A Guide to Content Trade
Content trade between sex workers is becoming more common. While it’s a great way to switch up the look of your content and to pad your library, there are many things to consider. It can be a little overwhelming at first but reading through this guide can help you organize your thoughts and understand all the variables involved in content trade.
Choosing Your Trade Partners
The first thing you might want to consider is who you want to shoot with. It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that any trade shoot is a good trade shoot, but that’s not always the case. Not everyone is a good fit, and that’s okay. This is business, and content trade is an investment of your time and resources. Content trade affects your branding.
Here are some things to consider when you’re contemplating whether or not to film with a particular model.
- Think about your customer base. Do you think your customers will be drawn to this model? Do they have a look or persona that your customers will find appealing?
- Does the other model make the same kind of content you make? Chances are that if a model is reaching out to you for trade, they found you because you shoot the same genre, but it pays to look into what they do and consider whether it will compliment what you do.
- Do your experience levels align? If you’re shooting with a brand new model, chances are you will have to do a lot of teaching. Consider whether it’s worth it to you to invest the time into teaching while filming. When I was first starting out, women with more experience generously agreed to shoot with me, but I would not have been offended if they declined due to my inexperience and smaller customer base.
- In that vein, consider whether the person will make you look good in their scenes. If they have less experience (or no experience) with editing, will you be happy with the final product? Look at some of their scenes. Remember, while they will be putting their watermark on the videos & selling in their stores, they still affect your brand.
- What is the other model’s reputation? Are you comfortable with how they treat their customers and other sex workers?
- Are you comfortable with the way the model brands themselves? If the person regularly uses language that you find offensive, you might decline a shoot. Or perhaps that model would be open to negotiating how they brand the content you shoot during the trade. Once you hand over rights to content, you no longer have a say in how it’s advertised.
Preparing to Shoot
Once you’ve decided that you do want to shoot trade content with the other model, begin preparing for the shoot.
- Discuss what type of trade it will be. (see “Types of Trade Shoots” below for a more in-depth description of trade types.)
- Discuss ideas & limits in advance. Whenever I’ve done content trade and the ideas weren’t discussed in advance, I found that we wasted a lot of time coming up with ideas and vetoing ideas that made us uncomfortable for one reason or another. I prefer to exchange a list of topics in advance so that everyone is on the same page on shoot day. If scripted content is involved (especially when we’re shooting customs), I require that the other model sends me their scripts in advance of the shoot.
- If you’re doing an exclusive trade shoot, decide how long each scene will be.
- Discuss wardrobe and props, then pack the appropriate items the night before your shoot.
- Discuss who will be filming the content and how it will be shared. Whose camera is being used? Will you have a videographer? How will each person leave with their own content at the end of the shoot? Who will do the editing?
- If there will be fluid exchange, make sure you’re both tested in time for the shoot. If it’s a make-out session only, I think testing is up to the comfort level of the performers involved, but if you’re going to be doing any other fluid exchange during the shoot, you should both be tested.
- Check the model’s test BEFORE you arrive for the shoot. Don’t waste your own time showing up to set only to find out the other person didn’t get tested or their test is expired.
When you meet up to shoot, make sure you cover the following before shooting begins:
- Exchange IDs. You should have two forms of ID for each model, and at least one ID should be a photo ID. Take a photo of the front and back of each ID, and also take a photo of the model holding their IDs on either side of their face (bunny ears). Be sure the model is at least 18 & that the ID is real.
- Complete the paperwork. You should have a 2257 and model agreement for each scene you shoot, regardless of the type of shoot. Contracts vary depending on the type of shoot.
- If you’re paying the model, they need to fill out a W-9 for you.
- Have a consent discussion. Talk about what your limits are for this shoot. What actions, topics, and words are you comfortable or not comfortable with? I find a consent checklist to be the best method for having a thorough consent discussion.
Types of Trade Shoots
In this type of content trade, each model will leave with their own content. Each model owns exclusive rights to their own content. Each model is responsible for editing, listing, and promoting their own scenes.
The easiest way to ensure an equitable trade is to agree upon the number of scenes and scene lengths before the shoot & for each model to shoot an equal number of scenes of the same length. However, there are other ways to handle an exclusive trade shoot which will take some more negotiation.
- Equal trade: Each model leaves with the same number of scenes and all of the scenes are about the same length. Ex: You shoot 4 scenes, each 10 minutes in length. Model A gets 2 scenes and Model B gets 2 scenes.
- Equitable trade
- Scene length variation: Model A prefers 10-minute scenes, while Model B prefers 15-minutes scenes. One way to make this trade equitable is for Model A to receive 3 scenes while Model B receives 2 scenes. You each receive 30 minutes of content. Adjust your expectations for location and wardrobe changes accordingly.
