AMBER LOVE 19-NOV-2012 The Breaking Into Porn panel at NJ Exxxotica 2012 was filled with useful information for people curious about the industry, looking to be stars, content producers, or product merchandisers.

ADULTBIZLAW.COM

MICHAEL W. FATTOROSI, ESQ. is the founder of adultbizlaw.com and he frequently travels to educate people on the introductory level information needed. He is considering developing his lecture further into a MCLE (continuing ed for lawyers) workshop.

Fattorosi opened discussions on the biggest news in the porn industry this year: California’s Ballot Measure B in Los Angeles County which would require any porn stars filming there to use condoms. Fattorosi tried to be clear that he’s not anti-condom or anti-caution; he is anti-government telling people what to do with their bodies. That phrase repeated throughout the Exxxotica convention. This one place seemed like to be united in  allowing for medical practices to be chosen by the patients not the government. The law is not exactly enforceable. Ballot Measure B was best countered by author Stephen Blackmoore on his blog L.A. Noir.

“Passing regulations without bothering to figure out how to enforce or pay for them is just another example of L.A. idiot politics.” Stephen Blackmoore

Fattorosi and a couple of the porn stars on the Q&A panel earlier, also brought up the First Amendment. If porn is art the government cannot intrude.

STD Testing: This varies based on the company you work for. Some test every 2 weeks; some test every 4 weeks. It’s NOT a full STD panel either. Certain viruses, like herpes and HPV are far too prevalent in the general population and would result in too many “positive” results that don’t accurately impede on the life of a porn star. They test for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

Retail

The least amount covered was the sex toy part of industry. It was merely mentioned as an option for those looking to be connected to the business but don’t want to be on-camera or producers. He explained the common business model is like selling Avon, Tupperware, or jewelry: a woman (always a woman) hosts a sex toy for women only. If she then has people sign up under her to host their own parties, she would get a percentage of sales. It’s a typical MLM model – one I’ve never seen actually work in making anyone money and I’ve been forced by friends to attend their candle selling, jewelry, cosmetics, kitchen gadgets, or home decor parties for years; now I just say no. Multi-Level Marketing sounds great but enter with caution.

Now if you were to start a traditional online or brick and mortar store of adult products, that’s something I’d understand. Fattorosi didn’t address any regulations for those types of businesses but he did say they can be difficult because nobody wants to live next door to an adult boutique.

Acting/Producing

The most prolific discussion about breaking into porn was regarding the lucrative webcam options. This is the future of porn, Fattorosi said. It’s not the future, it’s here now and booming. There are so many facets that you need to consider. Things like taxes and geography. Yes, geography. Technically, it is only legal to film porn in New Hampshire and California. The fact that it exists everywhere proves it is unenforceable.

Even with a webcam operation there is still the on-camera “star” (I use quotes because there’s probably a certain level of needing to earn your stripes before calling yourself a star) and the behind the camera producer. I spent one evening checking out MyFreeCams and only two of them seemed to have people behind the camera; the rest were either one- or two-girl operations where they had to pause to type and adjust camera settings themselves. MFC was also there at Exxxotica but every time I swung by the booth to ask questions there was no one there.

Female Talent

Fattorosi claimed that girls could earn several thousand dollars per month if they dedicated themselves to being a full-time camgirl. The lengthy hours is not necessarily something people consider.

A subset of the webcam girl is the fetish niche. Fattorosi explained this can be considerably more affordable to produce because the girls on camera don’t make as much. There’s no sex. There’s a fetish for absolutely everything and just when you think you’ve come up with an idea that can’t possibly be someone’s turn-on, you’re wrong. Fattorosi referred to Clips4Sale as the place to go to for this market. He said it makes more sense from a financial standpoint because people seem to more easily spend their money on a shopping cart full of clips than for paid monthly subscriptions to websites. In one example, Fattorosi said the on-camera work was just the leg of a woman revving a car’s gas pedal; she would have clips of different cars/locations but the action of her plantar flexing her foot was enough of a turn-on that people bought it. Maybe it’s a connection to a foot fetish and she wore different shoes or stockings.

Fattorosi briefly explained the way to best keep an identity secret for those people who are concerned about their day jobs or non-porn reputations. You would get an attorney to set up a shell company in a place like Las Vegas. He sternly cautioned how difficult it truly is to lead that kind of double life. The moment you have a relationship and it goes bad, your ex may threaten to post the information all over the internet or to show your family. In 2012, in our repressed America, there are still cases of people trying to moonlight in the adult industry and losing their day jobs such as the case as the journalist who was also a stripper.

