So You Wanna Be A Porn Star?
People get into porn for a variety of reasons. Some come for the sex, others are lured by the money. However, the single best reason—the ideal goal to be hungering for—is fame (or infamy). Immortality.
To truly succeed at anything requires self-knowledge. This is true whether you’re thinking of appearing in a scene or two to fulfill a private fantasy, or the desire to be the next Stormy Daniels. Whether you’re a dabbler or are aiming for a long career, there are a few basic things you need to understand before you take the plunge.
First, on a fundamental level, the only bottom-line requirements for getting into porn are: having a vagina/mouth/butthole and being willing to use it. With the amount of video content being produced daily all over the world, the bar really is set that low. However—and this is a big HOWEVER—the knowledge of how the adult industry works, along with self-knowledge, self-discipline, and a spirit of adventure, will make the difference between a difficult, unpleasant and unrewarding experience, and a productive, enjoyable, profitable one.
1. You Are Responsible For You
You will come into contact with many different people, holding many different positions, in the world of porn. Directors, co-stars, agents, publicists. To some degree, you will entrust a part of yourself to all of them at one point or another. But you must never lose site of one hardcore reality: the only person interested in your well-being and success above all others is you.
Before you even consider stepping onto a porn set, read up on sex and sexual hygiene. Get a book or two, or use the plentiful resources available online. Also, know your own body and trust the signals it sends you. If having sex a particular way causes discomfort, it’s your job to know this. Young people tend to see themselves as indestructible. This can lead to new performers agreeing to do things that they are physically not ready for. Know your own body and consider things carefully before jumping into the deep end of the pool sexually.
2. Do You Need An Agent?
One of the most common questions asked by women who want to get into porn is “do I need a talent agent to launch my career?” The short answer is: no. Having the right agent certainly can help, and having the wrong agent can hurt, but an agent is not necessary to start working in porn. Let’s examine what agents actually do.
Talent agents (who represent performers) and talent bookers (who work for producers) each have specific sets of knowledge, based upon their working experience in both adult production and the business of porn. What they don’t know is how good or promising a performer (or producer) is, or how successful they might be, until they receive feedback. At the outset, all they “know” is “the buzz.” The word on the street. An agent is not Buddha: when it comes to brand new talent he or she can only make a superficial guess regarding a new performer’s skills, work ethic, and overall potential. An educated guess, perhaps, but a guess nonetheless.
An agency fields inquiries and offers from producers. They are the middleman. “Buzz” is how agencies find new talent. Maybe a porn star while you met working at a strip club has put in a good word for you. Or maybe you have an impressive cam score on MyFreeCams. Talent scouts will scan popular websites, particular twitter, looking for possible clients. This is also the approach used by smaller production companies and “amateur porn” producers. They’re looking for someone who “looks good on paper”—ie, has a commercial look, has attracted followers and posses the tact to engage with them, etc… In other words, they’re looks for gals who are basically self-starters. And why are they looking for them? To turn a profit from their labor. There’s no altruistic motive.
So, if you are a newcomer and have the looks, attitude, and personality to create a buzz, then you have already done the work for yourself. People break into porn when a producer—not an agent—thinks they can make money by hiring you. Period. And not because of who you agent is.
Can having the right agent help you once you have your foot in the door? Absolutely. And how can you find out if an agent is the right one for you? Or whether a producer you meet online is legit?
Whether you’re looking for reviews of an espresso machine, or first-hand experiences of people who have interacted with adult talent agencies, nowadays you can find reliable information online if you know where to look. There are online boards and forms for members of the adult business – from performances to directors to agents to webmasters that are simple and usually free to join. A google search will tell you whether a particular site is run by a legitimate adult industry entity and/or frequented by actual movers and shakers. Steer clear of sites that act like they’re the main place where “real producers” hire new talent. That’s not how people get hired for legit porn work or “sexy jobs”. Think of those sites as lollipops: they’re for suckers.
