"They [talent] are there reflecting light and we're just there to capture it," said panelist Karl Edwards of Bedfellows, describing his prolific career as a content producer.
Other panel attendees included Warren Chamberlain of Inthecrack.com, Tim Valenti of Naked Sword, Ron Harris of Ron Harris Studios, Jay Gredina of Club Jenna and the husband of porn icon Jenna Jameson, and Brandon Shalton of Fightthepatent.com.
Moderator Randall Crockett of DRM Networks jump-started the panel by asking what the preliminary stages of content production entail.
"Talk to your lawyer," said Gredina. "Find out if you can shoot in that area."
"Casting is key and can really be the problem," said Harris, who reviews talent from all over the world and feels lucky if he can find four really good girls per month to shoot. Harris, who claims never to have laid a finger on any of his talent during his career in producing softcore porn, told the audience that making the talent feel beautiful and sexy is paramount to the success of a shoot. Contingent on that element is a good makeup artist, says Harris.
"Know your budget and have a very good editor, especially for video," said Valenti, whose company Naked Sword has recently made a foray into producing its own content. Valenti added that his years of experience in working with other people's content enabled him to really understand why some content sells and some doesn't.
Gredina suggested that webmasters entering the content space be fully aware of who their target audience is and how to match their talent accordingly.
"Know the difference between high-end and amateur," said Gredina. "Don't get taken."
Edwards added that content producers need to be realistic about what they can produce given the talent resources in their area. "It's a very delicate balance," he cautioned.
Chamberlain described in detail the difficulty in finding models when he was starting his business from scratch. He advertised in local newspapers and endured numerous no-shows for a long time before he established a reputation as a legitimate content producer. Chamberlain also launched a separate website so that talent could look at his work and credentials before deciding to work with him.
Shalton, known for his grassroots Internet lobbying efforts when it comes to keeping adult webmasters informed of some of the legal issues facing their industry, cautioned webmasters to stay on their toes when it comes to age verification, keeping thorough records, and staying at the edge of their game in the event that federal prosecutors come knocking.
"Have as much documentation as you can," he said.
Gredina added that he makes sure all the talent he documents for 2257s are not under the influence of drugs of alcohol. Harris posts the talent's driver's license on his site, blacking out certain personal information, but associating the face with the year of birth.
Shalton further stressed that aside from Acacia, a company that claims to hold the patents to streaming audio and video over the Internet, there are even more companies with patent claims coming down the pike, including a company called USA Video, which claims to have patented the process of downloading video from a server, and Sight Sound, a company that holds patents on the paid download of video content.
Some panelist agreed that while some content producers tend to lean toward shoots that are reliant on storylines, in many cases special effects and too much icing on the cake can alienate an audience that is looking for more straightforward content.
Chamberlain claimed that his fanciest technique in shooting content is fade to black.
"The typical adult customer is coming to ogle pussy and ass," he said frankly, adding that most of his friends watch porn in fast forward, skipping the storyline and just getting to the action.
"They don't want the story, they want the orgasm," said Harris, who says that he works closely with his talent to make sure that they are comfortable enough to actually perform on camera and not fake it.
On a more basic note, Edwards warned webmasters not to overlook the crucial importance of knowing how to use the actual cameras, using B-roll, and following a script, no matter how brief it is.
"Don't just think about putting this on the Internet," said Edwards, "Think of DVDs and creating a secondary distribution source."