Our new film Houseboy is a departure from the usual videos on Dreams of Spanking - and most other spanking sites. This is our first attempt at a cinematic short film, aiming for a higher standard of cinematography and storytelling than we are usually able to achieve. I wasn't planning to shoot this way from the start - it came about from a convergence of factors that created the perfect opportunity to try something new.
Casting Tai Crimson
It started last year, when I met an enthusiastically kinky and ridiculously cute young person from San Francisco. He was gorgeous, he loved spanking - he could certainly take it - and he expressed an interest in shooting for Dreams of Spanking. He wasn't old enough at that point to perform in porn, but I said that once he turned 18 I'd be very happy to work with him. We made plans to shoot together when he was next in the UK - which happened to be May 2015, less than a week after his eighteenth birthday. How's that for a coming-of-age celebration?
I normally prefer to work with kinksters who are a little older, simply because I value emotional maturity and experience in the people I shoot with. I think the common fetish for "barely 18" performers in porn is partly based on the idea that young performers are vulnerable, and so it's easier to take advantage of them and push their limits. I find this sleazy and totally unethical, and I'd always much rather work with older players who know their own minds and are able to look after themselves. It's important to me that the performers I hire can take responsibility for their own limits and communication, are experienced enough players to know their bodies and their preferences, and are secure in their decision to appear in fetish porn - because once you've done it, there's no going back.
When I met Tai, however, he exploded all of my preconceptions. Although a teenager, he has a rock solid sense of his kinky identity, and he's been exploring his interest in private for years. He is calm, confident, intelligent, self-reliant, and very emotionally mature. So at eighteen and a few days, Tai officially beats Talia Lane to the position of youngest performer on Dreams of Spanking - and yes, we do have his ID on file to prove it!
We put a date in the diary, and meanwhile Tai and I exchanged emails discussing his interests and preferences. But by March this year, when I needed to start firming up plans, I already knew that ATVOD were investigating Dreams of Spanking and that I was likely to have to stop updating the site for a duration of several months while my appeal was underway. I had lots of scenes already shot starring Fauni, Mike, Talia and David and others which I wasn't going to be able to publish, so there was absolutely no point spending money and energy shooting more material that might never see the light of day.
Towards a cinematic style
Meanwhile, I'd attended the British Fetish Film Festival in February and the Berlin Porn Film Festival last October, and I'd been thinking an awful lot about shooting styles, production values, and the budget and time constraints under which I was shooting.
Over five years I have developed a shoot style that produces one 10-15 minute spanking film per hour, in a remarkably stress free environment, with plenty of breaks. This is based on improvised scenes filmed live by one or two handheld camera operators, with perhaps some close-ups or cutaways to enhance anticipation in the build up to the spanking scenes, but otherwise shot with as few cuts as possible - unless the performers themselves need to cut. Lightweight, consumer-grade cameras make handheld shooting manageable without the camera operators getting too tired, and using auto-focus allows us to get visual variety by roaming around the scene shooting different angles, rather than stopping the action to reset each shot.
This non-disruptive shooting style allows the performers to get into an immersive scene space and stay in character, which helps the roleplay flow more smoothly, and also helps the bottom stay in their headspace and makes the spanking itself easier to take. It's a system that Nimue and I have got down to a fine art, and I was pleased that we'd reached a point where we could create nice-looking films within budget, while maintaining a relaxed and fun shoot environment for everyone involved.
The downside of this low-key shooting style is that the resulting films would never achieve the cinematic quality that I was seeing at the film festivals I was going to. I'd had a couple of films rejected from international festivals, presumably because the videography, audio quality and storytelling wasn't up to scratch. I found myself wanting to level up, and see if with a bit more money, time and effort, I could raise my production values and put Dreams of Spanking on the map as a credible producer of cinema-quality films.
So rather than hire Tai for a day shooting a number of improvised ten minute website updates, I decided to use him to do something different. I booked amazing boudoir photographer Matt Christie to help out with the videography - he'd expressed an interest in shooting video last time we shot together, he has a commercial-grade camera and he also had access to an amazing location perfect for the scenario I had in mind.
I started penning ideas for a single 10-15 minute short film. Not five films, or six films, or seven. Just one.
Developing the story
With Tai, I had an articulate and gorgeous masculine-of-center performer with a submissive streak a mile wide, who loved being spanked. I thought about the films I was seeing at festivals, and the lack of beautifully-shot female/male BDSM films shot from a female perspective, with a male submissive who is both beautiful and interesting, and not just a cipher propping up a sexually objectified female dominant. Instead of this I wanted to make Tai the lust object and protagonist of the film, focussing both the lens on his body, and the story on his character's journey.
I started with a fairly traditional plot - a young man applying for a submissive role in the household of an established mistress. I brainstormed ideas for visual storytelling, thinking about ways to focus the storyline on the tension and anticipation Tai's character feels before he takes the plunge towards fulfilling his submissive desires. I considered ways to create an interesting power dynamic between his character and mine. I quickly realised that I'd need a third performer, another submissive serving the mistress - someone to make his arrival at the house feel more formal and more intimidating.
I'd already talked to my friend Eliza Grey about having her on set as a shoot assistant, helping out behind the camera (she had planned to be with us on our shoot in November, but had sadly been unable to make it). I realised she'd be perfect for the role of a bitchy receptionist, enhancing Tai's nerves before his interview with the Madame... and once I'd cast Eliza, the rest of the story fell into place.
Writing the script
Ten days before the shoot, I was hurrying to finish the script on my laptop on the train. I'd never written lines for characters to say before, and I was finding it surprisingly difficult. I'd write a line, then agonise over it. What if Tai doesn't feel comfortable saying that? What if that's not what Eliza would say? I've always made a political point of not putting words in my performers' mouths, and suddenly that was what I was literally doing. At the same time I was all-too-aware that they were going to need to memorise their lines, and time was running out.
I closed my eyes, wrote some lines telling myself they were only placeholders, and sent it off with an apologetic email saying this was a very rough draft, and inviting them to make any changes they wanted. But my anxiety proved unfounded. In the end, bar one wording change, that script was the one we used - and Tai and Eliza rocked it.
