The FSC Gets Advice, From Me

I got copied on an internal FSC email,  I am not sure how that happened but it amused me enough that I actually gave them honest and what I think to be good advice.

The gist of the email was asking how to best defeat Prop 60:

My thoughts:

heres the thing….I do get what Weinstein is doing.

He wants to give himself the ability to sue for the money he spends on porn performers  that get HIV, he cant write a law that gives him that standing without the standing being given to everyone else as well (equal protection)

Thats why it is written the way it is, even if 60 does pass (I am honestly ambivalent about it at this point) it has a LONG way to go before anyone will collect any money….the law itself will be challenged, and should it be found to be constitutional the first thing a judge will have to rule on is “standing”.  Because of the financial impact  on AHF at this point Weinstein would likely win  but the average Joe would not.

The idea that lawyers will be advertising on TV to sue porn stars is ludicrous, every attorney I talked to in Cali indicated that they would only be inclined to consider a suit under this law if they got a 10K retainer and that is only if it doesn’t go to trial.  How many “citizens” do you know that would even consider this?

So when you look at the big picture pass or fail prop 60 won’t do much in the long run.  I think The FSC would be better off spending it’s limited resources on a post production method of removing the condom from the product…or even just using condoms, at least for the foreseeable future….Porners are spending a LOT of money fighting a battle that they cant possibly hope to win….Even if 60 goes down in defeat  the next challenge by AHF is waiting to be sprung, compared to Porn Valley, they have unlimited resources.  Porn Valley should stop playing the short game and start playing a long game IM not so HO

That said The single best thing we could do as an industry TODAY would be to get with the union section headed by Melissa Hill and Sean Michaels and Alana Evans and iron out an agreement by which producers pay for testing and an intent to cover expenses for workplace illnesses….and make that VERY public.

I even got a response, I won’t say who it is from but It is from someone you would all recognize, a large company owner.

“Mike you don’t know what you are talking about. You can for add a condom in post production. CGI that is prohibitively expensive. And people don’t pay for condom porn. It is entertainment just like action movies that kill 10 plus stunt people a year”

and
“Again you are economically ignorant. It is irrelevant who pays for the test. It is a cost of production. If producers pay (silly inefficient because a test is used by multiple producers in a two week period) then there is less for talent. Talent is compensated now by the competitive price paid for a scene”

to which my response was

I can tell you that I have been condom optional for a very long time and I can show you years of data that show that condoms made no difference. Your niche may vary, admitted but as for post production there are several potential ways to deal with condoms

1. make a condom that looks like a penis….this is actually easily done it would be a specialty item for porners but its an easy one these days.

2. make a condom that more easily facilitates chroma keying….this is probably fairly expensive but nowhere near as pricey as trying to fight off an adversary that has hundreds of millions of dollars they are willing to throw at this.

3. female condoms….this one is actually pretty easily hidden all the way around.

While I would agree that in the long run the cost of testing is always going to be borne by the performer, its simple economics, the point is the perception of the public as to whom is bearing the cost. Managing perception is absolutely the FSC’s weakest point. Perception influences more than anything how voters will vote, you of all people know that…being Libertarian.

Tell me again how I dont know what I am talking about?

Actually I welcome this discourse, someone there actually cared enough to respond and that is promising, albeit not very.

15 Replies to “The FSC Gets Advice, From Me”

  1. BT

    I wouldn’t argue with the notion that ultimately, talent bears the price of testing because producers will have less money – at the end of the day, either performers will be paid slightly less or those producers who can’t bear the cost will go out of business and there will be fewer scenes shot.

    Of course, there are two other ways to look at it. Fewer available scenes could winnow out the number of performers competing for scenes because its harder to make a living. In the end, those performers working regularly could end up making more money because they get more bookings; and, with fewer performers available, they may be able to command higher rates.

    Still another way to look at it is that the performer is bearing the cost of medical treatment when they contract an STD while performing – the producer sure doesn’t pay for it. So, you can pay me now, or you can pay me later. Either way, the performer loses.

    This is an area where a union really could make a difference if it can negotiate terms related to testing and minimum scene rates.

