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AEE 2020: Casey Calvert on Rapid Change

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

Photos by Kevin Sayers

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By virtue of her eight years in the business, Casey Calvert is a respected adult film veteran. I’ve known her for some time and she is always an informative interview because she carries that remarkable trait that separates the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, in porn. With a university degree adorned in honors, Casey is no dummy.

We had an extensive interview that covered a handful of topics, but the part recorded here is on the changes that porn as an industry is experiencing as we move into the next decade.

As a result, this discussion is placed within the sequence of articles on the show that examines the evolution of the modern adult product.

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Ready for our interview

Be Patient

Offering a thumbnail sketch of her career, Casey reminds us she began and as a bondage model shooting for Lew Rubens. That was over nine years ago.

How about your first hardcore shoot?

“The first time I did that on camera was for Sex Art in November of 2012,” she says. Surprising to me, incidentally, because I thought it was for Kink.com where Casey’s early career was nurtured.

In fact, one of the films nommed for this year’s AVN Movie of the Year was Derelict, a Kink production starring Casey and Charlotte Sartre.

If you could go back in time and have a talk with yourself about the business, what would you say?

I would tell myself to be patient and to not expect overnight success in the way people were telling me it was going to happen. And I would also warn myself that the business is changing.”

The native Floridian insists that every performer should understand today’s business environment. Getting into porn in 2020 is different from 2012.

On the floor at Adult Time

Where the Money Is

If she were starting today, Casey would do things quite differently. “I would have never moved to LA. I would have never signed with an agency. I would have never shot mainstream porn. I tell people these days that you don’t need to do that. That’s not where the money is anymore,” she declares.

“The money is in owning your own content and being your own content creator and shooting the kind of porn you want to shoot with the kind of people that you want to have sex with. But in 2012, that was not what the business was. So, I would warn myself to be prepared, rather than trying to play catch up.”

What potential conflicts would you warn yourself about?

“I would tell myself that MindGeek is coming [which] translates into all of these companies that you work for now and idolize are going to change in some way. I would also warn myself more generally that all of these big companies now that you’re so excited working for, they’re going be gone in ten years.

Posing for a fan

There’s more.

“I would warn myself that these things that you think you want right now, may not actually be what you want in six months. Things change so quickly, just be prepared for rapid change . . . . rapid like institutional change.”

Paperwork

Referencing the “Rolling Your Own”seminar that appears on this blog, I ask Casey about the problems that arise when girls engage in content trade.

She brings up two issues: paperwork and negotiating what is to be traded.

“Paperwork is the number one thing,” she says. “I did a contract trade [recently] with a bunch of independent content creators. When I brought up that we needed to do 2257s in releases, [their response was] ‘We don’t do paperwork.’”

(FYI. 2257 is the government regulation that guards against child porn. Among other things, it makes sure all performers are eighteen years of age or older.)

In response to their naivete, Casey decided to take care of it herself. She got the IDs and went from there.

“Just because it’s a content trade doesn’t mean we not do paperwork. I was the mother hen,” she comments, “and swept them all up.”

On the Red Carpet

“Another big problem is not negotiating beforehand where the content is going to go,” Casey points out.

“If you shoot a content trade scene with someone and they put it up on Pornhub for free. Now you can’t sell it. Sometimes people shoot content trade because they want to have sex with someone. [In that case] put it up on PornHub, do whatever you want. [But] get paperwork because you’re making a film. Follow the law,” she emphasizes.

“But, if you’re shooting content trade with the intention of having a product to sell, you have to communicate with your content trade partner. Put in writing a release plan [with a] schedule and rules.”

Casey explains many content traders don’t do that because they’re just using their phones to shoot the sex.

Does that make every amateur a professional?

“Technically yes,” she replies. “If [you’re] doing something [for money] that makes you a professional, it makes every amateur a professional.”

In the end, it means everyone has the opportunity to create porn.

Casey Calvert sums it up.

“You can do it. You don’t have to move to LA. you don’t have to find an agent. You don’t have to go and work for any of those companies where they tell you who you’re going to have sex with, what you’re going do that day, do your makeup and all of those other things.

“You just do your own thing because you almost certainly have a cell phone that connects you to the internet.”

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Casey shooting for Lew Rubens as a bondage model before she entered hardcore porn.

