People love to say how mainstream porn is becoming. But you only really have to look at the performers themselves to know that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Any mainstream actor or actress who wants to take their career serious knows they must have an agent, publicist and manager and keep an entertainment lawyer on retainer to handle the contracts for any deals that come their way. Once they get a little famous and some money in their pocket, some even add on a stylist and hair and makeup lady.
In porn, our performers sometimes have an agent, sometimes they don’t. Less than 10% have a publicist and probably less than half a percent (if even that) have a manager (a legit one not a suitcase pimp / boyfriend) and let’s be real, nobody keeps an entertainment lawyer on retainer. LOL
I can see not doing that, but what about agents, managers and publicists? Why are porn actors do different than their mainstream counterparts?
In mainstream these group of people work hand and hand for the betterment of the actors career. In porn, HELL NO. It’s a battle royale to the death. Nobody works together. People in porn are so quick to talk shit about one another. It’s really sad.
I’m not going to name any names because that’s not what this article is about. I’m speaking here in general terms not at any one person specifically. So let’s look at how it should go using some random name I’ll just make up pretending she’s real for example purposes.
Fake Suzy wants to be a porn star so gets an agent – let’s say LA Direct Models. Now her agent has one job to do, get her booked in scenes. LA Direct Models is well known as a solid, reputable agent. So Fake Suzy has begun her career in porn in the right direction.
Now that Fake Suzy has been in a few scenes, she hires a publicist, let’s say The Rub PR. Erica Icon, her publicist takes on the job on getting this girl exposure. This means she will send out a press release every time Fake Suzy appears in a movie. She’ll work to get her nominated for both AVN and XBIZ awards and if Fake Suzy is nominated, she’ll send out press releases for that. She’ll prep Fake Suzy for red carpet events and make sure her name is always on the list of special industry specific functions like the AVN Halloween party, or other similar events that happen throughout the year and make sure that Fake Suzy gets her picture taken and the media knows she was at that event because she gets copies of those pictures of her client at that event and blasts them out everywhere.
A publicist also works with news and media outlets including radio stations, large affiliate websites and gets you interviews or a feature on relevant websites – all in the name of getting you more exposure.
In the mean time things are going great for Fake Suzy. Her agent is booking her more work, her publicist is promoting her, and her twitter followers have skyrocketed.
So now she hires a manager. A manager is not the same as an agent.
The manager will work in conjunction with both her agent and her publicist. He will look for special opportunities for Fake Suzy that will allow her to take her career to the next level.
There are TONS of managers in mainstream Hollywood but not so much in porn so in the case of Fake Suzy we are just going to pretend she got lucky and found a good one.
Fake Suzy’s new manager will look for special big projects, like say a big budget movie that some studio is working on and will work to get you an audition. They don’t book you any actual work – that is the sole job of your agent. A manager however does know lots of products and directors and they use those friendships with those people to get you noticed. They bring you to private parties these producers and directors may be holding. They get you exposure but in a different way than your publicist does. A manager is all about relationships and building relationships that helps further his clients career.
Managers can give a porn star an extra push, getting you those face to face meetings with the right people so that when your agent calls to book you with said producer, they already know who you are and want to work with you. They can also leverage their relationships with the right people to get you box covers and things like that which you might not have otherwise been considered for.
A manager also looks for unusual projects like walk-on or bit parts on TV shows or in mainstream movies. When you get to be part of some mainstream TV show or movie, or heck even appear for 5 minutes on some random reality TV show then you publicist takes advantage of that and puts out a press release or maybe even gets you to appear on a radio show to talk about the time time you met someone famous when you were on the set of some music video.
Because these kind of projects are about exposure or building your brand more than actually making you much money (you might make $300 to $500 for the day on something like this), so that’s why it is something your manager finds for you instead of your agent. Your agent wants to book you legit porn work because it is where you’ll make the most money. But a manager is all about building your brand. So while you not make as much money that day working on that project, you will probably gain some new fans from it.
And then again it helps you in porn because next time you are up for a big project in porn you can be like well I will be on an episode of (insert some random TV show here) this season and that might convince the porn producer to want to book you for his next movie instead of someone else because you’ll have more exposure. The more famous you are, the more likely his movie is to sell and that means the more money he’ll make. See how that works?
A manager will also look for unique opportunities for you within porn like trying to get you to be the next Penthouse Pet of the next Vixen.com Vixen of the month or the next Twistys Treat of the Month. They may also negotiate a sex toy deal for you or even a 3 month exclusive contract for some camming website where for the next 3 months you’ll agree to appear on their live cam every Friday for 2 hours. Maybe they’ll even get you a deal where you will be paid to promote a brand of t-shirts.
Again, something to keep in mind is that an agent is not a manager and a manager can’t be an agent (legally speaking).
