ManyVids, and OnlyFans and sell it for exclusive or non-exclusive use on sites that accept submitted content. This can help create a fan base attractive to studios.
If you’re a cam model looking to cross into pornography, build up your cam following. Some sites will have promotional contests, and all of these can help establish your brand, attract new fans, and develop a following that will be attractive to potential producers. You may want to consider buying a domain name and posting a few images and a bio there, as well as links to find your work online. This website will be your calling card and a safety net to secure your stage name. (Trademarks are also an option, if you’re committed to this career.)
Once you’re feeling some momentum, try applying to a few websites. Those which have application forms will accept performers without agents. Otherwise, attend conventions and put your best foot forward. If you strike a good impression on directors, they might want to hire you – regardless if you have an agent or not.
Performers should agree to a standard protocol on how to treat their co-star:
Protocol for how performers should treat sets/locations:
Protocol on what a performer is expected to bring to set:
Protocol on performer’s physical appearance and health:
- Should not turn up on set with a contagious skin disorder e.g. ringworm; an active herpes outbreak
- Should not turn up on set with any contagious virus or bacteria e.g. tonsilitis, strep, cold and flu symptoms etc.
- Should not turn up on set with bruises on body.
- Should be hygienic and have clean nails, clean hair and clean teeth.
On being a verified company:
- As well as providing Tax ID’s to verify the legitimacy of companies; companies should submit proof of workers compensation insurance.
- This would show that they care if a performer or crew have an injury on their set, and that they are willing to support that individual with medical deductibles etc.
- Performers & production crew’s rights shall be respected in regard to either providing a lunch break so crew can buy their own lunch; or the company must provide food on set after x amount of hours or if a full working day (8 hours) is scheduled.
On how companies treat talent and crew:
SCAMS: PROTECT YOURSELF
Unfortunately our industry attracts a lot of scammers who will attempt to take advantage of you from many different angles. There are fake performers that scam producers & fans. There are fake producers & directors that scam performers as well.
Look for Obvious Signs of Affiliation w/a Legit Company
Google & Wikipedia are your Friends
Do EVERYTHING you can to Research a Person or Company
These are all clear indicators that a person may actually work for said company.
But it is still not everything!
Or type the phone number into Google to see who the phone number is registered to & what comments were left by other people that have been previously contacted by that phone number.
Try to DM (direct message) or tweet at the company directly to ask if the person you are being contacted by is really & truly affiliated with their company. You can even tweet at, or message performers that you may know work with said company, if you are unsure or unable to get a response otherwise.
The point is, do everything you can to ensure you are talking to a legitimate representative of a company before agreeing to anything or discussing anything at length.
Building and Protecting Your Own Brand
Incorporate / LLC
Research to decide the best option for you, consider whether or not you’ll want a discreet business name, as some banksmay chooseto decline accounts associated with adult companies.
Make sure nobody else has a trademark on your name or already operates under the same name. Make sure you don’t choose a name of an already existing brand, you wmay find yourself with a lawsuit. It’s worth hiring an attorney to assist you in filing your trademark application & protect your brand & income moving forward.
Link: How to get Started
Social Media Accounts
Link: Protect Your Content
If you cannot get a physical copy, at least take a clear picture of any documents you sign with your phone.
If you can, have an attorney review the contract & explain it to you clearly.
ASK QUESTIONS: What is the title? Where will it be published? How or where will it be distributed?
A contract grants the rights to your name and image in perpetuity; this means you cannot ask a director to remove your scene if you decide to quit working in porn. Make sure you understand everything you are legally agreeing to when you sign paperwork.
Protect Your Real Identity
If you’re worried you might miss an important work email if you have to check a separate email account, just have it forward a copy to your personal email address, and you can then delete it and log into your adult business account and reply from there. There are a lot more ways to set up & manage email addresses and ‘firewalls’ between your adult accounts on line and your personal ones.
