I've really enjoyed the last two weeks. It's been wonderful to see so many of you re-subscribing and commenting on your favourite scenes. I've been very happy to welcome familiar names and new ones - and it's hard to tell, but I have a feeling that the percentage of female members is higher this time round.
It gives me a warm glow just to see the site back up again, and I've had great fun romping around the archive, enjoying the feeling of being immersed in familiar pages - like re-reading a favourite book after a long time.
I went to look at @DreamofSpanking just to make sure it's still there. (It is.) Feeling a bit... emotional.— Adele Haze (@AdeleHaze) June 11, 2016
Thanks for your patience, all of you, while we settle in, wipe off the dust and start firing up all the mechanisms to get this engine running again. AJ has been working morning and night keeping on top of your payment and tech support requests, and her blogpost about how it feels to be back made me shed a little happy tear. Girl on the Net has a lot on right now - in fact she's possibly even busier than I am - but both of us have been running around behind the scenes, working hard to clear space in our schedules. Bear with us while we get back up to speed. The timing of the appeal win was as much of a surprise to us as it was to you, so we didn't have any new content ready to upload when the site re-opened. I'm working on having something ready for this weekend, but if new updates are a bit erratic while we find our feet, you know why.
In the meantime, I know you've been enjoying the 274 spanking videos, photosets and audio stories in our archive since the site reopened - even though all our free content such as trailers and Backlash sponsored caning videos is cloud hosted, our bandwidth usage has been through the roof this month. You've shifted 10TB in a fortnight - and that usage is pretty much all logged-in members. That's a lot of video downloads!
So which spanking videos did our members make a beeline for, when the site re-opened? We asked our Twitter followers which of our scenes they'd missed the most. Here are their picks:
Every office should look like this! This film was Michael Darling's first ever porn appearance. I tried to help him out by getting spanked first, so he would know what was expected of him when his turn came, but perhaps the anticipation just made him even more nervous. Either way, Dana and Mike give classic performances in this elegant office punishment film, and he and I both end up with very red bottoms.
I have a lot of love for this film, which screened at Cinekink 2014 and was a milestone in my porn career - my first explicit masturbation scene and orgasm on camera. I play Tamora, a high-powered executive who copes with the stress of adult life by fantasising about being a little girl, spanked, scolded and helpless.
@DreamofSpanking houseboy! But they are all immense!— MrKink (@MrKinkUk) June 13, 2016
Where would a "best of" post be without Houseboy - the film that landed us not only the Cinekink 2016 Bring It! Award for up-and-coming filmmakers, but also the first prize in the Berlin Porn Film Festival Short Film Competition last year? I'm still ridiculously proud of this film, which brings storytelling, dominance and submission and spanking together in a tale of non-monogamy and jealousy in a queer, kinky household.
This was both Tai and Eliza's debut porn appearances; at the time of shooting, Tai identified as genderqueer, and had no objection to playing a male character for this film, which I wanted to be a female gaze celebration of submissive masculine beauty. Since the shoot, however, Tai has come out as trans, and so this film now stars not one but two trans women; a demographic all too often fetishised and objectified in mainstream porn, and erased from spanking porn entirely.
@DreamofSpanking All Carolyn Grey, ones where your butt gets it, I'd have to spend hours picking out others.— Eric Smaltz (@EricPlacer) June 12, 2016
@DreamofSpanking So many 2 mention. But stng plan , Edwardian gvrnss, Dana Kane scenes, little 10, only hs hand, Alex mirror to name few— Mr_London (@Mr_LondonX) June 10, 2016
A lot of you are Caroline Grey fans - and who can blame you? I think I agree with Mr London - my personal favourite scenes of hers are the Edwardian Governess films, starring Caroline alongside Amelia Jane Rutherford, myself and Will Savage in the second film, Invitations. Lush period costume, spanking over split bloomers, peachy bottoms glowing cherry red, and lots of authentic (and witty) dialogue from Caroline and Amelia.
