LOS ANGELES — Chanel Preston told XBIZ that the first year of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee was about becoming more organized and cultivating new ideas.
Now as the group known as APAC transitions into its second year in August, Preston said that it’s time to begin seeing those ideas “come to fruition.”
“This coming year is a really exciting and important year for APAC,” Preston, the vice president and spokesperson for APAC, said Thursday.
APAC formed with the intent of being the only group of its kind — for performers, comprised of performers and led by performers. The group meets for about two hours on the first Sunday of every month, discussing issues that impact working porn talent. Those issues include everything from STI testing protocols and education about health concerns to fostering solidarity among the performer community and the ongoing condom legislation.
“People who have been coming to our meetings have been really dedicated to it and it’s really inspiring to see performers come together like this,” Preston said. “You really get a picture of how many really intelligent and motivated people are in the industry.
“Obviously, we would like to see it grow much, much bigger. But we want give thanks to all the performers who have taken the time to attend meetings and participate during our first year.”
Preston, who started her porn career in 2010, said that APAC currently has more than 100 performers on its email list.
“We are always sending out information,” she said. “There’s a lot people on our list that don’t always show up to the meetings but they’ve been involved.”
There is no charge to be an APAC member or to attend meetings, Preston noted.
“You just show up,” Preston said. “There’s nothing you need to do. You don’t need to RSVP. There is also a contact form on our website. As long as you’re a performer, there is no requirement needed in order to go.”
APAC’s latest item of business is re-electing new board members. Voting for board members is going on now at the APAC website through the end of July. The new APAC board members will be installed in August.
“They do have to be an APAC member to vote, so if they are interested, it ends the last day of July,” Preston said.
The APAC VP said that in recent meetings the group has been brainstorming several ideas related to increasing APAC’s presence in the adult industry community.
“Our big focus is education and resources for performers,” she said.
To that end, last year the group produced the APAC “Porn 101” video that presented an overview of basic things performers need to know as they get started in the industry. The video played before the 2014 XBIZ Awards in Century City, Calif., in January.
And it was one of APAC’s top priorities as it ramps up.
“We just wanted to make something to show so that if you’re new to the industry this is what you can expect,” Preston said. “We want performers to have all the knowledge they need.
“We want to make more videos, but they’re going to be more specific. We want to make one specific to STDs. We want to make a video talking about professionalism on set, and more. They will be quicker, two- to five-minute videos with information on a topic. We realize people have short attention spans. We want the videos to be more focused.”
Preston continued, “We also have a blog area on the website. If anyone wants to blog for us, it’s open. We’re willing to post it on our website. We also have a forum available on the site where you can just start a conversation about something.”
The organization’s Mission Statement also is posted on apac-usa.com.
In it, it says that APAC endeavors “to provide representation for performers in the adult film industry and to protect performers’ rights to a safer and more professional work environment.”
The Mission Statement goes on to say, “We are committed to working cohesively with all aspects of the adult entertainment industry and the public, strengthening unity between all performers, and maintaining a work environment where workers are valued, respected, and educated.”
APAC in its first year got involved with the Free Speech Coalition’s Performer Availability Scheduling Service, or PASS, providing a voice for the performers regarding STI testing protocols.
“We’ve been really involved with discussing all the testing procedures that are required for PASS. We think it’s fair that performers are involved in that decision since we are the ones taking the risk,” Preston said. “We’ve been involved in all the decisions that have been made, for the type of tests required and for the duration of the testing windows.”
On Wednesday, Preston and current APAC Treasurer James Deen sat down with two Cal-OSHA officials in what she described as an “introductory” meeting. The two met with Cal-OSHA Regional Manager Peter Riley and Senior Safety Engineer Brandon Hart at the OSHA offices.
“It went well. It was very informative,” Preston said. “I think the main purpose of that meeting was to introduce ourselves as performers and let them know that we’re here and to please speak with us. Please keep us informed.
“We also went there to ask them what steps we can take to express our opinions about Cal-OSHA’s safety regulations.”
In addition, APAC wants to continue having a voice in the ongoing mandatory condom legislation, AB 1576, which next will be heard on Aug. 4 before the state Senate Appropriations Committee.
If the majority of the seven members on the committee vote for passage of the bill, it would move on to the full state Senate. In late June, the state Senate and Labor Relations panel passed the bill 3-1.
AB 1576 requires a minimum 14-day employer-paid testing protocol and use of a condom or barrier device during the production of adult films.
“APAC performers are opposed to this bill,” Preston said.
While the Committee’s membership realizes there is a lot to do before APAC reaches its potential, one thing is certain: there has been progress.
“I've been wishing for something like APAC since I shot my first scene,” said veteran performer Ela Darling. “We are strong, intelligent, capable individuals uniting for the greater good of our peers and contemporaries in the adult industry. I believe that as APAC grows in size, the voice of the performer community grows in strength and tenacity.
“I look around the room in these meetings and I see some of the brightest, most ambitious performers from all facets of the industry all coming together because we have a shared goal: to pave the way to a safer, better, stronger future for adult performers across the board.”
Performer Tim Woodman agreed.
“It's really great to see the talent taking ourselves seriously and sharing our wealth of knowledge and experience with each other,” Woodman said. “I hope through APAC we will continue to educate and support each other and help the whole industry move forward through a sense of solidarity and cooperation.”
Meanwhile, newcomer Charlie Comet said that while he’s only been with APAC for a few months that he sees “that this organization is doing some positive work.”
“I will continue to work with APAC so that performers will have a benevolent entity for support, protection and awareness for navigating in the adult industry,” Comet said.
Preston meanwhile reiterated that it takes many more performers to join the APAC ranks before the group can affect profound positive change for the talent community.
“This isn’t meant to be a secret organization that’s plotting to take over the industry,” Preston added. “This is meant to work with all the other aspects of the industry.
“I think the response so far has been really positive. This is not only a benefit for performers, but I think it benefits the entire industry when performers are stepping up.”