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Feminist Porn Heaven day 4/7: Conference Time

Saturday morning got started a tiny bit late, with Aaron and I getting slightly lost on the way to to the Feminist Porn Conference. It was being held at the University of Toronto, but we had a bit of a time figuring out just which building it was actually being held in.

Regardless, we showed up in time to quickly get registered and sneak off to Jiz Lee and Shine Louise Houston‘s workshop on affiliate programs. For those unaware of what an affiliate program is, let me give you a bit of a walkthrough.

An affiliate program at the bare bones level lets a person become an “affiliate” of a website, meaning that they put up a unique code on a website that they maintain advertising another site. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll use Cherrystems as our example. Jane talks about Cherrystems on her blog a lot, and she wants to link to us. While it’s all fine and good just to send traffic over, wouldn’t it be nice if Jane got a bit of cash for sending us all that traffic? That’s what an affiliate program rewards. When someone clicks her unique link to Cherrystems, it leaves a cookie in their browser’s cache (cookies are just a text file that gets stored for a certain length of time in your browser’s cache, letting you do things like stay logged in to a website) so that Cherrystems knows how that user originally got to the site was via Jane’s link. Still with me? Lovely!

When someone that clicks Jane’s link *joins* Cherrystems, that’s where the dollars come in. We offer a 20% cut of all referrals on a recurring basis to the general public. So let’s say that someone clicks Jane’s link, then joins Cherrystems on a 3-month term (automatically recurring, or automatically charged every 3 months). That’s $40 every 3 months that that person pays, and Jane gets 20% of it every time they pay. That’s $8 every three months. While that doesn’t seem like much, it adds up when multiple people click through and join. If Jane refers 8 people at that level, that’s $64 every 3 months, and an extra $256/year just to have a little banner up.

Advertising is expensive. Cherrystems has advertised in magazines like Bust, and we’ve sponsored a bunch of events. The thing about throwing money around like that is that it only gets about a 3% return on the investment amount. Affiliate programs mean that a company doesn’t have to pay out of pocket to get advertising space, and that we can pass on actual cash to individuals that help us out.

You can actually find our affiliate program here. For example, here are some of the banners we’ve got:

caroline254x331   Candie234x60   Belinda240x120   adventuress160x320

You would need to go sign up for our affiliate program and get your unique link started up before any of these banners will make you any money, of course. 😉

Anyhow!

That talk was great for me to sit in on, because it made me realize how little the CS team actually knew about promoting themselves and Cherrystems. It’s a new thing to focus on!

The rest of the panels for the day were absolutely great, including one with Jessica Drake, Christopher Daniel Zeischegg, Dylan Ryan, Shine Louise Houston, Tristan Taormino, Carlyle Jansen that really spoke to me. A lot of the issues addressed therein were ones around the experience of being on a porn set. Things that performers like and don’t like, things that are expected, and how to create an atmosphere that best makes your performers feel comfortable.

As a new porn producer, I really enjoyed hearing that talk. I mean, I’ve been working on Cherrystems for most of my adult life now, but having pictures taken and doing video performances of sexual acts are different in a lot of ways. They’re similar, but I feel that an all new level of comfort and safety need to be achieved with the advanced level of intimacy that you’re sharing with your performers.

It was also really amazing to get to hear from folks that have worked on (and do work on) mainstream porn sets, and to hear about what life is like over on that side.

The day passed by all too quickly, and bled out into the night. Aaron, myself, and Bee headed over to Bar Mercurio, where I briefly met Lynn Comella, and Constance Penley, and ended up spending up the night hanging out with a great friend, Kevin Heffernan and Sarah Stevens and her partner. Pizza was had, jokes were made, and the night was ultra relaxing.

I skipped out on the Switch party that night though. The trouble with the Switch party for me is that I’m not one that just jumps right into an intimate encounter at a sex party. There just aren’t enough spaces at the Aslan studio for me to chill out and get to know anyone, and instead I end up feeling and acting super awkward – hah! So this year I just decided that pizza and cocktails and an early night would serve me best. All the other Cherrystemmers, however, hightailed it over there and had a great time. 🙂

And now it’s time for me to go away! AWAAAAY!

