Porn’s future: L.A. or Vegas?
Last week, the entire adult industry made its annual trip to Las Vegas to hand out some awards and put the wheels in motion for new business deals. Why I was “banned” from the “event” is beyond me. If my friend’s future brother-in-law Alan didn’t roofie us by accident, we would have found my friend Doug on the roof of the hotel a lot sooner…but that’s a story for another time.
This year’s trip to Las Vegas had a different connotation. Since Measure B passed in November, people have questioned whether or not the core of the industry will move from Southern California to Las Vegas. After all, the industry’s biggest conventions and award ceremonies are held in Las Vegas. It would be like moving out of your regular house to live at your beach house.
Industry heads are currently trying to appeal Measure B. If a move were to happen, it wouldn’t happen until the appeal was rejected. That didn’t stop the Las Vegas Sun from weighing the pros and cons of moving the multi-million dollar industry to Las Vegas.
Pro: Lower production cost
To shoot on private property (i.e. a house) in Los Angeles, porn producers have to pay roughly $800 a day for the permit. The state of Nevada doesn’t require you to have a permit to film on private property. Renting equipment and location fees is much cheaper in Las Vegas, which would also cut production costs. Plus, Nevada has no corporate income tax, no unitary tax, and room tax abatement after 30 days meaning less money is skimmed off the top by President Obamacare.
Con: No mainstream-film industry ties
What do mainstream movies and adult movies have in common? They draw from the same pool of off-screen talent. Makes sense. How many gaffer jobs are there? And in this economy…
Though there are probably plenty of competent film crew people in Las Vegas longstanding relationships of regular crew members would make the move difficult.
And of course, in L.A. there’s more opportunity for a performer to crossover to mainstream film. Joanna Angel explained to importance of proximity to the mainstream industry with, “…I think it would make it like porn is putting itself in its own ghetto, kind of. It would block itself off from being the part of the film industry that it is. L.A. is the place for film; you move there whether you want to do porn, commercials or anything in that genre.”
Pro: Cost of living
L.A. is expensive. If you stay away from the craps tables then L.V. isn’t that expensive. That’s all.
The reason porn exists in Southern California is because of California vs Freeman, a 1988 supreme court case that made a legal distinction between pornography and crimes like prostitution. Thus making California the only state in the union where it is legal to make pornography. In all other 49 states, it’s a grey area.
It is possible that if a move was made, pornographers could face legal action after setting up shop. Obviously this adds hesitation to moving.
Pro: L.A. is just down the road!
If Measure B holds up, the adult industry isn’t opposed to commuting to Las Vegas for shoots. It’s about a four hour drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, one that a few performers have said that they would be willing to do in order to work without condoms.
It’s not easy to move to a whole new city and start a new life. Porn people are people too, with lives and commitments off-screen. While some people are will to make a commute to Las Vegas others are pursuing other options in Southern California. Measure B is only for L.A. County, which means they could get around it if they shot in Ventura County just 40 minutes away.
So basically, the last pro and this con cancel each other out.
Pros: 3 – Cons: 3 …Oh no, a tie!
In the end, it all comes down to what the talent wants to do. As Dan O’Connell, president of Girlfriend films, told the Las Vegas Sun, “I go where the talent goes. I would rather be in Los Angeles to shoot, but if there was to be no talent there to shoot, then I’ve got to be in Vegas.”
But then again, talent follow opportunities…
I like Derek Hay’s prediction the best (Derek Hay former male porn star and President of L.A. Direct Models), that there will a leveling of talent between the two cities.
“There will always be a large number of studios here. People forget that there’s so much work that either does not involve sex at all or is not centered around (intercourse) between males and females,” he said. “And as long as that’s the case, there will always be a porn industry in L.A.”
Boy/Girl (and all its group variations) scenes shot in Las Vegas, just a quick drive away. Girl/Girl and Solo scenes shot in L.A. That is unless there’s some crazy stipulation in Measure B that forces female performers to wear condoms for Girl/Girl and Solo scenes.