(originally posted here 26/08/16)
Porn means risk. Putting your naked, sexual, pornographic self online still can and will have consequences. Not physical ones like cum in your eye or carpet burn or whatever — societal consequences. The shame and stigma attached to selling/documenting/exploring sex is still a clear and present danger. This danger ranges from a tense and awkward conversation with your parents to potentially loosing everything. So far I got the first one.
For more traditional porn performers the trade off for this risk is financial gain. (we might wish that we weren’t tied into an exploitative capitalist system where no one would have to work or fuck to survive but well, here we are.) Although porn budgets aren’t what they once were, fitting into a marketable porn demographic and getting work with an established company still gives a performer the opportunity to make decent money quickly, probably more per hour than they’d ever earned before working a “respectable” job they’d write home about. And hopefully they also enjoy it and have good friends and family who support them and any fall out is minimal but regardless, they can take the money to the bank and know it stands as a symbol,a reward in exchange for the risks they take.
But we’re a part of a new generation of porn creators, clip makers and independent producers. Freed by the internet, using technology to make new porn in new ways. Decentralised, ground up, grass roots, DIY. No investment, no business plan, no experience and nothing close to a budget.
So in the beginning starting out you’re basically asking people to work for travel or for trade or for free, because they think what you’re doing is worthwhile. You have to ask them to take on all the risk that comes with having sex on record without being able to offer the support of the decent pay cheque at the end. And that sucks. This is especially true for people with people with bodies or sexualities that aren’t considered by the industry as marketable, who don’t have the opportunity to be booked by the high paying companies. They give their time maybe because they believe in your project, maybe just because they’re your friend and they’re doing you a favour. In the beginning we asked for a lot of favours.
We started asking you guys to help with funding Four Chambers about a year ago. We were hoping that we’d be able to raise a few hundred dollars a video to put towards what we were paying performers and set up a better website. A year later and it’s grown more than we ever could have imagined. I can’t begin to tell you what it’s meant to me, to us, to the project. As of now we are able to actually pay our performers what is a pretty comparable industry rate, without any outside investment or influence. That’s huge. It also means we’re able to devote time to learning and equipping and improving and travelling to try to make the best work that we can. And it means with your continued support it can get better and better.
Sometimes I get busy and complacency and stress creeps in but when I watch a video back I just beam and beam. I can’t quite grasp how I get the opportunity to do this with my life. The people we’ve met, the work we’ve made, the places we’ve been, the ways in which it has enriched and transformed me are too complex and numerous to put in writing. It’s such a fucking privilege to do what you love and we’re so grateful to those of you making it possible.
So, when you can, if you’re able, support the work, creators and performers you love with your money. It’s a way to directly ensure their value, in a society that’s working hard to devalue them.
And thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone that is supporting Four Chambers, believing in our work, being part of our community. We couldn’t do it without you, let’s see what happens next.