Working with a storyboard
A week before the shoot I was on D's sofa after a fetish party, scribbling a 'storyboard' in biro on A4 paper from his printer while my friends chatted around me. After writing the screenplay I had a strong visual image in my mind's eye of what most of the shots would look like - now it was just a case of creating a visual reference so I could communicate my ideas to Matt on the day. I'd visited Matt's location a week ago, so the rooms were fresh in my mind. It was a useful exercise to think through camera angles and compose the shots, but I'm pretty sure it was the crappiest storyboard anyone has ever worked from. The most hilarious of my terrible stick figure drawings was this sketch of Eliza being spanked over my knee and feeling sad about it:
Professional production all round, innit.
The day of the shoot
The shoot day approached. I bought food and props, looked up travel options, packed suitcases, selected implements, printed scripts and release forms. Shortly before the day I realised that I'd inadvertently booked our shoot on the same day as the London Marathon, and the location we were using was only one block away from the route. That meant that not only would transport potentially be disrupted, but the exterior shots would all have a huge amount of background noise. Still, at this late stage there was nothing to be done about it. I booked an 8am taxi, the traffic at that hour was fine, and I was on set at 9am. Matt and I drank coffee and looked through the storyboard, then Tai and Eliza arrived - and it was all go.
Shooting from a script was a totally new experience for me, and a steep learning curve. I'd worked out the best shooting order, shooting the story in as close to chronological order as possible while minimising room and lighting changes. After that it was just a question of staying calm, following the callsheet and taking it one shot at a time.
I was using an external mic for the first time, and was grateful to have Eliza helping out and sharing the responsibility for making sure the mic was a) close enough, b) not in shot, and c) recording each time. She was also an absolute star helping out with moving lights, checking camera batteries and memory cards, making tea and tidying up behind us. A+++, would work with again. Plus it turned out she could seriously act...
It was a full day, perhaps a bit too full - nerves started to fray after a few hours, and everyone was feeling tired by mid-afternoon. The shoot would definitely have been easier with more camera crew or fewer scenes to fit in. After a few hours, Matt noticed a round smudge in the middle of the lens, and wiped it off - but of course there wasn't time to go back and re-shoot the shots we'd already done. By the time we came to shoot the confrontation between Tai and Eliza in the kitchen, everyone was so tired that that scene took about seven takes. Some of the shots ended up out of focus, and we got through so many cans of tonic that I was worried we'd run out!
Editing the film
Still, despite all that, when I came to look at the footage I was pleased to discover that most of it looked how I'd expected. There were a few surprises in the edit - such as that moment when I realised the reverse shot in one dialogue scene crossed the line and was therefore unusable, and was suddenly grateful that we'd shot three angles of that particular scene, even though at the time it felt like overkill. It was a monster of an edit, but satisfying too, sorting through all the footage, plugging it into place, and seeing how the scenes I'd envisioned in my mind played out on camera.
Choosing the music was another daunting prospect - I knew I wanted to avoid re-using the same creative commons soundtracks that you hear time and time again in indie porn, and that meant spending money. But how to start looking? First I worked out where music was needed - in the intro sequence, the montage, and the closing credits, which meant I needed two or three pieces in total. Then I did a rough edit of those sequences so I had a vague idea of how long the music would need to be. After that, I set a day aside to browse SoundDogs, typing in different keywords and playing pieces with my eyes closed, visualing the film, until I hit on a genre that felt right. I realised that for this story my usual taste in piano and cello-dominated classical and film score music wouldn't work - Tai's character needed something moody and masculine, guitar-led, energetic and driving. Finally I whittled down a selection, downloaded some samples and started laying them over the edit to see what worked.
Primarily, this film was intended to be screened at film festivals - which meant that the narrative would have a different structure than standard spanking films. In a film intended for someone to watch while having a wank, you need a carefully paced build-up and pay-off that sustains uninterrupted shots of climactic spanking action for long enough for the viewer to reach orgasm. In a longer film, there might be two of three of these build-ups and climaxes, separated by character-driven story. But at a film festival, the audience are watching to have their minds stimulated, not their genitals. Fast-paced editing is preferable, providing lots of new visual information with every shot. Explicit sequences need to be edited down to the bare minimum necessary to develop the characters and progress the story. So that was a new challenge: cutting the 15 minutes of high quality spanking action in, for instance, Tai's audition scene, down to the three minutes earmarked for it in the festival edit. The only way I was able to do it was by promising myself that I'd release the full, uncut scene as an extended edition on Dreams of Spanking later. But meanwhile the deadline for the Berlin Porn Film Festival was June 30th, so I had to get the shorter edit finished first...
In the end, thankfully, it was finished in time to submit to Berlin, and I'm hopeful that they'll accept it. I'll be submitting it to various other film festivals over the summer as well. I'm really happy with the finished film, and completely honoured to have been trusted with Tai and Eliza's porn debuts - and thrilled that they had a good time.
And that's a wrap!
It was a really long shoot day. We finished the scheduled shots around 7pm, 10 hours after I'd arrived on set. But then we cracked open the champagne and ended up chatting and buzzing on a total high, which led to another two hours shooting performer interviews, and even a behind the scenes caning for Tai when he confessed he still didn't think he'd been spanked enough...
By the time we finally turned the cameras off, sat down for some supper and tidied everything away, the sun had gone down - and it was 11pm before I finally got into a cab. Matt and I had been on set for fourteen hours, Tai and Eliza for thirteen. I am so grateful to the three of them for their enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism. It was a long fucking shoot and everyone put in so much energy and creativity it was kind of overwhelming. Overall, this production cost ten times as much as an average Dreams of Spanking video, but even so I still came away feeling like I hadn't paid people enough for the amount of work they'd put in.
Overall, this was a very satisfying project, and I'm really happy to have it under my belt. But it also taught me a lot about the trade-off that arises when you move towards a more cinematic shooting style. My previous method gave my performers more breaks, less stress and a much more satisfying kink experience. Shooting Houseboy, we did the bare minimum of spanking needed to get the shots I wanted - and stopping to move the camera, check the focus and lighting, consult the storyboard every few seconds made it hard to get immersed into a satisfying spanking headspace. I'm glad I hadn't scripted any particularly hard spanking scenes, because I think severe corporal punishment would be much more emotionally and physically challenging to take in this context.
