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Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting a Spanking Site

In many ways, running Dreams of Spanking has been much as I expected. It’s a lot of work – definitely a full time job for one person (although it takes a few years to build a site up enough that it can pay a full time salary!)

Pandora Blake Dreams of SpankingIt’s also great fun - particularly shooting, which is still one of the best things I ever get to do. In fact I love it so much that I shoot far more regularly than I need to, and already have enough footage in the bank to last into 2014 – and I’m about to shoot again in September, for a week!

I knew both these things before I started, so no surprises there. However, it’s been a steep learning curve with plenty of mistakes along the way – and some things I didn't expect.

Here are the top ten things I’ve learned since launching Dreams of Spanking in December 2011…

1. People don’t really buy porn on a Monday. I don’t know why. The busiest days of the week for new signups are Friday and Saturday, with most people sitting down to indulge in a bit of kinky porn when they’re off work at the weekend. For the same reason, public holidays see a spike in memberships too.

Dreams of Spanking by Pandora Blake2. Few things have improved my life as a spanking video producer more than setting up my own printer at home. It sounds silly, but it’s true. All those release forms, call sheets, props lists… I used to have to go to the stationery shop with a pen drive, pay a few quid and hope they wouldn’t look too closely at what I was printing. Now I can print at home, as late at night as I like, and every time I do it feels like a liberation.

3. I hate making trailers. Editing video is great fun, but for some reason preview videos are the thing I put off doing more than any other. It just seems so complicated, fiddly and off-putting – even though I’ve been making a trailer a week for the last 20 months. I don’t make it easier for myself by trying to create cinematic trailers for every single web clip, but when it comes to promotion I generally think the more previews, the better. Weirdly, I find making long trailers easier than making short ones. My ideal would be a pacy, dramatic 30-45 seconds per trailer, but I seem to struggle to cut them down below 1-2 minutes. Still, the folks on SpankingTube never complain!

Dana Kane spanks Michael Darling4. Switch scenes are surprisingly popular. Yes, including male/female switch scenes … which I hadn’t realised no-one had ever done before. I’ve accidentally invented a new genre, how about that? Plenty of people have told me no-one wants to see men and women swapping roles in the same scene, but my members love it – and so do I.

Likewise, I was pleasantly surprised to learn how many people appreciate my attractive, youthful male performers with good acting abilities. It’s not just ladies and gay men – straight male viewers enjoy their contribution too.

5. Casting is both more important, and harder than I expected. You can be working with the most talented actors in the world and if you cast them in the wrong role, they’ll feel awkward and you won’t get their best performance. Which roles people feel comfortable playing can be difficult to predict, even if you know your performers well. Sometimes scenes I thought would be hard to direct flow brilliantly without any input from me; other times as soon as a scene starts, I can tell an actor isn’t enjoying their role.

Dreams-of-Spanking_spring065_thumbSpanking video is pretty much all improvised, and so the comfort and confidence of your performers is paramount. When someone really feels at home in a scene, it shines through. If I’ve hired great actors and the dialogue isn’t flowing smoothly, the problem isn’t them, but a bad casting decision on my part.

Writing and casting are complimentary skills; if you write a great scene, you need to cast it right or it’ll be wasted. But if you come up with the right premise for your performers, sometimes you barely need to do any writing at all – the scene will write itself. Trust your intuition, your knowledge of the performers, and what they say they’re into. Still, there are never any guarantees. The silver lining here is that sometimes scenes that seemed average on paper can explode into life during filming, and end up far exceeding your expectations.

Paddled in the kitchen6. Performers aren’t often late, but when they are, it makes me furious! I put a lot of time and work into producing a shoot, and take care to always be ready on time. When you’re all set up with a tight schedule ahead of you and lots to get done, nothing is more frustrating a cast member who turns up an hour later than agreed. It wastes the time of the other performers and starts the whole day on the wrong foot. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen often.

I’m ashamed to admit that before I ran my own site, when I was modelling for other spanking sites, I wasn’t always perfectly punctual. Now I know how it feels from the other side, and when I work for other sites these days, I’m always early!

7. The scenes you spend the most time preparing and planning are often the ones that don’t go to plan, or turn out different from how you expected. The ones that happen spontaneously are often the most natural and successful. Be flexible, don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your performers, and embrace the unexpected.

Amelia Jane spanked by Pandora Blake8. I was surprised to find that that female fans are much more likely to compliment my porn, leave comments, write blogposts and retweet links than they are to pay for it. In other words, women will promote my work, but they’re much less likely to actually buy it. This surprises me because I’m making films expressly for a female audience, based on my market research and on what I myself want to watch. My female membership has grown over the last year, and I appreciate each and every one of my female subscribers. But it's never gone above 25%. 

