Staying Safe While Shooting Porn
Though there are several ways to get into the porn industry, the two most common ways are ads and booking requests. You might be actively looking to film porn, and in doing so, you seek ads online. Or, if you have a social media profile, you might be “discovered” by a porn company, who will then send you an introductory email and, subsequently, a booking request.
Answering Ads & Determining Legitimacy
There are several porn studios popping up in Seattle lately, and not all of them are legitimate. It’s hard to weed through the ads to find the professionals, but there are some key words and phrases you can look for which will help you determine what you might be signing up for:
“new website”, “building up content”, “launching soon”, “initial start-up” – This company/person has likely never shot/produced content before. You might be working with an amateur who has no knowledge of industry standards or protocols. Pay attention to other key phrases to find out if this is a seasoned individual who’s launching a new site, or a person brand new to the industry.
“1-on-1” – You will be alone with your scene partner, and no one else will be on set. (See “POV Directors vs Privates” section below.)
“private collection” – This is a “private”. That means the person likely does not sell content on a legitimate website. This content will either be for the private collection of the person hiring you or for the private collection of someone who commissioned this content. It’s often posted to forums, but it’s rarely sold through professional channels. “Private collection” can also indicate someone looking for a “date” who won’t even film the content.
“contact for rates” – The person contacting you might be offering different rates based on appearance or experience. Or they might want to feel you out to see what you’ll accept. However, this might also be a legitimate producer who pays different rates based on the type of content you’re willing to shoot.
POV Directors vs “Privates”
POV porn is very popular these days. Bigger companies are now shooting POV content, but so are a lot of amateur companies. If you’re contacted by an amateur director who will also be your only scene partner, check out their work. You can even ask for references for other performers and then check those references. Find out if he’ll be the only one on set or if he has an assistant who will be there for the entire shoot.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work for an amateur who’s also your scene partner, nor am I suggesting you’ll have a bad experience if you work with a one-person company, but I suggest doing your research.
There are many great solo directors out there who do awesome work, who are professional and respectful. I’ve also heard about some who were a little too “familiar” with performers or who didn’t even record the content. If you get to set and realize that the “director” isn’t going to record the content, or records but is more interested in the sex than the content, you’ve been hired for sex under the guise of doing a shoot. This is deception. This is not a real director.
What you do on set is between you and the “director”, but if you’re uncomfortable with this scenario, just walk away. You don’t owe him anything.
I suggest basing your screening for potential jobs on the structure of the company and the experience of the director.
If the director provides you with a link to their content, look at that content. They should be listing the performers’ stage names, enabling you to research those performers. Then you can take it upon yourself to contact a couple of those performers.
If the director is unable to provide you with a link to content which is currently for sale, then the person is either looking for a private or is stockpiling content prior to launching a new website. In this case, I suggest using one of two screening methods.
- Ask for model references. If they claim to have worked with other models and are willing to give references, check out those references. Do the performers have good things to say? Do those performers have an established online presence?
- If the director cannot give you references (due to any number of reasons), then I suggest screening as you would a potential client.
Either way, I suggest doing an online search for the director’s name, company name, phone number, and email address. Then search any blacklists you have access to. Also type the person’s name or company name into Twitter. I did this earlier today for an ad I found online, and I saw a warning on Twitter about the person being a “flake”.
Introductory Emails & Booking Requests
There are a few ways in which a company might approach you regarding a shoot. In order to gauge your interest, a company might send you an introductory email. An initial email introduction might not include many details, such as payment amount and method. However, all introductory emails should include the following:
- The company’s name (or site name)
- Shoot location (city, state)
- A portfolio and/or link to sample work. If this is a video shoot, a link to view example videos.
- Information about the type of content they’re interested in shooting
While payment information is important, if the company presents multiple options for type of content, those options might each have their own pay rate. Ex: BDSM, G/G, B/G with vaginal penetration, B/G with anal penetration, gangbangs, etc. So they might be waiting on your response before offering you a particular rate.
