LOS ANGELES — The second day of the Studio 1 panels at XBIZ 2019 offered attendees two incredibly useful crash courses on creating and monetizing DIY adult content. There are few stars left in the industry by now — particularly at the entry-level — who don’t understand the power of camming and selling clips as crucial revenue streams for any content maker. However, the two panels on Day 2 — “Camming for Cash” and “Clip Artist College” — offered invaluable tips that had models and shooters literally taking notes for later perusal. Both panels played to capacity crowd, plus some overflow.
The “Camming for Cash” panel was led by charismatic powerhouse Ginger Banks, and featured flagship cam girl success stories Scout, Eva Devine, Maya Bum and Ella Silver.
Banks started off by highlighting the inherently multi-platform nature of modern day adult work. “I like to diversify my income as much as possible,” explained Banks. “When there’s a slow day on MyFreeCams, you freak out.”
Banks’ advice was to become very proficient at making clips and creating your own Snapchat content, and work on those aspects of the personal brand business when your main camming outlet was having a drier spell than usual. Being a successful one-person business by multitasking, according to Banks, was also a good way to prevent burnout. “Fans can tell when you’re stressed out,” she explained.
Scout, the petite, stylish — and quite successful — MFC model, gave advice in a soft-spoken, laid back voice that belied her innovative business acumen. “For videos and photo sets,” she explained, “I often do a ‘Limited Release’ and promote on social media that these are ‘videos they can’t get again.’ Then at midnight, I shut off the sale.” Even the other models on the panel were visibly thrilled to get this marketing tip. “FOMO is real,” added Banks, “people have a fear of missing out and if you can profit from that, you should.”
British cam bombshell Ella Silver contributed another fundamental principle of marketing: “It takes the brain seven times to read something and then actually remember it. When you’re focused on marketing something on social media, hype it up and repeat it again and again.”
Banks added, “You need to advertise every day,” emphasizing the need to automate tweets and program them to account for fans in different time zones. “Use TweetDeck when you’re asleep. Make sure you’re publicizing yourself as much as you can. Because even if you’re sleeping, the rest of the world might awake.”
Callipygian cam sensation Maya Bum addressed the apparent contradiction of independent models embracing industry juggernaut Pornhub. “I know this is controversial,” Ms. Bum admitted, “but I have a lot of passive income from Pornhub — they have such huge traffic that the ad revenue adds up to a nice extra check.” She recommended uploading older videos that were not selling that great on the models’ own platforms onto the free tube site, not only as loss-leader promos, but also as lucrative click magnets.
When Banks brought up the point that camming is much more about humanizing yourself than objectifying yourself — as the panels on Day 1 stressed, many people on the internet have beautiful bodies, but the great differentiator is personality — Scout shared some of her favorite tricks to generate engagement when the cam room is quiet. “I ask them ‘Do you like Coke or Pepsi?’” she told the audience, “and that always get them going.”
In general, the MyFreeCam models said that public rooms were more lucrative than private shows. “Don’t forget — you’re erotic performance artists,” said Banks. “You’re creating a community.” Eva Devine — who is best known on the LiveJasmin platform — however, pointed out that for LiveJasmin models, the goal is to take the shows private. “You’re not supposed to be fully nude on free chat,” Devine explained.
Finally, the panelists summed up their experience as brand name cam models. “It’s a career for me,” said Maya Bum. “If you have a business plan, etc., you’re a legitimate business person — I have a six-figure income!,” she protested, aiming her words to the part of the adult community that still considers mainstream, big-production porn as somehow more “legitimate” than cam sex work.
“Fall in love with the game,” said Ella Silver. “Don’t make it [just] about the money. Don’t be miserable. The sexual part is 10 minutes — you can see vagina anywhere on the internet. With camming, you can have a personal connection and make ‘friends’ with a model.”
This sense of connection is crucial for community building, and that’s why the panelists agreed that you cannot outsource your social media feeds. “My room would know immediately if someone else was using my account,” concluded Scout. “They’d go ‘who’s this? This is not you.’ I don’t think I’d have the room that I do if I did that.”
The next panel in Studio 1 was “Clip Artist College,” featuring performance art videomaker Joey Kim, Ashlee Juliet, online dominatrix Nikki Kit, and the lovely Macy Kennedy.