I hadn't realised it before, but shooting in a more amateur style results in a much more rewarding experience for the performers - with more opportunity for top and bottom to develop an in-scene chemistry, focus on each other rather than the camera, and time for the bottom to sink into a yummy submissive headspace, without constant distractions.
So what can I take away from this? Well, I've learned that shooting in a cinematic style is something I can do, and that's good to know. I've learned that it's hard work, at least ten times as expensive as my usual shooting style, and considerably more time-consuming to produce and edit. It's also exhilarating, exhausting, and very creatively satisfying. I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave it a go, and I'm hopeful that the finished film will be screened in Berlin this year. But I've also learned that I don't want to start shooting this way every time. Perhaps I might be able to put out one cinematic film a year, but this experiment has restored my faith in my usual low-key way of shooting, which it turns out is preferable experience for me and my performers - and a much better environment to ask people to take hard spankings in. Our standard Dreams of Spanking shoots emphasise process over product, and trying something new has re-affirmed my faith in that process.
You can watch the long-play trailer for Houseboy below - and if you're a site member, please watch the full film and tell me what you think - and make sure you also check out the extended editions of Tai's and Eliza's spanking scenes, performer interviews and Tai's off-the-cuff behind the scenes caning.
If you read the UK left-wing newspapers, you may already have seen yesterday's article by Zoe Williams on ethical porn. If you haven't, go read it - it's positive, intelligent, and rather prominently features Dreams of Spanking.
Journalist Zoe Williams contacted me about a year ago to ask if I'd be willing to be interviewed. She came over for tea, and we set up a mic on the coffee table and sat in the lounge, talking for about an hour. She really wanted to come along to a shoot and talk to cast and crew, but I didn't have any shoots planned soon - and besides, inviting a journalist along is hardly the best way to provide a safe, comfortable space for your performers on set. (One of those instances where convincing the media you are an ethical pornographer and actually being one tend to clash.) Instead, I suggested that she come along to the start of the Dreams of Spanking cast and crew party, and invited a select few who are closely involved in the site to arrive earlier if they wanted to chat to her. Nimue, AJ and D all sat down and answered questions, and as ever I was impressed with how articulate and politically aware my friends and co-workers are. Nimue has already blogged about the interview and her take on the porn she makes here.
When the article didn't come out in January as intended, I thought it had been axed - but I got an email from Zoe on Monday to tell me that it was coming out this weekend. I was delighted to discover how positive it is - and how heavily Dreams of Spanking is featured.
Zoe isn't writing for people who are already guilt-free porn fans - or for people who are firmly convinced that all porn is inherently exploitative. She's writing for people like herself: educated, open-minded people who support gender equality and have always got the vague impression that that meant disliking porn, but doesn't really watch it and doesn't have an informed opinion. As such, she acknowledges and responds to some of the classic reservations about porn - that it is inherently male gaze, artificial, bad sex education, and that it promotes male violence - and ends up agreeing with the feminist porn principle that the answer is not no porn, but better porn.
I cannot agree with deciding women are being exploited unless they say they are. And, much more trenchantly, I cannot agree with adjudicating what someone else gets off on. Even if she is turned on by a fantasy that traduces your political beliefs (and her own), sexual fantasy is a sacred thing; you can’t argue it away, and nor should you want to. And the key argument, that it causes male violence, I don’t buy; what we watch might influence the way we behave, but not in obvious ways that you can map.
The article contrasts Dreams of Spanking with the sort of porn the audience might already be aware of in a number of ways, but the primary quality it picks out is "realness". The fact that I, and the other feminist pornographers mentioned in the article - including Ms Naughty, Nimue Allen and Madison Young - are expressing our own authentic sexuality through our work; the absence of gymnastic sex positions that afford the camera a better view; even the low-budget aesthetic - are all mentioned as desirable traits. The fact that my fantasies include some extreme BDSM and corporal punishment didn't seem to faze her - in fact that partly makes my work seem more credible, as I'm clearly pursuing my own sexual interests rather than trying to be "mainstream".
Makers of ethical porn believe you can have a violent fantasy, of any kind, and that can be a legitimate part of your sexual identity, one that you have a right to explore. This is the point at which anti-porn campaigners stick. There is a chasm here, between people who think that all violence in sex is the result of a patriarchal culture and will lead to violence in real life, and should be stamped out; and people who think that all fantasy is legitimate, and almost all of it can be legitimately met by porn.
I love that CrashPad Series was mentioned, and I love that my comment about the Clips4Sale categories list was kept in:
There is an interesting side point, about what happens to porn when it is democratised, how instantly it explodes into a thousand different kinks. “As an exercise,” Blake says, “look at a Clips 4 Sale list. [...] They’ve got 500 categories. You have no idea of the beautiful variety of human sexuality until you’ve cast your eye over this list. Eyeball licking… snot” (the only time I was too squeamish to hit “enter” was the subheading “Cats”). It’s interesting because that site was originally conceived to host regular user-made porn, and just got colonised incredibly fast. It seems that the more the sex industry tries to hammer us into one sexual identity, the more we rebel with riotous weirdness.
I don't love the headline, which I suspect was added by an editor (I'm so over headlines asking if porn can be ethical/if porn could appeal to women/if porn can be feminist - yes, yes, yes, it can, and a lot of it has been, for nearly twenty years in fact. Stop dismissing the existence of the radical work being done to revolutionise the porn industry, and do your research!) but overall, I'm delighted. It's amazing to see the Guardian finally offering a counterpoint to the sex-negativity of a lot of their feminist opinion pieces over the last few years. I had no idea Dreams of Spanking would be featured so heavily, and I'm very grateful to Zoe Williams for approaching a thorny topic with sensitivity and nuance.
The site has seen a lot more traffic than usual this weekend - if you are a new visitor, welcome! There's been a nice little boost in sales too, including a higher proportion of female members than usual, which is wonderful.
