What You Won’t Find At the Next Career Fair: A Job in Porn

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The joke goes that most of the internet is porn, and in reality, the numbers gauging the size of the industry range anywhere from $5 to $10 billion annually. As I prepare for graduation this May, I figured it was time I broadened the scope of my job hunt to see if I could apply my major to one industry that’s fairly recession proof: adult entertainment.

As it turns out, finding jobs behind the camera in the porn world is no small feat. Not that I was expecting every site to have a “careers” tab (summer internship, anyone?) but behind the flashy homepages of porn sites are far more dark corners and dead ends than you might imagine.

As Entertainment-industry analyst Dennis McAlpine says in a Frontline interview, gauging the size of the porn industry is almost impossible since “there’s a lot of it that’s almost invisible.”

According to Ogi Ogas, the scientist behind the book A Million Wicked Thoughts, “the vast majority of porn operations are small (1-10 employees) who hide or cook their books,” and even the larger houses are all private businesses: they don’t have to publicize their records, so finding much information on the details of the biz is a serious challenge.

As you’ll discover after a quick Google search, search terms like “adult entertainment production” or “jobs in the porn industry” don’t get you very far – and there are plenty of lost souls on Yahoo! Answers to let you know you’re not the only one drudging through the internet for jobs in the porn industry.

The adult entertainment industry is much like Hollywood; your real ticket is having someone on the inside. Besides word of mouth, you can mingle with porn stars and industry insiders at porn conventions, the largest of which, AVN’s Adult Entertainment Expo, wrapped up this week in Las Vegas.

But don’t despair! After some hardcore research (pun intended), I finally found possibly the only adult entertainment employment site out there: adultstaffing.com.

The discrepancy between job postings and candidates is enough to crush my dreams of making bank in the world of porn; 1766 candidates have posted applications for 12 available jobs in the video production category, and 762 have applied for 16 jobs in web/graphic design.

If you are a tech prodigy, however, your future is looking good: the starting salary for a Flash Actionscript Programmer at Penthouse is $100-150K. And having porn cred on your resume doesn’t necessarily affect your future job prospects. According to Mark Heath from UK recruitment consultancy Computer Futures, “it would make [applicants] stand out a bit… and be an interesting topic of conversation during the interview.”

The real roadblock to your future success in adult entertainment is the rise of user-generated content and amateur porn. These so-called “tube” sites are threatening the established production houses that once ran the industry, like Larry Flynt and Vivid Entertainment.

Much like in other industries, the web is threatening the way they do business. In the past few years, Pornhub.com has gained a following of over 25,000,000 monthly visitors, and all of their revenue comes from advertising. With few employees and little overhead cost for these sites, the job prospects are dwindling.

In a video featuring industry all-stars, The Adult Entertainment Trade Association tried to persuade fans to do the right things and pay for the material; “tube” sites, combined with increases in DVD pirating, had brought DVD sales down a third in 2010.

According to Ogas, about 4% of the top million sites online is porn-related, but with 32 millions users a month, one site leaves the rest in its dust: each month LiveJasmin.com, a webcam site that’s become a global phenomenon, is used by 2.5% of people on the internet.

The traditional adult entertainment industry is facing serious threats, but there’s always room for innovation. Sex will always sell, so if you want to start your own porn production company – entrepreneurs are the future, after all – you might check out the only man on the internet who’s there to help you: AJ Comparetto makes his living advising start ups on the tangled web of legal issues surrounding porn production.

For such a huge industry, it’s incredibly close-lipped, but the opportunities are out there. Would you ever consider working in adult entertainment? Do you know anyone who does? And if you do have the inside scoop… want to hook me up?

Photo by Rsms

Elizabeth Cormack I am a creative problem solver, a communicator and a story teller. I want to tell stories through design, but am exploring my love for social media, marketing, and writing in the process. Born in Seoul, South Korea, I was raised in Asia, then Europe, then the DC suburbs, and now call Boston home. I'm an adrenaline junkie, an art lover, and have never (ever!) met a food I didn't love. Follow me @elizacormack - I've love to hear from you!

View all posts by Elizabeth Cormack

925 Responses to “What You Won’t Find At the Next Career Fair: A Job in Porn”

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