Dirty Martini: An Interview With the Men Behind Holland House Studios
Holland House Studios has been making waves over the last year in the streaming world. And, where you might see big articles written about streamers on Twitch or YouTube posting big numbers, you may not have heard about them. How could this be? They make and stream pornography.
It isn't as simple as that, really. A nightly 8-hour show that spans from the "main event" of the evening to a relaxed discussion of music and philosophy isn't really just porn. It's more of a live streaming lifestyle channel.We caught up with the guys both behind and in front of the cameras at Holland House to chat about sex work, growing a business, and happiness.
Pale Panda: If you were to describe yourself as one mixed drink, what would it be and why?
Holland House: A Dirty Martini ;)
P: You guys have built out what is basically a live streaming studio along with a collection of more traditional films. How did this get started and when did you start to take it seriously as a sort of profession?
Sammy Martin: We started out just camming from our basement as a side gig, and it unexpectedly blew up. I realized that it could be something that I could support myself with doing full time, so I dropped everything and put focus into it.
We really started to look at it as a business and take both the venture and ourselves seriously about 6 months in, after a lot of discussion and contemplation about starting our own studio.
Thanks to JP, our business mentor, and close friend, we were able to get advice and learn how to get something like this off the ground. Without him mentoring us and helping to keep us motivated to drive everything forward in a professional and ethical way, we wouldn't be where we are today.
P: There's a stigma about any kind of sex work. Do you find this to be true? What does coming out as a sex worker entail and have any of you done that?
Sammy Martin: There absolutely is a stigma about sex work in the public eye. Most people see it as dirty and degrading and like to assume that everyone who does sex work was forced into it, or it was their last option.
That isn't even remotely true in most cases that I've seen, and have personally experienced. The people that I've had the pleasure of meeting through this work love what they do, and the freedom that it gives them. In all honesty, the people who work in the sex industry tend to be the most well adjusted and comfortable with who they are at the core.
Coming out as a sex worker is an interesting topic as well. All of our families know what we do for a living, and the majority of them don't mind. Work is work, and we're doing well, so they're happy for us. There have been struggles in some instances where family members don't want to accept it or can't understand it, but that's when you have to be able to separate and discern who's on the home team, and who belongs in the visitor section.At the end of the day, your happiness and success are up to you, not your family. I've been lucky enough to have a great support network that's become like family, and I have the pleasure to work with them on a daily basis.
P: Live streamers seem to have built a tight-knit community. Does that make things easier having other to talk about the problems and achievements of your work life with?
Justin Vance: Having such a large and tight-knit community of people willing to and wanting to hear about your day in regards to every aspect of your life absolutely has a positive impact on us.
Already having such a great support network within the studio, being able to top that off with such positive interactions with the community is incredible. Whether that positivity arises from problems or sheer stupid fun, it's there every night, and it's loud. It is fulfilling to the soul.
P: How much tech is involved behind the scenes for a show? Are there things like a camera switcher or a lighting rig involved?
Johnny Musgrave: Oh boy. This is where I live. For our shows I normally set up lighting depending on the mood we are going for on a given night. Whether it be softer warm lights for more of a romantic element or high vibrant colors for the energetic weekend.Back when we had a dedicated caming space in our parlor, I had 5 webcams set up running through obs and a custom software that had to be developed. (Apparently, Logitech cameras weren’t designed for this!) and we were using a camera switcher for different angles during the shows. We were even having fun with chroma key!
P: What are some of the struggles you've run into as you grow? What advice would you give people new to the game that you wish you had received?
Sammy Martin: Often times the biggest struggle that we face is feeling like we aren't growing fast enough. During those times we have to take a step back and realize that we've accomplished in under a year, something that has historically taken most people 5 or more.
The best advice that I can give someone starting out, is to think about things in the S.M.A.R.T. manner. Sustainable, manageable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
If you're serious about becoming a dedicated cammer or getting into the professional arena, you need to be ready to make that your main focus in order to succeed. We put in 7 days a week, 6-8 hours a day on cam, which isn't something that most other people do. I'm not saying that you should put your entire life into it out the gate, but you do need to have a level of dedication. If that isn't there, don't expect it to be much more than a side gig.
P: The Holland House Studios site features some great articles by you guys. It's currently down for reconstruction. That stuff was great, when can we expect it back?
Johnny Musgrave: I’ve put in a lot of hours on the revamp to create a better user system. There are still some finishing touches I need to work on but the main hurdle holding me back from the relaunch is a payment provider who is willing to work with us. The recent U.S. bills being passed are making that quite the undertaking. So in short, hopefully soon?
P: What are a few of your favorite things in media right now?
Ty Green: I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz recently, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, a lot of stuff from the sixties. As far as movies, I’m really just excited for the new movie Quentin Tarantino is working on, but aside from that, I haven’t been paying much attention.
For shows, I’ve been enjoying DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on Netflix, which I didn’t like at all at first, but the way they reuse plots from other sources in the episodes is actually a lot of fun, and it kind of grew on me.
P: What is your favorite thing, place, or person you go to for inspiration?
Ty Green: Grimes and David Bowie for sure, I know you said one but there’s no way I could pick between the two. I’ve watched a lot of their interviews and I really love the passion they both have/had for the music they make/made. It’s just really refreshing knowing that there are artists out there that really care about making something beautiful for the sake of making it, it’s a wonderful thing to see.
P: What would the title of a reality show about your life be, and what would your Real Housewives-esque intro tagline be?
Justin Vance: The working title for my reality T.V. 'Boolin and Bills." The tagline is "We live in a society."