When it comes to film and audio editing I am self-taught. I didn't go to film school; I haven't studied how to produce audio or make videos. Everything that I do on this website, I've learned from teaching myself. There are big gaps in my knowledge, but I like learning - and I've had a lot of fun figuring things out by myself.
For Christmas last year my partner got me a decent pair of audio monitors. If the audio geeks amongst you are curious, they are preSonus Eris E5 studio monitors. Previously I was editing Dreams of Spanking audio on my desktop speakers, and a few months ago my desktop speakers stopped working - so I was using either a crappy pair of speakers that I got on Freecycle, or my equally crappy headphones, which are also not very good.
When you don't have good speakers, you can't really hear what's going on. So I was a little intimidated to suddenly have these professional quality audio monitors. When I listened to my recordings - and, worse, to my previous attempts at audio editing - they sounded dreadful. I wailed to Felix about this, and they helpfully replied "Oh good, the monitors are doing their job then."
The audio always sounded bad - and now I had a speaker system accurate enough to show me what it really sounded like. It was uncomfortable - but it meant that I could finally do something about it.
Since then I've learned a lot about editing and recording audio.
One of the most exciting things this has given me is some insight into how to record better audio. I use a wireless Zoom H2N Handy Record mic. Previously I found the audio from it, while very clean, wasn’t loud enough by itself even with the gain set to max, so I’ve been using the on-camera mic as well and mixing the two.
Using my monitors, I can get that mix sounding OK - not professional, but good enough. But it still sounds bad on my headphones.
My new equipment has shown me ways I can improve my recording. For example, when filming The Party Whip I placed the Zoom mic on a hardwood floor under a hardwood dining table, in order to get it close to the action without being in shot. Listening back on my new monitors, I can hear all the reverberation in that acoustic space full of hard surfaces. It sounds horribly echoey to me now - which means I have a chance of fixing it.
Last time I shot at home, I put a second rug down and hung mattress pads on the walls to create a more acoustically dampened space. Even those quick, low-budget additions improved the acoustics and made the audio sound better.
Next, I figured out that I've been facing my microphone the wrong way. Yes, I’m an idiot - but that’s an instant win to improve the quality.
Then I realised that even if I got something sounding good on my fancy monitors, it might still sound terrible on my headphones. Not many people watch porn on professional audio equipment, so I want it to sound as good as possible on a range of outputs.
Achieving that was an interesting challenge. In some cases the high-quality monitors make the audio sound worse, and in some cases they make it sound better. The monitors produce a higher range of frequencies, so they can reveal noise or badly balanced audio which wasn't detectable before. But sometimes that broad frequency range masks or balances noise which otherwise sounds super loud. Now I've started paying more attention to this stuff I'm a lot less accepting of those hissy, echoing or tinny qualities that are the hallmarks of bad sound engineering.
When I got stuck, Felix sat down with me for an hour and gave me a crash course in audio editing. I learned so much that I'm kicking myself for not doing it four years ago! Things I learned: how decibels work (I told you I was self-taught), how to bend compression to my will, how to use equalisation, and how to read frequency range using the spectrogram and plot spectrum tools in Audacity (the open source audio editing software that I use).
After an hour of playing around we got the audio sounding as good on my headphones as it sounds on the monitors. I'm so pleased! I can now ditch the on-camera mic entirely and rely on the Zoom mic to pick up high quality audio.
From now on, every Dreams of Spanking film will benefit from these new tools. I'm excited to keep learning and continue to improve the quality of the productions that are offered on this website. Being self-taught is all very well, but it turns out that sometimes, the most effective way to learn is to ask for help.
Our content is made possible by the incredible performers that star in it, and our Performer Spotlight series celebrates the cast of Dreams of Spanking for how they enrich our content with their unique style. In this instalment of Performer Spotlight, we’re welcoming a new face - Richard Mclean.
