Home Peep Show Peep Show – Interview with Jiz Lee, Part Two

Peep Show – Interview with Jiz Lee, Part Two

Peep Show – Interview with Jiz Lee, Part Two
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JIZ LEE is hot to trot, easy as a Sunday morning, and finger lickin’ good…if you believe everything you see in Jiz’s porn. Is Jiz is a prolific porn star who happens to identify as genderqueer, or a genderqueer sweetheart who just happens to do porn? That’s for Jiz to know and you to find out. Starting right now.

You caught the first part of Jiz’s PEEP SHOW interview, right? Good. Time for round #2.

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KING IS A FINK: How do you find the people you work with, and how does a typical project get rolling?

JIZ LEE: In the beginning, I worked with lovers. To this day, I continue to work with lovers because I love the experience. It’s fantastic to share the sex you and a lover have with others through porn. (And to watch it together – wow.) However, now that more opportunities come up I also work with people I simply have crushes on. I developed a sort of organic, “self-agent process” which includes basic rules to help guide my choices in deciding who to work for and who to work with. Most mainstream talent work with LA agencies, but that doesn’t apply to me because these agencies do not know what to do with a queer performer. And I wouldn’t get queer porn gigs through them because the companies I know don’t work through agencies. In fact, I already know most of the businesses in my community I want to work with anyway. So “an agent” wouldn’t work for me.

My one self-agent rule: to always have met a director (or at least have them come with very high recommendations) before I work with them.  This cuts out a lot of potential douchebags. (Here I use douchebag because that’s exactly the kind of set I want to avoid: one where the “female” performer is expected to “douche”, etc…) If I talk to a director and they seem cool, then I feel more secure that they will represent me in a way I feel comfortable with. I’ve heard performers who do a scene and later find out the work was compiled and packaged in an offensive box cover. I cannot guarantee this will never happen to me; however, I can take precautions with my image by working with people with who share a level of respect and trust.

In terms of co-stars, I always try to work with performers I’ve met in real life. I tend to have chemistry based on interactions with people, not just on what they look like in a photo. I also interact with potential co-stars online, which is great because I’m very attracted to people who are smart and compassionate. Meeting people online often means we live far away from each other, so lately I’ve attended mainstream porn events in an effort to meet people I admire and am interested in working with, such as Nina Hartley and director Tristan Taormino, face to face.

KING IS A FINK: Your sometimes collaborator Madison Young was the first porn director we interviewed for this column. From the perspective of a performer, what separates a good director from one you wouldn’t work with a second time? And have you ever been on a shoot that went off track and wasn’t salvageable?

JIZ LEE: My experience with the production and my thoughts on the final product guide my decisions on working with directors. For the most part, I’ve been really lucky to have found creative and passionate directors. Sometimes working with a company can feel like a one-night stand — if the experience wasn’t very enjoyable, I probably won’t give that person a call for a second date, you know? Again, I am in a unique position because porn is more of a hobby for me which means I can afford to not work with people I’m not interested in .

So far there’s only been one shoot that wasn’t salvageable. It was the director’s first time making porn, and she had never filmed people having sex before. Just as we were getting going, she ran out of the room! Unfortunately the pay structure was supposed to be a percentage of the sales, which of course never happened so I was never compensated for my time on set. For this reason, I don’t recommend working with royalties unless it’s supplemental. Basic affiliate programs pay more than performer royalties, in my experience.

KING IS A FINK: We read in your SF Bay Guardian interview that in addition to being an off-the-charts queer porn star, you’re also a tech geek who helps non-profits, artists, and small minority-owned businesses learn how to use the web for DIY promotion.  Can you talk a little bit about the resources that are out there for folks who have something to promote but not a lot of money to do it with?

