Understand the Industry

The market for adult videos, DVDs, and cable programming has been steadily growing over the past decade. Instead of being shunned and disparaged, porn stars are now increasingly embraced by the media. More porn titles are churned out each year than mainstream titles. As a result, there is a perpetual demand for new performers — both men and women, and that's good news for people who want to break in to the adult industry. However, that doesn't mean that it's easy or a sure thing. You still have to be prepared to do your homework and diligently pursue any and all available opportunities. You also need to be realistic. Acting in the adult industry has its own unique set of challenges. While it may seem like a dream job and is certainly fodder for our fantasies, it is important that you spend some time honestly taking inventory of the pros and cons of this profession to decide if it is right for you.

Know Your Best Assets

Because the adult industry is so vast and encompasses so many distinct genres, there is demand for actors and actresses of all adult ages, ethnicities, and body types. Therefore, you don't need to have a specific look or be a specific type of person in order to enter the industry. Rather than trying to copy someone else's look, you are better off cultivating your own unique style, drawing on your best assets. Is there a particular niche into which your style fits? If so, your resume and head shots should reinforce the unique image that you'd like to portray.

Always Be Professional

One sure way to sink your career as an adult actor or actress is to think that you can get away with being irresponsible, snotty, stuck up, or unreliable. This is a business just like any other. That means it is imperative that you show up on time for assignments and follow instructions cheerfully. Keep in mind that it takes a lot of planning and preparation even to make a low-budget adult video. If you arrive late or expect others to kowtow to your demands, you will quickly become very unpopular with producers. On the other hand, if you develop a reputation for being responsible and trustworthy, it will pay big dividends over the long run.

Avoid the Casting Couch

It is a regrettable fact that unethical, sleazy, and exploitative producers continue to exist not just in the adult industry, but throughout the entire entertainment field. There are still individuals who try to take advantage of hopeful wannabes by promising a job, a contract, or some other lure if they get a “sample of the goods” in advance. More often than not, these sorts of promises end up being false. But more importantly, it is simply not necessary to engage in activity like this in order to get a job. If you encounter a producer who is pressuring you onto the “casting couch,” you should politely decline and leave the establishment immediately. There are plenty of legitimate producers who are looking for new talent because they are in the business to make money, not because they want a booty call.

Don't Get Scammed

There are many sham organizations and agencies out there offering agency representation, partnership deals, photographs and portfolios. Make sure to do serious research before paying for anyone's assistance or signing any contracts. Legitimate agents will never charge you a fee. If you are signed by a legitimate talent agency, the agent earns nothing until he/she has found you a job and receives a commission when you get work.

Put Together an Impressive Portfolio

No matter how attractive you are, you need to have professional photographs if you are seeking modeling, acting, dancing, or other performing work. Even if you are looking for non-performing jobs within the adult entertainment industry, nothing will turn off prospective employers faster than posting grainy or poorly lit photos in your portfolio. The biggest mistake is to submit pictures taken with a webcam, since these are very low resolution and are usually too small to properly judge anyone's appearance. Another common mistake is to only submit nude photos or worse yet, close-ups of one's private parts. As a general rule, photos that leave something to the imagination are the most effective and compelling. You should always include at least one or two photos in your portfolio in which you are neatly dressed in an attractive outfit. For these reasons, it is well worth paying a photographer to create a nice portfolio of pictures. To choose the right photographer, get references and look at his/her previous work. Are the pictures good enough to be found in top magazines or on video box covers, or are they amateurish? Does the photographer seem to have a good sense of how lighting and background can be used to enhance the image? The better the photos in your portfolio, the more job offers you are likely to receive.

Be Prepared to Have a Day Job

It's an unfortunate fact, but very few actors are actually working at any given time. Acting work can be sporadic, so be prepared to make a living doing other things in the meantime. There are many other ways of making money besides becoming the proverbial actor-waiter. You might consider looking for work as a production assistant, a makeup artist, or even try making your own low-budget film. Think creatively about the kind of day job you'd like to have.

Testing Tips for Actors/Actresses

Many of the jobs listed on the SexyJobs.com network do not involve any direct physical or sexual contact with other individuals. However, those of you who are interested in adult acting need to be aware of the unique health issues specific to this career choice. While the adult industry has made strides in containing the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, you need to be aware of the risks involved and take every precaution to limit them. For instance, all reputable production companies require a current blood test for HIV and other STDs. In most cases, performers will be asked to get a test at least every 30 days. While condoms are not always required on the set, some producers do demand them. It is up to you to decide your own comfort level. As a performer, you have a right to refuse to work with anyone who has an outdated test or who refuses to use a condom. An excellent discussion of the health hazards in the adult film industry can be found on the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) website. Another good resource is the PAW (Protecting Adult Workers) Foundation. PAW’s mission is “aimed at improving the quality of life for workers in the adult entertainment industry.” They offer health training and awareness programs, health and life insurance, pension program information, and peer counseling. For more excellent information about STDs, including HIV, check out the folks at SF city clinic. (See more Health Tips here.) For help locating testing sites, check out the following services:

Special Tips for Males

Generally speaking, the adult industry has been easier to break into for females than for males. While this is changing somewhat, it still can be tough for men to find work in the industry, especially heterosexual males who are only interested in working with women. Obviously, it helps if you are extremely attractive and keep yourself impeccably fit. However, there are a couple of other strategies that can tip the balance in your favor when it comes to finding work in the industry. The first approach is to pair up with a beautiful woman and ride on her coattails. If this woman tells producers that she is only comfortable doing scenes with you, then you will have a much greater foothold in the business. The second approach is to be proactive: set up your own video production company (making sure to comply with all your local laws, of course) and put yourself in one of the scenes that you film. Even if you don't sell tons of your own videos, you will now have a reel to show other producers to prove that you are capable. This can carry a lot of weight, since producers are extremely reluctant to hire an unknown male who might not be able to perform when all those bright lights are shining on him.

  • Adult Production Health & Safety Services (APHSS)
  • Talent Testing Service
  • Protecting Adult Welfare
  • California Division of Occupational Safety and Health
  • San Francisco City Clinic
  • STDCheck.com