  2. MikeSouth

    Spot on BT It just seems to me that The FSC and Porn Valley likes to take careful aim at a problem, then pull the trigger, shooting themselves in the foot. Any way you look at it performers will pay for their own testing just like you pay for your “employer provided” insurance but it certainly makes more sense to me to at least look like the industry is paying……or helping to….There are so many ways a union could benefit performers but how do you get performers on board when they are clearly not smart enough to understand and simply don’t care? Set aside the problems the union is experiencing internally…..It started out as a promising thing and has ended up in an all out war to keep it from becoming a dictatorship, I have deep respect for what Sean Michaels, Alana Evans and Melissa Hill have tried to do but Phylisha Anne is clearly not about to give up what she sees as her “baby” to any form of democratic rule, which is by definition what a union is. At the time performers need it the most it’s dying from internal hemorrhaging. All of that said I think I maybe hit on something in shifting some of the focus here OFF of porn valley and onto the individuals making it work on a new medium. The response has been solid….wait til you read tomorrows post from Krystal Orchid as more savvy chicks like her get into the biz the way she has the more Porn Valley will start to suffer from a lack of quality performers instead of the current glut. The girls doing it her way by and large are WAY prettier than the current crop of Porn Valley punching bags…

  3. phyllisha

    When all is said and done
    You will find out who has been working
    Everyday hard for the people in this industry and who has everyone’s best interest at heart and who does not.

    Join now at entertainmentadult.com
    Join 2day 4 a better 2morrow!

    Ps. If I didn’t want to give up democratic rule I could of just made myself president of APAG. So maybe your listening to a one sided story…

  4. phyllisha

    If you guys would spend as mush time n energy in working towards the unions goals as you do trying to get rid of me, we would be much further then we are now! An if it wan’t for my dictatorship, we wouldn’t have a Union in the first place! Therefore, please stop making me out Like I am the bad guy cuz It is more then obvious that is not case!

  5. Sam38g

    CGI is expensive…. LMAO
    What they are really saying is they are clueless on how to do Adobe after effects. So none of them want to invest the time into learning it.

    Now, I can see the argument of you filmed with condoms & then edited it out of the content. Then still be sued for NOT using them in the film. Which still would have to have pay for a lawyer to respond & prove otherwise.

  6. LurkingReader

    @Phyllisha

    “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”

    Seeing lots of porn tweets about AHF spending 3-4 million on ballot propositions not a single tweet about Planned Parenthood spending 30 million on an ad campaign against Trump.

    Airing personal grievances goes counter to the best interests of IEAU admirable goals by prolonging the internal animosities so many pointed out as a potentially fatal flaw back in the spring.

  7. LurkingReader

    ““Again you are economically ignorant. It is irrelevant who pays for the test. It is a cost of production. If producers pay (silly inefficient because a test is used by multiple producers in a two week period) then there is less for talent. Talent is compensated now by the competitive price paid for a scene””

    This response to testing explains FSC asking for ideas to defeat prop 60 with less than a month to go vs. e-mails with confident progress updates to plans laid out and finalized months ago.

    Politically for the purposes of prop 60 it is absolutely relevant who pays for tests. As the responder points out tests are a cost of production aka COGS known as Cost Of Goods Sold on accounting spreadsheets. Now for the heart of the matter hidden in the parentheses. Shared costing works the same way as shared revenue with companies paying revenue recording it an expense.

    Moving on to less for talent idea requires the assumption that current labor costs aka competitive price paid per scene should be reduced if producers are paying for other COGS aka production costs for testing.

    Every production includes ‘fixed’ and ‘variable’ costs. Competitive scene rates are budget tools to cap variable labor costs the same way AirBnB is used to cap variable set/location production costs.

    The ‘fixed’ cost of 14-day performer testing is NOT added to or included competitive scene rates. Adding $20 per scene to offset testing costs was politically bassackwards. When talent agencies started adding $20 per scene for 14-day tests Measure B had already passed in LA County and FSC had a very good idea of what Cal/OSHA would include in the 5193.1 draft released a few months later.

    Politically they appeased performers every production is dependent on while ignoring a clear message from voters in the porn friendliest US state. San Francisco is probably a bit more porn friendly than LA yet Measure B passage can’t be dismissed as if Polk County Florida voters went to the booth.