Create a separate phone line. You can do this free& easily using a Google Voice number. Use ID protection (see NexGen), don’t give out your legal name to people, check that IMDB doesn’t publish it, etc.
Only show people what you WANT them to know about you. Just because you’re a public figure does not grant others the right to know everything about you. That also goes for peers within the industry itself.
Quick and Effective
Change the location settings for all social media apps. On iPhone’s Camera app, go to:
Settings>Privacy>Location Services>Camera & select “Never” so your physical location is not revealed when sharing photos.
“Keep what you want nobody to know, to yourself.”
In regards to privacy onset, even fully displayed, this is an industry where you CAN separate some things on camera from off camera. Keep what you want nobody to know to yourself. If there are things you like at home but not on camera, keep it that way. I like saving some things for off camera so when I do them they feel special.
Online, my recommendation is simple, log off. It’ll help your mental health.
Daily life, continue to self grow by reading and learning something new. Like a plant, if you’re not growing, you’re dead.
“Avoid making decisions early in your career with marketing that you might not be comfortable with down the road.”
I have some private [social media] accounts for my family and some friends but mostly I’m pretty open with my family and the world about being a sex worker. I think maybe because I have been a bit more in the film festival world I am a bit more accessible than most performers who just perform who may deal with more people trying to find out information about their personal lives. I view my work as my art so its weaved into my life as opposed from me not being “Chelsea Poe” at any given moment. I think when you need space from work, you need to make that space for yourself.
I think the biggest thing you need to avoid is making decisions early in your career with marketing that you might not be comfortable with down the road. I worked on sites that used transphobic slurs early in my career and I really honestly regret that. I would just say stick to your gut and assume everyone could see any project you do.
“You also don’t have to… unless you give them clear consent and permission.”
You also don’t have to change wardrobe or prep for your scene in view of any of the directors, producers, on-set PA’s, camera operators, or even your own scene partner.
You can get dressed in a restroom, or separate room by yourself.
You can also request no behind-the-scenes personal vids or pics be taken by the crew can be shot or posted anywhere unless you give them clear consent and permission.
- What is the scene? Is it Hardcore, Softcore, 3D, VR, 4K, Amateur, BDSM, Fetish?
What is being asked of you to perform?
- What is the Pay Rate?
Is it paid in Cash or Check that Same Day?
Is it a Payroll Check? (These get issued on a 2 wk pay period depending on what date your shoot lands on during the pay period for that company)
Will you have to pick your check up from an office or will it be mailed to you?
- What company is it for?
Research the company, make sure you are okay working for them & being associated with their brand. You can request a guest login so you can check out the type of content they make.
- What is the wardrobe or makeup requirements?
Will they be provided or will you need to provide your own?
- When is the Call Time? (The time you show up for work)
- What Date & Day of the Week is it on?
- When will it end?
What is the approximate Length of the Shoot? Is it a feature that shoots for long hours?
Is it a quick shoot, where you’ll be done in a couple hours?
- Who are your co-stars?
Research your scene partner/s, make sure you are okay working with them.
Are they in PASS?
- Who is the director? Do they work with PA’s? Or do they work solo?
Is the director the scene partner? If so, who else will be on set? Producer? Makeup Artist? PA?
- Is it local or out of town?
- Who’s paying for gas or Uber/Lyft?
- What is the parking situation?
Is it on a hill or rocky terrain?
Where one needs to take special consideration of car tires?
Being able to roll a suitcase?
Walk in heels or a more sturdy shoe?
Arrive on Time to Set!
- If you are being dropped off, get dropped off.
- Do not allow your driver, bf, bff, partner, manager, friend, etc to come on-set unless their presence has been specifically okay’d by the director or producer prior to the shoot date.
- Remember you are coming to work, not to party.
Bring 2 Forms of ID
Wardrobe and Makeup
- Have a few spare wardrobe options just in case what is provided on-set doesn’t fit or changes last minute.
- If you’re expected to wear makeup, bring your own makeup foundation, just in case there’s no makeup artist on-set or in case they don’t have your shade.
