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Inside the circle

Seani Love and Ron Beastly hold hands and look in each other's eyes at Dreams of Spanking

A BDSM scene can be a great many things. Sometimes it’s a bubble of fantasy, a roleplayed world in which the participants get to be lifted entirely out of their own minds. Other times it’s a microcosm of a particular relationship, a particular dynamic - an exploration of the connection between two people that belongs only to them.

In Conscious Kink, it’s something else again. For Seani and Ron this was a new experience; neither of them had performed on camera before. The scene they created together was a collaborative, almost sacred space, with every inch carefully negotiated between themselves.

Ron Beastly is in rope bondage at Dreams of Spanking

This film is a deep dive into that space, and into the connection it developed between the people inside it. We get to go on the journey with them - from their first discussions about what they might use their play together for, through to the beginnings of their aftercare as they decide it’s time to wrap up.

It’s a totally different look at kink and BDSM than many of our films here. It’s a very raw, real experience: you can really feel your way through Ron’s shivers under the impact of the blows he asks for. It also gives the viewer a chance to learn a little something about how to play with conscious kink - and how to create deep, mindful BDSM experiences of their own.

You don’t say ‘please’ when you’re the mistress

Pandora Blake kneels on all fours for their new Mistress Lana Moon at Dreams of Spanking

The concept of a tyrannical dominant who runs a stable of auctioned submissives is a staple of the BDSM genre. In many of its iterations it follows the same few tropes: the participants are mostly straight, with perhaps the occasional bit of ‘play bisexuality’ thrown in as part of getting people out of their comfort zones; they’re overwhelmingly cis, with the only gender-non-conforming elements coming from cis men who enjoy the French maid role as submissives; most of the characters involved are white, especially the dominants. There’s also often an element of reluctance, with some of the submissive characters feeling in over their heads or in some way coerced.

Many of these tropes have their place. We’re huge fans of people being able to play out their fantasies in consensual, negotiated ways, and we certainly don’t shy away from themes of coercion and reluctance in our fictions here. Still, though, we like to do things a little differently when we can.

Pandora Blake is spanked on their bare bottom by Mistress Lana Moon at Dreams of Spanking

Goddess Lana’s New Slave is our latest addition to this canon, and it turns several of the usual patterns on their heads. Blake’s butch, submissive character is clearly eager to be where they are, and has very obviously enjoyed their rule-breaking spanking - there’s a delicious frisson of naughtiness to them as their reddened bottom is revealed, and they’re clearly eager to find out what their new Mistress’s reaction will be. Lana is gorgeously imperious and utterly femme, parading her latest acquisition aroud the room and pondering on all the fun she plans to have with them.

Lana Moon’s films are always fun to watch, and this is no exception - whether you’d rather be helping her keep her favourite steeds in line or joining them in their grabbable leather harnesses, you’ll enjoy this sojourn in the Mistress’s house.

The centre of attention

Kelley May spanks Becci Belacqua at Dreams of Spanking

Kinky people talk about headspaces a lot. It’s the word we’ve come to use to describe someone’s frame of mind as they play: are you taking a sadistic pleasure in your partner’s kicks and gasps, or trying to coax them into a state of genuine euphoria? Are you offering up control to a dominant presence you’re aching to serve, or do you want them to take it from you in a battle of wills? There are as many headspaces as there are fantasies, of course, and every set of play partners has its own dynamic.

One of the core truths of healthy, consensual BDSM is that the exchange of power is more complex than it seems at first glance. Ostensibly one party is in control and the other has surrendered it - but in truth the experience is collaborative, and the submissive partner is usually the real centre of a scene. The deeper into your headspaces you are, the more real your fantastical scenario becomes.

Kelley May kisses Stephen Lewis as Becci Belacqua watches at Dreams of Spanking

Becci’s character in this week’s film is a perfect example of that collaborative creation of a dynamic and a space. The whole surprise was their idea: they suggested to Stephen that he bring them into date night as a present for his partner, and throughout they're clearly very into the story the three of them are telling. They've chosen a state of mind in which they deeply wants to please them both, and the submission they're exploring is of the eager, adoring sort.

In real-life play that’s one of my favourite headspaces to be in, so it’s exciting to see it depicted on camera. Kelley and Stephen - who are an offscreen couple as well as frequent co-stars - nurture it beautifully, strict and sensuous by turns with a wicked gleam in their eyes at their more sadistic moments. And Becci - who is the true centre of attention here - has been an excellent surprise for them both.

