This is the inside word from one of the nicest — and most successful — performers in the adult industry.
GETTING INTO THE PORN INDUSTRY BY: Dave Cummings — Porn Star/Producer/Director
Many individuals, both female and male, fantasize about becoming a porn star, or somehow finding a way to get into the Porn Industry. Some folks want to be in front of the camera as actual porn stars, while some just want to be involved with porn productions and become an "insider." Now that the Internet has flourished, it's become another avenue into porn for those seeking entry. Let's look at some of the different routes one might travel in their quest to be involved with the world of porn.
For reasonably attractive females with nice figures, it's relatively easy. Knowing someone already in the Industry might facilitate their journey into porn, otherwise they'll need to do some Internet research to find and contact an agent or manager, preferably a reputable one in the Los Angeles area where most porn productions take place. In the past, there has been a steady stream of new legal-age girls wanting the adventure and/or money and/or fame of becoming a starlet; but, in the last few years there's been a significant increase, indeed almost a flood, in the numbers of women hoping to become famous and affluent porn stars and to later return to their high school class reunions and bask in the glow of stardom. The name of the game during recent years is the demand for new fresh faces; this often results in pursuits by producers and directors seeking to hire new starlets as a means of increasing sales. Thus new wannabe porn starlets are in demand. New girls can make a lot of money, especially when they first enter the Industry; but, unless they are especially good at their craft or have extraordinary professionalism and drive to make porn a career, the need for the even newer fresh faces soon becomes a challenge for their longevity as the even "newer" incoming girls seem to nudge some of the existing faces out of the limelight. The exceptional girls who end up making it a longer term career usually are well known for their dependability, punctuality, a solid enjoyment of sex which is exhibited by truly hot sex scene performances, personality, and high standards of all-around professionalism.
Let's look now at the issue of men wanting to become porn studs. Prior to the days of prescription pills to aid and enhance one's sexual performance abilities, the number of porn studs in the Industry was much smaller than at present, and viewers had to endure seeing the same core group of us guys over and over. The reason why we were qualified as career porn studs was our "functionality," something that still applies today; candidly, even some new guys presently masking their use of pharmaceutical assistance still seem to sometimes get "stage fright" and some seem to have difficulty doing a timely "money shot." I'll discuss the functionality matter a little later.
Because I (and many other Adult Industry individuals and entities) receive hundreds and hundreds of serious inquiries every month from guys wanting to know how they can become porn stars, I've written up this general response. As a Producer and Director, I'd love to have a much larger pool of proven male performers so that female viewers could enjoy watching handsome studs performing with some girl while the female viewer fantasizes about herself actually being the girl in the video. I sense that the porn viewers now include more and more women and couples, unlike the past when most viewers were masturbating men.
The problem here is for me to be candid without hurting anyone's feelings; there's no easy way to tell guys that the chance of them getting even a "try-out" or an audition is remote (actually, there no longer is such a thing as an "audition," let alone getting one with a new applicant's favorite porn starlet!). The present lack of "want ads" for new studs has little to do with new aspirants, but rather results from the informal system that's evolved over time based mostly upon past experiences of disappointed Directors who let themselves be talked into using some previous new guys who touted themselves as true studs (which they well might have been in their private life, but unfortunately were not when they got in front of cameras on a set with people watching — new guys with performance difficulties are nightmares for Directors, crews, and everyone involved with the shoot, including the starlet scheduled to have sex on film with the aspirant). Probably, the new guy who wants to get into performing undoubtedly is a true stud with the ladies or his significant other, and/or in a group situation like a swinger's party, but merely deciding to become a porn star does not get him even considered anymore.
The present lack of enthusiasm for giving new guys a shot at a career as a porn stud was informally established when similar men in the past were strongly recommended by someone (perhaps even by someone in the Industry, or by a starlet or female with first-hand knowledge), only to have "performance anxiety" and freeze up in front of the cameras, lights, and sometimes his inpatient co-star as well as the crew/director/producer, other actors and actresses, make-up persons, on-lookers, catering people, magazine photographers, location owners and their "gawking" friends/neighbors/relatives, company owners and staff, Industry media, online gossip or news columnists, etc. A new guy who loses his "functionality" causes loss of production time and filming momentum, and possibly additional expenses in overtime charges for the location, rental equipment, and crew. Resultantly, Directors and Producers usually will not accept new guys, no matter who recommends them or how impressive the new guy or his girlfriend says his penile "credentials" and sexual performance abilities are. It's been my experience, and that of many insiders, that new guys are absolutely certain and insistent that they can adequately perform in a functionary manner, but most still fail no matter how much confidence they exhibit, sometimes in spite of the prescription pills they might have privately ingested.
