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ETHICS & BUSINESS: Sustainable Porn

By Syd Blakovich
Co-Producer of Pink & White Productions

First off, the great “America Scheme” of getting rich quick is something that is a big part of our cultural history. Think back to the beginning of colonization where you have merchants, developers and traders looking for market expansion. Fast forward to the manifest destiny driven westward movement and of course the Gold Rush. California was essentially constructed upon these ideologies. Open up on the current day tech boom, Silicone Valley, Google and Apple… the success of these companies doesn’t do anything to dissuade from this belief system. We like these rags to riches stories because it reinforces the idea of America, The Land of Opportunity.

The inherent fallacy within this pursuit is that wealth is limitless, which is compounded by the idea that excess is god. This couldn’t be further from the truth since wealth is based upon resources which are set, if not a dwindling, asset. Excessive wealth breeds excessive poverty.

In terms of business dynamics, it’s more of a wealth begets wealth scenario. Takes money to earn it, investors so to speak. High investments, high risks and quick turnarounds are a stock market game and to some extent a part of tech industry cycle. Porn occupies this interesting territory overlapping tech and entertainment. The average individual is more familiar with the entertainment aspect and falsely attributes the potential for quick financial gain to this instead of what it truly is tied to… the tech side of the business. Basically if you want to “get rich quick”, you’re better off getting into stocks or the tech market and obviously having the capital to play the game is a part of it.

If you want to make porn, or any other form of arts based product, and have limited funds to begin with, sustainability comes before profit. Most individuals in these fields lack access to large start up capital, so it’s a very DIY beginning and a lot of time and elbow grease. Grassroots business, especially in communities without a lot of financial support rely heavily upon connections from friends and family. A “get rich quick” mentality will not last long in these spaces since it involves community effort which results in a division of labor and profits. It is not about the financial gain of one individual, but rather creating on going financial support for many while drawing from each others skill sets.

The nitty gritty of creating a sustainable porn business comes from balancing the creative with the business forward practices, budgeting, organizing, making sure people on your team feel valued for contributing to the project. It’s just as much prep as it is production.

Some basic advice I’d offer to aspiring film makers and directors is to start now with their best business practices and professionalism…

During production this means treating talent and colleagues with respect, offering appropriate compensation and collaborative opportunities, using model release and age verification documents (see 2257), feeding talent and crew during shoots, not using copyrighted material and music you don’t have permission to use, and have a sober set. These are some of the musts at Pink and White Productions.

Once you have these elements in place and a final product, getting distribution will be a whole lot easier. All US based distributors for adult video require age verification and consent documentation as know as 2257 paperwork. If your work includes music you don’t have permission to use, it cannot be distributed or sold.

The easiest form of distribution these days is online. Companies like PinkLabel.tv are creating distribution avenues for independent artists looking for ethical and fair trade opportunities to sell their work. DVD distribution is a bit more rare and has a lower profit margin because the over head costs of selling a product are much higher, think inventory management, shipping, packaging etc. Physical distribution also contains the added complication of dealing with numerous obscenity laws which will limit the type of content you can shoot or sell regionally. These not only vary state to state, but also internationally. It’s even possible to be fined or serve jail time if your product DVD is sold in a state which prohibits certain content. Web based distribution of e-product offers more creative freedom. However, this is still regulated by credit card processors, but if you do your homework, you can find one that suits your needs.

I hope this information was helpful to all the aspiring creatives. If you have content you would like to seek online distribution for which doesn’t violate copyrights and has all the 2257 paperwork complete, please check out PinkLabel.tv!

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