I was hard-pressed to pick a fifth film for this post. All the scenes Mr London mentioned are worth watching - I considered featuring The Seating Plan, in which my fiance's sister Ten Amorette spanks me before my wedding; or Little Ten, in which Ten plays my bratty girlfriend and I treat her like a little girl, and give her a good scolding and spanking. I'm also fond of Alex's POV, an innovative point of view scene in which we aimed to capture the female spankee's perspective with the camera, focussing on the connection between Alex Reynolds and her disciplinarian, Tom.
But I picked Only His Hand because it's one of the films I wrote long before the site went live; back in the early days of preparation, when I was working my arse off trying to save up to have some shoots, and my brain was overflowing with spanking video ideas. It was particularly satisfying for me to bring this fantasy to life. Hand spankings are one of my favourite things because they have so much range; there is no better way to warm up a bottom for pleasure spanking, but that equally, a hard hand spanking is just as painful as a paddle or hairbrush - if not more so. The idea of being held firmly in place by a strong, angry teacher who is determined to give me a punishment spanking I'll never forget, and show me just how hard his hand can be, still makes me shiver. Tom executed my fantasy to perfection, and this is one of the hardest hand spankings I've received on camera. (I think the only harder hand spanking on Dreams of Spanking is Over His Knee, and only because it goes on for longer; we skipped the plot and indulged in 20 minutes of pure, unadulterated over the knee spanking.) I love the storyline for Over His Hand - the neat way that the punishment fits the crime, and the absolute helplessness of my character during her well-earned punishment. If you want to see me genuinely squirm and struggle over the knee during a hand spanking that pushed my limits, you should watch this.
Those weren't the only scenes named on Twitter - for instance, in a protected tweet Kodders mentioned Adornment, Charley Says and Bridezilla, all strong contenders for a Dreams of Spanking "best of". What scenes were you happiest to see back after our ten months away?
One thing is clear - the site being back up is bringing you as much pleasure as it is me, and I couldn't be happier to see you enjoying it.
When I was eighteen, I'd have described myself as a sexual enthusiast, although probably in a hushed voice and with a fair degree of nervous shaking. As I grew into my kinks I learned more about what I liked and didn't, but it took a long time to swallow the courage to have an open discussion about it. It was rare for eighteen-year-old me to have conversations with others in my age group about navigating things such as polyamory, spanking, and kinky sex, and as a result I think it took a long time for me to work out exactly what I liked, and why.
If I'd met someone like Eliza Grey – the stunning transgender woman who plays Pandora's established housegirl – or Tai Crimson – who plays the queer, confident new arrival – then I suspect I'd have reached that place a lot sooner.
I'd have loved to have even half the confidence and sexual understanding of Tai, who has just shot his first porn film at the age of eighteen. Tai describes himself as a (gender)queer pansexual polyamorous switch – a bit of a mouthful perhaps, but utterly perfect to describe someone so enthusiastic about exploring every corner of his multi-faceted sexuality.
Eliza Grey, who plays opposite him, is equally confident in herself and her sexuality – a proud transgender woman who radiates delight in her body and her kinks in her post-shoot interview. As she explains candidly that “You should never be afraid of who you are,” I can't help but think that a younger version of me would have benefited greatly from knowing more people like Eliza.
In fact, both Eliza and Tai are amazing ambassadors for queer, kinky sexuality, and their post-shoot interviews are the perfect demonstration of why behind the scenes material, and candid discussions with performers, are so important to ethical porn.
As Eliza says in her interview, porn can play a vital role in sex education – giving people an insight into sex, gender, and desire. Many of the topics that are brushed over (or downright ignored) in the mainstream media come to the fore in porn, where people put some of their most intimate kinks and fantasies out there for others to share. There's a whole world of difference between watching something that's formulaically created to fit mainstream ideas of what's sexy, and porn that's an expression and exploration of people's authentic desires.