If you want to read more about my take on ethical porn, here are a few blogposts that might be of interest:
Thanks to Zoe Williams for writing such a positive article about my work, and to the Guardian for having the gumption to print it. There are 768 comments already (I haven't read them) so hopefully the editors will be reassured that this is a topic they can get away with tackling. And with any luck, the article will get people thinking, and perhaps spread the idea that yes, porn can be ethical, and a lot of it even is - even porn about dominance, submission, punishment and spanking!
I'm never quite sure whether summer is a good time to be selling porn or not - a lot of people are on holiday enjoying good clean fun (or perhaps indulging in some real-world kink or sex), and far be it from me to try to lure people back indoors out of the sunshine to watch a screen. Still, school is long behind us and we don't all get to take the whole summer off any more- more's the pity! - so I guess there is still a need for erotic spanking entertainment to amuse discerning adults on summer evenings. (And perhaps afternoons. And maybe even mornings, if you're keen...)
So I've been surprised at how many mentions I've seen of our films around different corners of the web this month. Do people still watch spanking video and write blogposts when it's 30° centigrade outside? Apparently so - and here are the reviews to prove it.
I don't know the person behind Femdom Resource, but I was delighted to hear them pick out Dreams of Spanking in a discussion on ethical and fairtrade porn. They particularly like our mix of male and female spankees, illustrating the post with a photo from male-female switch spanking scene Corporal Punishment: "There’s a variety of gender combinations which I think makes for a pleasant change. Personally I can admire all manner of well reddened bottoms."
I'm a huge fan of Molly and Nimue's first scene together, and it seems that so is the Spanking Blog. In Bridezilla, Molly plays the perfect truculent bride brought to tearful humility by her mistreated maid of honour. The chemistry between the two performers absolutely crackles, the acting is fantastic and the spankings are well delivered. And Molly's classic beauty as she bends over for the cane in bridal lingerie doesn't hurt, either.
Apparently it's spanking month in certain corners of the sex blogosphere, and several bloggers are celebrating with spanking-themed posts. I'm very honoured that some have chosen to include reviews of Dreams of Spanking. Lady Laid Bare has written a number of posts so far, each focussing on particular scenes, and I particularly enjoyed the second, in which she takes a close look at our rollicking Napoleonic War series Havelock's Campaign.
Like me, Lady Laid Bare has an appreciative eye for both male and female spankees, and her reviews take a balanced look across the board of our gender categories. I loved reading how much she'd enjoyed both the M/F and the M/M punishment in Havelock's Campaign - she writes, "One of the best kinds of porn is the kind that makes you feel things you didn’t know you wanted to feel. And this scene did exactly that – it made me feel joy."
Check out the rest of her posts too - in The big Dreams of Spanking review - part one she watches Lady Godiva; part three looks at wet spankings, namely Bathtime and The Waterfight; and her fourth and most recent review focuses on strict governesses, particularly Zoe Montana in The Whipping Boy and me in David's Strict Governess.
Lady Laid Bare took a close look at some individual scenes, following the tag trail back through our archive. Another sex blogger joining in with spanking month is Bawdy Bloke, who has produced a comprehensive review of the site as a whole. He seemed to like what he saw, and particularly praised the production values, the site navigation and keyword search page, and the behind the scenes videos that show just how much fun the performers have on set. Thank you Bawdy Bloke!
Even more excitingly, he is also offering a free Dreams of Spanking membership in a prize draw - click here and enter your name to be in with a change of winning a thirty day subscription.
It seems we're not the only ones who love art nude erotica featuring tattoos, hair pulling, and real couples with sizzling sexual chemistry. Our tumblr post sharing a photo from Tangled has been reblogged 3,534 times and counting. That's a lot of reblogs!
So far this has been a good year for Dreams of Spanking in the media. We've had a few mentions - even if the promised Guardian article which we spent ages chatting to Zoe Williams for never actually made it to press.
First there was this mention in the Sun newspaper:
I can't link to the full article as it's pay-walled, but interviewee and journalist Nichi Hodgson has reposted the full text here.
Pandora Blake has a brilliant spanking website which shows you how to do it. Women like these more educational porn sites, so they can put it into practice in real life and let fantasy bleed into reality. Men tend to use porn in isolation, women want the porn experience to enrich sex with their partners.
I do have some issues with the gendered generalisations in that paragraph, which I explain in more detail here. But it was good to see a positive take on ethical porn for women, even in a conservative right-wing paper. And I'm glad our instructional videos are getting attention! We have two so far, both with Molly Malone - one on how to use the cane, and the other on effective communication and negotiation in spanking scenes. Let us know if you have any requests for future demos!
The second press mention was even more exciting - in a piece for BBC News Magazine on the Feminist Porn Awards this year, by Daniel Nasaw. It's a very positive article about the awards and the feminist porn movement, which mentions Dreams of Spanking performers Zahra Stardust and James Darling as well as the submissive solo shoot with Ms Naughty which Daniel sat in on.
"The internet has democratised porn in a big way,” says Blake, who that morning shot a solo spanking scene with Ms Naughty, the Australian founder of BrightDesire.com. “It’s empowered a lot of performers to produce their own content – it’s empowering performers, which means its empowering women."
Finally, Dreams of Spanking and feminist porn are the topics of conversation in the latest spanking podcast, or "spankocast" by This Week In Spanking. Joe and I talked over Skype for an hour about the feminist porn awards, sexuality, queerness, diversity, my video with James Darling, the spanking scene, the new hardcore project I'm working on with Nimue Allen, and more. You can listen to the whole interview on This Week In Spanking. Enjoy!
I've heard it from many straight girl friends before – the porn lament. You know the one: “I found some porn that really presses my buttons and all, but there's one problem: the guys in it are either looking disinterested, or notable by their absence.”
I've felt the same. Casually browsing some porn ,I'll come across a scenario that floats my particular boat, then halfway through utter a cry of rage and frustration when they cut away from shots of the guy. Women are beautiful, and I love seeing gorgeous women getting it on (or off, as the case may be), but I want to see the men too. Men with shoulder muscles, filthy grins, and lots of screentime.
I was going to write this blogpost about the latest photoset – Lace and Ribbon – and describe all the many ways in which it's awesome. But there are loads of awesome things you can see straight away: Pandora, dressed in a stunning lace ensemble, and subsequently just in tiny ribbon knickers that frame her perfect arse. Pandora bending over the arm of a sofa to display her hot naked self. Some beautiful couple shots where, watching D's hands caressing her, you get the feeling of being a voyeur – enjoying some of the couple's most intimate moments.