Arrive with a Pleasant & Professional Attitude
Meet all cast and crew with a pleasant attitude.
This includes Production Assistants, Camerapersons, Directors, Make-up Artists, you Scene Partners, or any Other Performers who may be on-set.
You never know who has influence with the booking person or other directors & producers & what affect a negative or rude attitude can have on your reputation.
Show Current Test
Be prepared to show proof of a current industry-standard STI test in person.
Know how to look up your own results, ONLINE, in PASS
Printed versions or screenshots are unacceptable as they can easily be manipulated.
Make sure that you, yourself *with your own eyes* see your scene partner’s cleared status in PASS
Make sure that their photo ID matches their Legal Name in PASS.
Prepare Your Body For the Scene
- Whether it’s an additional shower, pure water douching or enema, baby wiping of private parts, etc.
- You can request to be alone (not watched) for this time.
Take Still Photos aka “Pretty Girls”
These are solo photos of usually the femme person being sexy before sex is had in the scene.
A sequential “strip tease” is typical; where clothing is removed and eventually ends in fully nude photos revealing genitals.
Take Sex Stills w/Scene Partner/s
- These are sequential photos representative of the sex that you will have on-screen with your scene partner/s.
- *IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DISCUSSED WHAT ACTS ARE TO BE PERFORMED IN THE SCENE – THIS IS A GOOD TIME TO BRING IT UP!*
A Set-Up of Lights/Camera Angles Usually Ensues
Sex Scene Happens as Discussed
Perform what was discussed and agreed upon by yourself, your scene partner and director.
If you must completely end a scene abruptly, it is also your right to do so.
You will typically be given only a portion of the total rate you were to be paid, known as a ‘kill fee’ and you can leave the set.
At any time, you may pause or “hold” during the scene
Whether for water, rest, to adjust to something, to apply lube, to clarify boundaries or directions, etc. — it is within your rights to do so
While performing, be present and connect with your scene partner/s.
HAVE A GREAT SCENE!
There May be Additional Sex Still Photos Needed After the “Cum Shot”
So be prepared for additional posing or performing, if those are needed AFTER the sex scene is finished.
Clean Yourself Up
Some locations have a shower or baby wipes available for you to clean yourself up with afterwards. Always bring your own towel to set.
Some Companies Record BTS or a Post-Scene-Interview
- BTS stands for “Behind The Scenes”
- Some companies post this alongside the sex video and can be filmed before, during or after the sex scene.
- They can be a fun way for fans to see more about you and add a fun element to the shoot.
- A Post-Scene-Interview may include you stating your legal name for filing/legal purposes.
- Your real name won’t be made public.
- If at any time you do not want a camera recording you, MAKE THIS KNOWN.
Collect Your Payment
If the company you shot for pays through Payroll, be prepared to fill out Direct Deposit forms, or track your payment with representatives of the company in the following 2-3 weeks.
Some Payroll Companies mail checks out, so be aware of that, if you travel or move often.
Some Payroll Companies have you pick up the check in person at their locations in the San Fernando Valley, so be aware of where you will be in following weeks and if in-person pick-up is a viable option for you.
If the company pays the Same Day, then collect your check or cash & have an enjoyable rest of your day!
What is the difference between a Production Hold and a Moratorium?
A production hold is a temporary suspension of all adult content production activities where there is a possibility of STI exposure. Production holds are called when a potential increase in STI exposure risk to the performer pool has been identified. The most common occurrence of production holds are when an active performer is diagnosed with HIV, however other viral STI diagnoses or a large increase of incidence of treatable STIs can also trigger a production hold. While infrequent and treated with serious concern, production holds are both a normal and essential part of protecting the health of workers in the adult industry.
If all potential exposures cannot be accounted for, a production Moratorium is called in order to safeguard against transmission. When a Moratorium is called, all availability in the PASS system is invalidated, production is halted, and the PASS system remains locked for fourteen days. After which, PASS is unlocked and all performers are required to retest regardless of their last test date.
