I once dated someone who called me a “Sex Superhero” on our first date (stroking my ego with his beautiful genuine wonder) and on our second date wanted to know my “origin story.” The writer in me melted inside because what a wonderful way to view life; drenched in meaning and metaphor… “And the stars aligned to give me a high interest in sex and the stubborn gumption to start my own porn company”… But really one day someone just asked me if I wanted to start creating porn and because I am a project-addict, I said yes.
Thus, Spit was born. A series of circumstantial events that eventually lead to me running a porn business; aka, the stars aligning.
There is no school for “How To Start Your Own Porn Company.” It is NOT an easy pile of responsibility to carry. Unlike many projects, it doesn’t end. The site continues to accept subscriptions, and members continue to expect more content. It took nearly a year to get our baby to start functioning as a proper e-Commerce website, and after the first month of billing I had a very real moment of “Oh fuck… I can’t stop this…” And that’s how I became “Porn Mom.”
What has also happened during the past three years since starting Spit is a very high-level intensity of interaction with the community. What do you mean, Caitlin?
Well. We create queer, feminist, ethical, alternative porn. Our porn is not mainstream. Our porn is diverse in it’s bodies and people with no intention to fetishize anyone. Our porn is unscripted and based solely on what our performers want to do. We don’t push past anyone’s comfort zone and we want to make sure everyone feels safe and happy. These were my goals. And because we were surrounded by beautiful perverts, many of our friends graciously offered their bodies up voluntarily to partake in creating content for our empty website.
For the first year, every porn set was done for free. Our photographers shot for free, our performers banged for free. It was truly a really lovely, chaotic, moment in Spit’s history. As soon as Spit start generating income, we started to slowly and happily pay people for their time and energy.
But remember, there is no porn school.
When I was running Spit during this time, I was also working 40 hours a week. There was only so much time I could dedicate to upkeeping, only so much energy I could commit to pushing the company forward.
When you start paying people, you become their employer. A lot of things happen to a dynamic when you become an employer, most things I did not anticipate at all. Suddenly we went from making porn for “shits & giggles” to taking up a space in the sex industry in Toronto. I need to own the fact that I did not create adequate changes to implement the direction Spit was taking. I also need to own the fact that I mentally, physically, financially, emotionally absolutely did not have the energy to do those things during those couple of years. And this is one of the issues of entrepreneurship: the business keeps going without you. You know it’s there and can see all the bumps and bruises it’s getting along the way. And it is one of the hardest things to watch from the sidelines, completely aware you can currently do nothing about it due to a series of circumstantial events that caused the stars to align and present you with your quarter-life crisis. (Oh yes, I had one of those. It was a doozy).
Things I realized I also hadn’t gone to school for: Public Relations, Web Development, Business Management, Accounting, or Intersectional Feminism Level 12.
Spit has fucked up a few times in a couple of places. And when I say Spit, although there were often other people involved, I mean me. I fucked up a few times in a couple of places and I had no other option but to be okay with that because life was not affording me the energy and time to do otherwise. And that is okay. And even if I didn’t have the time and energy now to turn those things around, it STILL would’ve been okay. Because I’m a frickin’ human and not a Feminist Porn Business Robot. My intention was always good will and I’ve worked super hard to pick myself up and get to a place where I get to ensure that that good will is seen… I am grateful for the space to mend my mistakes. I know not everyone gets that opportunity. It is directly because of this space that feminist porn has allowed me to become a better person.
So, recognizing all of the places we could be better, Spit is undergoing a makeover. Along with a shiny new website that will be launching before May 14th, 2016, we are implementing new streamlined and regulated systems, and making some new and exciting changes, some of which are:
- We’ve hired Jassie Justice to be Spit’s Culture and Diversity Coordinator
- Our new site will have Pay Per View videos, allowing performer-made content to be uploaded. Giving our performers have the opportunity to make more money
- This also gives a stage for more voices: we’re not gonna know how to make the best stuff for everyone. Democratizing it makes our content better
- We have also created a production system to make this opportunity as accessible to as many people as possible
- We will still have an application process, but it will be much more accessible and streamlined
- I’m creating a Porn Welcome Wagon document that I’m having way too much fun with, but will also give as much information as possible to the folks that we begin working with
- We are going to have Porn Feedback Forms for optimal porn productions and so we have a space to hear folks & learn where we can continue to do better
On that note, I’d like to send a giant warm sexy pervy hug to Jesse Rae West who is no longer with Spit as our Porn Cupid. Jesse gave a whole bunch of time and energy to moving Spit forward and we have all the love for her. In her absence, I will be picking up where she left off. Please stay tuned for application updates and shooting cupidery!
Spit is now myself and my queer porn son, John Bee, who is our magical videographer and the equivalent of a lazy feline with a beard.
Creating porn is often thankless work. I can’t really imagine large production companies getting thank you notes from their viewers about how that one cumshot has changed their life, but people are weird and surprising so who knows. Luckily, I do get some thanks every now and then that come with “the work you’re doing is super important.” And god damn do I know that. The work feminist porn is doing is SUPER important. The more there is out there, the more people know there is an alternative option to mainstream porn. In the very least, it starts and continues the conversation.
And on that note: I’m running SMUT In The 6ix with Samantha Fraser and Sophie Delancey (of Playground Conference & Tell Me Something Good). SMUT In The 6ix is a day-long porn event that is meant to continue the conversation on this work that is super important.
There are so many people in Toronto who are doing such incredible work in feminist porn and these people need to be recognized because fuck me, this work is not easy work. These folks know the value of the work we do because they also notice that we need to create space for authentic and diverse experiences. We need to create the narrative for sexualities and bodies that go unseen or undervalued because we don’t exist in a vacuum; there are so many other people out there who WANT TO SEE THEMSELVES reflected in the porn they are consuming.
To celebrate these people we are hosting a giant porn gala at the end of the day-time panels. The gala will feature a video-screening curated by Taylor J. Mace and Rebecca Deveaux. There will be an hour long stage performance hosted by the dreamy Dane Joe, with burlesque from Ferrera Rose and Spencer Munny, songs from Kate Sloan, belly dancing from Raishma Tigress, and spoken word from Malcolm Lovejoy. All followed by a dance party with Toronto’s porn heart throbs.
You should come. Come celebrate this important work we do ALL OVER MY FACE.