Storytelling is sexy. Whether it's written, audio, or dramatised on screen, storytelling can make the difference between something that's hot while you're watching it, and something that stays with you for a long time afterwards.
When I write the blogs for Dreams of Spanking, it's always important to pick the right key phrases so that people can find scenes during search. Judicial caning, hand spanking, over the knee, etc – it means that everyone knows what they'll get if they click through, and also serves to get people horny. If you're anything like me then the phrase 'over the knee' probably conjures instant hot mental images, so if a scene involves that kind of punishment I'll make sure to be clear about it.
But the problem with this kind of directness is that there are lots of other more nuanced things that might be particularly erotic, but that aren't as instantly recognisable. Let's face it – lots of people search for 'six strokes of the cane' but fewer people search for 'depersonalised punishment' or 'endurance punishment'. That's where storytelling comes in.
Depersonalised punishment is a really interesting thing to explore – the idea that someone is receiving a beating because they have to rather than because they specifically deserve it. Rituals and ceremonies are both great vehicles for this: the punishment can be impersonal because it's not an individual need but part of a greater story.
Our new film, The Clone's Training, is sci-fi porn that fully explores this concept. Clone number eight – played by the gorgeous David Weston – is being drilled in the nuance and detail of the behaviour of his progenitor, the Crown Prince. Identical genetically, the clone and the Crown Prince are impossible to tell apart just by looking. Birthmarks and scars have all been faithfully reproduced, and the clone now needs to perfect his behaviour so he can infiltrate the royal family and 'become' the prince.
Instructor Pandora Blake gives firm and strict directions: stride purposefully, keep your chin up, hand behind your back. Every movement, in other words, must match the Prince's own gestures. And, of course, he must also be marked so that any blemish on his body matches exactly the ones on the Crown Prince.
A punch to the hip should replicate a bruise the Prince sustained, but to truly fool the medical scanners, clone number eight will have to have a six stroke judicial caning, just as the military Prince received only the day before...
You don't often see sci-fi porn, probably because most people associate it with either huge budgets or crap special effects. But there's a wealth of hot potential in science fiction, and you don't need CGI to make the concept work. Dystopic worlds in which individuals must behave a certain way. 1984-style future societies where citizens unquestioningly obey. And, of course, the deliciously sexy possibilities of armies of identical human-looking robots (I'm looking at you, Battlestar Galactica, with your sexy Cylons) and cloning technology.
This film plays on the clone scenario to dish out an incredibly clinical, depersonalised punishment. While many will watch this because they just love caning stories, others will be aroused by the impersonal nature of the punishment itself. The medical officer and instructor, played by Pandora, is concerned only with shaping clone number eight into as close a copy of the Prince as possible. As a consequence, when she strikes him with the cane it's not in anger or lust, but with a calculated necessity. And when he bends over to receive the strokes it's not because he feels he deserves them, it's because he is so used to obedience that it doesn't occur to him to question why he has to go through this. He just knows he must fulfil his destiny.
When you've watched The Clone's Training, if you're after more porn with amazing stories, it's well worth exploring Dreams of Spanking's 'sci-fi and fantasy' tag. The Royal Wedding is an audio story about a medieval princess, featuring an amazing public flogging which – again – is an impersonal ritual, but has more significance when told from the perspective of the princess who endures it. I also really like 'Psychic Weapon C' – another sci-fi porn story, but here the pain is used as a means to extract information. It's not quite as clinical, because the victim is actively fighting against the beating, but the fact that it's administered by henchmen makes it – in my opinion – an awesome example of pain being dished out as a matter of unflinching necessity.
So that's why storytelling is sexy – it's not just about a simple act, it's about the before and after, the build up and the tension. I could watch any scene in which a beautiful guy gets six of the best, and be delighted to have seen it, but the story turns it into something I think about for a long time. Not least because I can't help imagining exactly what happened to clones one through seven...
As you'll know if you read my posts after the shoot, our latest film was a big deal for me. Dreams of Spanking had already published one severe caning scene courtesy of Kaelah and Ludwig - now relocated at Darker Dreams. The last (and only) severe caning I had filmed with myself as the bottom, however, was with another producer. Since then I've known that my next full-force, judicial strength cold caning film would be for Dreams of Spanking.