At just-turned-eighteen, Tai is the youngest performer on Dreams of Spanking. When I watched his interview, the expression 'kid in a sweet shop' came to mind: he's got exactly the kind of gleeful enthusiasm for sex and kink that I would have loved to express at his age. His profile page gives an insight into the wide range of things he enjoys, including big butt plugs, bondage and prostate milking, and he's clearly a big fan of marks too. During his post-shoot interview his eyes light up at the mention of cane tramlines, and he requests a hard caning so he can go home with a few welts as a souvenir.
When I was Tai's age, the idea of having those exciting discussions would have been completely alien to me – a combination of societal shame, a lack of internet access (I didn't get proper broadband until university, so access to porn meant dodging parents and sweating over dial-up), and just plain shyness I guess. I certainly didn't have positive, proud role models like Tai and Eliza.
Please do go and watch the post-shoot interviews that accompany Pandora's cinematic new spanking film Houseboy. Not only are Tai and Eliza both so lovely that I couldn't help grinning all the way through their interviews, I think they're also fantastically eloquent ambassadors for BDSM.
It's ironic (OK, more than that – frustrating? Appalling? Fuck-off-worthy?) that one of the reasons ATVOD targeted Dreams of Spanking for censorship was that the films were deemed too 'TV-like', because they included interviews with performers and behind the scenes material. Leaving aside the fact that it's rare for a TV programme to include this kind of stuff, to my mind backstage video is vital to any porn that wants to be taken seriously. Not only does it give you a chance to meet the performers, satisfy yourself about their consent, and find out more about their kinks, it also opens up the discussion. When it comes to sex one of our greatest mistakes is our failure to talk candidly about it. If I could go back in time, one of the things I'd like to tell my younger self is this:
“There are other people out there like you.”
At its best, getting this message out to those who most need to hear it is exactly what porn can do.
What was your experience of kink when you were younger? Have you met people during your kinky life who've given you the same kind of positive messages as Eliza and Tai in their interviews?
Sometimes if we want progress, all we need to do is hvae a conversation – and I can think of no better people to start it than fantastic, kinky ambassadors like Eliza, Tai, and the other amazing performers who feature on Dreams of Spanking.
Our new film Houseboy is a departure from the usual videos on Dreams of Spanking - and most other spanking sites. This is our first attempt at a cinematic short film, aiming for a higher standard of cinematography and storytelling than we are usually able to achieve. I wasn't planning to shoot this way from the start - it came about from a convergence of factors that created the perfect opportunity to try something new.
Casting Tai Crimson
It started last year, when I met an enthusiastically kinky and ridiculously cute young person from San Francisco. He was gorgeous, he loved spanking - he could certainly take it - and he expressed an interest in shooting for Dreams of Spanking. He wasn't old enough at that point to perform in porn, but I said that once he turned 18 I'd be very happy to work with him. We made plans to shoot together when he was next in the UK - which happened to be May 2015, less than a week after his eighteenth birthday. How's that for a coming-of-age celebration?
I normally prefer to work with kinksters who are a little older, simply because I value emotional maturity and experience in the people I shoot with. I think the common fetish for "barely 18" performers in porn is partly based on the idea that young performers are vulnerable, and so it's easier to take advantage of them and push their limits. I find this sleazy and totally unethical, and I'd always much rather work with older players who know their own minds and are able to look after themselves. It's important to me that the performers I hire can take responsibility for their own limits and communication, are experienced enough players to know their bodies and their preferences, and are secure in their decision to appear in fetish porn - because once you've done it, there's no going back.
When I met Tai, however, he exploded all of my preconceptions. Although a teenager, he has a rock solid sense of his kinky identity, and he's been exploring his interest in private for years. He is calm, confident, intelligent, self-reliant, and very emotionally mature. So at eighteen and a few days, Tai officially beats Talia Lane to the position of youngest performer on Dreams of Spanking - and yes, we do have his ID on file to prove it!