An eager spanko with a cheeky face and naughty bottom, Richard has always known he was into spanking. He’s been on the scene since 2016 when he attended his first kink night in England and has never looked back. You can find Richard on Twitter and Fetlife as SpankyKnight.
Richard got into filming in 2020 when a friend was looking for help filming content. He thought he was purely submissive, but when the opportunity presented itself to spank a lovely lady’s bottom he quickly discovered that giving could be just as fun as receiving.
His debut on Dreams of Spanking will be in our upcoming release, The Panty Boy Next Door. You’ll get to enjoy Richard in a tight pencil skirt and sheer underwear as Pandora gives him a teasingly sensual over the knee spanking.
This is the first of many films starring Richard which will premiere on Dreams of Spanking throughout 2021. We’re excited for you to get your first taste of Richard Mclean this weekend in The Panty Boy Next Door
Can we take a moment here to talk about Miss Kelley May?
She’s never filmed for Dreams of Spanking before, but she’s been around in the scene for a while - and it shows. Her Dreams debut is a tour de force, the picture of discipline in a figure-hugging pinstripe dress. She knows exactly how to control her strokes with the heavy wooden paddle, leaving Pandora’s bottom red and stinging with minimal force.
Kelley is curvaceous, stern, scolding and sadistic, and I have immediately developed an enormous crush on her. Frankly she can paddle me any time she likes. (Um. Please?)
Pandora of course shines every bit as brightly as her new co-star in this week’s film. As is so often the case, one of the best things about her performance here is her facial expressions: the sense we have that she’s blasé about her punishment at first and then increasingly concerned as she begins to realise what she’s let herself in for.
In the end, she really is paddled and humiliated to her core - and I reckon she’ll think twice before cutting loose at a work dinner again.
February has brought the first Dreams of Spanking shoot of 2021. We take the safety and security of our cast and crew seriously, and will be continously reviewing our COVID safety policy in line with government restrictions and the changing landscape of the pandemic. The shoot went off without a hitch (ish), and we can't wait to share the results for you. To whet your appetite, here are some of the scenes we released in February.
Spanked at School, Spanked at Home // audio story // Pandora Blake - Head Girl Pandora Blake returns with another school spanking story, but this time she’s not the one doling out the punishment - it’s Mother’s turn tonight!
Who Broke It? // M/FFF film // Xena, Anastasia, Sha Luciana, Pharaoh - Xena, Sha Luciana and Anastasia have caused trouble on holiday - so it’s Pharaoh’s job to take each girl in hand and give them a firm spanking.
Tight Skirt Tease and Grind // Solo F Film // Pandora Blake - Pandora Blake can hardly contain her horniness as she admires her curvy figure in her brand new tight pencil skirt. How can she get herself off without getting undressed?
To keep up to date with Dreams of Spanking releases you can join our mailing list where we send out free clips, HD images and exclusive news.
Our next shoot is taking place on the 26th and 27th February, and it’s a good ‘un. Pandora Blake will be there to run the show and perform, and will be joined again by Kelley May and Stephen Lewis. We filmed with them in December and still have a few of those films up our sleeve for the coming months. If you haven’t seen the first release from that shoot, you can watch it here.
Along with tops Kelley and Stephen, we are delighted to welcome a new performer to the Dreams of Spanking - Spanky Knight! An enthusiastic bottom, Spanky loves to dress up in stockings and lingerie. Whether it’s with the belt, hairbrush, paddle or the humble hand, he loves to be spanked in all sorts of naughty scenarios.
We’ll be filming in an arty domestic setting over the weekend, and are planning to shoot a mix of F/M and M/M scenes. We’re spoiled for choice as we have a mix of tops, switches and bottoms to play with, so the possibilities are limitless!
This shoot is funded by custom clients. Our customs site has flourished since we launched it in November, and clients ordering bespoke fantasies allows us to collaborate with incredible performers and create the high-quality Dreams of Spanking productions you love.
