So there I was, a 40-something father of a newborn responsible for two children (in an involved, not-living-with-their-Moms, father kind of way... my first was now in her early teens) and with an accidental, born-of-necessity career immersed in smut.
It was a crazy life. My newborn son's mother--we weren't together although we had good relations--would drop my son off with me quite early each morning on her way to work. (Women will breed with me, they just won't stay with me.) I would care for him till about noon or so, then take him to a babysitter. His mother would pick him up after she got off work. After the trip to the babysitter, I would head into work myself. I had a flexible, make-it-up-myself schedule which made this sort of arrangement possible.
I usually worked 10 to 12 hours a day cutting smut and supervising other editors as they cut smut. I would schedule shooting for weekends because A) I didn't have my son most weekends and B) Although the shooting was for the same company I edited for, they frowned on me taking days off during the week to produce/direct/shoot their movies. That was okay. Why? Two reasons: 1) I was making "stupid" money due to a quite good paycheck from editing and supervising two shifts of editors plus more good money for producing the movies I was making on weekends; 2) I was happily in the middle of a mid-life crisis-- one most men only dream of having.
After a few years, I quit the company I was running post-production and shooting flicks for and went out on my own. I produced, directed, shot, and edited for every major company in the adult biz. I started a post-production company with a partner. We edited shows for everyone from Hustler to the History Channel to corporations to big, major churches in Southern California. I partied like a rock star but continued doing everything I could to be a good, caring, involved, responsible father to my children.
Off-Topic Note: A big, loving, shout-out to my daughter even though she doesn't read this blog. She has been as important and as involved in raising and caring-for my son as either of his parents have been. My son is 14 now and my daughter remains just as important to his life, not the least of which being an incredible big sister and, in more than a few ways, like a 3rd parent to him. She now has a terrific husband and two small children and continues being a wonderfully positive and guiding influence on my son.
Okay, back to the time-line I'm reporting, somehow trying to get to the part where I answer the original question in Part One of this blog topic.
Things continued going fairly well until technology burst the bubble: Digital technology, that is.
At first, I greeted digital like it was the "second coming." Slowly, however, I began realizing it was a double-edged sword. Between digital advances in cameras and post-production gear to the internet, affordable, easy-to-use technologies opened production doors to anyone and everyone, with or without established skills. Also around this time, clients became really greedy! They were still making plenty of cash but they started slashing budgets. Perhaps they saw where the future was heading and were taking steps before it really bit them on their fat-cat asses? Who knows? What I do know is there was much less "stupid" money to be made by production people... you know, in similar ways that song sings about: "Money for nothing, chicks for free."
In order to combat the effects of high-end, easily-employed, technologies-for-the-masses, I started semi-whoring my services. I added my old and trusted friend, photography, to the menu I was offering clients. I began discounting my rates as a hybrid shooter, offering both stills and video for the same project. Example: Full rate as a video shooter, half-rate for stills for the same production day.
This meant I was working harder, making a bigger day-rate but, overall, not making as much. (A result of declining production.) By this time, I was sick of editing so I took on less and less work of that sort of work. Many thousands of hours, sitting alone in a darkened room with a couple of computer screens in front of me depicting people doing the nasty, became nearly intolerable. All I wanted to do was shoot. Whether it was stills or video, it didn't matter much.
Slowly, I began focusing more on stills than video. Why? Because, in the world of image capturing, I loved photography best! As of now, I've shot thousands of models and female performers. I had my own studio for a few years but, ultimately, the cost of a studio didn't make much financial sense as work continued declining along with production budgets. I became well thought-of as a photographer, shooting for everyone from Vivid to Hustler to Playboy and so many more. But declining revenues even began effecting those very successful companies, leastwise, in terms of production budgets and, consequently, negatively effecting me even more.
Along the way, I began writing this blog. I did so for two reasons, actually three: 1) I wanted to write a book about glamour photography but writing a book requires lots of discipline. I figured I could blog often enough, in spite of my lack of writing discipline and, eventually, convert all that writing into a book; 2) For whatever reasons, I really enjoy sharing my knowledge with others; 3) Angst relief.
I should note that, when I began writing my recently released ebook, Guerrilla Glamour, I thought it would be a breeze. I thought all I'd have to do was gather, organize, and edit from what I've already written on this blog. (Over five years of blogging and well beyond 600 updates.) That turned out to be either a pipe-dream or born of green stuff packed in a pipe. In the end, between 80% and 90% (or more) of what I wrote for the ebook's 101 pages was original material. Yeah, I used blog entries for reference. I even copy-and-pasted-and-edited a small amount. But that's about it.
Okay. So much for how I found myself making a living with cameras in my hands and pretty girls in front of me, that is, my life for the past 30 years compressed into a very small nutshell. In my next installment, going past this mercifully brief and probably boring bit of self-revelation, I'll get into some ideas that actually attempt to answer the other parts of "Jim in Huntsville's" original question.
TO BE CONTINUED...
The pretty girl caught in the net at the top is another whose name I'm brain-farting on. Some might consider chicks like her the world's "deadliest catch." Two lights employed: A main-light modified with a 5' Octa in front and a kicker with an umbrella on the other side of the glass window.