We put a date in the diary, and meanwhile Tai and I exchanged emails discussing his interests and preferences. But by March this year, when I needed to start firming up plans, I already knew that ATVOD were investigating Dreams of Spanking and that I was likely to have to stop updating the site for a duration of several months while my appeal was underway. I had lots of scenes already shot starring Fauni, Mike, Talia and David and others which I wasn't going to be able to publish, so there was absolutely no point spending money and energy shooting more material that might never see the light of day.
Towards a cinematic style
Meanwhile, I'd attended the British Fetish Film Festival in February and the Berlin Porn Film Festival last October, and I'd been thinking an awful lot about shooting styles, production values, and the budget and time constraints under which I was shooting.
Over five years I have developed a shoot style that produces one 10-15 minute spanking film per hour, in a remarkably stress free environment, with plenty of breaks. This is based on improvised scenes filmed live by one or two handheld camera operators, with perhaps some close-ups or cutaways to enhance anticipation in the build up to the spanking scenes, but otherwise shot with as few cuts as possible - unless the performers themselves need to cut. Lightweight, consumer-grade cameras make handheld shooting manageable without the camera operators getting too tired, and using auto-focus allows us to get visual variety by roaming around the scene shooting different angles, rather than stopping the action to reset each shot.
This non-disruptive shooting style allows the performers to get into an immersive scene space and stay in character, which helps the roleplay flow more smoothly, and also helps the bottom stay in their headspace and makes the spanking itself easier to take. It's a system that Nimue and I have got down to a fine art, and I was pleased that we'd reached a point where we could create nice-looking films within budget, while maintaining a relaxed and fun shoot environment for everyone involved.
The downside of this low-key shooting style is that the resulting films would never achieve the cinematic quality that I was seeing at the film festivals I was going to. I'd had a couple of films rejected from international festivals, presumably because the videography, audio quality and storytelling wasn't up to scratch. I found myself wanting to level up, and see if with a bit more money, time and effort, I could raise my production values and put Dreams of Spanking on the map as a credible producer of cinema-quality films.
So rather than hire Tai for a day shooting a number of improvised ten minute website updates, I decided to use him to do something different. I booked amazing boudoir photographer Matt Christie to help out with the videography - he'd expressed an interest in shooting video last time we shot together, he has a commercial-grade camera and he also had access to an amazing location perfect for the scenario I had in mind.
I started penning ideas for a single 10-15 minute short film. Not five films, or six films, or seven. Just one.
Developing the story
With Tai, I had an articulate and gorgeous masculine-of-center performer with a submissive streak a mile wide, who loved being spanked. I thought about the films I was seeing at festivals, and the lack of beautifully-shot female/male BDSM films shot from a female perspective, with a male submissive who is both beautiful and interesting, and not just a cipher propping up a sexually objectified female dominant. Instead of this I wanted to make Tai the lust object and protagonist of the film, focussing both the lens on his body, and the story on his character's journey.
I started with a fairly traditional plot - a young man applying for a submissive role in the household of an established mistress. I brainstormed ideas for visual storytelling, thinking about ways to focus the storyline on the tension and anticipation Tai's character feels before he takes the plunge towards fulfilling his submissive desires. I considered ways to create an interesting power dynamic between his character and mine. I quickly realised that I'd need a third performer, another submissive serving the mistress - someone to make his arrival at the house feel more formal and more intimidating.
I'd already talked to my friend Eliza Grey about having her on set as a shoot assistant, helping out behind the camera (she had planned to be with us on our shoot in November, but had sadly been unable to make it). I realised she'd be perfect for the role of a bitchy receptionist, enhancing Tai's nerves before his interview with the Madame... and once I'd cast Eliza, the rest of the story fell into place.
Writing the script
Ten days before the shoot, I was hurrying to finish the script on my laptop on the train. I'd never written lines for characters to say before, and I was finding it surprisingly difficult. I'd write a line, then agonise over it. What if Tai doesn't feel comfortable saying that? What if that's not what Eliza would say? I've always made a political point of not putting words in my performers' mouths, and suddenly that was what I was literally doing. At the same time I was all-too-aware that they were going to need to memorise their lines, and time was running out.