We would love to bring your fantasy to life during this shoot. The bevy of performers we have at our disposal means there are so many scenes we could create - here are just some of the options:
• F/F (Kelley topping Pandora)
• F/M (Pandora or Kelley topping Spanky)
• M/F (Stephen topping Pandora)
• M/M (Stephen topping Spanky)
We will have a separate camera person so we could do 3 or 4 person group scenes including...
• F/M or M/F with male or female witness
• M/M with female witness
• F/F with male witness
Or any of the many combinations you could think of with the above!
We are so excited to bring this shoot together and for Spanky Knight’s debut on Dreams of Spanking. Visit our customs site to order your custom fantasy now
This week’s film kicks off in media res, Pandora already bent over Stephen’s knee, kicking and squirming as he lays into her with his belt. It’s a classic spanking scene, perfectly pitched for any fan of the genre.
What I think really makes this one stand out is the scolding, though. Stephen Lewis is an old hand at this - he knows exactly what to say to a misbehaving submissive to leave them suitably shamed and chastised. Maybe this is just my own bias coming through (god knows I love a chatty dominant!), but it’s so often the dialogue that makes a real-life spanking scene special, right? Stephen has all that down pat, and it makes for a highly enjoyable film.
We’ve got some behind-the-scenes footage for you this week too, which I always enjoy watching - I’ve never actually been on set with Pandora, and it’s fun to get a glimpse behind the curtain. I’d never really thought about it till I watched this clip, but some of the hottest angles and sexiest shots require a bit of up close contortion from the cameraperson!
The day after my second shoot with Lana Moon on the 18th of December (blogpost to come on that), I drove around the M25 to shoot with Princess Kelley May and Stephen Lewis. This shoot has been on the cards for a long time. I've known Stephen since I first started working with Northern Spanking in 2007 but somehow we've never actually worked together that much - I mostly worked with with Paul Kennedy or Michael Stamp at Northern Spanking. I met Stephen at shoots and parties, I don’t remember playing together that much.
I met Kelley when I went to the Texas All-States Spanking Party in 2012. She was co-organising the party and shooting content for her own sites. I enjoyed collaborating with her, and felt a kinship as another young performer-producer creating her own content and learning as she went. We haven't seen much of each other since then, even though she now lives in the UK with Stephen - since having a baby I've not had many opportunities to see people in the scene.
When we got together to shoot in December, it was so great to reconnect. I wished we'd had twice as long to just hang out and chat. We had five scenes planned for the day.
I was feeling good, and encouraged by the success of the day before. I was a little bit sore from my spankings from Dave and Lana, but I didn't have marks so I was ready to go again! Kelley does not currently bottom on video, so I was going to be bottoming for the entire day. I normally shoot with switches and multiple bottoms, so this was the first time I'd done a full shoot as a bottom in years. It was a lot more intense than I remembered, but I really enjoyed it!
This shoot was funded by two wonderful custom video clients who had commissioned films from us. We had three customs to shoot - two with me bottoming to Stephen, and one with me bottoming to Kelley. I was really excited about all three of them. We started with a simple scene with me and Stephen, where I played a stepdaughter who is over her stepfather's knee, getting a traditional style punishment with his leather belt.
Over the knee is not a typical position for the leather belt, but Stephen shortened it enough to not wrap. I actually really liked how it felt. It was really thuddy and made for a great spanking. The scenario also called for some squirmy and embarrassing parts with lots of scolding. Stephen is a wonderful scolder: some of the lines just made me swoon when I edited the film. At one point he told me in a very quiet, serious voice, "You need to have more respect for yourself, don't you?" Whew. That pressed my buttons on so many levels!
The scene included a bit where he takes down my knickers and inspects them for ‘cleanliness’. If he decides that they're too dirty, which of course he does, then I get extra punishment. So that was an added bit of humiliation which was very hot. Humiliation and embarrassment turned out to be a theme for the day; it can be just so delicious when done in the right way and with the right people.