I’m a huge advocate for accessible technology, and yes I often work with small businesses, artists, and even other sex workers learn how to create and maintain their own websites. Running a site is an evolving learning process, and there’s different methods that can work for different people. I’m a huge fan of the open source blogging platform Wordpress (so much so that I decided to use the name “wordpress” in my site (jizlee.com/wordpress as opposed to jizlee.com/blog or something like that) as well as keep the link in the footer of my website. Similarly, I think that blogger and also sites like tumblr are great places for models with no coding experience to have autonomy of their own name/images. (Navigating terms of service agreements of course.) I also believe that affiliate programs are beneficial for models to use for additional sources of income– so many models link to their paid site but do not take advantage of codes that could earn them hundreds of dollars a month. Between websites, SEO, and marketing of various means, I strive to help people get more connected to online resources in a way that is accessible and can help them learn more independently. I am self-taught and on the internet, all the information you need is free if you look for it.

KING IS A FINK: Some people assume that porn stars (or movie stars in general) are just in it for the fame and fortune. Yet you give back. Can you tell us how your Karma Pervs project got started?

JIZ LEE: I started Karma Pervs earlier this year as a way to raise money for the non-profit organizations in my community, as well as a creative outlet for me to collaborate with photographers and other models. I think of it as selling cookies for a charity, only instead of cookies, it’s sexy images. So far I’ve been able to raise hundreds for organizations like STOP AIDS Project, Lyon-Martin Health Services, St. James Infirmary, Center for Sex & Culture, Femina Potens, San Francisco Sex Information, and Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Scarleteen.com and Audacia Ray’s Red Umbrella Diaries. A basic membership grants access to all my previous photosets, and the sign-up price is donated to the charity of the month. I have a background in non-profit work, having been an Executive Director of an arts organization in the past and in my “other life” I am a chair of several boards and advisory committees, so the desire to fundraise through porn comes naturally to me. I look at it as an experiment in pornography and philanthropy and at some point would like to make a limited edition hardcover art book and wall calendar for additional causes.

KING IS A FINK: What else should we be looking for from JIZ LEE in the coming months?

JIZ LEE: I’ve been speaking at more schools recently and am going to contribute in an upcoming book that I hope will be required reading in colleges and universities world-wide. I’m excited about Cheryl Dunye’s MOMMY IS COMING which will be premiered in Berlin in 2011 and a few other film releases, which I will post on jizlee.com. Often there are films that take a while to go through editing and distribution, creating a sort of lag time. I anticipate a lot of films I shot late 2009 and early 2010 to be released next year. I also have a lot of plans with CrashPadSeries.com following my recent 30th birthday party there. I can’t spill any beans quite yet but there’s going to be a lot of growth and excitement at Pink & White Productions very soon, and I’m thrilled to be a contributing force behind new directions in media, distribution, and of course sexual cinematic languages and evolutions.

KING IS A FINK: Pink & White’s CrashPad series is how we found you, so we’re excited to hear that you have more projects in the works with Shine Louise Houston. Nothing like returning to your roots! Thank you so much for talking with us, Jiz.

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You have a little more time to play, right?

  • Find out more about Jiz Lee here.
  • Find out what King is a Fink is up to here.
  • And catch up on PEEP SHOW interviews with Madison Young, Cinekink director Lisa Vandever, Joanna Angel, and more here.

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KingIsAFink Jessica King grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and eventually moved to the city via China; country mouse Julie Keck entered Chicago via Jessica. Their first films were inspired by inside jokes and made primarily to tickle the fancies of their closest friends. In subsequent films they explored the exquisite embarrassment associated with living. King and Keck’s most recent efforts, Anxiety Acres and Libidoland, showcase characters venturing out of their comfort zones and flailing in the quicksand of their own imaginations. In addition to producing ultra-low budget films, Jessica and Julie write short and feature length screenplays in a variety of genres. Their primary goal: to tell stories that are at once familiar, uncomfortable, demented, and exhilarating. They’re currently working on a movie dramatic thriller called TILT with Minnesota director Phil Holbrook. Julie and Jessica chronicle their work at kingisafink.com and are active on Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube.

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