I closed my eyes, wrote some lines telling myself they were only placeholders, and sent it off with an apologetic email saying this was a very rough draft, and inviting them to make any changes they wanted. But my anxiety proved unfounded. In the end, bar one wording change, that script was the one we used - and Tai and Eliza rocked it.
Working with a storyboard
A week before the shoot I was on D's sofa after a fetish party, scribbling a 'storyboard' in biro on A4 paper from his printer while my friends chatted around me. After writing the screenplay I had a strong visual image in my mind's eye of what most of the shots would look like - now it was just a case of creating a visual reference so I could communicate my ideas to Matt on the day. I'd visited Matt's location a week ago, so the rooms were fresh in my mind. It was a useful exercise to think through camera angles and compose the shots, but I'm pretty sure it was the crappiest storyboard anyone has ever worked from. The most hilarious of my terrible stick figure drawings was this sketch of Eliza being spanked over my knee and feeling sad about it:
Professional production all round, innit.
The day of the shoot
The shoot day approached. I bought food and props, looked up travel options, packed suitcases, selected implements, printed scripts and release forms. Shortly before the day I realised that I'd inadvertently booked our shoot on the same day as the London Marathon, and the location we were using was only one block away from the route. That meant that not only would transport potentially be disrupted, but the exterior shots would all have a huge amount of background noise. Still, at this late stage there was nothing to be done about it. I booked an 8am taxi, the traffic at that hour was fine, and I was on set at 9am. Matt and I drank coffee and looked through the storyboard, then Tai and Eliza arrived - and it was all go.
Shooting from a script was a totally new experience for me, and a steep learning curve. I'd worked out the best shooting order, shooting the story in as close to chronological order as possible while minimising room and lighting changes. After that it was just a question of staying calm, following the callsheet and taking it one shot at a time.
I was using an external mic for the first time, and was grateful to have Eliza helping out and sharing the responsibility for making sure the mic was a) close enough, b) not in shot, and c) recording each time. She was also an absolute star helping out with moving lights, checking camera batteries and memory cards, making tea and tidying up behind us. A+++, would work with again. Plus it turned out she could seriously act...
It was a full day, perhaps a bit too full - nerves started to fray after a few hours, and everyone was feeling tired by mid-afternoon. The shoot would definitely have been easier with more camera crew or fewer scenes to fit in. After a few hours, Matt noticed a round smudge in the middle of the lens, and wiped it off - but of course there wasn't time to go back and re-shoot the shots we'd already done. By the time we came to shoot the confrontation between Tai and Eliza in the kitchen, everyone was so tired that that scene took about seven takes. Some of the shots ended up out of focus, and we got through so many cans of tonic that I was worried we'd run out!
Editing the film
Still, despite all that, when I came to look at the footage I was pleased to discover that most of it looked how I'd expected. There were a few surprises in the edit - such as that moment when I realised the reverse shot in one dialogue scene crossed the line and was therefore unusable, and was suddenly grateful that we'd shot three angles of that particular scene, even though at the time it felt like overkill. It was a monster of an edit, but satisfying too, sorting through all the footage, plugging it into place, and seeing how the scenes I'd envisioned in my mind played out on camera.
Choosing the music was another daunting prospect - I knew I wanted to avoid re-using the same creative commons soundtracks that you hear time and time again in indie porn, and that meant spending money. But how to start looking? First I worked out where music was needed - in the intro sequence, the montage, and the closing credits, which meant I needed two or three pieces in total. Then I did a rough edit of those sequences so I had a vague idea of how long the music would need to be. After that, I set a day aside to browse SoundDogs, typing in different keywords and playing pieces with my eyes closed, visualing the film, until I hit on a genre that felt right. I realised that for this story my usual taste in piano and cello-dominated classical and film score music wouldn't work - Tai's character needed something moody and masculine, guitar-led, energetic and driving. Finally I whittled down a selection, downloaded some samples and started laying them over the edit to see what worked.
