Am I amateur, or pro? This is a question I hear all the time and I think it's worth a blog entry since it seems to really matter to some people.
There are conflicting views about the definition of the terms "amateur" and "professional"and, like many terms, each has different meanings depending on the context in which it is used.
In terms of vocation - what one does for a living - a professional does what he or she does full-time and for his or her primary source of income. An amateur does not. It does not matter how much, if any, money that person makes doing the activity in question...if that person's primary source of income does not come from that activity, then that activity is not his or her profession or vocation, it is his or her avocation. Someone with a typical 9-to-5 job or who owns and operates a business of his or her own may also be an avid sculptor, writer, photographer or musician, for example. They may take their chosen activity very seriously, work hard at it and, if they are lucky, eventually make money from it...yet still do it part-time only. Any financial gain generated from their chosen activity is a by-product of how well they do what they do and how others respond to it...but it is not the point of what they do. If the income stopped, they'd still be doing it because they enjoy it.
Also, a profession indicates a "calling"...something that the person in question considers to be his or her primary identity in life. For example, a physician is a physician 24/7...he or she may not be at work every moment, but no physician (or artist or craftsman, etc.) would consider their work to be a mere "job".
In our case, then, Steve and I consider ourselves to be amateurs in the adult biz. I certainly don't consider myself to be a professional porn star, no matter how much popularity or success I have achieved, and I certainly don't consider what I do to be a "job" either, because I don't do it every day, it doesn't define who I am, I love every minute of it, and I don't "need" to do it at all. Likewise, Steve is a totally self-trained webmaster, photographer and videographer and enjoys keeping things at that level. It goes without saying that my personal web site, our own DVDs and, recently, the occasional pro video work I've been doing on a part-time basis all consume a lot of our time and require sustained effort yet still, after 11 years online, they do not occupy "full-time job" status in our lives. One week we may shoot 1 or 2 times for my site and that's it. Another week I may do 1 or 2 "pro" shoots for studios and that is it. And yet another week we may do no shoots at all. It all depends on our "real world" schedule and, most of all, our personal choice. We are always in full charge of our time.
Also, my own web site is still not only my first love but my first priority. Do I get paid well to do pro video work? Yes. Do I shoot pro work all the time? No. Could I do it for a full-time I wanted to? Yes, absolutely...but I choose not to. The fact is that no matter how often or little I am shooting pro work, Steve and I are still working on the site in some capacity every single day for a bit...answering email, prepping updates, shipping DVDs, providing customer service, etc.
I guess the best way to describe what we do is that we take a professional attitude toward being amateurs. Much to our surprise, we have built up a very large and loyal following over the past 11 years, so we can't (and don't) take the site lightly...we feel we owe our members a high level of personal commitment. But on the other hand, it's not our primary source of income...which insures that we still love what we do. Instead of being drudgery, as is the case with many if not most "jobs", it's still a passion. And I think it's abundantly clear that I genuinely love sex, whether it is on-camera or not and no matter who I am shooting for. But in my heart of hearts, I am most into it when it is my husband and soul mate behind the camera, allowing me to indulge my wildest fantasies with total abandon. And that's something you're simply not going to hear from too many professional porn stars.