Both sides of the kill fee coin

Today the subject of porn stars flaking on set came up on Twitter. Producer Anna Lee tweeted this message out …

Jacky St. James responded with her own story about a performer who lied about being sick and flaked on a shoot.

Sadly these stories are not rare. They are far too common in our industry and it has been for a long time. I remember back in the early 2000s, Vivid used to have a girl under contract who was their go-to girl when one of their other girls flaked. Other Vivid girls would have 10 or 20 movies to their name and here this girl was with hundreds. Why? Because porn stars flake on shoots A LOT and so she was always getting calls to show up on set and replace whoever canceled that day.

I once knew a porn star who flaked on 11 jobs over a 12 month period. Yes, this means about once a month she would just decide she didn’t want to go to work and not show up.  Anyone who has been in the porn industry for any amount of time knows this isn’t uncommon.

In the real world, her ass would be fired for being so irresponsible. But this is porn and we’ve sort of gotten numb to it.

The girl was hot so directors were stuck having to try and hire her but they hated doing so, knowing that there was a big chance the girl wouldn’t show up and that would cost them the entire day’s worth of work. It got so bad that they started to demand that her agent make her sign a contract that states if the girl flakes on a job with little to no notice she will agree to pay a small fee, a % of what she was going to make that day, and if there were fees paid up front, ie: airline tickets purchased or hotel cancellation fees — if the shoot was not in LA, the girl in question would have to pay the director back the full amount they were out for those things.

Crazy as this may sound, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Some girls don’t treat this as a real business.

They don’t realize that when they flake, it affects more than just them. Think of other people on the set like the makeup artist or the PA who barely makes enough money to support their family. And now because some girl flaked out, they don’t get paid for the day. They go home because the shoot is canceled without a single penny earned.

In Hollywood (mainstream) this kind of thing doesn’t happen as often but I’m told it does happen. I spoke to a man who, along with his wife have run a small agency for years. They tell me that in mainstream these actors fully understand that there is such a thing as a damaged production fee that they will have to cough up those fees if they flake and depending on the size of the movie and the damage their absence caused, it could be something small or huge, even in the millions for big budget movies and big famous movie stars.

In porn, we call this a kill fees and some agents won’t charge them, while others do. A kill fee is typically up to 25% of what the performer was going to make for the shoot that day and it doesn’t go to your agent, it gets paid to the director of the shoot you flaked on.

If a girl was scheduled for a boy/girl scene and was going to be paid $800, it wouldn’t be uncommon to charge up to $200. However, if the shoot was out of town and the director also spent say $500 on plane tickets or hotels, the performer is often required to repay that $500 on top of the other $200 as well. Some agents I spoke with however said they charge a flat fee of $200. They don’t do a percentage.

The same “kill fee” applies to a porn production company as well. If for any reason a production company has to cancel the day of the shoot they pay the girl they canceled on a small fee.

I wondered just how often producers canceled, compared to the performers and I was told probably about 75% of the time it’s the performer canceling and about 25% it’s the producer. It could be anything like their family member got sick or the pipes burst in their studio.

Some girls cancel on shoots all the time. It’s why they often don’t say with one agent because after enough times agents get sick of it and will drop them. The reason so many do it in porn is because there is really almost no repercussion. It’s like when a sports star gets fined $10,000 for cursing a ta reporter. He doesn’t give a shit. He makes $10 million a year so that $10,000 is nothing to him – a drop in the bucket. So what lesson did he really learn there?

Same thing with performers. If they shoot two or three times a week and cancel one shoot a month. They are making more than $10,000 a month so what the heck do they care about a measly little $200 kill fee?

But that one shoot they canceled could have cost a producer thousands of dollars. Once you book a location, and then cancel last minute they often charge you for the full day’s rate anyway. And what about the other talent that you were scheduled to work with? They might be owed a kill fee from the producer because the girl couldn’t be replaced last minute.

That’s not including the production assistant, driver and makeup artists that will now all go without pay for that day. Even if it’s a tiny crew there are lots of things that go into a production.

It sucks when people don’t take their jobs seriously and when they go on social media crying how mean their agent is for charging them a kill fee when they were sick. What they don’t mention is they were sick or their grandma died 27 times already.

There is one girl I know who I absolutely detest. This flaky bitch once canceled a job with less than 24 hours notice. The job was an out of town job and that means the producer also paid in advance for her airline ticket. So, as a result, the producer charged the girl a $200 kill fee plus asked her to pay for the cost of the airline ticket, which was I think something like $500. In all she had to pay $700 because she claimed she was sick. Now keep in mind what she doesn’t know is that her friends knew the truth, she wasn’t really sick – she was hungover. She was up late the night before partying her ass off and when it came time for her to go to work the next day she just said fuck it, called her agent and cried (yes actually cried) saying how sick she was.

A month later the invoice came in from the producer requesting their $700 and this girl flipped the fuck out. Not only did she curse out her agent but also went on Twitter to tell everyone what an evil, heartless bastard he was for charging her $700 for a shoot she was only going to make $800 on. Yet she forgets to mention the rest of the story and how much money she cost that producer by flaking in the first place. Now this agent is known as the heartless bastard and she’s the poor innocent victim.

So yeah, I’ve finished my rant about kill fees today. I hope that at the very least everyone now has a better understanding of what kill fees are and why they exsist in the first place.


449080cookie-checkBoth sides of the kill fee coin

Both sides of the kill fee coin

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9 Responses

  1. How about one girl who flew to Budapest for a shoot with a well known producer and while he was at the bank getting money she got on the plane and left. She did not want to pay the kill fee and said he wanted her to do things she was not comfortable doing so she bounced.

    Only problem is he had a nanny cam and recorded everything and she was caught in a lie. LA Direct dropped her shortly after that.

  2. That was Paisley Savannah Pepper or whatever the fuck she’s calling herself these days, correct?

  3. No Hop Sing you are confusing KarmaFan’s story with the Farrah Valentine/ Serenity Haze crazy girl rape story – that also happened in Budapest. 😛

  4. I am on the fence about kill fees. The agent should never be the one charging them, if someone is known for flaking regularly I think the producer should be the one charging and billing the kill fees. An agent charging a kill fee too often is done in an abusive manner and for reasons that merit waiving the fee. The producer wants to work with talent again and will likely only charge a kill fee when it is a true flake and not for a good reason such as a parent dying or the talent lying about the reason (like claiming she has VD when in fact she snorted blow all night and due to cocaine induced psychosis she at the time of the shoot thought the CIA was trying to catch, handcuff and rape her but she had just enough sense not to tell the director that and instead told her she had VD).

    I have one question about kill fees. What if the talent shows up on time but drunk/high off of her ass and this isn’t the first or second time she did this (like Terri Star was known to do) — do you charge the kill fee or do you waive it since technically she did show up? Also, if talent shows up inebriated do you immediately start calling all of your producer friends to warn them not to hire her for their productions?

  5. When you’re dealing with pimps & hos what do you expect? A pimp on the street could kill the bitch. In this case they’d rather tax them from their heroin money

  6. I believe what KarmaFan might be referencing was the Rachele Richey incident .

  7. Lana Refused to Shoot a scene with a ” cross over ” male talent which I do believe turned out to be infect with syphilis..

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