Primarily, this film was intended to be screened at film festivals - which meant that the narrative would have a different structure than standard spanking films. In a film intended for someone to watch while having a wank, you need a carefully paced build-up and pay-off that sustains uninterrupted shots of climactic spanking action for long enough for the viewer to reach orgasm. In a longer film, there might be two of three of these build-ups and climaxes, separated by character-driven story. But at a film festival, the audience are watching to have their minds stimulated, not their genitals. Fast-paced editing is preferable, providing lots of new visual information with every shot. Explicit sequences need to be edited down to the bare minimum necessary to develop the characters and progress the story. So that was a new challenge: cutting the 15 minutes of high quality spanking action in, for instance, Tai's audition scene, down to the three minutes earmarked for it in the festival edit. The only way I was able to do it was by promising myself that I'd release the full, uncut scene as an extended edition on Dreams of Spanking later. But meanwhile the deadline for the Berlin Porn Film Festival was June 30th, so I had to get the shorter edit finished first...
In the end, thankfully, it was finished in time to submit to Berlin, and I'm hopeful that they'll accept it. I'll be submitting it to various other film festivals over the summer as well. I'm really happy with the finished film, and completely honoured to have been trusted with Tai and Eliza's porn debuts - and thrilled that they had a good time.
And that's a wrap!
It was a really long shoot day. We finished the scheduled shots around 7pm, 10 hours after I'd arrived on set. But then we cracked open the champagne and ended up chatting and buzzing on a total high, which led to another two hours shooting performer interviews, and even a behind the scenes caning for Tai when he confessed he still didn't think he'd been spanked enough...
By the time we finally turned the cameras off, sat down for some supper and tidied everything away, the sun had gone down - and it was 11pm before I finally got into a cab. Matt and I had been on set for fourteen hours, Tai and Eliza for thirteen. I am so grateful to the three of them for their enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism. It was a long fucking shoot and everyone put in so much energy and creativity it was kind of overwhelming. Overall, this production cost ten times as much as an average Dreams of Spanking video, but even so I still came away feeling like I hadn't paid people enough for the amount of work they'd put in.
Overall, this was a very satisfying project, and I'm really happy to have it under my belt. But it also taught me a lot about the trade-off that arises when you move towards a more cinematic shooting style. My previous method gave my performers more breaks, less stress and a much more satisfying kink experience. Shooting Houseboy, we did the bare minimum of spanking needed to get the shots I wanted - and stopping to move the camera, check the focus and lighting, consult the storyboard every few seconds made it hard to get immersed into a satisfying spanking headspace. I'm glad I hadn't scripted any particularly hard spanking scenes, because I think severe corporal punishment would be much more emotionally and physically challenging to take in this context.
I hadn't realised it before, but shooting in a more amateur style results in a much more rewarding experience for the performers - with more opportunity for top and bottom to develop an in-scene chemistry, focus on each other rather than the camera, and time for the bottom to sink into a yummy submissive headspace, without constant distractions.
So what can I take away from this? Well, I've learned that shooting in a cinematic style is something I can do, and that's good to know. I've learned that it's hard work, at least ten times as expensive as my usual shooting style, and considerably more time-consuming to produce and edit. It's also exhilarating, exhausting, and very creatively satisfying. I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave it a go, and I'm hopeful that the finished film will be screened in Berlin this year. But I've also learned that I don't want to start shooting this way every time. Perhaps I might be able to put out one cinematic film a year, but this experiment has restored my faith in my usual low-key way of shooting, which it turns out is preferable experience for me and my performers - and a much better environment to ask people to take hard spankings in. Our standard Dreams of Spanking shoots emphasise process over product, and trying something new has re-affirmed my faith in that process.
You can watch the long-play trailer for Houseboy below - and if you're a site member, please watch the full film and tell me what you think - and make sure you also check out the extended editions of Tai's and Eliza's spanking scenes, performer interviews and Tai's off-the-cuff behind the scenes caning.