We also captured a hot angle looking back at my feet with my jeans and panties around my ankles as I'm spanked. When I came to edit the video, I felt like that shot worked really well. It reminded me of our film Alex's Point of View, which is shot with camera angles that Alex can see from her position over the knee. I think this sort of “spankee’s point of view” shot is something I'd like to do more of; there’s something very immersive and erotic about it.
At the end of that first scene, we realized my big mistake. I was marked. It may be that I had some underlying bruising from the day before that had been brought out; or maybe the belt was just heavier than I realised. I had some dark red marks and I realized that I'd completely messed up the order of shooting.
In our second film, my scene with Kelley, I played a character who hadn’t been spanked before, and my bare bottom was meant to be in shot at the start. Oops. Big red belt marks were going to ruin the fantasy. I should have shot the F/F film first to make sure I had the unmarked bottom of a virgin spankee.
I felt like a complete idiot. One of the fundamentals of spanking shoot production is getting the scenarios in the right order. Scenes where it's plausible a spankee might already have marks, or where they are covered up at the start, go later in the day. Scenes which start on an bare unmarked bottom go at the start of the day. It’s spanking shoot 101.
There are other factors in how you organise the shoot order too, of course. Such as severity: more mild scenes towards the beginning of the day and the more severe scenes at the end. There’s also location. I don’t like moving the lighting and cameras around too much as it wastes time, so I set up the lights in one room and shoot everything in there, then move the lights to the next room.
I’d been thinking about location and severity, but not marking. I think I'd also got so used to my own bottom's resilience. Spanking still hurts for me, but I don't usually mark very much anymore. I've spoken about this a bit on YouTube if you'd like to know more about bottom resilience and how long it takes spanking marks to go away.
Going back to my bottom (har har), there's been so many times I've wanted marks and not had them, I've got out of the habit of expecting marks. So on this shoot I just hadn't taken it into account.
Kelley suggested. that we put some ice on my bum. However. We completely failed to follow the instructions, and we skipped putting a cloth between my bum and the ice packs. I was lying there on my tummy with the ice on my bottom thinking, “Oh, this is very cold, ice feels quite intense.” But I thought that was normal! I haven't used ice much on my bum before, because believe it or not I've never really needed to.
When Kelley came to take the ice off, she found that my skin looked frozen where the ice pack had been. Even when we warmed my bum up, there were big red puffy welts visible. I'd basically given myself ice burn really high on my bum - it looked nothing like spanking marks. In our efforts to fix my mix up, I now had even worse marks than before!
We were both running around like headless chickens with no clue what to do. Eventually we calmed down, had a cup of tea and decided that the answer was bum make up. I’ve never used makeup to make spanking marks seem more intense, but I have used it before to cover up bruises that would have been out of character for a scene.
Kelley put some foundation and concealer on my bottom to cover up the ice welts, and we rejigged the shots for the second film so that we could disguise the fact that my bottom was marked. The constraint of not being able to show the bare bottom before the spanking forced us to be a bit more creative. I got some close-ups of my feet and face instead, which actually worked really well. The client was very happy with his film - if he noticed that the bum isn't shown before the paddling begins, he didn't mention it. So I think we got away with it!
I played a top executive in a big company. I’m arrogant and confident, and I'm in trouble for bad behavior at the company dinner with a big client. I got too drunk and I made a fool of myself, so I get called in by my boss, Kelley. She gives me a reprimand and tells me that as a consequence of my actions, I can't go on the company retreat that weekend which I helped organize. I'm devastated not to be able to go, and when I find out that the men who got drunk with me are being allowed to go, I demand that I get the same treatment as them.
I learn that what they got was a severe paddling on their bare bottoms with their genitals on display. Kelley would prefer not to do that to me, so I'm being banned from the retreat instead. But I think that's completely sexist, and I demand to receive the full punishment.