I get the impression that when it comes to internet erotica, some women are simply shy about becoming paying customers. But ladies if, you enjoy watching porn from time to time, why not treat yourselves and pay for it? You’ll get better porn, you’ll be supporting the producers you like, and you’ll send a message to producers that you are a market share worth catering to. It’s a positive feedback loop that will result in more sites making the sort of porn you want to see. What’s not to love?

9. There is simply no better way to learn than editing your own footage. This is true for all the jobs involved in shooting spanking video – performance, camera work, production – but for me it’s especially true of directing. There’s nothing worse than reviewing footage and cringing to see yourself communicating ineffectively with your performers, getting stressed, or bickering unprofessionally with your other half. Pandora Blake caned in the stables

Staying calm and cheerful, retaining your sense of humour, and communicating instructions clearly, accurately and courteously, is a big part of a director’s job. Managing your emotions and manner under pressure is harder than you think. There is no sharper learning curve than sitting down in the editing suite and having to watch yourself get it wrong. You can guarantee that next time you’re shooting, you’ll take care not to make the same mistakes again.

10. You don’t need loads of expensive equipment to create quality spanking video. You can pick up a HD video camera for under £200 these days (mine are both Canon Legria HF200s). When I started out I only had one, plus a £100 pair of softbox video lights, a standard home PC, and some friends who are good at photography.

Pandora Blake Dreams of SpankingYou don’t need to spend thousands of pounds on camera equipment to get good results. What’s important is creative storylines, an eye for attractive locations, and above all, good performers. That means both being able to spot people with potential, and being so fun to work with that they want to come back.

I think this might be my number 1 tip for aspiring new producers:

Your performers are your most important asset. Treat them accordingly.

Earn their trust. Be organised and efficient – don’t waste their time. Go out of your way for them. Feed them well. Consult their preferences, write scenes that match their tastes and interests. Respect them, and give them space to express themselves.

Never lie to them, try to manipulate them, spring surprises on them, or ask them to do anything that will make them feel uncomfortable. This is important not only because it’s basic good manners and ethical business practice, but because it will improve the quality of your product.

Treat your performers like gold, and your videos will be golden.

Pandora Blake boudoir nude

This article was originally published at The Cherry Red Report.

Comments

Love your site.......and i look forward to your new videos.
Keep up the hard work!!

Thanks! I'm so behind on blogging and have been so busy with other things, I haven't even blogged the previews from my last two shoots yet. Must get caught up!

Question

Hi Pandora,

Interesting post, I never really thought about what it takes to put together a spanking film. Curious, do you ever use (or get approached by) actors or actresses not into spanking?

Sometimes I see a film or clip (not here, btw) and the spankee reactions make me wonder if they're really into it.

Just curious. :)

M&S

Hi! No, I never get approached by performers who aren't into spanking - everyone who contacts me enjoys spanking or the fantasy of it. Casting is based on how good I think they will be on camera. I can't use everyone so I have a big folder of potential performers who I might contact in the future if a suitable role comes along.

However I know some other spanking sites (not many) do contact performers who aren't into spanking and offer them work. Partly to get fresh faces into the scene, and partly in the case of less ethical producers, to lend some authenticity to non-consent scenes. Although I support the right of non-spanko performers to consent to spanking scenes if they wish, I personally don't enjoy this practice. My own personal preferences is to only hire performers who are genuinely into spanking, and emotionally mature enough to have a clear understanding of their sexual interests. (In other words if I think someone is a bit young and might regret their decision later, I will err on the side of caution and not work with them until they are older).

Mind you, spankee reactions aren't always the best giveaway as many performers are skilled actors. Reputable sites will provide performer names, and ideally links to their bios or webpages. If you follow those links you'll be able to tell whether a performer is genuinely into spanking or not. Sites that don't provide this information aren't supporting a porn industry that prioritises enthusiastic performer consent, and if I were you I wouldn't give them your custom. That's just my two cents though!

Thanks!

That's really good to know. I agree that a non-spanko can consent to a spanking but something about it... I don't know. Funny that some film-makers do it for authenticity because that'd be close to a turn-off for me. I think ultimately we all want both sides of the spanking to be enjoying it. Make that, "enjoying" it. You know what I mean. :)

Thanks again!

I absolutely hear you - it's a turn off for me too. I'm only interested in watching kinky porn made by kinksters, really. The more extreme the porn, the more true that is.

Directing Spanking Videos

Hi Pandora,

I'm curious about "The scenes you spend the most time preparing and planning are often the ones that don’t go to plan, or turn out different from how you expected. " I'm wonder what aspects turn out differently than planned. Is it the dialogue and situation leading up to the spanking, the spanking itself or how much spanking is given or something else?