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Feminist Porn Heaven Day 3/7 – IT’S FRIDAY.

Sorry for my brief delay in blogging. Life got a bit in the way, but that’s how life is sometimes. We’re back on track to talking about Friday, the day of the Feminist Porn Awards gala, and a whole amazing lot more.

Friday morning, I woke bright and early and fired off a text to Dayna, who was staying a few rooms down the hall from me. It was time for us to figure out how to use the awesome cameras that she brought for us to use. We sat ourselves down in front of youtube and watched tutorials on the menus and settings on both cameras, ate some breakfast, and got ourselves synced up. Bee, Jasper, Veronika Lee, and others did some drop ins, which was great.

I headed down to the office of the hotel, did some routine printing of our 2257 forms, and we got ourselves out of the hotel – we being Bee, Dayna, and myself. We were off to meet the amazing Andre Shakti to do a Cherrystems shoot with her, then on to creating a scene for Ciné Sinclaire with both Andre and Jiz Lee. Commence overactive squeeing on our parts. We work with some amazing folks already at Cherrystems, and so it was amazing to move into working with professional performers. Eek, it was so incredibly much fun.

But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself! We showed up at the air bnb spot where Andre was staying, loaded in, and had a chat to get to know each other. Andre is a great human being, let me start off by saying that. She walked us through what she had envisioned and showed us her outfit (Which was awesome, by the way), then Bee and Dayna took over. I’ve been shooting sets for Cherrystems for about 2 months now (running the show is a different kind of work), but that doesn’t compare with the 6 years I’ve worked with these two. I definitely knew that they would work awesomely together, and that the opportunity to shoot someone as great as Andre should go to the folks who have worked the hardest. They absolutely loved it! Andre was super willing to work with us and some amazing shots were gotten. I can’t wait to have the set up and ready to be viewed!

From there, we had a bit of a lull in the action before Jiz showed up. I ran out and got some sushi for the set, to make sure we were all deliciously stuffed full of food. It was a great choice. I ended up picking a random hole in the wall spot on Yelp whose name I can’t recall for the life of me. Honestly, though, it was some of the best sushi I’ve had in Toronto. I don’t often have good sushi luck in Toronto.

After eating, we set up the bedroom for the scene. Dayna and Bee rolled around in the sheets to get the lighting just right, we synced up our cameras, and then Jiz arrived! Andre was actually recording a little piece for Siouxsie Q, who records the Whorecast. It was a really great way to get the conversation started and discuss boundaries and for me to get across to everyone how the set would operate.

We had a good conversation about pay amounts and what performers are comfortable doing for which pay rates. As a startup, Ciné Sinclaire doesn’t have the most enormous of budgets. While we can afford a reasonable pay rate, it’s actually quite low for bigger names. The way that we came to an agreement was basically similar to how rates and actions are typically negotiated in sex work in general – the amount that you pay gets only certain acts. I think this is completely correct. Just because I paid a certain rate as a producer does not at all mean that I have any right to demand certain acts from a performer.

Andre being Andre, with Kate, Brynna, and Dayna (under the sheets). Photo by Jiz Lee, click to see it in its original context on their blog.

Andre being Andre, with Kate, Bee, and Dayna (under the sheets). Photo by Jiz Lee, click to see it in its original context on their blog.

So, without giving too much of the scene away, I’ll have to say that this is a kind of softcore scene that is *incredibly* intense. If you’d like to see trailers and the like, keep watching my blog. The site itself should be launching this summer!

I had to run quickly after the shoot, which felt a bit shitty of me to do, but I had a hair appointment to make it to for the awards show. Dayna and Bee were magic champs and finished up the pay and paperwork while I jetted off to get someone else to do my hair while I caught up on emails and phone calls. I’m so not used to having long hair so, honestly, I knew that paying someone else was going to save me endless amounts of frustration of attempting to do it myself.