So that’s what I get: I have to strip the lower half of my body and fetch the paddle, shuffling across the floor in my high heels with my work trousers stretched around my ankles.
I wanted to use a big wooden paddle so it would look really severe. Kelley showed me her large wooden paddles: one with holes which was quite light, one without holes in which was kind of medium, and another which was really heavy. So of course, Little Mx Masochist here wanted the heavy one. I mean, put yourself in my position. When was the last time I got spanked? I'm a parent, I never get a chance to play these days. This might be my last opportunity to get a serious spanking for a year - I wanted to make the most of it!
So I signed up to take the heaviest of the paddles because I am apparently a glutton for punishment. Oh my God, it hurt. Kelley was barely swinging it and it was so heavy I felt like it was going to slam me into the wall. The breath was completely knocked out of me. It was a real struggle to take, but luckily, the scenario required me to break position and cry, so I was able to let my natural reactions show through. I think I would have really found very difficult to be stoic with that paddle. Oh, and yes, it was completely hot. It's so fun subbing to Kelley. More of this, please!
Finally, we did our third custom a romantic and ritualistic domestic discipline scenario with a husband who spanks his wife. It included the very hot detail of Stephen reading a chapter of his book while I'm in the corner between punishments, and me listening to him turn the pages while he ignores me, wondering when he's going to finish his chapter and spank me again. We recorded some voiceover of Stephen's and my thought processes while I'm in the corner. It turned out so well that I can't wait to share it.
The punishment was very simple - an over the knee wooden hairbrush spanking. First over my dress, then my slip, then over my see-through lacy pink panties and finally on the bare bottom.
If I tell you that this was the first spanking scene in ages where I actually had to have a wank while I was editing it, you'll understand how hot this was. I was pretty bruised already, and there's something very horny for me in seeing the slip lifted and watching the hairbrush be mercilessly applied to my already bruised bottom. I particularly liked the part where I reach back my hand and end up having my wrists pinned behind my back while Stephen gives me a very hard and fast spanking with the hairbrush. It was so hot to experience, and it was so hot to watch. I think you’re going to love it.
At the end there’s some lovely aftercare. The scene was such a loving and affectionate dominance and submission dynamic that Kelley quipped, "I don't mind that you've basically stolen my life". Since she actually is Stephen's wife, we talked about her bottoming in this scene, but she’s still thinking about whether she wants to be spanked on camera at all, even with Stephen. Still, I was flattered that she’d consider it! I would be completely tickled pink if Dreams of Spanking were the company that she deemed worthy of coming out of retirement to take a spanking for.
After the customs were wrapped, Kelley and I shot a couple of scenes for our platforms - one for Dreams of Spanking and one for Kelley's Clips4Sale and OnlyFans. It turns out we have a mutual interest in sexual punishment, embarrassment, humiliation and anal play, so decided to shoot two different explorations of this theme. This sort of sexual play is something that I'm only comfortable doing on camera with people I trust and like a lot, and Kelley absolutely fits into this category. And wow, those scenes were hot. I feel so lucky to have been able to do this play as part of my “work”; I found it enormously satisfying and very arousing.
The first scenario was Kelley's fantasy. She plays the matron in a girls boarding school, and I'm a school girl who's caught masturbating in her dorm room. In this extremely kinky boarding school, the rule is that if you are caught with your fingers in your knickers, then you have to receive a spanking and anal punishment. So Matron takes me over the knee in my school uniform, stuffs my creamy knickers in my mouth, and she violates my bottom with the toys kept especially in my nightstand for the purpose. Wow. It’s a testament to Kelley’s skill that she made me come just from playing with my butt - in fact, I ended up squirting all over her lap, so that was completely gorgeous. By the end of that scene, I was kind of mush. But we did it all over again for Dreams of Spanking.