Here are a few resources that should help:
The Free Speech Coalition is proud to partner with outside agencies to offer the following health benefits to its United States members.
The Free Speech Coalition is not a licensed insurance broker, and is unable to answer specific questions regarding individual insurance plans. If you have any questions related to health benefits or need assistance enrolling in a plan, please contact Ben Curtis at The Reisert Group at (502) 777-5098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I have the NexGen health savings plan…and it is saving me over $500 on my dental surgery”
I have the NexGen health savings plan through the @FSCArmy and it is saving me over $500 on my dental surgery on Thur. Highly recommend looking into this, models! Wish I would have done this sooner.
FSC Performer Availability Screening Services (PASS) provides guidelines and services for the adult production industry designed to ensure a safe and healthy work environment of performers and adult film professionals.
The PASS program was developed by industry stakeholders, compliance experts, doctors and attorneys, to uphold performer testing protocols and industry standards for self-regulation.
FSC also operates the Performer Subsidy Fund (PSF) to help subsidize up to 3 industry standard compliant tests per month.
PASS Testing Protocols
This is the current testing panel used by the PASS system to clear adult performers to work for 14 day periods.
Performer Subsidy Fund
The Performer Subsidy Fund (PSF) provides financial support to adult film performers to help subsidize up to 3 industry standard compliant tests (see PASS) per month.
The PSF was initiated in 2012 by adult film producers, and paid out $120,000 in donations made by Mindgeek directly to performers in 2017.
One hundred percent of the funds contributed to the PSF are divided into equal portions, and dispersed to each enrolled performer based on the number of times they tested through PASS during that month.
Not sure if you’re signed up for PASS or PSF? Email email@example.com
Community Affirming Healthcare
St. James Infirmary is a peer-based occupational health and safety clinic for sex workers of all genders based in San Fransisco, California.
It is their mission to meet the needs of people engaged in the sex trade through advocacy, direct services, and social justice.
“I am extremely lucky to have St. James Infirmary in the SF bay”
I have faced issues with healthcare but currently I am extremely lucky to have St. James Infirmary in the SF bay as my healthcare provider, they provide free healthcare to sex workers and their partners from primary care to testing to trans healthcare.
XXX Mental Health
As a community, we face routine bias, stigma, discrimination and near-constant attacks on our character by those outside our industry. We know how difficult it can be to find accepting mental health support. Here are a few resources that may help.
“[Know] how much of yourself to give and when to give it.”
Pacing yourself off camera will help you maintain the energy to deal with everything on camera. There’s a technique to knowing how much of yourself to give and when to give it. Mental health is important and you want to monitor how you feeling throughout your career. Success may demand a fast-pace lifestyle to keep up and consistency on a level where you’re only given a couple of opportunities to fail.
“This job requires heavy self care.”
It is truly in your best interests to protect your finances more aggressively if you do suffer from mental health issues. This job requires heavy self care.
Tips From Performers for Performers
XXX Anal Sex Tips
This liquid is formulated to INDUCE BOWEL RELEASE. YOU DO NOT WANT THAT when you’re already on set. You simply want to ensure 100% clean anal canal for a good scene & on-set experience for all parties involved.
- Empty the enema liquid & refill it with filtered, lukewarm water.
- If the water is too cold, this may cause abdominal cramps.
- If the water is too hot, it may irritate the delicate lining of your anal cavity.
- Tepid, room-temperature water is best!
- Flush out your butt as many times as necessary with only filtered water inside the enema bottle, until the water that flushes out of you is completely clear.
- Do a final check by wrapping a wet wipe around your finger & stuffing that wet-wipe covered finger as far into your butt as you can to see that it comes out looking– and yes, smelling– completely clean & like nothing was ever there.
- If you suffer an anal tear from penetration, Penaten Cream will help heal that delicate skin tissue.