Things are awry below stairs. A stolen coin has been found in the room of Blake, one of the maids. When confronted she pleads family trouble, and begs for mercy.
She has served the house well, so her employers hear her out. But they are stern in the face of her pleading: order must be maintained, after all. They would prefer not to take this to the authorities, and she is therefore offered a private punishment to suit the severity of her crime. Even family circumstances won't save her from 50 cold strokes of the cane.
I'll be honest with you: the premise of this one didn't take as much thought as some of our storylines. I knew I wanted to do a judicial strength, severe caning; and when I discussed it with Leia-Ann one sunny, boozy, scene-plotting afternoon last summer, it occurred to me that a double caning from Leia and Tom would be super hot. After that, it was just a question of what would make sense within the venue. I knew I wanted it to be historical; the location suggested a domestic setting. Victorian upstairs/downstairs power dynamics have always been a core part of my kink, and so it was that the idea of the whipped maid came to the fore. Hardly original, but every spankee deserves to have a go at each of the classics at least once, I think.
The plot emerged from a gift by a friend in the scene - a gold pound coin dating from Victoria's reign. It was too good not to use as a prop.
However, I hate the image of the low, thieving maid who deserves everything she gets - it reeks of out-dated class stereotypes, and as you all know, I prefer my spankee characters to be sympathetic.
So the theft became one that, perhaps, might be understandable... and Leia and Tom played the Master and Mistress as far more compassionate than my character had any right to expect. Rather than being summarily dismissed without a reference - or, worse, arrested - she is granted the chance to atone privately, and keep her position.
This film was shot with two 8mm canes; one kooboo (Tom) and one smoked dragon (Leia). If you watch the behind the scenes video you'll see me commenting that Leia's cane feels much nicer, to my taste; and that Tom's is almost too light to be used accurately at full force. (Denser canes are easier to aim; I've found that myself when in top mode).
My taste is for thud, and the hard canings I've taken have historically been with dense dragon canes, 10-12mm in thickness. The problem was that on this shoot we only had one cane that matched that description, and with its modern purple handle it didn't look Victorian.
I didn't want to receive a lopsided caning, and I didn't want the implements themselves to be anachronistic. So we opted for the matched pair of lighter canes.
I realised early on in this punishment that it wasn't going to be as intense as I'd envisaged. I promised myself there and then that the next time I did a severe caning scene as a bottom (and trust me, there will be a next time, and it will be for Dreams of Spanking) I'd make sure I had two 12mm dragon canes that looked the part.
Some commenters have said they find this scene overly brutal. For my tastes, and I know this might be weird, it was almost not brutal enough. When I envisaged doing another severe caning scene I imagined struggling, tears, violence, vivid welts. Not only was the atmosphere of this beating incredibly restrained and quiet, each character regretfully doing their duty while maintaining as much dignity as they could, but even my poor, over-spanked bottom didn't mark as much as I'd hoped.
I'd been playing hard without a break for a long time by the time this scene was filmed, and despite the pain, the welts don't look as dramatic as the other canings of similar severity I've seen other spankees take. I know it's not a competition. But I'm only going to do a few of these in my life, and you know me well enough by now to know I care about the look of the thing.
Still. In all other respects, this scene went out without a hitch. Leia and Tom were perfect, the caning was laser precise, and I managed to stay in control of myself throughout - which was just what I'd wanted. I love the maid's uniform I wore, and I love the finished film. I hope you do, too.
For what it's worth: since this shoot last September, I've been giving my skin a break and have barely taken any CP beyond the occasional hand spanking, professionally or privately. The next time I shoot, I expect both the marks and my reactions to be more dramatic.
We've uploaded two new spanking scenes this week. First up is Sunlight and Stilettos, a steamy glamour photoset featuring me and my real life lover D, shot by the uber-talented Matt Christie; and secondly we have our first judicial CP film Drunk and Disorderly, a full force F/M 30 stroke cold caning starring Zoe Montana and Vincent Brennan.