I've had a fantasy for a long time of a Mummy/boy scenario where I'm being punished and dominated in a way that challenges gender stereotypes. I’m in boy mode, and she tells me “Oh you think you're such a tough boy? You're my little boy. Boys can cry, and I'm going to give you something to cry about.” It’s about challenging the tough guy identity and disrupting masculinity by subjecting me to very humiliating - and very erotic - degradation.
My initial fantasy was a strap-on scene, with me thinking “I’m a man, so I don’t get penetrated”, but then I’m shown my place and pegged by Mummy. Kelley said she didn't really wear strap-ons, but that we could do it with toys.
My appetite for punishment got me into trouble again: I brought my largest dildos with me for this scene. Well, you only live once. I was already warmed up from the matron scene, so I thought, let’s go for it.
I played Kelley’s butch boyfriend who gets into trouble for ignoring her and being rude and disrespectful. She dominated me with spanking and anal punishment, which included opening me up and stretching out my asshold with an anal dilator, and then fucking me with my biggest dildo. It was about her showing me that I don’t have the right to act like an entitled dickhead: I’m not a big guy, I’m her helpless little horny butt slut who loves being fucked. And boy, do I love it. She made me come again, and the whole experience was incredibly horny.
After that I really was mush. I wished I could have stayed for a couple of hours just cuddling and enjoying the afterglow, but I had to pack up and get home.
It was a whirlwind of a day, doing some really self-expressive, kinky stuff on film with two people who I've been meaning to shoot with for Dreams of Spanking for a very long time. I hope we'll get the chance for Round Two at some point this year, and I'm thrilled to have these scenes to share with you.
I urge you to go to Kelley's Clips4Sale and keep an eye out for the matron boarding school scene that we shot together, because I think that's going to be well worth watching.
I came home feeling bruised and spaced out after two long days of shooting and spanking. Luckily, between our wonderful childcare provider who is themself kinky, and my partner, I was able to get the aftercare I needed without neglecting the kiddo. I was glowing from that day for the whole of the Christmas break, and felt very grateful to be able to have these wonderful experiences in the course of my work.
Thank you, Kelley and Stephen: both consummate spanking professionals and wonderful people. I hope we get the opportunity for many more future collaborations.
You may have noticed that here at Dreams of Spanking we’ve been doing some moving and shaking. We’re working on a site upgrade that will reflect how we have evolved over the last decade, and we’ve increased our schedule to bring you a new release every single week! We hope to continue doing the same and more to fulfil your spanking desires. Here are some of the new releases we’ve brought you in the first month of 2021.
Our Family Name // audio story // Pandora Blake - You were never the best of students, and over the years you’ve been in plenty of trouble with teachers and parents alike. That was all well and good, but suddenly you find yourself faced with a whole new humiliation: you’ve had to re-start your A-Levels, and suddenly Little Miss Perfect Prefect, your own younger sister, has been made Head Girl! So now, apparently, your discipline and reformation has become her problem…
Momma Sha Spanking // film with screengrabs // Cleo Divine, Sha Luciana - In this latest addition to our Guest Directors series, little Cleo is in big trouble - and this time, Momma Sha won’t be taking any of her excuses. She might wriggle and protest, but it’s high time she got the OTK spanking that’s coming to her. When it turns out Cleo isn’t even wearing underwear, the punishment really begins to escalate…
I’d Better Do It Myself // film with screengrabs // Pandora Blake - Naughty sixth former Pandora Blake knows she’s earned a punishment - but the Headmistress isn’t there! Keen to avoid getting into even more trouble, she takes matters into her own hands…
Jayda’s Self Spanking // film with screengrabs // Jayda Blayze - If you’re a self-spanking fan, you’re going to love this one. Jayda warms herself up beautifully before working through a fantastic collection of implements - a rubber spoon, hairbrushes and bath brushes, even a heavy paddle replete with holes for extra sting. By the end her gorgeous bottom is a glowing red, warmed and beaten.
To keep up to date with Dreams of Spanking releases you can join our mailing list where we send out free clips, HD images and exclusive news.