If you’re interested in shooting with the company, feel free to ask as many questions as you want. If they can’t/won’t answer those questions, it could be a red flag. However, if you respond that you’re interested in shooting, they will likely provide you with numerous details in their follow-up email/ booking request.
Companies, especially those located outside of LA, will have varied protocols for booking. If one company does it one way and another company does it another way, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one company is “shady”. Some companies have a team dedicated to booking, and others have one person who handles booking. Or sometimes the producer handles the booking.
Talent Scouts & Casting Couch
A concerning trend is that of the “talent scout”. Recently, I’ve seen several companies putting out warnings about these scouts and how they’re not scouts but rapists. There have been a few cases in recent news about women answering ads or emails then showing up to have sex (for free) with the scout who claims to be holding an interview. Once the woman leaves and is never contacted by the company again, she eventually realizes she was tricked into sex by a stranger who’s not in any way associated with a porn company. A real talent scout will have verifiable information in their email or social media profile. If you’re contacted by a talent scout, reach out to the company the scout references, and verify the person’s identity.
Information to Obtain Before a Shoot
- Date, time, location, length of shoot
- Company name
- Pay – rate & method
- Travel info – method & who’s paying
- Scene partner(s)
- Scene topics and actions
- Wardrobe requests
- Hair & make-up – MUA on set or will you do your own?
- Testing requirements
- Lodging information – location & who’s paying
Preparing for a Shoot
- Make sure you’re tested in time. If you’re in LA, Vegas or parts Florida you might be able to test the day before your shoot. If you’re located anywhere else, test at least 2 days beforehand.
- If you have scene partners, check their tests in PASS. Save yourself the trouble of traveling & then finding out your partners aren’t tested. Even if it’s a condom shoot, everyone should be tested.
- Read your booking request & call sheet again.
- Pack the night before when possible.
- If you’re flying, arrive to the airport early. If you’re checking a bag, arrive more than an hour early or you may not be allowed on your flight.
- If you’re doing an anal shoot, start your prep the night before the shoot. You will need to develop your own method of preparing. You might want to bring gummy bears to help with your blood sugar level. Everyone’s body is different, so plan your meals according to your own digestive schedule.
- If you’ll be required to get & maintain an erection during the shoot and will be using medication to assist, I recommend not eating fatty foods the morning of the shoot.
You will often be provided with supplies on set, but you cannot count on it.
Bring with you:
- IDs & your SSN or TIN
- Wardrobe (always bring extra outfits)
- Make-up (even if there’s supposed to be a MUA, they may not have your shade of foundation)
- Anything you’ll need to do your own hair
- Lube, baby wipes, make-up sponge wedges*, douche (if you use it), enemas (for an anal shoot)
- Water & a light snack (most sets will provide this but bring some with you anyway)
- Any medication you might need
*A note on make-up sponges: Menstruation can occur unexpectedly. Though you might not expect to be on your period on a shoot day, be prepared. Make-up sponge wedges are perfect for unexpected bleeding, and you can often perform while on your period as long as it’s not too heavy. Right before the scene starts, douche with cold water and insert two wedges that are still attached to one another. Change your sponges often. Put a reminder in your phone to remove the sponges after the shoot.
What to Expect During a Shoot
While exact details will vary shoot to shoot, company to company, there are a few things that are universal across all porn shoots.
You should be aware of the full STI status of all your scene partners for a fluid-exchange shoot. While the director should facilitate this, it’s ultimately your responsibility to protect yourself.
Industry standard for testing is as follows:
- All performers should be tested through Talent Testing Services or Cutting Edge Testing.
- All performers should be cleared within the last 14 days. Some sets operate on a 28-day testing schedule. It’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with.
- Even if condoms are used, testing is still required.
- If you’re on a PASS-regulated set, all performers should be entered into and cleared through the PASS database. You can request access to this database (ahead of the shoot date) in order to check your scene partners. However, you can also check your scene partners if they access their account on the TTS or CET website. If you are provided with a paper test, make sure to verify it in the system. Tests CAN be and ARE sometimes faked.