I didn't realise until I came to write this blogpost that both our scenes this week feature a clothed top and naked bottom - so that's one CFNM and one CMNF for the power play fans amongst you. (Although thinking about it, D is topless and barefoot, and he very rarely wears underwear, so he's only actually in a pair of jeans. Including my 6" fetish heels, we're both wearing one garment each. I'm not sure that quite matches the spirit of CMNF, but it should please those of you who enjoy looking at shirtless male doms.)
Sunlight and Stilettos
Wearing high fetish heels and wiggling her bottom in a figure-hugging dress, Pandora hopes to entice her lover to spank her. Warm sunlight bathes their bare skin as D gives her exactly what she wants.
I've wanted to shoot a spanking photoset in this dress since I bought it in Atlantic City last April. I swear it was designed by someone with a bottom fetish - it clings to my curves so tightly I can't get away with underwear beneath it!
This was the first set of the day and it was a beautiful summer morning, hot enough that we were both keen to get naked. We shot some amazing sets that day, and the sexual chemistry just kept on ramping up.
I think D looks fantastic in these photos. He's been working hard on his fitness the last couple of years, and I for one appreciate his improved lean physique. I frequently objectify him at home. We both wanted some up-to-date pictures of him, and I was keen to show off his figure. Ladies, enjoy. Perv all you wish. There's more of D to come from that shoot, too :)
Matt Christie is a fantastic photographer. This was my first time working with him and I will definitely have him back. I'm nearly up to date with processing the summer's shoots now, and am looking forward to showing you some previews from the rest of that day soon.
Meanwhile, our newest film stars Vincent Brennan alongside Zoe Montana and Molly Malone, and is our first judicial-level caning of a male spankee. I've already written about the shoot - and the mistake I made that day which affected the quality of our output. Thankfully, the reception to Drunk and Disorderly so far has been positive - so don't take my word for it, watch it for yourself and see what you think.
After a night in the cells, Vincent's obnoxious behaviour irritates the officer processing his paperwork so much that she decides to make his day a little more unpleasant. A strip search does him no favours, and he is given a choice: a lengthy court process culminating in eventual jail time, or judicial corporal punishment and a same-day release.
Thinking that a WPC can't possibly do that much damage, Vincent consents to the judicial caning. He is in for a hell of a shock. His big mouth earns him more and more strokes, leading to a total of 30 full-force strokes of the cane.
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.
Two weeks ago I flew over to America to attend the Texas All State Spanking Party, and shoot some spanking video with the organisers Paul Rogers, Princess Kelley and Sarah Gregory while I was there. It was an epic week full of new experiences, and you can read my posts about it over at my other blog, Spanked not Silenced.
Thinking I'd have no free time to shoot my own videos between all my other commitments, I didn't take my camera with me. But America is the land of opportunity, and one way or another it happened anyway. Alex Reynolds approached me asking if I'd like to shoot some trade or content share with her, and it seemed stupid to pass up the chance. Alex is adorable and I liked her in person even more than I thought I would from reading her blog. So I said yes, sure, and started begging favours to try and make it happen. It meant getting up early on a Saturday, and being late for the vendor's fair, but that was okay. Ten Amorette offered to let me use her cameras and suite for the shoot, and Amelia kindly stepped in to help behind the camera. Ten, by the way, is foxy and brilliant and I adore her, and she was amazingly supportive all weekend, including not minding being chucked out of bed after a late night partying for my shoot.
I filmed two scenes with Alex. She doesn't switch, so I spanked her in both of them. In the first video I was a spanking therapist she'd been referred to by her psychiatrist to help her work through some guilt issues. It was kind of dorky and sweet, and Alex was great in it. We're sharing both scenes, so I'll have to wait until Alex has launched her clips store before I can show you them. Feel free to nag her about it in the meantime! :P
The second scene was more of a "real life" sort of video just about Alex and Pandora, although it wasn't really based on a true story. In the scene we're roommates at a spanking party, and the day before I went for a nap to catch up on my sleep, but asked Alex to wake me before the evening's happenings. She gets so distracted getting spanked by cute guys and hanging out in the pool that she totally forgets, and lets me sleep through. The next morning I wake up and am furious to discover I missed all the fun. I decide she needs another spanking to teach her not to forget about me. (Okay, maybe I just needed an excuse to spank Alex in her pyjamas).