All these things get my heart racing.
But what gets my heart (and other parts lower down) positively thumping, is the fact that the camera gives D a lot of love too.
Hot, tattooed guy playing with a gorgeous girl? Yes please. Hot, toned guy grinning sexily and using his strong hands to caress every inch of his lover? Oh God don't stop. Hot, naked-from-the-waist-up guy wielding a riding crop? Just... hold me.
Of course, seeing more of everyone is one of the things I love about Dreams of Spanking anyway – no matter who's getting spanked and who's doing the spanking, we see beautiful body shots, loads of arse close-ups, and most importantly faces – the looks of lust, pain, and everything in between.
You really get a sense of who the people are, both male and female, the beauty of this is so apparent in the photosets Pandora and D do together. Both Lace and Ribbon, and the filthy, sensual, hardcore photoset from Valentine's Day have a similar atmosphere – that of two people who are really into each other. Both of them are centre-stage, with Pandora's desire for D as evident and reflected in the pictures as his for her.
We see her perfect arse in tiny ribbon knickers, bent over the sofa, framed at the window, and sigh with the same kind of desire we imagine D to have done. And then we get to see D, lounging on the sofa with riding crop in hand, and imagine the shivers it must have sent down Pandora's spine. Well, it would have if she were me.
In a few short days I will be in Toronto for the Feminist Porn Awards and Feminist Porn Conference. It's a dream come true, and my chance to finally put spanking porn on the global map of feminist, ethical porn. As a feminist spanking pornographer I'm on the crossover between two parts of the industry that don't ever talk to each other, although they have more in common in some ways than they might realise. My aim is to foster dialogue and mutual understanding, as well as demonstrating the ways I try to make spanking porn that is female gaze, gender egalitarian, feminist and fairtrade. It's an honour to be able to represent the genre I've always preferred personally, to the movement I'm proud to support politically.
With perfect timing I've just come down with flu, but preparations were already underway and hopefully after a couple of rest days, I'll be well enough to pack and catch my flight on Wednesday.
Dreams of Spanking has been nominated for the Honoured Website award for the second year running. I'd be thrilled to get a mention this year.
It's hard to know what might be considered eligible for a feminist porn award, but I wanted to include a mixture of male/female spankee scenes, and a mixture of enthusiastic consent scenarios (eg Puppy Play) with non-consent scenarios (Belt Whipping Fantasy), as well as films with feminist or empowering themes (My Inner Little Girl, The Galleristas) and live, on-screen negotiation (Kinky). I don't know what I was expecting but when the nominations were announced I was surprised - and delighted - that the film selected for inclusion was The Loose Hem.
It seems that when it comes to the feminist porn awards, live negotiation or spanking as a healthy, empowering fantasy are less interesting than cross-dressing and female dominance. I'm not sure I agree that this is the most feminist film of the bunch, but it's interesting to get a sense of what the judges might be looking for. The Loose Hem certainly benefits from an intriguing, well-woven storyline that includes a number of twists, courtesy of script writer joolstheman, and superb performances from Vincent Brennan and Molly Malone. Both stars well deserve the nomination, and I hope they are as excited as I am about having their film screened at an international awards ceremony!
It's going to be a whirlwind few days, attending not only the awards but also the Feminist Porn Conference at the University of Toronto, where I'll be speaking on a couple of panels and attending lots more.
I arrive in Toronto on Wednesday night, and I've got a room booked at the Holiday Inn, sharing with @ChrisLowrance and @RiseUpOpossums. Thursday morning I've booked a content share shoot with the super hot Zahra Stardust, who is keen to shoot a spanking film after being inspired by a demo given by Molly Malone in Melbourne last week (that girl gets everywhere!). We've booked Ms Naughty and her partner Luke to film the scene, and I'll also be shooting a solo content share scene with Ms Naughty the following morning for her site Bright Desire.
But even without shooting, there'll be plenty to keep me occupied. On Thursday there's pre-screening cocktails followed by Public.Provocative.Porn: The Year’s Best in Feminist Porn, at which I will probably be found at the back, making critical notes on all the offerings - and hiding behind a cushion while my film is played. Afterwards I'll be able to drown my sorrows and swap notes with all the other filmographers at The Official FPA Screening After Party.
On Friday I've signed up to take part in a press conference after my shoot with Ms Naughty, talking to the media about feminist porn and the work I do. Then Friday evening is a "VIP pre-party" followed by the 9th Annual Feminist Porn Awards and Gala.
The Feminist Porn Conference opens on Saturday - and this is the real reason I'm going. I've been invited to participate in two sessions, the first alongside Sophie Delancey, Gala Vanting and Madison Young:
Consent & Authenticity: Interrogating Two Feminist Porn Tenets
Non-consent fantasies pose problems for ethical pornographers. How do viewers differentiate between non-consensual fantasy and consensual reality? How can producers make this distinction more explicit, and reassure viewers that non-consent scenarios are produced safely, ethically and consensually? When performer consent cannot be portrayed within the text, the onus is on the producer to show it in contextualising materials. As a creator of spanking/punishment films, my methodology employs not only performer interviews, but also behind the scenes videos, out-takes, marketing copy, blog posts, links, comments and social media – particularly contributions written by performers in their own words, and own time.
That was the presentation I submitted, and is obviously one very close to the mission of this site. Check out this blogpost for a preview of some of the material I'll be covering, among other things.
Pornographers Without Borders
Jennifer Lyon Bell, Pandora Blake, Ms. Naughty, Ovidie
Although feminist porn in North America has gained a lot of media attention in the last few years, it is growing and thriving in Europe and Australia as well. This panel features filmmakers who live and work in France, the Netherlands, the UK, and Australia. Panelists will explore how their aesthetics, agendas, and challenges overlap with and differ from American and Canadian feminist porn; they will also address how their work is received by international audiences. They will discuss distribution channels and strategies with an eye toward growing a global feminist porn movement.