Once I was done getting my hair done, I ran back to the hotel, put on my dress, and got on my way with a group of Stemmers toward the VIP party at the Feminist Porn Awards gala! This event is so awesome to me. It’s a whole bunch of amazing sex workers and porn lovers in one room being awesome together. We come together, celebrate the work of our peers, and have a great time doing it. It’s actually the one night of the week where I’m just there to be entertained and have fun with my friends, coworkers, and other folks that *get it*.

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There were so many of us representing Cherrystems this year! L-R, back to front: Caroline, Dayna, Kate, Veronika Lee, Keelie, W, Bee, and Jasper!

 

If you’d like to find out who won each award, head over to the Feminist Porn Awards’ website. You should probably go ahead and purchase all of the films that won or were nominated. Or at least a bunch, or several. 🙂

I’m also at the FPAs to represent my silicone toy company, Fuze. If you don’t know much about us, you can check out this post here to get a bit of a background. We were a silver sponsor of the Feminist Porn Awards this year, which was really great. I absolutely love how many more people know about our little company every year, and we definitely love helping to support such a great event held right up in Canada. All up in it.

Other absolutely amazing things that happened were: Courtney Trouble’s dress, the tribute to Carlos Batts, Trans Grrrls (with our own Velvet performing in one of the scenes!) winning tantilizing trans film, the amazing entertainment, and every single person in that room that night. It was all amazing.

Following the awards, a few of us headed back toward the hotel to get some grub. Bee, myself, and Playground Conf friendo Lauryn met newly-arrived Aaron at Pho Pasteur, which was probably the best way to end the night that I could have thought possible. Aaron is our programmer at Cherrystems, and he’s also the person that I’ll be marrying this summer. We hadn’t actually spent more than 12 hours together for 4 weeks at that point, so having him out for Friday-Sunday was really really necessary.

I got a good sleep that night. 😉

Feminist Porn Heaven, Day 1/7: The Check-in

As many of you may know, I attended the Feminist Porn Awards and Feminist Porn Conference in Toronto this past week. Now that I’ve finally got a chance to take a breath, it’s time to do a recap. I’m going to do my best to go day by day, recapping all the things!

I flew out early Wednesday, a little worried. I’d been sick for pretty much 2 weeks straight leading up to this, which was a product of working far too much on far too many projects for over a month. Turns out your health can be hurt by not paying attention to yourself. WHO KNEW?  Anyhow. I boarded a flight from Winnipeg to Toronto and got myself mentally prepared for the week to come.

I checked into our hotel after the usual transit rigamarole. We stayed at the Studio 6, which turns out to be run by Motel 6. It was nice for reasons of there being a kitchen in each room, full fridge, etc. I travel enough that a hotplate and a microwave goes a fuck of a long way.

Over the course of the rest of the day, Jasper, Dayna, Caroline, and Keelie all joined us at the hotel. We ate food, we got ready, and then we eventually headed out to Tell Me Something Good: a Toronto sexy storytelling slam. I was going to be judging sexy stories along with Jon PressickTobi Hill-Meyer, and Ms Naughty – an amazing panel of judges to be a part of. We show up, we’re greeted by the organizers of the night, the powerhouse duo of Samantha Fraser and Sophie Delancey.

I wish I’d gotten some pictures of the night, but unfortunately I was busy judging all of the stories very harshly and seriously (not true), but I’ve got some highlights for sure. The theme of the night was Catch Me if You Can, which was meant to suggest stories based in exhibitionism, voyeurism, outdoor sex, you name it. The theme was honestly quite loose. Something I didn’t realize, but really should have, was that the judges would be asked to tell a story. Eek! I had absolutely nothing prepared, and as a person that makes porno, I’ve got tons of stories – but of course nothing at all was leaping to mind about sets that I was running. The only one that came to mind was actually a story from a relationship that I was in that was less than healthy, so even though I knew the story would be steamy and sexy and downright blush-worthy, I had to stop myself and think of something else. I ended up choosing a short and sweet story about being recognized for being naked on the internet in the wild of a Shopper’s Drug Mart in Winnipeg. It did the job.

