On Anxiety, “Being Enough”, and Porn Production

The biggest piece of advice I have for anyone who wants to make porn but doesn’t feel ready is to simply do it.

I know, easier said than done, but hear me out.

When I started producing (and performing), I knew nothing about it. I wanted to perform but my options seemed so limited as far as other companies went so I decided that if I wanted to be in front of the camera, I needed to create the work myself.

The problem was that I had no idea what I was doing. I knew nothing about lighting or cameras or anything like that, nor did I have any equipment (I now know that some amazing work can be done just with an iPhone if you know what you’re doing). I didn’t know how to write a contract, how to promote or make casting calls, or what the laws were or what content I wasn’t allowed posting. Hell, I didn’t even know how to perform.

Luckily, I knew a couple people who knew about things like that and/or had equipment – most notably my friend Ms Morgan Thorne – who were willing to help out.

I was afraid. I didn’t want to admit that I had no idea what I was doing and seem unprofessional but I also didn’t want to lie and pretend I was knowledgeable about things that I wasn’t. My anxiety told me that positioning myself as a producer when I was relying so heavily on others made me a fraud. I spent countless hours having other people reassure me that I’d learn through doing and everyone is a beginner at some point and that all of this was okay. Logically, I believed them, but the majority of my brain was still worried I’d be outed as a fraud and my career would be over before it began and I’d never get work again.

That’s the thing about anxiety. Frequently it’ll take a valid thing to think about – the fact that I had a lot to learn – and build and build until it becomes an all-encompassing terror where the possible outcomes of this disaster will be completely unrealistic. But it’ll repeat over and over and over in your head until you believe it or even if you don’t you’re almost crippled by how loudly your brain is shouting it at you. I’ve lost track of the number of things I haven’t done or tried because my AnxietyBrain told me that I couldn’t do it and convinced me that it wasn’t even worth trying.

Aden Sky in rope bondage, smilingAs these things happen, my first photoshoot was held months before I expected it to be due to space availability and I was thrown into the fire. And you know what? Nothing bad happened. Looking back, there are definitely some things that I would have changed about the shoot, but they weren’t major things and the photos turned out beautifully.

Then, later that summer, my first video shoot happened. Again – nothing bad happened but I learned things that I would change (even if a set looks good to the eye, check how it looks on camera before filming! You probably need to dust or move a cord or…) but I got some amazing footage from it – such as “Clothespins” featuring Caroline Fox .

And I kept making content and learning things but you know what else? I kept feeling like a fraud. Like I was just faking it until I made it and never quite making it. My reasons for why I didn’t feel I was “enough” would change as I learned new skills and progressed my business – “I have only shot clips, nothing longer”, “I don’t understand the camera/lighting side of things”, “I’m just organizing the shoots I’m not actually filming or anything”, “I don’t have a website just a clips store”, etc – but that feeling of not being “enough”/feeling like a fraud never did.

At the time of writing this I have been producing porn for over two years. I still don’t have my website up and running (I’m working on it….). It’s what I do, what I love, what I spend so much of my time working on or thinking of. A while ago I spoke on a panel at the Playground Conference on creating your own porn and on the panel with me were producers Kate Sinclaire, Claire Ah (Formerly known as Sophie Delancey), and Sonya JF Barnett. I didn’t feel qualified to sit there and talk about making porn like I knew what I was doing, especially with those three. I didn’t think I’d have anything to add to the conversation at all.

But I did.

I had plenty to say and plenty that I believe was very useful information to share with the audience. I really feel like I did a good job at the panel.
I wish I could say that I walked away from that experience feeling like I finally had the right to be there talking about making porn but I didn’t. I still feel like I’m faking it most of the time.

The difference is that I know I actually know what I’m talking about and also know enough to admit when I have no idea. This feeling of being a fraud causes me to re-watch my older videos (both raw files and edited) and look for the things that I did in a way I’d like to change. It leads me to seek out new things to shoot or to learn in relation to my craft because I want to feel like I’m qualified and my brain tells me that if I just ____, I’ll feel that way.

Taylor on a porn set, looking excited with their camera.
Just a day at work, watching gorgeous people fuck

I don’t know if I ever will genuinely feel like I’m good enough or a “real producer” but in the meantime the worry that I’m not is the thing that’s pushing me to improve and grow as a producer and a performer. It’s the thing that drives me to spend extra time making sure that I get a better product. It’s the thing that has caused me to learn how to write a contract, to screen the people who apply, to own a camera, editing software, and more. I’m not going to say that I’m glad I feel like a fraud because I’m not. But I will say that now that I don’t let it stop me from pursuing production and performing, I have learned how to use it to my advantage.

The trial-by-fire approach has taught me so many things about the industry and what kind of content I want to produce, how I want it to look, the kinds of people I want to work with, and how to actually do those things.

Yes, I’m obsessive. But this is my business and my name that I’m putting out there. This has become my passion, one of the things that I’m hard-pressed to go even a couple hours without talking about. It’s the thing that will make me postpone plans because I need to do just one last thing.

Find a friend who has a camera or just use your phone. Think about using natural light, if possible. Just mess around with a friend or partner and practice, get a feel for it. You’ll learn some things you like and some that you don’t and it’s a start. It’s a very, very valid start.

As long as you’re willing to invest time and energy into making porn, you can make porn. You don’t need fancy equipment or any background knowledge, all you need is the willingness to learn and an investment into not being shitty to the people who are helping you get there (on either side of the camera). It really is that simple. The only thing standing in the way of you doing it isn’t your lack of skills or knowledge but your own brain telling you that you can’t.

————————————

Want more like this? Subscribe to my Patreon in order to ensure more quality content!