Link: Cream for an Anal Tear
Jane Wilde (performer)
Performer, Jane Wilde’s Tips for Anal Sex
When you feel like you’re about to shit out everything you’ve eaten all day the evening before anal, go to the store and get a box of saline enemas OR buy a shower enema (it looks like a red rubber thing with a tube attached). I recommend the latter because it’s easier to use in my opinion. Get on the floor in either doggy position or on your side and squirt the water in your butt for a while until you feel full. Let it hang in there for a bit until you feel like it’s gonna come out and then let it out in the toilet. Do that as many times as you need until when you push out the water it runs relatively clear. It doesn’t need to be completely clear, tomorrow morning is when you finish prepping and cleaning out completely.”
“Eat a decent breakfast so you don’t get low blood sugar.”
- If bottoming douche before getting to set with expectation of doing spot check before the scene.
- If given a douche bottle to use on set empty that liquid & refill the douche bottle with water from a bottled water or a filtered source.
- Eat a decent breakfast so you don’t get low blood sugar
- Take Imodium if you are bottoming to keep food from going through you
- Bring your own boner pill in case no one supplies you with one
- Bring your own material to read or view that makes you hard
- Bring a snack or protein shake to keep your energy up between takes
- If negative take PrEP
- PrEP – Pre-Exposure Propholaxis is a daily medication that greatly reduces the risk of HIV infection.
Link: Where to find PrEP
Kristofer Weston (director)
XXX Vagina Self-Care
Sex for performance can be rigorous. Therefore different hygiene habits may be necessary to maintain proper health.
According to some performers, these are some helpful practices to keep your vaginal canal healthy & functional.
If you encounter pH disruptions in your vagina due to exposure to multiple sex partners, consider vH Brand probiotics, vaginal suppositories, or capsules that can help get you back on track.
Never douche your vagina with the actual liquid formula that come inside the douche bottle. Using that liquid & having sex directly after could lead to pH imbalances that you don’t want to trigger by introducing too many foreign substances into your vagina at once. Instead, empty that liquid & refill the douche bottle with water from a bottled water or a filtered source.
If you’re at home and feeling sore & inflammation, douching with witch hazel can be helpful as it is anti-inflammatory.
Another option is to douche w/a solution of 3 parts filtered water to 1 part organic apple cider vinegar & 1 part tea tree oil. Because of the tea tree oil, this method is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and feels very cooling and soothing. The ACV will help set your body’s pH back to normal.
Making and Managing Money
Financial Tips/ Money Management
Lance Hart’s Weekly Classes
“I am hosting weekly live Zoom meetings to cover all of these topics. Currently they will be on Thursdays at 4:30 PM Pacific time/7:30 PM Eastern time, subject to change. If you’d like an invite, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure you get one.
I’ll be going over the “Back End Stuff” in the first meeting. Many highly experienced porn professionals have already volunteered to make videos on and teach the funner stuff like lighting, cameras, other equipment, editing, booking, BDSM, marketing, traffic, consent…. If you are interested in teaching, please also email me at email@example.com.”
(Lance Hart, performer, producer)
You are a 1099 Independent Contractor for tax filing purposes. The standard tax rate is going to be about 10-20% of your income; less if you’re taking out itemized deductions. Set aside about 20% of your income aside for this. As an Independent Contractor you are also responsible for your own medical bills and health insurance, so stay on top of that. Look for your state coverage or Affordable Care Act options.
Link: Get a 401k / IRA Account
“You’re never going to be making 100% of your paycheck.”
To be clear, it is best to meet with a tax attorney or an accountant first. However, if you cannot, here are some helpful guidelines to keep in mind: If you are independent contractor with no employees, setting up an S-Corp or an LLC are a good idea for tax purposes.
If you’re making less than $75,000/year remaining a Sole Proprietor may be best.
You’re never going to be making 100% of your paycheck: 30% tax rate, 10% agency fees, $50-75 on set wardrobe, you’d be lucky to clear 50% of pay.
“Try to make the interactions as civilian as possible with the payment apps.”