A scene straight from our bedrooms

Pandora Blake is naked on the bed, legs bound, as Sarah Gregory leans over them at Dreams of Spanking

This week’s offering is a little more sexually explicit than many of our films, and it’s all the truer for it. We love to explore fantasies and fictions here - the name of the site is Dreams of Spanking, after all! - but one of the hottest things about this release is how realistic it is: this is a real scene between two real people, exploring their bodies and their desires together as any two kinksters on a BDSM playdate might. I particularly loved the way the two of them talk to each other as they play; Sarah’s tone as she tells Blake just what a slut they are is deeply compelling, and there’s a gorgeously aroused edge to Blake’s response as they squirm in their ropes.

Pandora Blake is naked on the bed, legs bound, butt plug in as Sarah Gregory spanks them at Dreams of Spanking

The very horniest thing of all, though, is the stunning crescendo at the end of the film. You can really feel the intensity of Blake’s orgasm, and frankly it’s a pretty impressive feat - the timing is impeccable, and I certainly don’t have that level of control!

This isn’t a fantastical scenario in the way many of our films are. There’s no costuming or backstory, and our performers are playing themselves. It’s more like a slice of life scene - if your life was incredibly filthy and meltingly hot.

One can but hope...

On the wonders of aural sex

Paddle, flogger and dice at Dreams of Spanking

I’ve always thought there wasn’t enough audio porn in the world.

Partly that’s down to my own particular set of, er, ‘interests’. I once came just from someone talking me into it, no physical touching required, and I’ve always harboured a deep-seated interest in submissive hypnosis - I could write an essay on the wonders of a chatty dominant!

It’s not just that, though: it’s also because audio erotica lets you get lost in your own mind like nothing else does. Much as I prefer radio soaps to their televisual counterparts (because on radio the pictures are better), aural porn is as close as it gets to a two-person solo experience.

In-ear headphones help a lot with this. They sound like the speaker’s voice is right inside my own head, and that feeling has been a powerful element of some of my most memorable sexual experiences. Even when you’re alone, with audio porn there’s no barrier between you and the fantasy at hand; there’s no bright screen to keep an eye on, no variably-formatted text to squint at on your phone. You can invite the story into your mind and let yourself get lost in it.

One of the things that makes porn difficult - both to create as a performer and to find as a consumer - is that everyone wants porn that is exactly their thing. Cis men are usually the assumed viewer, especially if one’s interests run primarily to the femdom end of the spectrum (I can’t really be the only queer female sub who wants to watch femdom stuff, can I?) - and even when that’s not a problem, most of us still want to find porn where the performers are our physical ‘type’ and the setting is one that resonates.

None of that matters with audio erotica. I’m especially fond of scenes like our recent Snake Eyes where the story is essentially a monologue; the submissive is never described, never gendered, never referred to other than as “you”. The encounter could be taking place anywhere - a dungeon, a castle, your own bedroom. Zak, with her calm, commanding voice, could be anyone you wanted to put yourself at the mercy of. This is a story of random factors and precise paddling that comes tailor-made for any subby spanking fan who listens to it.

I get that humans tend to be highly visual creatures, of course, but goddamn - sometimes, I just want someone to whisper into my ear.

Pardon me, but my straight privilege is showing

Author’s Note:
I’m going to do something I try to never do when I write: I’m going to preface this article. I wouldn’t usually, but the material is personal and incomplete and may seem a bit rambling and disconnected. However, I suspect that I’m not alone in the questions and conclusions that I’m mulling over, so please bear with me and hopefully there’s a kernel or two that resonates or contributes to a bigger conversation. 

When I set out to watch Fetish Fvckdolls 2 (which if you haven’t watched it, I’d encourage you to do so at your earliest convenience) I wasn't expecting it to be a big deal. I’ve blogged here before about how watching porn that’s “not your usual taste” or incongruent with your own desires is interesting and can be enlightening. I was pretty sure that a collaboration by queer and trans performers like Fetish Fvckdolls 2 would be just that: interesting, but not my cup of tea. 

Why? Well, I’m a straight-identifying, dominant-leaning cisgender woman who almost exclusively watches gay male chastity porn. Specific? Yup. And really kind of a world away from transfemme submission, which is the overarching  main theme running through the four vignettes in Fetish Fvckdolls 2. You can see then how I might have thought that my interest in the film would be purely academic. Interestingly, it was not.   