This panel was a last-minute addition and I was pleased to be included. I do sometimes feel like an outsider as one of the few UK pornographers who is explicitly engaging with feminist politics, and the feminist porn community can sometimes seem irritatingly US-centric. If nothing else I'm completely thrilled to be sharing a panel with three superstar feminist porn directors, all personal role models of mine.
There are afterparties and play parties every night, but I'm not sure how many I'll get to; on the Friday and Saturday evenings at least I might well choose to get early nights. I have no desire to be exhausted or hungover when giving my presentations!
However, it's pleasant to discover I'm not particularly nervous. I've had a little more practice at public speaking over the last twelve months and I've discovered it's something I genuinely enjoy. I guess that means I really am an exhibitionist at heart.
This week I edited the second scene we shot with Vincent Brennan back in August. It went up last night, and I'll tell you more about it in my next post, but first I wanted to talk about that shoot. I haven't previewed the scenes from that day yet because I made a really stupid mistake.
Shooting always involves risks. Usually they pay off. For instance, it was my first time working with Vincent, and he was great, coming up with some intense scenes, and sticking with it despite struggling with first-time nerves. No, the mistake was mine, behind the camera, and mine alone. Halfway through the afternoon, I accidentally deleted footage from three of the five scenes we'd filmed that day.
In retrospect, it's obvious what I should have done differently. I'd majorly overcommitted myself that month and was tired and suffering from burnout. I'd barely slept the night before, got up before 6am, lugged all my filming equipment singlehandedly on public transport from northernmost Greater London to Woking, despite having previously promised myself that it was hire cars or nothing from now on. I don't mean to complain, these were all my own silly decisions, but they perhaps explain why I wasn't at my best.
During the morning, we shot three scenes on two cameras. I operated camera 1 handheld, and Dave Dodgy operated camera 2 on a tripod. Two were F/M scenes, a light-hearted nurse/patient punishment and the judicial caning.
As part of my whole female gaze thing, for these scenes I kept my camera focussed on Vincent, capturing his facial reactions. Meanwhile I directed Dave to zoom in on his bottom during the spanking, and on Molly and Zoe's faces during the dialogue.
We also shot an F/F scene that morning - an instructional video on hand spanking, presented by Zoe and Molly direct to camera. My camera, of course. Dave filmed a second angle to be used for drop-ins and cutaways, but apart from when the ladies are looking at each other, in most of his shots Zoe was looking off to one side, addressing my camera, out of shot.
After lunch we were running late - the last scene of the morning, Vincent's judicial caning, had over-run considerably. (I have a tonne of outtakes to share from that one!) Just as we were ready to start filming The Loose Hem, I noticed I only had a few minutes left on my memory card. Stupidly, I didn't have any spare cards with me. So I used the interface on my video camera to delete some clips from a shoot in July. I knew I had multiple backups of that footage, I just hadn't cleared the memory cards yet. There were a few dozen clips, so rather than spend ages deleting them one by one, I selected the "delete all scenes from this date" option. It previewed the scenes, everything dated 20th July, I confirmed, they were deleted. That cleared enough space on the card that we could press on, and so we had two cameras running for the last two scenes of the day.
When I got home that night on 12th August, I transferred the files from the memory card to my computer and realised that as well as the clips from 20th July, that click had also deleted all the footage we'd filmed that morning. The only clips remaining on the card were from the scenes we'd filmed that afternoon.
I suppose we live and learn. I know, now, to always have spare memory cards with me - in fact I immediately bought some more after this happened. I know now to always do file management tasks via a computer, and never using the camera interface. I know to clear memory cards at home before a shoot. Mistakes are life's best teachers.
The result is that of the five scenes we filmed that day, for the first three I only have one angle, camera 2, Dave's camera. I don't have any of my shots in the F/M scenes, focussing on Vincent's face during the dialogue and the spanking. Dave had followed my direction to zoom in tight on Zoe or Molly's faces, trusting me to keep Vincent in shot, so for half the dialogue I don't even have him in shot as he says his lines. And in the F/F instructional video, all I have is Dave's shots of Zoe talking to someone off-camera. I don't have any of her eye contact .
I've been kicking myself pretty hard about it, you can imagine.
Editing Drunk and Disorderly, Vincent's judicial caning scene, was a pretty miserable process. In the behind the scenes sections I could see myself setting up shots and all I could think about was the lost footage.
Dave snapped a few photos, mostly of the ladies. I was the one shooting Vincent, getting close-ups, capturing details and crucial moments in the strip search, the cuffs going on, the face-to-face interaction between Vincent and Molly as she holds him in position, the look in Vincent's eyes as he anticipates a stroke. And all of my footage is gone.
On the day, Vincent's nerves resulted in us stopping and starting a lot during the dialogue, and we ended up shooting multiple takes of the opening section. I didn't mind at the time, but as we re-started for the third time, I was concerned that the delays would increase Vincent's anxiety before the caning. In the end, those multiple takes saved the film. Dave, seasoned pro that he his, got a different shot each time, which made it possible for me to piece something together that just about covered all the cuts. Vincent's nervousness turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. As a finished product, it's not anywhere near as bad as it might have been.
The thing that still bothers me, about both Drunk and Disorderly and the nurse scene, is that even if I can salvage both of them, they will still look like prototypical 'femdom' that focuses on the female top rather than the male spankee. It's the opposite of everything I'm trying to do with my F/M productions. Given the amount I've griped about the way that many F/M films treat their male spankees, this accident not only damages the quality of my product, it makes me a hypocrite. To say I'm gutted is an understatement. I went out of my way to capture Vincent's experience on his first ever spanking shoot, the effort he put in, his expressions and reactions, and I can't show you any of it. It's a damn shame.
I've captured 60 screengrabs from Drunk and Disorderly, in which I've gone out of my way to show Vincent's face as much as possible. He has his back to Dave's camera for most of the scene, but still, he has some good lines, and you can see enough, I hope, to know I'm not hiding his face deliberately. I have a video interview with him which I'll upload on Sunday, and I'll publish an outtakes video, too.
So despite my self-recrimination, the day was far from a total loss. I have footage from both cameras for the final two scenes, both of which went well. I've already released The Loose Hem, a lovely subversive little domestic teasing/cross-dressing scene.