I did get my PayPal and Google Wallet banned for being a sex worker. I try to make the interactions as civilian as possible with the payment apps I do use and haven’t have any issues with my main bank as of yet.
“You can even deduct part of your rent if you have a legitimate space set aside for your office area.”
As an 1099 Independent Contractor you can save your receipts for almost everything and apply home office tax deductions, travel deductions, and your wardrobe, testing, and travel. Save records of your airfares and hotel costs. When it comes time to file your taxes you will be able to choose either a Minimum Deduction or fill out a form for Itemized Deductions. Travel, advertising, and marketing are all pre-tax expenses. Entertainment and food can be partially deducted (the forms walk you through it) and up to 15% of the square footage of your residence can be claimed as home office, meaning you can even deduct part of your rent if you have a legitimate space set aside for your office area.
At some point you may need to incorporate, which will mean you register your business, pay yourself a salary, and get a bank account as well as a debit card in your business name. (Your legal name and your DBA – Do Business As – name, will be linked.Use that account specifically for business expenses (i.e. testing, set wardrobe, Uber, etc…).
“They’re just as sex worker-friendly as they were when I signed up almost a decade ago.”
AMERICAN SEX WORKERS: if your bank shut down your account, switch to Capital One 360. It’s NOT the same as Capital One and they’re SW-friendly! Their checking accounts have NO FEES and their customer service is the tits.
Diversify Your Income
“Never depend on bookings alone.”
Webcamming & clip creation is so useful in diversifying your income stream. There’s little overhead besides a working laptop w/internet connection, and it’s the safest. Porn has high overhead, investment & travel costs if you’re not in the LA area, with some risk. Escorting is the most lucrative, however in a post-SESTA political climate, it is the most risky for safety. Whatever you do, Never depend on bookings alone.
“I wish I knew…”
I wish I knew that producing your own content is what can really carry your career through the ups and downs of being popular with any specific company or website.
For me camming keeps me tuned into my sexuality as a performer on a daily level and most of my clients are fans of my porn work.
ALWAYS avoid items with logos, brand names, insignias, or overly busy patterns. The more solid colored & mix-matchable your wardrobe is the more you will be able to use the different items repeatedly or in different scenes.
Feminine Wardrobe Suggestions:
1 light colored (think nude, white, or pale pastel color) matching bra & panty set
1 generic sports bra & leggings, or workout shorts look
1 pair of short shorts (booty cheeks out)
1 crop top
1 set of office wear, button up top in a solid color or pinstripe (avoid busy patterns, logos), and nice fitting slacks or a pencil skirt
1 set of black, closed toe, stiletto heels (Pleaser brand)
1 set of strappy, open toed heels
Multiple colorful thong panties
Full makeup kit, to do your own makeup
Masculine Wardrobe Suggestions:
A few solid, neutral-colored boxer briefs, AVOID LOGOS ON THE WAISTBAND
A few no-logo, solid, neutral-colored tank tops and t-shirts
A pair of clean jeans and slacks
A pair of casual sneakers that are not easily identifiable (ie; no large Nike or Adidas logos)
A pair of black combat boots – if its a BDSM/kink scene
A few no-logo, tight-fitting swim trunks – if its a pool scene
Shows & Conventions
AEE – late January (coincides w/AVN in Las Vegas, NV)
AdultCon – April/May (Los Angeles, CA)
- May (Los Angeles, CA)
- October (New Orleans, Louisiana)
- Early April (Chicago, Illinois)
- Early June (Portland, Oregon)
- Early September (Miami, Florida)
- Late October (coincides w/Inked Awards in Edison, NJ)
Fetish Con – August (Tampa, FL)
INDUSTRY CONVENTIONS – WHERE YOU WILL ONLY NETWORK WITH FELLOW INDUSTRY PEOPLE
ANME Founders Show – Early January (Burbank, CA)
XBIZ LA – mid January (West Hollywood, CA)
XBIZ Retreat – mid January (coincides w/XBIZ LA West Hollywood, CA)
InterNext – late January (Las Vegas, CA)