Agents are legally bound to seek work for you. They have larger client lists and act somewhat like brokers with you as the product they are brokering. Their only job is to book you work, as much work as they can possibly get you. The more work they get you the more money you make and the more money they make.
Managers generally represent a smaller group of performers which allows them to have more time to focus just on you and have far more leeway to oversee and coordinate all aspects of your career. A good manager will be focused not only on getting work for their clients but also on trying to elevating the actor’s career.
A manager can’t legally book scenes for you. The law prohibits it. Only agents can book you work. Anyone can act as a manager, but only someone licensed and bonded can be an agent.
While all of this may sound great, it’s also not free. A porn agent may take up to 15% of every job they book you. Most legit agents in porn charge about 10% but if you don’t have a driver then you pay 15%, that extra 5% pays for your driver. So let’s say they book you 10 boy/girl scenes a month at $1,000 each.
$10,000 sounds great but gets taken away quickly when you have a big staff working for you. Your agent will get $150 per scene or $1,500 total (15% of $1,000 * 10). So now that $10,000 you earned is $8,500.
Your publicist will charge you a minimum of $500 per month, and that means your down to $8,000.
Now you have to throw in another $250 per month for your manager. So in the end that $10,000 you made is now only $7,750.
However keep in mind, the theory is, if you are spending all this extra money you are getting more work so if you wouldn’t have spent the money on the PR and manager, would you have had so many bookings in the first place. A good publicist, and manager pay for themselves simply because the amount of extra work and deals they get you more than make up for what it is they charge you per month.
Some publicists will charge $500 to $1,500 depending on who you use and what specifically you need done. Some managers will work for $250 to $1000 per month. There aren’t really a lot of legit “managers” in porn, but if you ask around you’ll find there are a few. In mainstream they work on percentages – agents usually get 10% while managers get 15%. In porn we don’t have a lot of these managers / deal makers but if there was one who was good and I mean REALLY good I would say he might be worth giving 10% but 15%? I don’t know. That seems like a lot. He would have to be damn good for me to give him that much. The theory is a good manager will elevate your career to a level that your talent agent can barely keep up with all the requests for work. So does that mean he deserves 5% more than your paying your agent? I guess if you had a really good manager. But honestly I’ve never seen that in porn before.
Most of the “managers” out there are really nothing more than suitcase pimps or shady boyfriends or sometimes male talent who can’t get enough work for themselves so they latch on to a girl and try and get a free ride off of her.
Then again, a well known male talent might actually be a good manager if he’s not a horrible drug addict or something like that because then he’ll have a lot of good connections already with producers. Just be careful if you do decide to work with a male talent as a manager that you go into it with your eyes wide open. You don’t need some guy with a bad reputation as a male talent, latching on to you trying to be your manager and ending up only bringing you down because of his own bad rep.
That’s not to say there aren’t some good managers out there, what you have to do is shop around, ASK FRIENDS and find out exactly what they are willing to do for you in exchange for the fee they are charging you.
If someone on your team isn’t doing your job, then you have to ask yourself, what exactly are you paying for in the first place? That’s why it is your job to stay on top of your people.
Again … a good publicist, and manager pay for themselves simply because the amount of extra work and deals they get you more than make up for what it is they charge you per month.
If you want to be a star and I mean a REAL star, that makes the highest rate per scene, gets to work on all the best projects, is always on the box cover and graces the covers of magazines, you need a good team to make it happen. It won’t just magically fall in your lap.
People refer to being the next “Jenna Jameson” but in reality what they don’t tell you is that Jenna Jameson didn’t start out super famous and she damn sure didn’t fall into it either. She worked her ass off. She used to put on a fake British accent and pretend to be her own assistant, calling radio stations all over the US booking interview for herself.
She said in an interview once that she would spend 8 hours a day, two or three days a week doing nothing but those kind of promo work. In the end, it obviously paid off for her. No porn star today is getting paid $25,000 to $50,000 a movie – that’s for damn sure. But people were willing to pay her those kind of numbers because when she appeared in a movie, that movie always sold out.
If you want that kind of fame, you are going to have tow work with a team and make it happen. Can it be done? Perhaps.
It has been done again since Jenna Jameson. Her name is Sunny Leone – she too was a former Vivid contract girl and Penthouse Pet of the Year. Today she’s one of the highest paid mainstream actresses in Bollywood (India) and has several lucrative contracts with mobile companies, a perfume deal and yes, she hosts things like the MTV awards India, was invited to walk the runway during New York’s fashion week this year and has now been in so many mainstream magazines I couldn’t even begin to count.
Long story short, this former porn star is now a multi-millionaire. She’s a mainstream actress who is rich beyond her wildest dreams.
Can you be a star at that level?
I don’t know, maybe. Anything is possible. But one thing you need to understand is that you need a great team to make it happen. It won’t happen on its own.
The question isn’t can you afford a publicist or manager. It’s really can you afford not to have one?