As a content producer myself, I find that I have sometime two conflicting urges with regards to writing a spanking scene. The artist in me wants to produce more variety in terms of the circumstances and situations as well as how the spanking is carried out. But the viewer / reader in me is interested erotically in a much narrower range of ways in which a spanking should be carried out.

I'm wondering if there's ever any dilemma about this in the way you envision and produce scenes. What made me think about this is when I occasionally browse through scenes from a number of different video producers who are all very productive, but I find it hard to find much in the way of what I would consider "simple", traditional spanking scenes. And the thought that occurred to me is that I wonder if producers fear producing "boring" content or content that is too standardized.

Keep up the wonderful work!

Best Regards,
Quai

I'm surprised at your last paragraph. What would you consider a "simple" spanking scene? Although many sites such as Spanking Sarah, Northern Spanking and Bars and Stripes put a lot of thought into original, innovative scenarios, I see all too many sites with what I would call "insert girl here" storylines, with a clichéd premise and a spankee role that could be played by anyone, because they barely have anything to do.

I've received nothing but praise for the originality of my storylines and I think for the most part, viewers want to see fresh ideas that are true to the spirit of our shared spanking kink. Any producers that try to tell you otherwise are, in my opinion, finding excuses for laziness.

"Simple" spanking

I don't think I chose probably the correct word to describe what I mean. I think I mean "traditional" (or at least that's closer). And your productions certainly do have mostly traditional spanking and an entertaining variety of story lines and scenarios.

What I think I also failed to say clearly is that the variety type that I'm complaining about (as a viewer) is different from the variety type that I enjoy. I enjoy a variety of story lines and scenarios (call it the causality factor), but not a great variety in terms of positions and implements and costuming (call it the physical factor). This, of course, is just a personal preference and I wouldn't put pressure on any producer to change what he or she likes to produce. I rather enjoy the "physical factor" variety in your productions more than I can do from other producers. I'm not sure why other than I think I tend to relate to your emotional zeitgeist around spanking and corporal punishment.

My complaint of the "physical factor" that I've seen in other content producers includes Tops putting themselves in uncomfortable and un-ergonomic positions to give spankings, bottoms standing up straight to get spankings, school girls made to get completely naked... etc etc. I'm certainly non-judgmental of other's preferences (YKIOK) , I'm just curious why it sometimes seems difficult just to find a traditional otk or a bent over something spanking that doesn't require such a heavy suspension of disbelief.

To be clear, I don't find any of the video I've seen from you to be complaint-worthy - only artistic, creative, and entertaining. I just wondered if video content producers felt a pressure to say "No, we can't just produce another otk... and shoot it from the same angles..." etc.

Keep up the great work!

Best Regards,
Quai

Ah, I think I understand you now! Yeah, I think I agree that there might be a tendency to seek out variety for variety's sake... and that that might inadvertently compromise, for some viewers, what I referred to in my first comment as "the core of the spanking kink". I'm with you on strongly preferring bent over or OTK punishments, and I don't really try to vary that - I aim for innovative storylines instead.

If I was feeling unkind I might conjecture that if you struggle to find ideas for storylines, you might aim to vary the pose, implement and so on for the sake of originality...

Mostly, I think it's foolish to be judgmental: we all like different things and one person's creative variety (eg varying bare bottom, underwear and clothes) might be another person's absolute turn off, in the same way that a stood up spanking would be for you or me. We all put emphasis on different things, that's one of the things that makes this kink so interesting. And I get heaps of comments from viewers who are disgusted by me changing something that was crucial to their enjoyment!

I don't think "OTK or bent over" are more valid things to require from spanking porn than "only on the bare" or "only clothed". In that sense, variety is the spice of life, and I try to cater to as many tastes as possible. I think it's just good luck that your tastes and mine coincide in so many ways!

I do aim to have an understanding of what I'm varying and why. My inclusion of male spankees is an absolute turn off for some, but it's crucial for my enjoyment, so it's non negotiable. With other things, where I could enjoy either option, I'm open to feedback and try to provide different things at different times. I think there are some very traditional components which are key triggers for a lot of people and I try not to vary those; but that just means I'm making porn for people who have the same triggers as me. There's nothing more "authentic" about those triggers; it's just personal preference.

Speaking of authenticity, that is definitely something we can both agree on - I prefer school scenes to have one kind of atmosphere, bedroom scenes another, and not to confuse the two (when it comes to nudity, sexual explicitness, etc). But I can't be too smug - I prefer authenticity in historical scenes as well, and am continually frustrated by the anachronisms that arise from shooting on a low budget. I'm sure that no matter how hard I try, there will still be some who think my productions aren't authentic!

love

i hope sleep with you on your bed

Bless. :)

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