Politics is awfully serious these days, isn’t it. Where once we had the camp, satirical Yes Prime Minister, now we have a neverending chain of Serious Dramas on Netflix filled with objectionably ambitious people who never laugh at themselves - and there’s little enough room for laughter in real life politics at present, either. If you’re mourning the days when there was space for brevity in our tumultuous political landscape, we’ve got the film for you; The Party Whip is a comedy piece in a hallowed British tradition. Nobody laughs at us as well as we laugh at ourselves - and if there’s a good solid flogging involved to boot, well then, more’s to the better!
Or so MP Lana Moon seems to think, anyway. Despite Pandora’s best efforts as Party Whip, the traditional heavy flogging with leather tails doesn’t quite seem to tame her; doubtless she’ll be stepping out of line again just as soon as she can.
And that’s the hottest thing about this scene too, actually - the barely-restrained glee of our Honourable Friends. There’s a lot of hot fantasy to be had in a reluctant spanking, of course, but I love the eagerness Lana has here. “I didn’t realise politics got to nudity quite so fast”, she says, slipping out of her red leather dress. Pandora raises a manicured eyebrow in response. “Well”, she replies, dripping with disapproval. “It wouldn’t if you behaved yourself.”
This wry, joyous approach to punishment is made even clearer in the behind the scenes special we’ve released alongside the main film. Lana and Pandora clearly had a great time shooting this, even when trying to navigate the complexities of shooting porn in a post-COVID landscape.
It would be easy to let the Januaryness of everything get you down at the moment, here in the midst of another national lockdown - so let The Party Whip cheer you up a little. It certainly did the job for me!
As we continue to navigate the pandemic, we're thinking about how to produce new spanking content while keeping our cast and crew safe. Is there such a thing as a COVID-safe set when you're shooting spanking porn?
Towards the end of last year, we spent three days filming. One was during the November lockdown and the other two were just before Christmas when we were in Tier 4. Even during lockdown it's legal to travel for the purposes of work if you absolutely can't work from home. My job was to comply with the guidelines to make our indoor workplace as safe as possible.
What does it mean to run a COVID-safe porn set?
Firstly, it means being careful with our behaviours and activities in the days leading up to the shoot, and being transparent with each other about our risk exposure and activity level. Fundamentally, how much activity feels okay before the shoot is up to the cast and crew. This isn't about me prescribing an organisation-wide policy, but about fostering communication between the people who are going to be sharing space, so that everybody in the room is comfortable.
It means preferring to work with people who drive rather than take public transport, to minimise risk exposure.
It means maintaining social distancing wherever possible. When somebody is over your knee of course this isn't possible, but the rest of the time we can maintain a safe distance. Crew can distance from performers.
It means ventilating the space. That might mean having a window open at all times and cranking the heating up to compensate. And we can open the windows wide between scenes to blast as much air through as possible.
It means people wearing face masks if they feel safer doing so.
Face masks in porn
This is a controversial subject. I did a Twitter poll a little while ago asking how people felt about seeing face masks in spanking videos, and I was actually reassured to find that the majority of respondents felt that safety was sexy, and that they were happy to see facemasks in a porn film, because then they can feel comfortable that the performers aren't being placed in undue risk, and are only having as much contact as they're comfortable with.
However, I know for a lot of people, porn is an escape from the real world. I understand if viewers don't want to be reminded about the pandemic when they're watching a fantasy. I also know that for many viewers facial reactions are important, and face masks can make a scene less erotic.
There's no pleasing everyone, and I suspect preferences will vary from scenario to scenario as well as person to person. In some films, a face mask might be a lot less intrusive; in others it might feel more of an impediment, depending on where the emotional charge in the scene comes from.