- Scene complexity variation: Model A prefers to shoot lots of different angles, get B-roll content, etc. while Model B likes to just set up a tripod a shoot straight through the scenes. One way to make this equitable is to consider the amount of time spent shooting each person’s content, then adjust the number of scenes for each model accordingly.
Exclusive Custom Trade
Each model likes to shoot custom scenes, which are scenes requested by and paid for by customers in advance of the shoot. This is a good way to ensure that your trade shoot is worth the time and effort. It’s also a great cross-promotion opportunity.
The easiest way to ensure a smooth custom trade shoot is to agree upon the type of scenes (G/G, xxx, non-nude fetish, etc.), number of scenes to be shot, the length of each scene, and the amount to be charged*. Then you can advertise the shoot accordingly. Ex: “We’re shooting on [date] and are accepting custom requests for [length] scenes. The cost for each scene is [amount]. Email [my address] to inquire by [due date]. Then make sure to get script approval from the other model BEFORE accepting any payments.
*Fans are accustomed to paying at least double a model’s normal custom rate when two models are involved. They should also be charged according to your costs for the shoot. If testing is involved, feel free to charge more if you’ll have to be tested specifically for the shoot.
While “equal” trade is the easiest option, you might choose to go a different route.
Custom for non-custom trade: If you want to accept custom requests but the other model doesn’t want to, or they don’t offer customs, or your customers are biting but theirs aren’t, you can still trade. How you choose to handle it is up to the parties involved.
- Trade only: Model A shoots customs and Model B doesn’t shoot customs. Model A and Model B shoot an equal number of scenes, and each leave only with their respective content.
- Trade plus pay: Model A shoot customs and Model B doesn’t shoot customs. Model A and Model B shoot an equal number of scenes and each leave with their respective content, but Model A pays Model B half of their custom rate, minus site fees and taxes.
You shoot a certain number of scenes and each model gets a copy of all of the scenes. You can either each edit your own copies or, if one person is better at editing, one model can edit all the scenes then deliver them at a later date. Regardless of who is doing the editing, each model should leave the shoot with a copy of the raw footage.
There are pros and cons to shared content trade. Each model gets more content than they would in an exclusive trade. However, there are more issues to deal with in shared trade. I recommend that special contracts are used in shared content trade so that both models are on the same page about release schedules and how much can be shared for free.*
- Scheduling releases: When you do a shared trade, consider who will release which content and when. There are a few ways to handle this.
- Tandem release: Each model releases the same content at the same time.
- Staggered release: Model A releases Scene 1 first and Model B releases Scene 2 first. Then Model A releases Scene 2 and Model B releases Scene 1. Decide on a length of time between releases.
- Unscheduled release: Neither of you cares when the other model releases the content, and you just do what you want.
- Previews and tube sites: This can become an issue when one model puts out a lot of free content while the other prefers to sell the content. Or you each have a different idea of how long a free trailer should be. What if the model you’re working with decides to release all the scenes for free immediately after the shoot? I recently added a section to my shared trade contracts to cover this. In my contract, each performer agrees that trailers should not exceed 2 minutes in length and that the entire scene cannot be released for free until 1 year after the shoot.
*I’ve heard of cases where Model A releases scenes for way cheaper than Model B. You’ll have to decide whether you want to specify pricing limits in your contract.
Shared Trade Etiquette
It is polite to discuss how you’ll handle giving credit to the other model in your shared scenes. Will you include both models’ watermarks on all copies, or will you each watermark your own copies only with your own watermark? Will you credit one another in a video intro? Will you include a link to the other model’s store in your listings and tweets? Discussing this ahead of time can prevent later resentment.
Paid or Partial Paid Trade
If you’re doing a trade shoot but you want more scenes than the other model wants, you can offer to pay the other model for their time. Ex: Model A wants to leave the shoot with 4 scenes, but Model B only wants 2 scenes. Model A can offer trade for 2 of the scenes and to pay Model B’s rate for the other 2 scenes. Make sure you find out the model’s rate before you shoot. I’ve seen rates that vary from $75/hr to $1500/scene, depending on the type of content.
If you want to work with a model but they don’t do trade, offer to pay them. You can either come up with a budget and make an offer, or you can ask that model what their rate is. Be sure to mention what type of content you want to shoot and how long the shoot will take. If the model is with an agency, the respectful thing to do is to tell the model what you want to shoot with them and ask if they want you to contact their agent.
About the Author:
Olivia Fyre (aka Lady Fyre) is co-owner of House of Fyre, a porn company which has been operating in the Seattle area since 2012 & began hiring performers in 2016. House of Fyre recently moved to Las Vegas. Olivia runs House of Fyre with her husband Laz Fyre. Together they’ve created over 200 XXX scenes and hundreds of fetish scenes.