The other film we made that day was a candid, out-of-character, deep dominance and submission scene between Molly and Zoe, best friends and real life play partners. They approached me about doing a film like this and I left all the details up to them, with Dave and I simply trying to capture their intimacy and interaction as closely as possible.
I was honoured to be admitted into their private scene space, and I think the resulting film is going to be beautiful. I am so, so glad I didn't lose any of that.
Likewise, although I'm missing the primary camera for the hand spanking instructional video, I might be able to do something with it. I'm thinking of taking the audio of Zoe's presentation, and layering it over video from other Dreams of Spanking productions which illustrate her points. It would mean lots of additional work for me as editor, but I only have myself to blame for that. Zoe and Molly's hand spanking demo was a great presentation and I want to do it justice if I can. Hey, at least Dave got some great photos of the two of them.
I've learned some sharp lessons. Hopefully this will be a salutory experience in the long run. Meanwhile, Drunk and Disorderly went up last night and the nursing film is yet to come, and I wanted to tell you in advance why they don't look the way the rest of my F/M productions do. I wanted to show you Vincent's face, his expressions and his reactions. I didn't want the camera to linger exclusively on Zoe as she delivers the caning. I wanted to tell you the whole story. But I can't, because I stupidly deleted Vincent's half.
Still, give it a try. It's a believable setup, with plenty of hot moments, some cheeky backchat from Vincent, and fantastic ad libbed scolding by Zoe. Not to mention a 30 stroke full force cold caning hard enough to satisfy the severity fetishists, which Vincent took magnificently. I've done my best with it, and in the end, I don't think it's turned out badly. And while the finished cut may not treat the male spankee as sympathetically as I wanted, you do at least get more face shots and dialogue from Vincent than in some F/M productions.
I know I'm indulging in perfectionism. It's likely that no-one will care as much as I do, and that I am, as ever, my own worst critic. Thanks to my performers, all three compromised films were good spanking scenes, and even with one camera angle missing, with careful editing they will hopefully be salvagable.
I suppose something like this happens to all us producers sooner or later, but I will definitely be making every effort to ensure I never make a mistake like this again.
I'm delighted to welcome our newest performer Andrew Shada to the site - male switch, spanking, bondage and pet play enthusiast.
In my everyday life I guess I'm a bit of a nerd: obsessed with science both fact and fiction, Doctor Who (as you can tell from the name!), history, real ale, war gaming, LARP, cosplay, yoga and comedy.
I also love to dabble and try new things, because you never know what you might like - and as Sir Thomas Beecham said “you should try everything once except morris dancing and incest”. Although actually I am rather partial to a little morris dancing.
I was put in touch with Andrew with a mutual friend who isn't in the kink scene herself, but knows what I do and supports my choices. She thought Andrew and I should talk, and when I saw his pictures on Fetlife and realised how cute he was, I quickly agreed!
I was particularly drawn to two photos, one showing Andrew looking deliciously toppy in historical military uniform, sitting in a leather armchair and holding a glass of port; and another of him in sub mode, doing the ironing wearing only his underwear. The latter was the inspiration for his first photoset.
My current policy of shooting photos first with a new performer originated on my first shoots with Jimmy Holloway and Sebastian Hawley, neither of whom had done any professional porn performance or fetish modelling before. Especially if someone is nervous on their first shoot, I find that photos can be a way to ease them in gently that is less nervewracking than video. While shooting photos we can talk and communicate more freely than while shooting video, and it gives them the chance to ask questions and give me feedback, while I can give them tips and, if necessary, coach them in body language. All of this is also excellent practice before shooting your first spanking video.
Andrew was nervous as hell, and had been compulsively smoking all morning while we were setting up to shoot. I decided to incorporate this into the first scene, with him as a houseboy who is spanked for taking an unauthorised smoke break from his domestic chores.
Andrew has been working all morning, cleaning Pandora's house, sweeping and mopping the floors. He ducks outside the back door for a well-earned smoke break. Unfortunately, his mistress catches him and drags him back indoors for a sound over the knee spanking. Once he has been well and truly punished, she orders him to strip naked, then gives him back the apron and tells him to finish his chores with his red glowing bottom on display.
Despite his nerves Andrew turned out to be a natural. There are so many images I love in this set. Such as the story hinted at in the above photo; or the embarrassment of having your trousers pulled down for a bare bottom spanking:
Andrew's submissive demeanour has an adorably forlorn, long-suffering quality. It's not pouty or bratty but sort of wistful and resigned.
This was his first spanking on camera, and I got the impression it was his first proper spanking in some time. He coloured up beautifully and I didn't need to go all-out to get a reaction.
And like me, Andrew has back dimples! For some reason I find this particularly cute on a boy.
Finally this scene provided another opportunity for me to indulge my well-documented apron fetish. The trope of a spankee being dressed only in an apron after punishment, with their spanked bare bottom on display, to add an extra dose of embarrassment to the completion of household chores, is a pretty common one in the M/F genre. M/F housework fetish bores me, but I love subverting it in male submissive or queer F/F scenes such as Cupcakes, Cheesecake! and Slave for a Day. And I couldn't resist the opportunity to revisit it one more time:
I think I've got it out of my system now. Mind you, I haven't shot a naked waiter scene yet - and Mr Will Savage would be a perfect candidate - so there might be some life in the old apron trope yet!
Kelley didn't think she loved male spankee videos until she watched Marital Discipline, which is a compliment in itself. She wanted to know if we could book Michael for a M/M shoot; and she specifically wanted to see more M/M mentor/protegeé relationships, involving a strict but caring father figure and a younger man who looks up to him, and wants to make him proud. She cited Gibbs from NCIS as an example of the kind of character she meant.
I haven't watched NCIS, but Tom has, and once I established that he was willing to do an M/M scene he seemed like the ideal casting, as his style of dominance is naturally very nurturing and supportive. (I've since discovered that Kelley isn't the only viewer to love Gibbs for his toppy potential.)
Here's the trailer for Compromised Security:
Michael's first solo mission was a success, and he successfully extracted the data his company was contracted to retrieve. There was only one problem: somewhere on the way back, he managed to lose the disk. When he's called in to speak with his supervisor, Cameron is not impressed. He's been a mentor throughout Michael's career and is deeply disappointed by this carelessness. Now it's time for Michael to accept the consequences of his mistake, and bend over for a strapping from the boss who has been like a father to him.