If so many serious and motivated "potential porn stud applicants" contact me constantly, can you imagine how many are writing/emailing/phoning the porn girls, insiders and other porn guys like me, studios, magazines, crews, gentlemen's clubs etc? Yet, even with new guys masking their use of pharmaceuticals and/or sometimes being part of a male-female couple, I see only 5-6 credible new guys a year making it into the business; and, even some of these get "cut from the roster" if they don't possess adequate and consistent functionality. It doesn't seem to matter (or be an adequate excuse to the studio owners, producers, directors, crews, starlets, or anyone else adversely affected by delays due to sub-par functionality) if the new guy just ran an exhausting marathon, was taking decongestants or antihistamines for a sinus blockage or a cold, or unavoidably got only a few hours sleep the previous night — it's an unforgiving business decision not to take a chance using the new guy ever again. Worse, the word of a new guy's non-functionality seems to spread like the speed of light throughout the Industry. There's a lot of pressure on the male performer; unlike his female co-star, he can't fake sexual excitement nor can he hide climaxing too soon before the director gives him the directive to do the "money shot." Instead, the guy has to have a solid and almost-constant erection whenever the camera is rolling, and for the hour-plus it usually takes to film the hardcore portion of the scene, and in spite of the constant stopping and restarting for such things as changing a camera battery, relocating lighting, stopping for required photos of the action, shifting back and forth between the hardcore and the cable-television non-hardcore filming, starlet make-up touch ups, potty breaks, cigarette breaks for cast/crew, water, the sound of someone's ringing or vibrating cell phone, or a passing airplane, or the starting-up of a lawn mower down the street, and on and on!
The key for a new guy is all centered around functionality, namely: getting an erection quickly; not climaxing too soon; and, indeed being able to do a money shot somewhat soon after the Director calls for it. Sometimes, new guys taking prescription medications intended to help them with their sexual performance have difficulty getting the money shot to happen quickly enough. Since "FUNCTIONALITY" is the name of the game for guys, let me reiterate that penis size, looks, muscles, and acting ability mean almost nothing for a guy. What DOES matter is the guy's ability to get an almost instant erection in front of people on a set, to maintain functionality for the period of the shoot including being able to get "wood" erected quickly after the many stop-and-go interruptions during the shoot, to control the erection so as to not cum before the Director gives the OK, and, upon being directed to climax, the guy should do it relatively quickly without wasting the time of the starlet or the production folks.
Of course, guys must arrive on set on time, bring the correct wardrobe, have perfect personal hygiene in every way, bring their not-more-than 30 days old Adult Industry Medical (AIM) tests done via the state-of-the-art PCR/DNA testing regimen for chlamydia/gonorrhea/HIV, and bring their ID's, including one government-issued ID showing the guy's photo and date of birth on it. I always bring my State Driver's license and my Department of Defense military ID card. Like I teach in my www.howtomakeadultvideos.com classes, in The Adult Industry, there's real time, military time, and porn time – yes, porn time is usually the latest of them, so be prepared to sit around for possibly hours waiting for your sex scene to (finally) begin!
OK, so other than being a multi-millionaire who buys a porn company, what possibilities exist for a new guy to get paid to have sex with beautiful women in the Adult Industry? Well, one direct way is for the aspiring new guy to "discover" a SUPER-beautiful new girl who will agree to enter the Industry while letting him ride her coat-tails, and demanding that he be the exclusive stud she will ever "work with" on film ("work with" is our term for having sex in porn shoots). This can sometimes work if the girl is truly sizzling hot; it's important, though, to understand that every year there are many hundreds of new girls entering the Industry seeking a shot at becoming a famous porn star, almost all of whom will work with any of the already-proven porn guys the Producer/Director wants to hire. A new aspirant's "coat-tail" girl must therefore be so much more attractive than the other new girls, as well as the already-established other girls, that the Director will want her in his production so much that he might agree to her demand of working only with "her" new guy. Candidly, be aware that some new coat-tail girls might sever the deal with new guys at this stage if it means that they might lose THEIR chance to get a shot if the Director balks at hiring the new guy; after all, it means the Director must take a production cost chance on the coat-tail girl and her new guy, a risk he doesn't have to take if he instead books one of the many other girls who will work with any of the famous star studs of the Director's choosing. It might help if a new guy has and shows the Director a couple of tapes of him performing with girls in front of 10 or 20 other people to prove that he doesn't get stage fright in front of lots of people. If the new guy and his coat-tail girl get some initial bookings and do well with them and another 8-10 shoots, perhaps he can then let it me known that he's available for bookings with other girls in gangbangs and other productions; if the new guy performs successfully and meets the "functionality" criteria consistently, he'll join the ranks of the already proven porn studs. Unlike the girls who make a lot of money, we guys are merely props to the point that the pay per sex scene is considerably less than what the girls make!