River Enza at the mercy of Goddess Kyaa and Dominic Rystan at Dreams of Spanking

Now, I’m not here to say that this film changed me, nor should the incomplete epiphanies on sexuality that I’m sharing here be mistaken for me jumping on a bandwagon. Neither of those are true. What does feel true, is that I’m feeling really aware of my straight privilege after watching this film. 

If you’re a straight person and that term makes you uncomfortable … I feel you. But it should make you uncomfortable. Privilege is a pervasive and dangerous thing when not acknowledged. Honestly, how two-dimensional of me to discount a film like Fetish Fvckdolls 2 as something that couldn’t touch me, something that I wouldn’t be able to identify with! How ridiculous and heteronormative of me to presume that I wouldn’t relate to these scenes. If it was mainstream lesbian porn (you know, the kind performed by cis women for the straight male gaze) would I have been so dismissive? Probably not, because I’m a straight woman who has had sex with other straight women and I’m blisteringly aware of the weight of the male gaze. But I presumed that I wouldn’t relate, or be aroused, by this. 

Confused and intrigued, I discussed my bias with my husband, who has recently (or in his words: finally) self-identified as asexual. He watched part of Fetish Fvckdolls 2 with me and commented immediately that he hadn’t even noticed that the performers were trans until the fourth vignette because he was witnessing them as human beings, rather than sexual fantasies. I was surprised by that, because for me transfemme visibility is the point of the project. He asked what would make a film like Fetish Fvckdolls 2 more “my kind of porno”. I didn’t have an answer because I was processing that actually, this is my kind of porn.  

Confused? Me too. 

Chelsea Poe sucks Pandora Blake's strap-on at Dreams of Spanking

How could I think that gay male chastity porn is more relatable to me than porn that has trans women at the heart of it? Am I secretly kind of a bigot? But I know and love so many queer and trans people! Am I not as straight as I thought? Maybe, but that’s not the primary concern for me. The concern is that even though I think I know so much about sexuality, it turns out I don't know as much as I thought. 

Yes, yes, we like what we like. The heart/loins want what they want. But it’s becoming evident to me now that the shackles of straight privilege (ie: never having to consider your sexuality or have it challenged, because it’s the cultural default setting) are just that: shackles. 

What Fetish Fvckdolls 2 taught me about myself is that heteronormative thinking is limiting because the definitions are so static. “Straight” doesn’t leave much room for variety. Any “exploration” within straight sexuality is expected to be episodic, or at the most, a phase. So when, as a “straight” person, I watched this film, it was a bit dizzying to not see the performers as fantasy objects, and to relate to them on a human level. It revealed to me things I hadn't known before about how objectifying my gaze tends to be.

Fetish Fvckdolls 2 is radical and fresh. It puts trans women at the center of each encounter. Not only are they the subjects of their own experience, they are shown in willing and delighted submission. Not here the degrading porn tropes that cast trans women as exotic freaks with hard cocks, or strip them of autonomy - no, the trans women in Fetish Fvckdolls 2 are very clearly represented as the people they are. Full stop.

Cookie Cosmos submits to Rae Cosmos at Dreams of Spanking

I learned that my erotic appetite, regardless of whom I choose to get frisky with, is essentially about the treatment and experience of the people involved, not the combination of bodies I see on the screen. I began to reflect on what turns me on and what turns me off in adult entertainment: it’s not the bodies at all. It’s the dynamics. I haven’t ignored trans porn in the past because it was trans. I've ignored it because when it’s badly done, it’s so likely to be dehumanising.

Fetish Fvckdolls 2 has been made with such smart and mindful intentions by everyone involved that the sexiness absolutely transcends all notions of genre and the limitations of what I thought I could be into. I  watched the film three times. It’s 90 minutes long. It took me almost 5 hours of watching this film and then more time processing the experience for me to begin to get my head around these personal biases and blindspots. 

What I have learned from Fetish Fvckdolls 2, what I’m so glad to begin to understand about myself, is that I like porn because I watching people fuck. Not just men, not just straight people, not just cishet couples. What I don’t like in porn is mindless and narrowly conceived narratives, and hegemonic control of my gaze. I’m not comfortable knowing that I have been a contributor to that mindlessness, a cog in the wheel of a cultural and artistic system that holds people back, misrepresents them and strips them of humanity, no matter how subtle the effect seems to be. 