    If talent agencies (and the FSC) had instead proposed reducing the competitive scene rate by $20 and worked out a deal with test providers for per-scene incremental billing they’d have gone a long way to appeasing OSHA and voters. Essentially leaving the barrier (condom) issue their efforts are geared towards defeating. So they are courting consumers (voters) without background support of politically savvy California industries with considerable work-related medical expenses they can’t pass onto their workers.

    Win or lose prop 60 it behooves FSC and the industry as a whole to adopt shared costing to reduce ‘fixed’ production testing costs to a lower ‘variable’ expense reality. No reason why agents and performers using testing to generate non-production income can’t share the burden.

    It’s silly to argue other producers are using tests in the 14-day validity period to justify performers putting their cash up front for a production cost. Economically that makes as much sense as saying McDonald’s workers competitive wage paycheck justifies them buying specified ground beef they’re being paid to serve.

    Consider the intangible political cost of performers diversifying their revenue streams to include protesting for $15. Industries paying $12-13ph coughing up an extra $100 per week per worker have no sympathy for an industry who says it’s irrelevant who pays for testing they admit is a cost of production.

    Performers can market their valid test yet beyond their scheduling availability they have no control over how many producers hire them and use their test. Producers can and do already share other resources to lower their respective costs. Coordinating scenes with tested talent is no different than divvying up time/area on a rented set or AirBnb production location.

    Gotta ask…. isn’t it about time that producers started paying their share of production test expenses? Isn’t it time producers stopped justifying performers and producers like Kink, Braun etc. subsidizing their upfront production costs?

    Not for nothing producers justifying performer paid testing amounts to treating people to lunch and bragging about skipping out on the tab. FSC focusing on immediate ‘fixed’ production testing costs ignores the ‘abstract’ ‘intangible’ economics of political contests.

  8. mharris127

    I have one question. With Obamacare AHF (and Weinstein) are likely seeing fewer and fewer uninsured patients (and making sure those that they do see get an Obamacare policy or Medicaid ASAP to pay for most of their care). Would the medical insurance companies (or Medicaid) likely picking up most of the tab for HIV patients nowadays have standing to sue for reimbursement as well? What if the insurance company isn’t located in California but the patient was living in CA and working in adult when he/she caught HIV/AIDS? Weinstein can relatively easily write a law giving him standing as a person but would this law help out of state insurance companies not owned/run by one person? I don’t support Prop. 60, I think the condom requirement is asinine and unethical as it causes more problems than it solves (and I am not talking about problems for producers) but if it required workman’s comp (which should theoretically be required anyway) for all porn producers to pay for workplace accidents (including HIV transmission) without Weinstein’s rules intended to run porn out of California (and we all know that is his true intent with this proposal) I might think differently.

    One more thing. I read on an adult industry forum that Porno Dan moved his company to Europe. I can’t vouch for the information (I think former porn performer Gia Jordan made the post — I would be willing to attempt to find it again if that would be helpful, it was on XXX Porn Talk which is owned by Jeff Steward of JM). I don’t post there but I do read threads from time to time and found that post a couple of days ago. I wonder if that is true considering Weinstein’s attempts to run porn out of CA.

  9. mharris127

    Lurk, I wonder why Peter at Kink and Axel Braun aren’t pushing an incremental fee for producers in order to use a VD test more strongly. It would save them a boatload of cash (especially Kink which films at least 45 scenes each month, probably paying for 120-150 talent tests each month as well as 10 or so director tests). Using talent tests 150 times at $20 each is one hell of a lot cheaper than 150 tests at $200 — and Peter is in a position of power to actually make this happen as an FSC board member — the same FSC that is in charge of performer testing as I type.

  10. BT

    Mharris – I can help you with this one. Part of my beat during 20 years of personal finance reporting included insurance, health insurance and personal health care. When it comes to insurance – any kind of insurance – its complicated.