Another possible way to get into porn is via porn productions. Although the bi-monthly classes I teach in adult film-making are comprehensive and include information for couples wanting to film for their own private viewing or for doing "Cam" shows on the Internet, most students want to become producers as a means of making money and/or getting laid! Once a new producer firmly establishes himself or herself as a reputable player in the adult film arena, contact can then be established with agents and managers of porn talent ("talent" is the term for the women and men who appear in front of the camera) and start arranging bookings. It's not surprising to find that some male producers hire themselves as the male talent, and then hire female porn stars whom they are especially sexually excited about working with. And, some new female producers might inject themselves into sex scenes with either males or females. The AIM testing I mentioned above comes into play, as professional talent mandates the tests, even if a condom will be used for the filming – after all, condoms do sometimes break or malfunction! I'll return to productions per se in a bit, but first some information about other possible ways to be involved with productions, or to somehow find oneself as an "insider."
A crew for porn shoots can be as few as a cameraman and a still photographer (to take shots for DVD box covers, as well as for marketing materials); but, some sets have large crews, such as additional cameramen for multi-angle and/or cable version footage as well as for "behind-the-scenes" filming for inclusion into the DVD "extras." Sets can also have a Director (sometimes in addition to the Producer), Production Assistants, lighting and audio specialists, and ancillary folks for doing make-up, catering, paperwork, etc. Disappointingly, except for the large gangbangs, very few sets have "fluffers" any more (girls who orally "prepare" porn studs to do the on-camera performing). Producers/Directors seem to prefer using the same experienced crewmembers they've previously hired. Additions to crews usually come from recommendations from other directors, present crews, and talent, thus providing a basis for experience and professionalism. Directors and crews sometimes hire new crew folks who they find out about from various other sources, but they prefer people who won't make production mistakes or hit on the girls while working on the set. As an aside, there's no such thing as "Crew Appreciation Day" where porn girls give oral pleasure to crewmembers, so don't expect any action if you get lucky and land a job through your Uncle Louie as an Assistant Production Assistant, or whatever. If you're wondering if crewmembers ever get a shot at performing, I understand that some have had the opportunity to occasionally do "stunt" cum shots for porn studs who were having a bad day -- because of the AIM and Industry-mandated testing regimen, such money shots are never to the girl's face or near her orifices. Yes, crewmembers sometimes get to date porn girls on a personal level.
Scriptwriting opportunities to get on sets or become an insider might offer some possibilities; however, scripts seem to be somewhat favored from an inner circle of already established "insider" authors. I understand that scripts provided by new writers result in payment of only hundreds, not thousands, of dollars. Since porn films and their budgets aren't usually in the same league with productions such as "Gone With The Wind," the Directors often write their own scripts. And, since there's so much non-feature porn presently being produced, dialogue is often determined, staged, and improvised on the spot.
Some folks contact producers/directors agents, talent, and production companies with the offers of production investor funding. Although this sometimes gets outsiders inside, I need to return now to the general matter of productions per se and opine that we presently have a glut of new producers and a lot of excess footage and films looking for Distributors; thus, like the real estate markets have peaks and valleys, this might not be a good time for investing in films. Nevertheless, being involved with productions does offer a way to enter the world of porn. My class and its content at my www.howtomakeadultvideos.com site goes into significant detail about things like distribution, legalities and permits, cameras, lighting, resources, budgets, locations, shooting techniques, production ins and outs, casting, agents/managers, editing, packaging, marketing, happenings and problem-solving on porn sets, revenue sources, and a host of other aspects. Bottom line, getting into some aspect of production is a way for possibly entering the world of porn.
Another possibility is the Internet. More and more, we're seeing adult Internet companies actually shooting content (photos and video), instead of licensing it from content providers or streaming video feeds. The advantage to shooting such content is the exclusiveness of the content, instead of their sites using some of the same content that can be seen at many other sites. Additionally, their output can later be placed on DVD and/or Video-On-Demand delivery systems, thus making them quasi-porn production folks. I sense that porn companies and adult Internet organizations might someday mix and match, sort of converging into cooperative entities, maybe even consolidating. I think the present adult Internet direction provides another avenue for entry into the porn world. Aspiring porn studs who have contacts with adult Internet folks or who know "Cam" girls who sometimes put on shows with guys might want to explore entry into the adult Internet content business as either producers or talent members as a way to get into porn?
All of the above is my personal opinion, and even though it might not sound encouraging, I had to be truthful and candid. I think my comments are on target. Keep in mind that you're not alone in wanting to be a porn stud or production guy or insider — millions of others fantasize about it too, and hope that they personally have what it takes to become the next big-name male porn star. From time to time I'll add to these comments via my "From The Trenches" or "Getting Into The Porn Industry" links at my www.davecummings.com, so I recommend that you check them out every once in a while; in fact, some past "From The Trenches" columns already discuss the present porn production situation.