Doesn’t working in pornography prohibit all future opportunity?

Society’s prevailing narratives about those who work in pornography might suggest there’s no room for professional development within the adult industry, or that involving one’s self with it is a death-knell to future opportunity of any kind.

It would be disingenuous to suggest this is wholly untrue, but there are opportunities for professional development and ladder-climbing within the adult industry itself. Not only that, but some of the skills acquired in the field can be used to branch out into other parallel industries, especially where production and marketing are concerned.

A Diversity of Opportunity

It’s all too easy to assume that a porn shoot consists of only those on camera and someone working that camera (or that camera simply sitting propped up somewhere). That may be the case on occasion, but there are a number of roles that others can play in the production of adult films.

In Mireille Miller-Young’s “Interventions: The Deviant and Defiant Art of Black Women Porn Directors” in The Feminist Porn Book, for example, she lists the following as opportunities that exist beyond being on camera.

  • Director
  • Producer
  • Editor
  • Screenwriter
  • Cinematographer
  • Public Relations
  • Casting Agent
  • Acting Coach
  • Mentor
  • Distributor

Aside from these opportunities, many who are actively acting must also manage their brands through outlets like Twitter and Instagram. The more foundational aspects of these experiences in the world of marketing and brand management are translatable into other industries in the same way that doing so for a fashion brand might make one a good candidate to slide into managing the social media accounts for a make-up company or similar outfit.

It should go without saying, then, that gaining experience as a director, producer, editor, or screenwriter in the world of pornography could open up doors in the world of television and film in general, too. Beyond Miller-Young’s list above, there are also sound technicians and other supporting crew that might use pornography as a way to get a foot in the door in those fields more generally.

Inside or Out?

Woe be it of me to suggest that those who get involved in the adult industry are only doing so in order to make the leap from it later on. As Miller-Young suggests in her essay, it’s not always the case that movement occurs laterally from porn into other related film or TV-production fields.

As Miller-Young writes, “performers such as Vanessa Blue, Diana DeVoe, and Damali XXXPlosive Dares are getting into the production side of the industry.” That is to say, some performers prefer to remain within the adult industry as they further their experiences and development.

This shouldn’t be surprising: as we’ve covered in other posts, the adult industry can be like many others where the day to day feel of it is concerned, so it stands to reason that there might be within it an innate desire to climb the so-called ladder within this particular business, too.

Accounting for Professional Development

In Accounting for it All, I made sure to represent these possibilities and breadth of experience as well as possible, even including at least one character whose time in porn ultimately leads her away from the industry entirely.

Where the novel’s protagonist is concerned, though, we know from the book’s blurb that Robin is an adult-film-star-turned-accountant, but how did she get there? As we learn in the book, Robin original started in acting before shifting to working as an acting coach, mentor, and casting director before winding up in accounting for Pornucopia.

Then there’s Jocelyn, who dropped out of film school to get direct experience acting in the adult industry before making the leap to directing and producing content of her own. In so doing, she assumes direct control over her goals, eventually becoming—as we learn at the start of the novel—a renowned director in her own right.

We of course must mention Constance (Cee) as well, who also got her start as a performer before eventually letting the entrepreneurial spirit guide her to founding Pornucopia, a feminist porn studio. Along the way, Cee works in nearly every position mentioned in Miller-Young’s list above, similar to how entrepreneurs in any field must wear a number of “hats” as they get their operations off the ground.

Where these journeys go from there remains to be seen, but you’ll be able to read for yourself beginning in November 2018 when Accounting for it All debuts from NineStar Press. Until then, you can subscribe to this blog, our newsletter, or follow the book’s author on Twitter.


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