Dreams of Spanking is founded on principles of consent and performer-centric production ethics. We also try to make films which are aligned with our values in one way or another. I think we have a role to play in modeling good practice. I wear my mask when I'm going to be in contact with people outside my bubble: if I ever go to the shop or if a tradesperson has to come into the house. We won't beat this virus until everyone takes the same level of care. Porn is fantasy, yes, but it can also play a part in normalising mask wearing and making it sexy.
Plus, facemasks open up possibilities for all sorts of hot scenes. How about medical scenarios featuring sexy nurses? Or historical scenes set during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic? When the masks are part of making the setting more believable, it can add to the fantasy rather than intruding on it.
We need to talk
What safety protocols are needed on a given shoot is really up to the people who will be taking the risk. There are lots of things to consider.
I won't shoot with anyone if they've shown symptoms or been in recent contact with someone who has. But other considerations are up to the performers. How vulnerable or susceptible do they feel they are personally, and how at-risk are the people in their bubble? How immune are they - have they had COVID? Have they had the vaccine? If so, how recently? Finally, how big is their bubble, and how porous is it? Can they name everyone in it? Do they know the risk exposure and activity level of everyone they share contact with?
For example, two people who both work from home and socially distance in all other situations will present a lower risk to others than someone who's got a child in school or nursery, or a key worker who can't socially distance at work. COVID safety isn't about me as the director laying down the law, but about asking everybody involved in a shoot to be honest with each other and make an informed decision.
It's similar to the conversations we have before having sex. Before having sex with someone new, or directing a sex scene, the people involved need to talk about their sexual health history, and share any relevant information about their risk factors. They might talk about previous infections, recent sexual activity, and the date of their last negative test result. Armed with this information each individual can then make an informed, consensual, risk-aware decision about how to proceed.
As we navigate this pandemic, we need to talk to each other. This is true in every scenario where we might share air, not just porn sets - but as directors and producers, people making porn have a special responsibility towards the people we employ. As adults we're allowed to take risks if we all agree, but it's crucial that this is done consciously and intentionally - and when money comes into the equation, especially during a time when sex workers are struggling for work, there's a power balance to be aware of. I don't want anyone to feel pressured to shoot in an unsafe way because they feel they need the money. So my job is to create a permissive space which encourages and normalises strict safety protocols, so that performers know that they aren't under pressure to take undue risks.
It's not possible to live a completely risk free life. Following the government guidelines isn't enough to stay completely safe - early years childcare settings remain legal, although they are a significant transmission risk. For myself, my policy is to only take risks that are essential or extremely valuable - wanting to see my friends isn't sufficient reason, but keeping my business above water is. All of us need to inform ourselves about how the virus spreads, and be upfront and transparent with other people about the choices we're making. Who have we seen lately? Have we gone to the shops? Have we sat indoors with someone and talked? What are our childcare arrangements? Who's come to the house lately? Who have the other people in my bubble seen? If performers are going to be working together, all this information needs to be exchanged.
Testing and self-isolating
One option we're considering going into 2021 is suggesting that performers test and self-isolate before shoots. But this is a big burden. Tests cost £100, and in order to give a useful answer you need to isolate for three days before taking it, and then continue to isolate until you get your result and go to the shoot.
If someone lives alone or in a closed bubble, self-isolating might not be a big deal. But for someone who's got a child attending school or nursery, or one member of the bubble works outside the home, it might not be possible. And the expense is a significant one, whoever pays it.
So with all that in mind, as we continue to shoot in 2021 we may sometimes need to mask up.
Does this mean that everything we produce this year will be masked? No. Does this mean we'll stop shooting entirely? Also no. We're planning to shoot, and in a way that keeps our cast and crew as safe as possible. Yes, we have already shot some face masked scenes, which you can expect to see over the coming weeks. Depending on who we're shooting with, sometimes it will be necessary, and sometimes it won't.
Let us know your thoughts! Do our safety precautions sound good to you? Is there anything we haven't thought of? And how do you feel about the idea of face masks in spanking porn? Our first scene with masks comes out this weekend, and we look forward to hearing what you think!