Typically Men’s Roles in the Biz

Scouting: As part of this “at home” porn production set up, there’s another position, we’ll call this guy “Talent Scout” for lack of better word. This is the guy Fattorosi describes as the type that could go into a bar and pick up girls with ease. He called it “pulling” girls because it gets them from wherever you meet then drawing them into a house with cameras (sounds like the practices of Girls Gone Wild). It’s also a way for men to get into the porn industry without being the guy that masturbates on camera for the gay market. Plus this scout would then take 10% of what the girls earn; if you bank 10 girls working for you, you’re doing pretty well.

Producing: Fattorosi gave interesting tips on record keeping and filmmaking. Having insurance is also the sort of thing you might not consider in your at-home porn production set up. If you ever get sued and you do not have an LLC (limited liability corporation) then your personal belongings can be taken as assets. As a producer you need to separate your personal assets from business assets.

Another type of insurance is “slip and fall.” If you have crews filming in your house or on location, they may need workers’ compensation. Shooting in a hotel or other venue requires you to have signed release forms as well. Venues have paperwork just like models/actors.

You’ll also have to consider the copyright laws. You can send your final products to the copyright office and apply for copyright. Fattorosi said that “poor man’s copyright” of sending yourself certified mail is actually not valid. You need the official certification from the copyright office to defend your claim if you ever choose to sue someone over violations.

There’s also the copyright of other people to remember. You know that girl with the Batman tattoo you just put on camera? Well, you now owe DC Comics/Warner Brothers licensing fees. That goes for any artwork hanging up in the room where you filmed or any music you have playing. Consider that you can also turn this into an opportunity for product placement and charge companies to have their products in your films.  Maybe there’s a tattoo artist who would pay for that. I don’t know any but it could happen.

And speaking of all these things that can go wrong, perhaps the biggest is any scare of filming with a minor. This is under a law called 2257 back from when Traci Lords was discovered to have been only 15 years old making porn. Obscenity trials are held where the product is SOLD not where it is MADE. If you are questioning whether something is porn or not, even with models dressed (or in cosplay), Fattorosi gives this simple tip to determine if you are liable for child pornography:

“If you can jerk off to it, you should keep records for 2257,” Fattorosi said.

You also cannot bring someone into the United States for the purpose of making porn. You will never get a work visa for this. The internet makes it easily to meet people from all around the world but in this case you need to stick to home grown civilians for your projects. Fattorosi said the FBI, INS, and ICE organizations watch for this.

Male Talent:

Have you ever wondered why there aren’t many male porn stars? Fattorosi said this is purely physical. It’s a demanding job. A male star walks into the room, meets the girl(s) for the first time, the girl(s) go off to makeup; then they meet with the director and the shooting begins. You need to be ready. If you can’t keep an erection or even if you’re “money shot” isn’t visually appealing, you won’t work again. Men have been known to use all kinds of over the counter medication, herbs, prescriptions like Viagra and Cialis and dangerously prescriptions used off-label. There’s a diabetes drug which men inject into the base of their penis. Fattorosi said a lot of the women don’t like this because it’s not natural and takes them out of the mindset. Staying erect while 5-10 people are watching adds stress. Those 5-10 people don’t get paid overtime as with other filmmaking. The crew gets a flat rate but rental locations are usually paid hourly. So you end up with annoyed crew and a producer/director worried about exceeding the budget for the location.

As a male star you also need to understand there’s a good chance you’ll work in close proximity to other men. You need to be comfortable when your dick touches another dick. Scenes like a woman having two cocks in/near any orifice means it’s going to happen. There are also known issues of veteran actors giving the new guys a hard time (no pun intended) and trying to mess with their minds.

How can you get used to having sex with other people around? Fattorosi suggested swingers clubs. If you can fuck a girl in a room full of strangers like a swingers club, consider it optimal training grounds.

Fattorosi expanded on physique further. Most men are obsessed with penis size. Fattorosi explained there’s nothing wrong with average. Filmmakers are far more impressed with the ejaculation. It has to be a good load. Pathetic drips are not going to look impressive on camera.

If you’ve read this much you can see that there’s more to consider to breaking into porn as a career than you might have imagined. It goes beyond getting naked and mastubating in front of your webcam.

Read Amber’s other Exxxotica coverage.

Read Ashley’s recap of her first Exxxotica.