I also wanted to shoot a couple of scenes with Amelia while I had the chance, so while we had the cameras out I squeezed in a third scene with her. I'm a bit scared of wooden paddles, but in all honesty I'd have been disappointed if I'd gone home without getting a paddling or three. The night before, Alex, Amelia, Ten, me and half the other models at the party had got together for a big group dormitory scene organised by Ten, in which her roommate Jerry Diamond had wielded the Spencer paddle. I liked Jerry's style as a spanker, and asked if he'd mind giving Amelia and me another taste of traditional Texan discipline before he went home. He was good enough to oblige, and you'll hear more about that scene in due course.
I was pretty sure that that was all the filming I was going to have time to do for Dreams of Spanking over the weekend. But after the shoot with Alex and Amelia, I got talking with an English photographer and videographer called Andrew Morgan, who was living in Texas and keen to take part on a spanking shoot. He even had his professional recording equipment with him at the party. Again, the opportunity was too good to pass up. So I hired Amelia for a final scene, squeezed in before the models' brunch on Sunday morning, asked Jerry if he'd do the honours again, and we borrowed another room to shoot in.
By this stage of the weekend none of us had had much sleep; I'd been making do on about five hours a night, although Amelia had been being much more sensible and seemed as fresh as a daisy. When I went to knock on Jerry's door on Sunday morning, I discovered the party had only finished a couple of hours earlier, and it seemed best to let him rest.
I walked back down the corridor, brain whirring to think how to re-write the scene I'd had planned. On the way I bumped into Alex's boyfriend Malignus, who had spanked us for another short promo clip the night before. "Hey, Malignus, fancy whacking Amelia and I on video?" I chirped, not really expecting him to say yes.
He blinked. "Er. Sure! Can I have five minutes to shower?"
Saint amongst men! I told him that was fine, and raced back to Amelia and Andrew to reassure them that Thunderbirds were Go.
So Malignus, bless him, was drafted in on zero notice, probably with even less sleep than I'd had, and with no clue what sort of scene he was walking into. Amelia and I had worked out a plot where we were caught by a TSA agent for lying to security at the airport that we weren't visiting the USA for business purposes. So now it was a plainclothes TSA agent. Fine. We thought that it might be hotter if he wasn't a real agent anyway - or at least not one currently on duty - just a sadist with an aptitude for sniffing out naive travellers with something to hide. The title "Business or Pleasure", you see, goes both ways.
I really loved Malignus' topping in this. There's something really hot about his snide, knowing expressions and air of smug, geeky superiority. I'm really glad I got to do a proper scene with him over the weekend, and this one was hot hot hot.
- The heavy leather strap was bought by me the day before at the vendors' fair, and instantly became my favourite implement ever. It had been well used the night before and I was delighted to be able to use it in a video. It hurt a lot more on no sleep and no warmup, but that's all part of the fun, right?
- One of the things with the strap is that it can be tricky to angle it so the impact is distributed across both buttocks. Knowing Malignus hadn't used this particular strap before, and that I was at a bit of an odd angle, when I noticed that the weight was falling mostly on my right buttock I suggested that he drop his arm a little lower. I meant lower to the floor, but the next series of strokes fell entirely on my thighs. Next time we cut to move the camera I asked what was up with all the thigh action. "I thought you said you wanted the strokes lower!" he replied. Bless him, he was dutifully following my pedantic topping-from-the-bottom instructions and was trying to do what he was told.
- Although Amelia and I didn't have to do much acting in this scene, having recent vivid memories of going through American airport security, this obviously isn't based on a true story. Of course not. Our suitcases didn't contain anything suspicious, and we would certainly never lie about our purposes for visiting the USA. Although if we did, and we were caught, I think we'd both much prefer to get spanked than deported.