Having realised that, I want to do better. I know that I won’t always get it right, but only good can come from growth and empathy. And besides, if nothing else, a whole new world of porn just opened up to me, so if you’ll forgive me, I have some catching up to do … 

Audio porn that's a delight for the senses

Audio porn is such a wonderful invention. You can curl up (with your hands free!) close your eyes and enjoy listening to Pandora Blake’s lovely voice narrating a naughty story just for you - like this one by Spanking Theatre.


Image from Instructed, another sexy spanking scene centred around a letter.

Message in a Bottle is an alluring story that pulls you in and stimulates your imagination. It’s a sexy little mystery with a wonderfully devious twist. We hear a tale of punishment for the previous night’s misdemeanours. It's hot, and oh so carefully delivered (the story, I mean - although the punishment is that too). This spanking audio story teases with a delightful mix of sensory deprivation, touch, anticipation, pain, taste and the pleasure of wanting.

We begin with a mystery letter. The recipient has been ordered not to open it until she is told to do so; hoping to be able to sneak a peek, she turns the envelope to find the same warning on the reverse. She has to sit through boring work meetings wondering what the letter contains; what promises or torments does the letter hold? When she is finally given permission to open it, the anticipation of the unknown shifts to the eagerness of arousal, and she spends the rest of her work day distracted by the instructions she has been given.

The description of her naked wait with senses deprived, perfectly builds the same expectation in the listener as in her. I love the way the writer has managed to convey the build-up of emotions, the careful detailing of the indiscretion she is now being punished for, and the lesson that is being delivered in the punishment.

A game is played. The picture that is painted in words of the rich scent of wine is heady and almost intoxicating. You are on tenterhooks waiting for her guess of the age of the wine, you can almost taste the mouth-watering aroma - and that’s when it happens… 

I won't spoil the twist for you, but this erotic audio story tantalises in more ways than one. Give it a listen - it's a sensory delight on so many levels, and if you're anything like me it will arouse your imagination as well as other things.

The anticipation before the drop

We are thrilled to have sex blogger HornyGeekGirl, an erotica author and self-proclaimed spanking enthusiast, as a new contributor to this blog. Please give her a warm welcome!

I love wax play. Delivering it, I love the feeling of joy at every little squeak and wiggle your partner makes. I especially love dripping hot wax onto a freshly spanked, flogged or caned bottom. Receiving it, there's the split-second sting of the heat as it hits, that lovely warming feeling as more is added, and then the sheer pleasure of it being picked, peeled or scraped off. It’s delicious.

Hot Wax starring Tai Crimson and Pandora Blake really captures the deliciousness of wax play. Right from the first photo, we see Tai’s smile of anticipation ... which turns to slight trepidation when Pandora pulls back her hair to whisper in her ear. Then there's the small smile on Pandora’s face as she lights the first candle. You can really feel the tension as Tai awaits that first droplet of hot wax. 

Tai Crimson and Pandora Blake play with hot wax at Dreams of Spanking

For me that anticipation is half the fun of wax play, and this image shows that perfectly. It’s the deep breath before the first stinging drip falls. I like the symmetry of being able to see a profile of each performer’s face. They both seem to focus on the candle, even though I know Tai probably can’t really see it.

Tai's face is a study in this photo gallery. There is something almost blissful in Tai’s expression as Pandora drips the first trail of colour from higher up, which changes to lip-biting pain as the wax - and the heat - get closer to her skin, until the wax leaves pink heat marks on her upper back.

Tai Crimson and Pandora Blake play with hot wax at Dreams of SpankingTai Crimson and Pandora Blake play with hot wax at Dreams of Spanking

I love the dynamic between the two of them. The comfortable ease expressed in Pandora’s gleeful enjoyment of Tai’s pain, and the total trust Tai shows even when wax is being dripped in very intimate places. Which brings me to the other hot thing about this photo gallery. After all that build up, the pay off is a sequence of incredibly naughty photos as Pandora teases apart Tai's bottom checks, tantalising her with the idea of hot wax being dripped into that most sensitive spot... and then lands drop after fat drop right onto her exposed hole. That range of photos made me wince and wiggle, and witnessing Tai’s pleasure at the pain really appealed to the domme side of me that likes to hurt people just the way they like it.