Photo courtesy of LewRubens.com and TheBondageFiles.com

 

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AEE 2020: Rolling Your Own

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

Photos by Kevin Sayers.

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“Rolling your own” sounds very personal, and, in fact, it is. However, this Adult Entertainment Expo seminar was not about indulging in a recreational activity. Rather, what’s personal here is film making; in this case, controlling content, building an image, and branding a name.

The panel featured four empowered women who talked about being your own boss, especially when dealing with cyberspace and porn.

Ready to take their seats. L to R: Violet Doll, Jada Kai, Mz. Kim, Madelyn Marlowe

The panelists were Mz. Kim, a domme who teaches classes on market strategies and owning content; Asian performer Jada Kai; Madelyn Marlowe, whose industry footprint was branded by Kink.com; and Violet Doll, online dominatrix and industry veteran.

A couple of quick takes before we begin

A New Age

Moderator Glenn King of Mean Bitches Productions reminded the audience that the old days of talent agencies maintaining a hold on a girl are over. It’s a “new age in adult entertainment,” he proclaimed, emphasizing the “dramatic shift in the business” now taking place.

Referencing the participants, Glenn pointed out that each of them started out with webcam content.

Violet Doll stated she is an online model who shoots her own content. At the very least, she offered, today’s online atmosphere allows for solo modeling via a cell phone.

As a cammer, Madelyn Marlowe posts her shoots on Clips4Sale and has “come back to being independent,” she said. Taking online content beyond just camming, Madelyn’s work is often plot oriented. It’s like “making up a soap opera,” a sort of “reality tv,” she said. But she never loses sight of the fan in all of her activities, especially camming.

“My opener is a question,” Madelyn pointed out, before she gets them to “tell me all about your kinks and fetishes.” It’s important to “know who my audience is,” she commented.

Jada Kai is also active with webcam, making her own clips and putting them on Pornhub and Manyvids. Like Madelyn Marlowe, Jada believes fan preferences must come first. Always ask the customer, “What are your fetishes?” She makes her own content every day and “keeps that amateur feel” so popular with fans.

As a result of her fifteen years in the business, Mz. Kim brought up two objectives every online porn girl should consider. First, record content for a bigger audience beyond online and use skype sessions. “Talking to people” gets her “into the customer’s heads,” she believes. Madelyn Marlowe firmly added, “say people’s names” when dealing with the customers. Personalization is the name of the game.

Glenn summarized the conversations about satisfying customers as “learning to read the clues they’re giving.”

The final two topics centered on pricing and content trade.

Start at an Average Rate

“I am my own crew,” Madelyn Marlowe stated, and it’s the costliest issue she deals with. For her, “pay per view” is the way to go, emphasizing “some charges can go as high as $100.”

Violet Doll said that $1 per minute plus ninety-nine cents for clips is standard in the industry with charging more for specific acts somewhat the norm. Considering that, however, she advised, it’s “always better to start at an average rate.”

Mz. Kim’s pricing is $5.99 to $1500. She will up the price when “targeting specific people” who are interested in her product. Her forte is interacting with men. Ask what they are looking for, provide it, then charge, she suggested, because success is “about getting to know them more.” She did, however, mention that updating can be overwhelming. Update regularly, but not as often, was her advice.

Jada Kai pointed out, “my strength is making clips.”  As a result, the advantage of charging higher membership fees reinforced Mz. Kim’s point. Jada doesn’t update as often as others. Nevertheless, “I think of my fans as a premium store,” she said. They “give you the feel you’re there for them every day.” The result? They will tip more.

Pricing should reflect “people’s budgets,” Jada insisted, with a reminder that Pornhub “will pay you” for videos. Not bad since some people won’t pay for their porn at all.

The content trade issue was thorny. “Perilous” was how Glenn framed it.  Madelyn warned everyone to be diligent with the paperwork. You must know who is going to update and when, she said. Violet, who does not engage in content trade, said get content to the other party ASAP to show good faith.

Be Disciplined

When asked for their best advice, here’s a sample of what was rendered.

Talk to your customers and connect with people on social media.

Trust yourself and know your target audience. Stay with what makes you comfortable.

Above all, be disciplined, “it’s a work skill, it’s a job. Structure your time,” Mz. Kim said.

Glenn King agreed. Discipline is the key. “Stick with it” and don’t get discouraged. “Growth is not linear,” he concluded.

Before the seminar began.

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