Before shooting, all performers, and any staff (director, camera person, assistants) should have a conversation about consent. This happens in various ways depending on the company. However, it should happen. Don’t start shooting before you discuss your limits (your “no list”) and your preferences. Sometimes companies won’t include everyone on set in this conversation, but I prefer it that way so that everyone has an opportunity to spot an issue should it arise.
Some companies use a consent form. I love this method and it’s what I utilize on our set. A consent form should have a place for you to check off what you’re willing to do during the shoot and what you’re not willing to do. It’s usually in the form of a checklist. There should also be a place for you to write in anything else, such as actions on your “no list” that are not otherwise covered on the checklist. If there are words that trigger you or names you don’t want to be called, be sure to mention that.
You can revoke consent at any time! I can’t emphasize this enough. If you’re in the middle of a scene and you’re uncomfortable, say something. While someone should have eyes on you, and often a member of the crew can pick up on your discomfort, they might not. If everything that’s happening on set is within your stated limits, people might not notice anything is wrong. Speak up. The first priority on any set should be the safety of performers and crew.
Now, understand that if you’re booked for a particular type of shoot and you decide you don’t want to do that type of shoot, the company can send you home without pay. Sometimes the shoot is a contract from a larger company, so whoever is on set that day has no ability to change what’s being shot & will have to simply cancel the shoot. For example, if you sign up for an anal shoot and decide you don’t want to do anal, you’ll likely be sent home without pay. You might even be charged a kill fee because you did “damage” to the production. Sometimes a shoot is more flexible. If you end a scene partway through, your pay will depend on the situation.
You have the right to privacy on set. You can request to prepare for your scene and change in wardrobe in private. However, it’s common and accepted on major production shoots for the director (or a PA) to do a nude visual full-body scan at the beginning of the shoot. This is to be sure there are no serious blemishes of which they were not previously aware. You may ask to do this privately; it should be brief, and there should be no touching.
The director or an assistant may also shoot extra content for the scene, such as shower footage. Usually this isn’t your actual shower to clean up but a staged shower. It’s part of the production. Feel free to request to shower alone & with privacy afterwards.
Behind the scenes footage (BTS): Often companies will run an extra camera which usually sits in the corner of the room. Filming begins when the shoot begins (or during photos) and ends when performers have left the set. This is to protect everyone on set. If anything happens on set that anyone takes issue with, it’s good to have that camera rolling constantly. If you’re on a set that runs a BTS camera, be aware of what you say during the shoot. Some companies release this footage alongside the main scene. Reputable companies will go through the footage with a fine-tooth comb to be sure your privacy is protected and that any potentially embarrassing content is removed, but you are ultimately in charge of your own image.
Before the shoot, you should be aware of the company’s method of payment and payment schedule. You may be paid at the end of the shoot or, if you’re receiving a payroll check, within the next two weeks. You may also receive a post-dated check, cashable in 10 days. If you are paid at the end of the shoot, make sure the amount is correct before leaving the premises.
It’s quite common these days for performers to be approached by producers or other performers about “content trade”. What that usually means is you don’t get paid in actual money. You’re paid in content. While this is a great option for performers who live close to the shoot location and who want content, it can often be a way for producers to take advantage of performers. You have to decide if it’s a good option for you.
If you decide to do a content trade, make sure that you have all the details:
- Who is getting what content? (Are you sharing scenes or are you each getting your own scenes?)
- Who is covering travel, lodging and meal expenses?
- Can you leave with your content? (Do NOT leave a shoot without your content. Just don’t. Bring a flash drive to the shoot. So many performers have been ripped off by producers who never send the content.)
- What is the release schedule? (Who gets to release the content first and to where?)
- Is the producer willing to sign a content trade contract? (Yes, get this. Make sure your rights are protected. Also, make sure you get a 2257 for your scene partner so you can legally sell the content.)