Tai Crimson and Pandora Blake play with hot wax at Dreams of SpankingTai Crimson and Pandora Blake play with hot wax at Dreams of Spanking

The final two images in the set are the perfect finish. It's lovely to see the two performers basking in the afterglow of the scene they’ve just shared - and it's clear from their faces that they loved every minute.

Tai Crimson and Pandora Blake play with hot wax at Dreams of SpankingTai Crimson and Pandora Blake play with hot wax at Dreams of Spanking

Orgasm control and what feels natural

A couple of weeks ago, when I had the pleasure of introducing you to Zak Jane Keir and Charlie Forrest’s style of loving dominance, there was something pretty significant I was holding back: the ending.

Part one was a gorgeous sensual spanking – with all the kissing, touching and caressing that makes me fall in love with spanking videos that feature real-life BDSM play partners. But I was also itching to tell you about part two…

I held back from revealing too much of what (and who) comes in part 2. There are so many moments of hotness: Charlie’s straining erection, aching desire, and that subtle gasp-moan as he tries not to come. Sometimes it’s hard to hold back, but I managed it, so today I get to talk to you about the second part of Zak and Charlie’s scene, and the beauty of orgasm control.

Femdom orgasm control in Please, Mistress at Dreams of Spanking

Orgasm control is one of those kinks that I feel everyone must understand. Regardless of whether they participate in it, the key lust triggers are things that most sexual people have experienced at some point in their life. The look on the face of someone who is desperate to orgasm, or the throbbing sensation in your own cock or cunt as you’re balanced precariously on the edge. At points wondering if you’ll be able to restrain yourself or you’ll just explode everywhere.

The second part of Charlie and Zak’s scene captures all of this – much of it through Zak’s eyes. We get her point of view, looking down or up at Charlie’s face as he bites his lip. We get lingering, delicious close-ups of his cock, which is rock-solid and twitching in anticipation of permission.

“Please may I come, mistress?”

That phrase is loaded with so much – especially in light of the playful way Zak’s been teasing Charlie with her hands, mouth, and breasts. It’s not just a polite request, or a ritual, or an impassioned plea: it’s also performative. Charlie knows, even in the moment when he’s so turned on he has to rush to get the words out all in one quick breath, that he has a role to play too. His role is to come exactly when – and only when – Zak allows it.

Femdom orgasm control in Please, Mistress at Dreams of Spanking

But the beauty of Zak and Charlie’s style of loving dominance is that orgasm control doesn’t have to follow the strict (and samey) roles that you’d expect from mainstream porn: he begs, she says no, he comes anyway, she beats him. Or from a Top 10 Ways To Dominate Someone advice guide: tease, deny, let him come explosively, then reward him afterwards. No, Zak pushes Charlie through one explosive orgasm, as he moans and screws his face up at the cathartic feeling of pleasure and failure. And then… she comforts him and consoles with the same soft words and gentle admonishment that you’d expect from a partner who knew their lover well.

Orgasm control is often something that you think of in one particular way: we know the rules and how it goes, and expect certain things. But Zak and Charlie have a natural flow, and their natural flow seems to come not from a standard checklist of things to do or say, but from what feels utterly right to them in the moment. Yesterday Charlie wrote an incredible blog post – about belonging and not belonging, and how his experience shooting porn with Zak and Pandora made him feel.

“I felt indestructible after that, a feeling that what we'd done was something I could be truly proud of. I was filled with the idea of a sort of defiant vulnerability, if that makes sense? Because in that moment I was utterly unapologetically me. Not the cleaned up compromised presentable version, but me as I am.”

Femdom orgasm control in Please, Mistress at Dreams of Spanking

Defiant vulnerability is such a brilliant way to put it. The way Charlie looks when Zak pushes him through his first orgasm, and even as she contemplates wringing a second out of his trembling body. I won’t spoil the surprise as to whether that happens, because the incredible thing about Zak and Charlie is that whatever unfolds, it all feels natural. From the initial teasing and sensual spanks right through to orgasm – somehow not what you expect, but so perfect that when it happens you know it’s exactly right.

Sorry, I’ve gone on about it there in probably far too much detail when I’m sure you’re itching to just watch the awesome, orgasmic scene already. Like I said at the beginning, though: sometimes it's hard to hold back.

Shooting in a cinematic style - the story behind our new film 'Houseboy'

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?

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

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.

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

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. 

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

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.

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

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. 

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

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.

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

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.

In conclusion

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.

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