The Audience is everything. While I don't think of them when I shoot, they're definitely in my mind as I edit a film. And even more so when I screen. After screening my very first documentary Straight for the Money about lesbian and bisexual sex workers, I was surprised (in a good way) with how many women (and occasionally men) would reveal they were sex workers. It was usually a hushed conversation because they didn't want others in the room to know. Judgement and Stigma.
Kickstarter is kicking my ass. Literally. But it's connected me with people I might not otherwise come across. It's been especially satisfying when strippers tell me their experiences. It makes up for having been booted off two Facebook sex worker activist groups because I held firmly in saying that it's illegal + exploitive to charge sex workers to work. Hearing these women's stories reminds me why I'm making License to Pimp. And it's a bonus when I come across someone who's stripped somewhere I did. Below is an accounting of something that happened years ago, but this sort of thing still happens today. Don't be fooled by the glitter + gold the strip clubs sprinkle.
This is Mandi's story.
I worked at the Market Street Cinema in San Francisco from 1995 to 1998. For a four-hour shift, I would have to pay the management $140 and then leave with whatever was left over. If you didn’t make your “stage fee” as the garnishment was called, you were fired. I was doing topless and nude lap dances.
I moved briefly (for about six months) to NYC and worked as a stripper at a club called The Harmony owned by a former stripper who had inherited it. She treated the women very badly and coerced them into making free videos for her online venture. I was fired when I refused to prostitute myself to her personally.
I returned to SF to be told by a friend of mine and fellow stripper that the only way to make money at the Cinema was to give blowjobs or hand jobs. I followed her advice without much thought and found myself on my knees in a dirty stall giving head for $60 in full view of other customers and workers. I didn’t do it again. I stuck to topless and nude dances.
Conditions at the club worsened as the manager hired street prostitutes. Some would have sex in the audience seating for as little as $10. It was impossible to compete, and I quit.
pledged of $30,000 goal
seconds to go
Jun 18, 2012 - Jul 18, 2012
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(1) Thanks for helping to get our rough cut done! You have our eternal gratitude for helping to make this Film possible. We'll give a shout out to you on Twitter + Facebook. (2) You’ll receive a newsletter updates on our journey to complete LICENSE TO PIMP.Estimated delivery: Jul 2012
Pledge $25 or more
All the above PLUS (1) Digital WallPaper from LICENSE TO PIMP. Make it your computer or cellphone’s wallpaper; post it to Facebook; print it out and tack it to the wall. (2) Animatic from Lola’s story in LICENSE TO PIMPEstimated delivery: Sep 2012
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In Addition to the initial $25 pledge, you will also get the entire unedited 8 minute interview clip with Skylar as she talks about not being a prostitute, legal brothels in Nevada, Proposition K (a 2008 San Francisco ballot measure that tried to decriminalize prostitution) & why she'd never work for a pimp.Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
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All the above PLUS (1) Thanks credited on the film’s website (2) Digital download of the filmmaker’s short documentary HOW DO YOU TELL SOMEBODY THAT YOU’RE HIV+?Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
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2 backers All gone!
Everyone who backs this film at $50 or more before the weekend ends (midnight Monday July 9, 2012) will be automatically invited to a private NYC screening after the film is completed. (this includes anyone who's already backed the film to date). After this weekend, invitations will be closed.Estimated delivery: Sep 2013
Pledge $100 or more
All the above PLUS (1) Thanks credited in the Film (2) A naughty holographic photo of Mariko Passion that was art directed by her (this is limited the first 200 backers who pledge $100 or more) (3) Digital download of the filmmaker’s short fictional ENT-HOMO-PHILIA (not appropriate for minors—there’s some sexual content & nudity)Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
Pledge $250 or more
All the above PLUS (1) Signed Limited Edition Movie Poster of LICENSE TO PIMP (2) Digital download of Lola’s story in LICENSE TO PIMP as a comic book (aka porno-novella aka historietta) (3) Digital download of the filmmaker’s short fictional film JIHAD FOR DEMOCRACYEstimated delivery: Dec 2013
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3 backers Limited (1 of 4 left)
NEW REWARD: Chriselda Pacheco has graciously donated 4 stunning photos from her photo series “Sex and Judgment” Limited Edition: $500 each (signed by the artist, unframed, black/white, 18” x 24’) See Update # 10 to see the photos + learn about the photographer who is a former stripper.Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
Pledge $500 or more
All the above PLUS (1) Signed Limited Edition printed Comic Book of Lola’s story in LICENSE TO PIMP (aka porno-novella aka historietta) (2) Limited Edition pre-Release DVD or BlueRay of LICENSE TO PIMP (3) Digital download of the filmmaker’s first documentary about lesbian and bisexual female sex workers of STRAIGHT FOR THE MONEY (59 minutes; 1994) which was in the 1995 Whitney BiennialEstimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $1,000 or more
All the above PLUS (1) Super Special Thanks credit in the Film (2) Ever wonder what you’d look like in an animation? Here’s your chance. Get your likeness inserted into Lola’s animation! It might be as a customer, a stripper, managers, her family or friends. It’ll be a surprise! You will need to provide us with some hi-resolution mugshots of yourself. (3) Skype with the FilmmakerEstimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $2,500 or more
All the above PLUS Two tickets (for you and a guest) to attend the San Francisco, Los Angeles or NYC premiere screening of LICENSE TO PIMP plus an invite to the before & after party. Lodging & transportation are not included.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $5,000 or more
All the above PLUS (1) Associate Producer credit on the Film (2) Invite for you & a guest to the private Sneak Preview screening of LICENSE TO PIMP. (3) Party! Two tickets (for you and your guest) to attend the World Premiere screening plus an invite to the before & after parties. Lodging & transportation are not included.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $10,000 or more
All the above PLUS (1) Executive Producer credit on the Film and in all promotional and educational outreach material. (2) Sit in on a day’s editing session. Lodging & transportation are not included. (3) Invite to the Fine Cut screening NYC. Lodging & transportation are not included. (4) Dinner with the Filmmaker & crew in NYC. Lodging & transportation are not included. (5) PARTY! Two tickets (for you and your guest) to attend the World Premiere screening of LICENSE TO PIMP plus an invite to the before & after parties. Lodging & transportation are not included.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013