    So, with regard to diversity of states – part of your question – all insurance, including health insurance offered to people who are employed and those offered to the self-insured through Obamacare are regulated and sold at the state level. You cannot buy any insurance product, including health insurance, across state lines. So, an actor or actress cannot live in California and obtain insurance from a company in another state. Three exceptions in your scenario: A child can remain on their parents’ health insurance policy until age 26. Depending on your coverage, you can live in Arizona and provide insurance to your child living in California. This is pretty common with college students. To be covered, your kid would still have to find providers within your health insurer’s network,. When I say depending on your coverage, I work for a company that provides health insurance through BlueCross/BlueSheild. They have two levels of plans, albeit with the same coverage. One is limited to coverage in Massachusetts, and has lower premiums. However, except for an emergency situation, like a car accident, your child going to college in Pennsylvania is only covered for routine treatment in Massachusetts, You can get a plan that allows you to cover your child living in other states, but its a much higher premium. But a porn star living in California is going to have California insurance, if they have any,.

    Scenario number 2 would be someone like Johnny Sins who lives in Hawaii but flies to Los Angeles to perform. His insurer, if he has insurance, would be in Hawaii. If he is infected in California, his insurer would still be on the hook for his treatment to the limits of the policy if he remains a resident of Hawaii. Theoretically, testing in California could be covered if …. testing is covered in the policy to begin with and the test facility is within his network. If the testing facility is outside of the network, its moot.

    Third scenario would be someone is living in California, working in California, gets infected but doesn’t know it, and then moves to say Arizona and gets health insurance. Since you can’t deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, if you take out coverage, your covered, regardless of where you were infected.

    With regard to Obamacare, or any other health insurance policy, remember that while you are covered for health events, its not free. You still have to pay co-pays, deductibles, co-insurance, lab fees, etc. So, just because you have health insurance doesn’t mean there would be no cost associated with testing doesn’t necessarily mean that testing is free – it could still add up if its something you have to do all the time. Obamacare, as a rule, provides a very high level of coverage but in order to afford the premiums, most people opt for very high deductible policies.

    But more importantly, the number one reason Obamacare is in trouble is that the insurers counted on young, healthy people signing up for coverage. Instead, young people – who feel invincible – have stayed away in droves rather than pay $200 to $300 a month for single coverage. So ……. even with great coverage available, most young people have not opted for Obamacare if they don’t get insurance through work. Gross generalization on my part, but I’m willing to bet that most porn talent isn’t paying for health insurance out of their own pockets.

    Hope that helps.

  11. MikeSouth

    WELL DONE BT….that was brilliantly explained, and it also explains why Obamacare isn’t and won’t work in the long haul….for all the Young People backing Bernie Sanders they are still, by and large , clueless. If helathcare is a right then someone has to pay for it amd smart people know that the standard answer “the government pays for it” means you and I and everyone else. The only way healthcare can be seriously reformed is by going universal. Whlie that may be against my Libertarian grain I do get it, everyone has to chip in, be it via Value Added Tax or whatever. We can’t have it both ways…either we have equal access to quality healthcare or those who cant afford it dont get as high a quality care.

  12. LurkingReader

    @mharris

    Not privy to FSC communications or gossip so no clue if producers paying for testing are for or against any kind of shared costing schemes.

  13. mharris127

    The CA ban on out of state insurance companies offering policies in the state is interesting. Here in MI the policies are regulated but out of state insurers may have policies approved by DCH and sell them here. Aetna is an example of an out of state insurer offering policies in MI. CVS/Caremark/Silverscript (a prescription and Medicare Part D insurer) and Molina (a California-based managed care insurer contracted to the state to provide Medicaid clients insurance coverage) are two more.

  14. BT

    Mharris – you misunderstood me. There is not a ban on out of state insurance companies selling policies per se (although I’ll explain how this works in a second). The ban is on a company selling a policy that was created under one states regulations in another state. The way it works is that regardless of the insurance product, the insurance commissioner determines the baseline coverage that any company selling insurance in that state must offer. An insurer can offer add ons and better coverage, but it cannot offer less coverage in its baseline product.

    What you cannot do, and this is true of all insurance products and not just health insurance, is buy insurance across state lines to save money. In the health insurance market, prior to Obamacare, Oklahoma had very low health insurance premiums in comparison to other states because it required very little coverage in its baseline policy. If you got sick and went to the doctor, you got stuck with a big bill because many, many things weren’t covered, but your monthly premiums were cheap.