Check out the expression on Michael's face in this photo, when Cameron tells him what's about to happen. "Gulp!"
Michael's curvy bottom looks like it was made for the strap:
After taking his strokes and his scolding bravely, Michael assures Cameron it won't happen again - and Cameron shakes him by the hand, signalling that he took it well, and is forgiven. Dignity and mutual respect are restored.
This just sends tingles down my spine. I love the formality of it, the subtlety of it, the way it expresses so much about traditional male relationships; all the unspoken, restrained emotion. I know that those expectations of male self-restraint are very problematic, but oh dear lord in a spanking context it is hot as hell.
Further to my post about our Rabbits Review last week, we've been reviewed by some other porn rating sites lately who had very positive things to say.
Honest Porn Reviews made some glowing comments about our ethical stance, diversity and user interface:
Although you would like to presume that all porn produced within physically demanding fetishes such as spanking is ethically produced and with the full consent of everyone involved, occasionally you do wonder if that is always the case. So it was certainly interesting of Dreams Of Spanking to come out and push that side of their site. A good idea, too, because I think it does help most people to enjoy a site more knowing that it was produced in a happy and conducive atmosphere.
Although conceived by a lady, this site does not just focus on the women doling out the punishment. Far from it. This is an equal opportunities site in every single way and that is why it is a cut above most other spanking fetish sites that I have seen. The performers are all professional spanking fetish experts, all of whom know exactly what they are doing and perform specific roles. I was also taken by just how much variety they have within their scenarios and the such like.
This is a beautifully presented site that does almost everything right. I think the best part of the user interface on this site was the section dedicated to the cast - all performers have a full bio including links to their own official pages and sites.
Update information is absolutely excellent and keeps you full informed about the recent additions to the site, plus there are also lots of options on the videos to keep you happy. The design of the site is ideal for this kind of content as well.
Honest Porn Reviews have awarded us an overall score of 8.9/10 - second only to Whipped Ass in their list of spanking sites. Not bad for a site that's only 18 months old! I'm really chuffed by this review, and delighted that Honest Porn Reviews found so much to like.
Another review site, Porn Inspector, awarded us a total score of 4.5/5, and seemed particularly impressed by our tour transparency:
Dreams Of Spanking has some of the finest tour transparency out there. Instead of showing you those bright red, freshly caned asses in a mishmash of random teaser images, they've decided to kill two birds with one stone and just let everyone see their entire members area instead. You can browse the site, even download trailers for each episode.
The scenes themselves well shot and, by porno standards at least, feature fine acting. In fact, one of the great things about this site is that the content has such a unique feel. Their movies have a cinematic style to them that makes you feel like you're watching watching a perverse inde film created by some eccentric director with a knack for casting exceptionally beautiful actors. I actually just finished a horror flick-esque caning scene that was, from beginning-to-end, positively oozing with creepy atmosphere. My favorite part was the shift to P.O.V. shots from the villain's perspective. Watching those girls wake up from a sound sleep to the, no doubt, excruciatingly painful sensation of that surprise bare buttocks caning — trust me, this guy didn't hold back! — must have been terrifying ... not to mention disorienting. And, scripted or not, the sobbing and shrieks were totally legit. Ouch!
That would be A Ghost Story - one of my favourite films in the archive. Lovely to see it given special mention!
Porn Inspector also appreciated our gender egalitarian approach and HD film quality:
Another point that was made, and one that I think it bears repeating, is that kissing and sexual contact is not encouraged between the models. So, if you should happen to see any hanky-panky accompanying the usual corporal punishment, you can rest assured that it's %100 authentic. There's 18 models, so far, six of which are male. But the boys aren't just relegated to the roles of spanker or spankee. No, there's actually a few solo bondage scenes featuring the fellas, too, making this a pretty diverse archive.
I was pleasantly surprised to find their latest updates are available in a great looking 1080p HD. Not surprisingly, play-back quality was superb. Even the file marked "low quality" was clear and crisp, and very watchable.
Constructive criticism from this review included the photo resolution, which is mostly at 1200x800px, and the download speeds. When I can, these days, I do upload photo galleries at 1200 x 1800px - for instance, Bath Bubbles, Bridezilla and Kinky. I started doing this at the end of last year - I think the first photo gallery uploaded at this resolution was The Captain and the Tavern Wench.
Unfortunately not all our photographs are high enough quality for it to be worth increasing the resolution, and so as we publish material we have already shot, there will still be some photo sets at the smaller resolution.
Is 1800x1200px enough, or would you like to see images in even higher resolution?
Regarding download speed, this is something Honest Porn Reviews picked up on as well, and it was definitely a problem with our old server. Happily, since moving to our new server last month, loading times and download speeds have been much better, so I hopefully I can tick off that issue as "resolved" :)
Overall, thanks Porn Inspector for a very positive review!
Finally, my friend Motley Wanderer recently treated themselves to a 5 day membership after following us with interest since our launch, and wrote a lovely blogpost in the wake of my article about not being exploited by performing in porn:
For me to want to watch it, porn needs to be made by feminists, it needs to have women involved in the production end of things as well as starring, it needs to value the contribution of people of all genders (i.e., paying the men!), it needs to be made for more than just a cis, hetero, male gaze, it needs to feature a reasonable variety of body types. And if it’s kink, I want to get my switch on – one of the things I love about Dreams of Spanking is that it has any number of combinations of tops and bottoms, and the majority of the performers are switches who aren’t just interested in playing one role with one gender. As a queer switch, it is totally up my street.
It needs to be made with absolute respect for the performers, respecting their boundaries absolutely, creating a fun working atmosphere
Above all, it needs to be made by people who genuinely love what they are doing, and aren’t just faking that enjoyment.
Dreams of Spanking is very explicit about offering all of that, including lots of behind the scenes footage so it’s really clear exactly how much fun is being had, even (especially?) when shooting dark and edgy material.
Thanks Motley Wanderer, I'm really glad the content ticked your boxes, and I'm even more pleased to hear that it inspired some spanking fun of your own!
That's definitely the best kind of review :)