The European Summit (TES) – March (Lisbon, Portugal)
XBIZ Miami – May (Miami, FL)
XBIZ Berlin – September (Berlin, Germany)
The European Summit (TES) – September (Prague, Czech Republic)
Webmaster Access – September (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Industry Conferences and Award Shows
Str8 Up Gay Porn Awards – early January (Hollywood, CA)
CyberSocket Awards – early January (West Hollywood, CA)
XBIZ Awards – mid January (Los Angeles, CA)
GayVN Awards – late January (right before AEE Las Vegas, NV)
AVN Awards – late January (coincides w/AEE Las Vegas, NV)
Transgender Erotica Awards (the TEA’s) – March/April (Los Angeles, CA)
XBIZ Cam Awards – May (coincides w/XBIZ Miami, FL)
Alt Porn Awards – May (Los Angeles, CA)
XRCO Awards – late June (Los Angeles, CA)
UrbanX Awards – August (Los Angeles, CA)
YNOT Cam Awards – August (Los Angeles, CA)
PornHub Awards – September/October (Los Angeles, CA)
Inked Awards – Late October (Edison, New Jersey)
Kink.com Open Resources
These protocols and documents reflect best practices that Kink has adopted and refined over twenty years of BDSM production. They’ve made them available because we believe they can be used to help any adult content production that seeks to be safe, sane and consensual.
Kink.com designed the checklists so that they can be customized and used by anyone in production, at any phase of production. Directors can ask performers to fill out checklists when booking a scene or on-set prior to each shoot. Performers can create a form for a director or co-star ahead of a shoot, to inform them of their preferences and limits.
These documents are non-binding, but are a way of starting a discussion — all with the goal of creating a more informed, consensual, and enjoyable shoot.
14 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Pornographer
Insight from an Independent Performer & Producer.
“It’s incredibly expensive to work as a woman in this industry.”
THE RESPONSIBLE GUIDE TO TALK ABOUT SEX WORK IN THE MEDIA (English version)
This guide aims to establish a manual of good practice to discuss sex work in the media, eliminating discriminatory discourses and promoting those visions that take into account the reality of the protagonists of story from a fair, egalitarian and inclusive perspective; demonstrating that it’s possible to make interesting, truthful and responsible articles that also generate views.
LA GUÍA RESPONSABLE PARA HABLAR DEL TRABAJO SEXUAL EN LOS MEDIOS (Spanish version)
Esta guía pretende establecer un manual de buenas prácticas para hablar del trabajo sexual en los medios, eliminando los discursos discriminatorios y propiciando aquellas visiones que tengan en cuenta la realidad de las protagonistas de la historia desde una perspectiva justa, igualitaria e inclusiva; demostrando que es posible realizar artículos interesantes, veraces y responsables que además generen visitas.
“Do your homework.”
Not sure where to apply or who to meet? Do your homework. Find performers who look like you or who do things you like to do. (Or as close as possible — sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one!) Follow their social media accounts, look up their work and take note of what studios they work for, or how they conduct their business. There is a lot to learn from one another in this field. You can also get involved with advocacy groups like the Free Speech Coalition and the Adult Performers Advocacy Committee, where you’ll find a lot of helpful resources and events. There is no one-way to be successful in this industry, so consider what your goals are and where your strengths are, and go from there. I also recommend Lola Davina’s book “Thriving in Sex Work” as a primer in approaching how you work in this job in a healthy and sustainable way.
“I just want you all to be healthy, happy, prosperous sluts”
Links to help w/Financial Independence:
Mint – for tracking money/budgeting
Turo – for inexpensive car rentals
Vanguard Group – for investment services
I recommend [Reddit’s] Financial Independence Forum’s reading list for further research.
And if you’re not a reader, here’s two 60-min. Podcasts explaining everything, comprehensively. Listen to it in your Uber or Lyft on the way to set! IT’S FREE!!