Now, on to the rest of the night. First off, Cherrystems donated two t-shirts to the pile of prizes available that night. One of the highlights for me was definitely when one of the winning storytellers disrobed in order to properly try on the Cherrystems tank top. Tobi’s story was absolutely fantastic, and Jasper and Dayna told some amazing stories too, and I got to spank the woman from The Spit‘s ass! Woo!

Overall, the stories were great and I had an awesome time making up numbers alongside the great judging team. Special bonus? Courtney Trouble was there! I got a great big hug and got to catch up on our last month since they’d stayed at my house. It was really awesome.

After the festivities that was the storytelling slam, the Cherrystems crew took transit over to Oasis Aqualounge to swim naked under the stars. There really is no better way to round out an evening. A few folks had never been there before, so it was nice to introduce them all to the magic that is that house. It was a “women get in free” night, and all of us that were in town at that point identified that way, so it was extra nice to just have a place to relax for free – even if it means a little crowd of dudes following you around, half-wanking the whole time. Bathhouses on straight nights, you know.

Stay tuned! I’ll be publishing a new day everyday!


Kate

The Fuze Nuze (hah, news)

Fuze has been positively active these last few months. We’re revamping our brand image, we’re introducing new toys, and we’ve expanded to new parts of the world with wholesaling now happening in Japan and Australia. AMAZING.

If you’re not familiar with the brand (yet), here’s the skinny. I’m the sales rep, social media mistress, and lady of many tasks at the company. The owners are Mark and Susan, who are incredibly charming but have less of an online presence. Why, you ask? Because they’re farmers! Correct, when they’re not making toys that are built for and safe for your body, they’re raising sheep and/or growing garlic. Part of working for Fuze means I get to occasionally pop out there, which is always one of the best pleasures. They’re located in Peterborough, Ontario, which is just a bit North of Toronto, for those unaware. Yes, that does mean we’re Canadian! Eh? (that hurt to say)

Anyhow. Mark and Susan are the founders, owners, and overall managers of the company. They’ve been super busy lately working toward the biggest announcements we’ve ever made – which will be officially public in just a few short months! Keep following me here or on twitter (@MsKateSinclaire), or better yet, follow Fuze on twitter (@FuzeSilicone) or even on Facebook. We’re young in the social media world, but we’re working on it. I promise to post things you like!

In December, we introduced Velvet. What’s the story about Velvet? She’s a scaled down version of our larger toy, Alpha. I’ll post pictures to help you out.

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This is Alpha, in all its glossy-finish glory, coming in at a lovely total length of 9 1/2″, Insertable length 7 1/2″ , Diameter 1 1/2″

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This is Velvet, weighing in at a total length of, 7 3/4 inches, with an insertable length of 5 3/4 inches, and a diameter of 1 inch. Velvet got its name from its beautiful velvety matte finish. *sensuous*

Velvet is great as a pegging toy, or as a toy for people who just don’t like as much girth. It comes in both black and purple (just like all our dildos), and is ah-mazing. If you notice the base of both of the dildos in the picture above, you’ll notice that they’re ridged. Why, you ask? For strap on joy, I inform! We’re actually the only company in the world presently paying attention to the wearer in strap on play. All our toys are vibe compatible, with the little vibe hole hiding just at the base of the toy, under the ridged base. Brilliant, no?

The world seems to have caught on to Fuze after the release of Velvet. We actually had a bit of an interesting time keeping it in stock, but have *just* kept up with the orders. Phew! 

We manufacture our silicone by injection to the highest of standards, and have put more R&D into the products that go into your body than you could possibly imagine (unless you’re in the business of making safe toys – then you know just how much work it entails to ensure quality from steps 1-1000). 

Now that I’ve told you about all of this, I can tell you where to pick up these lovely little pieces of art online. 

The Pleasure Chest
Come As You Are
Good For Her
Deep Stealth Dungeon
Early To Bed
and more!

If you’d rather see them IRL before you buy, head down to your local sex positive shop and check them out! If the shop isn’t carrying Fuze yet, plead them to carry them! More folks should have access to amazing body safe toys. 🙂

AND! There will be more news about the butt plugs soon! Because honestly, they’re the best.