Happy new year! I'm fizzing with excitement at the start of 2012, looking forward to sharing all the hot spanking scenes I've got lined up, booking new shoots and expressing more of my favourite fantasies in film and photography. The start of this year finds me tired, but happier than I've been in ages, with a real sense of acheivement about launching the site and loads to look forward to. I hope 2012 brings you many positive things, love, dreams come true, and - of course - plenty of spanking!
In which Sebastian learns the inherent ridiculousness of shooting spanking stills, and utterly fails to keep a straight face
Jimmy and I cracking up over some joke or other behind Zoe's back
Love the change of expression on Sebastian's face as he explores his brand new riding crop welts by feel!
As well as the photos, I've added a behind the scenes video to A Taste of their Own Medicine, just showing you some of the processes involved in making a spanking video: improvising dialogue, blocking movements as you go, banter, bottom rubs, superstar cameraman who is manning two cameras at once hastily ducking into shot to swap places!
To the two M/M scenes I've added a behind the scenes documentary from that day's shoot, including out-takes and behind the scenes footage from both The Prefect and the Fag and A Bet's a Bet, plus interviews with both performers. The interviews with Sebastian and Jimmy make really interesting watching, as they talk about the shoot, dominance and submission, switching, service, the state of M/M spanking porn and what it was like to work together.
I think behind the scenes material is really important, and it's a core part of my vision in starting this website.
When the fantasy being played out on camera is not a consensual one, then the consent of the performers becomes all the more important. Some of my scenes are overtly consensual. Some of them aren't. You can't always include consent in the scene itself without breaking the fourth wall, and disrupting the immersion of the fantasy.
Having performers write tweets or blogposts about the shoot helps a lot, but it's nice to have something on the site itself, so that you know what you're looking at is "safe" and not created in dodgy or unpleasant circumstances. Where my scenes explore particularly edgy scenarios, I want to always try and include some behind the scenes material, and contextualise the fantasy of the scene in the reality of the shoot.
I think that it's even more important to express the consent of spankees than spankers. Obviously it's important that none of our actors were forced and everyone was enjoying themselves, but personally, what I'm looking for when I look at a spanking website is reassurance that the bottoms/subs had fun, and were genuinely expressing their personal kink to some extent, rather than simply going through the motions of doing what they were told to.
Lots of my fantasies are quite severe and extreme, but if I'm watching someone else act them out, I want to be absolutely, completely certain that they were doing so because they really wanted to, and not just because they needed the money.
I hope that I've got a strong enough voice in this website that people will quickly get a sense of the extent to which all the scenes represent my personal kink, relationships and fantasies. So when I'm the only spankee in a scene, I don't really feel that I always have to include behind the scenes material, because I hope it should be self-evident if you click around the site a bit that I love what I do, that I'm the one calling the shots behind the scenes, and everything on this site is heartfelt and true to my desires. But when I'm shooting with other bottoms, I really want to go the extra mile to show that they're having fun, too, and not doing anything which doesn't interest them.
I always consult performers about the scenes in advance and ask for their input, and I try to come up with scenarios which will appeal to their personal kink to some extent, and to make sure that they get on well with the tops I'm asking them to work with, and so on.
Interviews vs out-takes
Behind the scenes footage and out-takes are one of the most effective ways of demonstrating the consent of the performers. Video interviews and smiley post-shoot pictures are good, but I know from my own experience of shooting that even if you didn't really enjoy the shoot, you're expected to put on a smile for the camera at the end, and you're still in "work" mode, so you do. Candid behind the scenes footage is much harder to fake, and you can get a much better sense of the performer's personalities and level of involvement by watching it.
If the performers sit on the sidelines looking blank and then switch on the sparkle as soon as someone calls "action", in my opinion that's a very different shoot atmosphere than if everyone is chatting, interacting and laughing between takes. As a producer and a performer I much prefer the latter, and I hope my performers have fun while we're shooting and take happy memories away with them, rather than counting down the minutes until they can take their pay and go home.
Of course, you can't guarantee good circumstances for everyone on the day: in the last year, I think I've been on three different shoots where my co-star was dumped that day or the day before, and most of the performers I work with suffer from chronic pain or health problems. This sort of cameraderie shouldn't be forced. I'd hate it if any of my performers felt pressured into putting on a show of having fun. But spanking shoots, as well as often being genuinely hilarious, can offer escapism from emotional turmoil and (ironically!) physical discomfort. My aim is to try and express that in a transparent, honest way, without artifice.
Private vs public
The best (in my opinion!) spanking and bondage sites already publish behind the scenes material and out-takes. Northern Spanking, the site that introduced me to the idea, are renowned for the quality of their out-takes, in part due to the very relaxed, informal and friendly atmosphere of their shoots. They treat their models better than any other site I've ever worked with. I think I'm still too much of a stress-bunny as a producer to match them for quality of shoot experience, but this isn't a competition: it's about making the whole industry more transparent, more open and more reassuring to new viewers.
I'm not doing anything new in including behind the scenes material; I'm learning from those who are already doing it right.
What I'm doing which I think maybe is a bit new is to publish previews of the behind the scenes material publically, so viewers who are new to the site and are still deciding whether they want to join yet can see that it's there. Most sites which offer behind the scenes material only show it to members, so to casual browsers it may not always be obvious that it's available.
My aim is to present my scenes in as reassuring as possible a way to those who are anxious about the consensual production of kinky porn. I hope that showing previews of the behind the scenes material on the public site pages will send a positive message: that we care about whether our performers are enjoying themselves, that we hope viewers care about that too, and that we clearly distinguish between fantasy, acted non-consent and real, actual, proper behind-the-scenes consent.
So that's why I think behind the scenes material is important, and that's what I'm trying to do with it:
- Make it available as much as possible, especially in edgy scenes or scenes with spankees other than myself;
- Not publish anything which isn't flattering or respectful, or which compromises a performer's privacy;
- Make it honest, transparent, and publically visible rather than hiding it away on members-only pages.
You can view a list of all the scenes which have behind the scenes material here, or by clicking the "behind the scenes" tag link on any of the site pages. I hope you enjoy the glimpse into the processes of shooting spanking video, and the chance to get to know our brilliant performers a little better.