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Question for Mike from Joe

12/30/2010

How To Become an Adult Talent Manager and Get into Porn Talent Management, Manage Porn Models

Q:

I would love to get into adult talent management but don't have any previous experience in this field or any industry contacts. What would be required of me to start this type of work, and what would you recommend to get myself established?

A:

Joe, how are you? Some of the questions I get I decline on the basis of being outside of my expertise. Others I feel like I’m well-equipped to answer. In this case, I humbly feel like I’m perhaps the best person available – in the entire world – to answer this particular question. I’ve been called the “hardest working manager in the porn industry” and my Company has been called the official "porn star incubation station" of "Porn Valley".

You should read the story of how I got into the adult & mainstream talent management industry. It’s certainly not a quick & easy process; but for me, there’s nothing I’d rather do. I began my career by working for an already-established talent management Company. Only this Company was not in the adult industry; they managed S.A.G. film actors and fashion models, and they had been doing so for over a decade when they brought me on board. So I’ve had the privilege of working with some great talent management mentors before getting involved in the porn industry.


I then went to the President of the Company and proposed a new division of the Company for the adult industry (since we are based in the porn capital of the world, Los Angeles). When he accepted, I dove head-first into this new industry... the world of porn. Beginning by working for a couple porn producers to learn the basics, I went on to establish connections and personal relationships with the owners, presidents, vice presidents, casting directors, production directors, talent coordinators... and even the receptionists of the top companies in porn. I presented myself and my Company very professionally. One President of a major hardcore production Company recently joked with me that I used to bring models to his office wearing a suit & tie (which is normal for a mainstream talent manager), and now I come in with shorts and flip-flops! (The adult industry is professional, but more “laid back” than on “the other side of the hill” – Hollywood – once you’re a known and accepted part of it.)


A lot of trial-and-error was involved. Grandstanding, for example, is something that can – in some ways – help you to be successful in mainstream talent management. In porn, I’ve learned to just be myself and be straight-forward with everyone. I’m now the Senior Vice President of the top talent management group for new girls (anytime I mention “girls”, I mean young women age 18+) in the entire North American porn industry. I laugh when I look back on walking up to random hot chicks, at Universal Studios CityWalk – for example, and asking, “Have you ever considered performing in adult films?” (That’s the wrong approach, by the way.)


I realize that you’re asking more what YOU can do to get into the industry, but I thought a little background on how I got involved would be helpful as well. Know, first of all, that it’s not easy. Nothing of great value in life, I’ve learned, comes without a lot of effort. Be prepared for a lot of “blood, sweat, and tears,” so to speak. This is especially true if you decide to go the route I’ve gone, which is starting from the ground up, and focusing on the “brand-new-to-the-industry” talent-type niche. Hundreds of “suitcase pimp” start-ups have come and gone since we started this division (our Company’s adult industry division) back in early 2007. There's something to be said for any guy who can round up a bunch of hot girls willing to spread their legs for cash, and I admire that. But there’s SO much to learn, and so many man-hours to be put in, before you actually have the connections and relationships built with producers to become a legitimate talent manager.


To become a “crossover” (major XXX adult AND major mainstream, simultaneously) talent manager is to be in a completely different league. I would not have the organization I have today without a mainstream talent management Corporation with about 30 full-time employees having had paved the way before me. Right now, our Company is the only major crossover talent management Company in existence. We are the ONLY one, period. To even come close to having the connections that a contract model of mine has (if she did not sign with us), she would have to go sign contracts with 4 – 6 separate companies and pay out about 70% commission on her income – not to mention it would be nearly impossible. Most major mainstream talent management Companies will not see a new applicant unless they already have a S.A.G. card, IMDB credits, and actual productions they’ve appeared in (in other words, you can actually go to Blockbuster video or turn on the boob tube, and see them performing in something legit).


It’s also a matter of “the chicken or the egg,” which do you put first? It will be difficult to introduce yourself to producers without having models that they can meet. On the other hand, it will be difficult to keep a roster of happy models – especially brand-new girls – if you don’t have a slew of producers to introduce them to as soon as you sign them.


For you, the first thing you need to do is be located in the porn capital of the world, which is Los Angeles, CA. If that’s not possible, then you can maybe go to the “mini-me” porn neighborhood, which is Miami, FL. I would not recommend that; I would recommend Los Angeles. It will be impossible to develop personal face-to-face relationships with actual porn producers anywhere else in North America. Why? Because professional porn isn’t made there… it’s made here. “Talent Manager” is a much more “intimate” type of job – with regards to the models & also with producers, etc. – than being a “Talent Agent”, and requires very personal relationships. (Read my article on the topic.)


Being a talent manager is more than “let me try to get you some work” (what an agent does). Being a talent manager, frankly, requires more experience. A manager’s job is to provide advise & counsel to clients as to what kind of career choices they should (or should not) make, and also to “make them look good” to the shot callers in the entertainment industry. A manager does what a publicist does (make the client “look good”) – but WITHIN the entertainment industry, as opposed to towards the general public. In my case, I work for my models as a talent manager AND as their publicist. And to become a legitimate agent, you need to become licensed with the State of California and also put up a $10,000 bond.


A good starting point, I’d recommend, is to start out by becoming an independent porn model scout – and referring your models to us. We offer the best model-referral program in the entire industry. Some agencies offer a few hundred dollars per recruit (“AFTER her third booking”... which you’ll never end up seeing a penny of), but we are straight-forward, up-front, and honest businessmen.


We’ll pay you, per-project, 20% of our Company’s revenue from each of your referrals’ first 3 bookings. That way, you’re paid immediately when the girl starts working, as opposed to some “pie in the sky” promise of a big lump sum at some abstract date in the future that will never come. With me as your mentor, and our Company's connections behind you, you can establish your own network of models and have access to all of our connections. To apply, I need you to complete an application to become a talent scout on our website. Make sure to mention on the application that you’ve already talked with Mike the Boss.


I’ve tried to answer your question to the best of my ability.


Good luck, Joe. Hopefully this helps.


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