    New Hampshire – in fact all of the Northeastern states including New York and New Jersey – had comparatively high premiums but they provided a high level of coverage in their baseline product. A crappy health insurance policy in New Hampshire provided a lot of coverage if you got sick.

    What you cannot do – and its what Republicans want to do to lower premiums – is buy a policy based on Oklahoma’s lousy coverage in order to get low premiums if you live in New Hampshire. This is true of all insurance products.

    At the same time, your example of out of state insurers selling policies in Michigan is actually not the case, although you wouldn’t realize it without looking deeper. Insurance companies actually create separate companies for every state in which they sell.

    So, Allstate may seem like it is one big home and auto insurer but in reality, Allstate has 40 or 50 different Allstates, one for each state in which it does business. Now, there are occasions where a number of states have the same baseline product. Next time you get a mailing for auto or homeowner’s policy, look at the bottom of the ad, and you’ll see a footnote that reads that this product isn’t available in …… and there will be a list of states. That’s because it isn’t approved by their insurance commissioners.

    Your Medicare example is unique among all insurance products, but especially health insurance, because ,,,,,,, Medicare is first regulated at the federal level. If Obamacare had followed the Medicare example, we would be in a better position. So, how does it work.

    At the federal level, the government has determined what is the baseline coverage for each of the Medicare Parts …. there are a number of options beyond Part D. So, Medicare Part D is the same in Michigan as it is in Oklahoma as it is in Utah as it is in Florida. That’s by federal law. State insurance commissioners are still involved, but what they now decide is the pool, or rating method, the insurance companies either must or can use to determine their premiums.

    In other words, there are two components that insurance actuaries use when they set rates. The first is the level of coverage they have to provide, and again, with Medicare, that’s determined by the feds; the second is the makeup of the pool of people who are going to be insured. There are several methods used for pooling – and the method permitted by a state has a significant impact on the risk level to the insurer and hence the rates they charge. In some states, you create a pool with all of the available participants in the state; in some you create a pool with all of the participants at a certain time – next year, you can create a new pool with new participants; and in some states you can create a pool in specific geographies.

    The pool is the reason that Medicare Part D – or any other Part – costs one price in California and a different price in New Jersey and a different in Florida. You can even have different premiums in one city in a state versus another, even though the coverage and the provider are one and the same, if the state allows you to set premiums based on specific regions – a poor rural area may have higher rates than an affluent suburb because the suburbanites exercise, watch what they eat and go to the doctor, while the poor rural area consists of people with bad habits, high cholesterol and they never go to the doctor until its dire.

    Last, one other unique aspect of Medicare supplemental insurance is that it is portable. I cannot live in Ohio and call a company in California to buy a plan. However, if I buy a plan in Ohio and move to California, I can stay with my Ohio insurer even though I now live in a different state. That allows me to stay in my original pool – which I probably entered when I was 65 and healthy – than enter a new pool when I’m 75 and more likely to be experiencing health issues. Medicare is the only insurance product that is portable across state lines – once you’re in a pool.

    Aren’t you sorry you asked. But, that my friend, is how it works.

  15. BT

    Had the government created Medicare for all, which was a phrase you heard when Obamacare was under debate, it would have worked. This is essentially what you have in Germany, which is not socialized medicine. Every adult is required to have and pay for the baseline policy mandated by the government. Its a withdrawal from your check, just like social security and medicare in our system. It guarantees a certain baseline level of coverage, but more importantly, it spreads the cost of caring for 80 year olds who need a lot of care because you have a bunch of healthy 18 to 30 year olds who rarely go to the doctor. It is not socialized medicine because, like the Medicare supplemental insurance that Mharris mentions below, you can negotiate additional coverage with your personal physician or purchase supplemental insurance.

    It works in Germany, and …. healthcare costs and premiums are much lower there than here. It would have never flown because the base position of the most conservative republicans is that we need to get rid of Medicare because we can’t afford it, If that’s you’re starting framework, you’re certainly not going to expand the program.

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda, right?

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