That caveat aside, google really is your friend. Look for ways to read first-hand reports. Take everything you read with a grain of salt, however. Many adult performers and directions are quite accessible on Twitter and most porn stars tell you who represents them in their profile bio.
One of the important jobs preformed by talent agents – actually, it’s about 90% of their job – is filtering out offers from shady producer/directions but, as I discussed, agents often have motivations and incentives different than matching a new performer with her ideal shoots. Agents have favorite producer clients they need to serve, as well as some they don’t work with due to business or personal matters which have nothing to do with whether you will have a positive or valuable experience. A talent agency is a business– one that makes no money from representing you unless you shoot for somebody. As a new performer, you cannot and should not avoid doing your own research on people who want to hire you.
Remember: you’re only the new kid on the block – the brand-new talent – once. Leverage your newness to book shoots with producers who are known quantities: those with active websites, and social media accounts with real, active followers. Back alley Clips4Sale stores and producers who cannot show you samples of their work should be avoided. And be honest with yourself about the “type” you are. There is work to be found for a wide variety of “looks” in adult videos. Knowing your strengths as well as your weakness lies at the heart of successful marketing.
4. Skills and Tricks of the Trade
People often ask me whether having lots of real-life sex with help them be a better porn star. The answer is: probably not. It won’t hurt, but I’ve met tons of sexy women who enjoy all kinds of sex in their personal lives but are just terrible on camera. I’ve also known women who look hot and do great scenes on camera, but are dead fish in real life. This is because real life sex and porn sex are two different things. Porn sex is performative, first and foremost. And therefore, performance experience is far more useful to an adult performer than, say, having had some threesome back home. Two of the most common types of performance experience among porn newcomers are webcamming and stripping. Camming teaches the role that good lighting plays, and the importance of “finding your light” to look your best in front of a camera. It also provides the sense of being in a frame, and teaches you how to pose and maneuver yourself without wandering out of the shot. In camming the immediate feedback you receive, in the form of tips, reinforces these lessons. Stripping can also teach you things such as types of movement and how to feel comfortable when naked among strangers, but overall the experience is less valuable for porn than camming or even modeling for still photographs. When a porn cameraman is shooting you in a solo or P.O.V (subjective point of view) scene, he doesn’t care about your dance ability or your skill at extracting singles from a club as much as he wants you to be able to find your light, keep your hair out of your face, and play to the camera without breaking character. Like everyone on a set, he wants to get his work done and then go home. The easier you make the job, the more you’ll get hired. Its been said that the porn business is the only multi-billion dollar industry with no professionals. Much of the public thinks party, with naked starlets floating in champagne.
In reality, a porn set – be it at a studio facility or a private residence – is essentially a factory. A workplace where a product is created. Having a positive attitude and a professional work ethic will make your job, and the jobs of everyone around you easier – and will result in a better product.
The internet has widely broadened the variety of porn that is created. No matter what you look like, somebody out there wants to see you performing, fulfilling his or her fantasy. Hoity-toity types call this “the democratization of the body.” What it means to you and me is, if a performer has a realistic sense of their assets, strengths, desires and goals, there exists a niche that they can fill.
5. Getting in the Door
Success usually begins at the intersection of opportunity and preparation. Perhaps the biggest factor affecting your opportunity to get into porn is your geographic location. The farther you are from major metropolitan hubs of adult production such as greater Los Angeles, San Francisco, the New York-New Jersey- Connecticut ‘Tri-state area,’ or greater Miami, the more likely it is that you will have to travel to work regularly.
You should have professional photographs taken as soon as you can. If you can’t afford a top-flight photographer, find promotional pics that you like of working porn girls and ask a local photographer (or photography student) to replicate them.
Social media is your best, quickest way to network and interact with producers, agents and other performers. As I mentioned earlier, social media is a two-way street: scouts will be checking you out, so don’t be a dick or involve yourself in unproductive drama. The official websites of your favorite porn companies often provide contact information and model submission forms. Reach out, and get your own sense of the opportunities available to you, as well as the attitudes, requirements and priorities of the businesses you have engaged. Porn immortality awaits.