“I try to bring my background in photography into my work,” said the soft-spoken, fashion-forward Joey Kim, her distinctly-colored hair and unique outfit making her look like an intergalactic visitor from Williamsburg or Highland Park who landed into a porn convention. “I try to bring the values of creativity I bring from art school into my work.”
The symbiotic relationship between camming and clip-making was one of the topics covered. “I sell many of my videos when I’m live,” said Kit. “When I’m sitting there live and people are talking to me, they’re more likely to buy my clips.” Kim agreed: “I try to give camming and clip-making 50/50 importance.”
Making clips for sale was mentioned as a different form of self-expression. “I love clips,” said Ashlee Juliet. “I feel like I can give of myself more, getting into the masturbating more.” The virtues of making custom clips (which earn a premium for the models/makers) was discussed, on their own merits and also as a way to double-dip on content profits. “I get more money when I use their name on the custom,” said Juliet. “And then I cut the name out and sell it again on my regular clip site.” Kit added, “I charge double for not reselling it.”
Like the mainstream adult performers of the previous day, the cam models extolled the relatively untapped potential of Reddit as a platform to promote sex work brands. “I started on Reddit right when I turned 18,” said Juliet. “I’m known as a Reddit girl. I found this subreddit called r/sexsells, where everyone is a potential customer, and it’s very regulated, so there are no scammers and no catfishes. I found my regulars there, who stuck with me through thick and thin.”
Anyone under the impression that these models’ business success is the product of sheer luck would be disabused of that notion within seconds of listening to their trial-and-error process. “I spend hours researching all this,” explained alabaster beauty Nikki Kit, “because I’m a little obsessive. Within my specific little niche, there are so many different fetishes like feet, etc. — you’re trying to reach as wide of an audience as you can. I recommend you make clips and put out all the fetishes you enjoy, and eventually one customer will pick it up.”
Kit also recommends creating SFW content for the more regulated platform. “My YouTube account is more like an introduction to me and my brand,” said Kit. “I make instructional videos on ‘How to Be My Sub,’ ‘Advice About BDSM Culture,’ etc. When they see my passion, they all flow into my cam room. Put out messages on however many platforms you can—it keeps them hooked.”
The importance of proper gear to separate the committed clip-makers from the tyros and greenhorns making due with their laptop’s inbuilt camera was also discussed. The virtues of the Logitech BRIO webcam, the Canon Rebel T6 and the GoPro cameras were extolled and Kim enthusiastically endorsed the extremely portable Westcott Ice Light. Panelists also encouraged aspiring filmmakers to step up their editing game. “When I’m camming,” said Macy, “I’ll record my clip, chop it up and throw it on a clip site. Or take 20 cum shots, make them into a video and you have a new vid!”
“I had a lot of success with a ‘limited edition’ preorder,” Kim explained. “I pre-sold a video I hadn’t made yet. I offered only 20 copies at 500 dollars each. It proved the importance of marketing and building a hype.”
Finally, when asked how to keep the clip-making interesting after making so many videos, Macy emphasized the importance of research. “Watch a lot of porn,” she concluded. “That will give you ideas.”
The business part of the second day ended with the networking event Talent Mix & Meet, sponsored by ManyVids, Modelhub and ModelCentro, held at the bar-adjacent Main Lobby area of the Andaz.
With a goal of helping develop “connections with content producers and marketers, as well as other talent for content trades,” the Mix & Meet featured tables for both companies and performers. A bustling hive of attendees stopped by the tables to ask questions, exchange cards and emails and pose for selfies with some of the models.
The ubiquitous and tireless Ginger Banks, Tana Lea, Nikki Kit and FanCentro’s Selina Kyl were all there interacting with the mixers and meeters. Informational tables included companies like Clips4Sale (manned by loquacious frontman Dariusz), Camgirl Vacation (co-hosted by Maya Bum and Amandarox), mental health outreach organization Pineapple Support, DMCA Force and Modelhub.
“I love XBIZ,” Banks said, “because they really think about how to empower independent performers and connect them with the resources to be as successful as possible.”
At the end of the event, a radiant Abigail Mac (who would go on to win 2019 XBIZ Female Performer of the Year the following night) stopped by to mingle with the event participants, illustrating the increasing community built between all kinds of performers. She deftly and easily socialized with the cam performers. “I’ve felt like an outsider in the industry,” Mac explained. “XBIZ has made me feel like a part of a family. I hope to be with them for the rest of my career.”