Staying Safe While Webcamming
The world of camming can be a bit mysterious. You might be wondering how to get started and how to protect your privacy.
If you’ve come across ads looking for cam models, chances are you’ve found an ad placed by a camming studio. Usually, these are “virtual” studios, meaning that you still cam from home, not an actual studio, but you are signing up to a cam site under another company. DO NOT DO THIS. Always sign up directly to the cam site itself. Studios take an extra cut and rarely provide additional services in return. If you sign up under a studio and you decide to go independent at some point, you’ll likely have to start over with a brand new account.
I’m only aware of one exception to this rule: Boleyn Models. This company is a virtual studio, but they take a nominal cut of your earnings in return for paying you daily (rather than on a weekly basis). Their website also has a lot of great articles for cam models.
A list of reputable cam sites can be found in the resource links below.
This is not a comprehensive list of ways to protect your privacy, but it’s a start. There’s also a book link in the resource section. While I mainly address camming in this section, all of this applies to mainstream porn as well.
Guard your personal information. Never use your real name or location in your camming name. Never reveal any personally identifying information, such as your location (other than a general location) or info about family members. Never talk about places you frequent.
Turn off your location tracking on your phone’s camera before taking any photos which you’ll use on your profile or on social media. Never cross-post photos between private social media and work social media/camming profiles.
Clear your cam room of any personally identifying information, such as family photos, vanity items (bracelets, photo frames, mugs), and degrees.
Always unplug your webcam after streaming. If you’re using a built-in cam, cover it with a piece of paper and unplug your laptop.
Be aware that many cam sites will record your private/paid shows & either make them available for free to certain members or sell them. Being “in private” with a member does not guarantee that the one member is your whole audience. Never do anything in private that you don’t want posted all over the internet.
You WILL be pirated. Your shows WILL be posted online for free by members. You will likely be outed at some point during your career, and if this would be devastating to you, consider not camming.
You will receive tax documents from websites. If you work in or are planning to work in a profession that involves education, health care, minors, or seniors, or in academia, understand that you will likely be discriminated against if your employer finds out about your camming history. Please consider this carefully before streaming for the first time.
Buy your domain. Once you decide what your cam name will be, buy your domain. Do it before you ever stream. If you don’t buy it, someone else will. BUY PRIVACY PROTECTION. It’s often free, and if it’s not, it will only cost you a couple dollars extra. This protects your personal information from the public. Also set up your Twitter account. You don’t have to use it, but you’ll want to secure your profile before someone else does.
If you plan on making a wishlist so your customers can buy you gifts, make sure that you do NOT put your real name or address on the wishlist. Get a PO Box or a mailbox at a private mailbox store (the latter is preferable). You might read hints online as to how you can use your real name and address without customers finding it, but I promise you that there is no secure way to do this. You’ll use your real name when acquiring the box, along with your pseudonym.
If you’re camming through Skype or another indie platform, always take your payments through an adult-industry-approved, reputable site. NEVER take payments via: GiftRocket, Paypal, Circle Pay, Amazon Gift card, etc. Some of these sources will give out your personal information and all of them will allow customers to do chargebacks. I do not recommend accepting gift cards as payment. You can take payments through some clip sites (but not all of them… read their TOS) and through an indie cam listing site. The two of which I’m aware are: Cam Model Directory and Live Cam Model Shows. Links are listed below in the resource section.
New performer information: https://www.freespeechcoalition.com/programs/inspire/
Resource forum for strippers, cam models and content creators: https://www.stripperweb.com/
Reputable cam studio: https://boleynmodels.com/
Reputable cam sites list: https://boleynmodels.com/network-sites/
Online privacy: https://www.amazon.com/Smart-Girls-Guide-Privacy-Practical/dp/1593276486/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=smart+girls+guide+to+privacy&qid=1555033962&s=gateway&sr=8-1
Indie cam listing sites: https://www.livecammodelshows.com/
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.