There are a great many ways to be submissive. Some subs and bottoms are eager to please, keen to do anything their dominant partner might enjoy; others are mischievous or bratty or even reluctant, misbehaving on purpose or feigning ignorance of their misdeeds. Most inhabit all of these roles at some time or another, according to mood or circumstances or desire.
Carlos Green’s character in this week’s release is treading the line between bottom and brat, both craving a spanked backside and not wanting to give in to a punishment he’s not sure he deserves. And in the end, that’s a winning strategy for him - because he not only gets himself rosy and paddled, but also leaves with the promise of further punishment once he’s shown some repentance.
I reckon he’ll come round in the end, of course. Who wouldn’t, if it earned them another spanking from Pandora Blake?
Remember our recent Guest Director release The Credit Card? If you need your memory jogged a little, it’s the one where the stunning Sha Luciana gets her incredibly spankable behind roundly warmed by her husband Pharaoh, following his discovery of her latest credit card bill. I’m sure you remember it anyway, of course; a spanking like that is hard to forget!
Anyway, when that came out we promised you a little something more to follow - and we always keep our promises. This weekend we’re excited to announce the release of some exclusive behind-the-scenes footage that gives us all a chance to get to know Pharaoh and Sha a little better - and see some more of her perfect bottom, too.
This film is amongst the most intimate and personal footage we’ve released here on Dreams of Spanking. The beauty of Pharaoh and Sha’s content is that everything you see is real; most of their films show punishments Sha would have received whether the camera was rolling or not.
There’s a casual, conversational tone to the whole clip, and they really make you feel like you’re hanging out with them listening to them chat. They’ve also got a special surprise in store at the end - what do you reckon Sha’s getting punished for this time?
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.
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.
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.
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 …
After a quiet year, I have some big news.
I’m stretching my creative wings again with some new queer porn collaborations. Last weekend I filmed a scene with Courtney Trouble and Chelsea Poe with me and Chelsea performing together, which was a dream come true. I have a massive porn crush on Chelsea and we had so much fun. Our scene was (of course!) very kinky and involved butch/femme dynamics, spanking, flogging, makeouts, Chelsea making me squirt everywhere with her fingers and tongue (she kept asking me to cum on her tits, which I’ve never done before - it was very horny) and me sitting on and fucking her face with my cock until we were both drenched in jizz. Chelsea had to hop in the shower afterwards to rinse my cum out of her hair. It was so great to connect with her and I hope we get to work together again.
Courtney, who was our videographer, was so great to work with and made everything super easy. They were warm, sweet and welcoming, delightfully enthusiastic about my gender expression, and helped me get over my nerves. I stopped getting regular pre-shoot anxiety ages ago, but it was a bit scary shooting with two porn icons whom I’ve admired from afar for years. I’m so so glad to have worked with them both and can’t wait to release the finished scene, which is a collaboration and will be distributed through QueerPorn.tv, Dreams of Spanking and other channels.
It's coming. And so are we...
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.
Since Dreams of Spanking launched, I've been impatient to edit and release The Victorian Brothel. I chose the image of me over Tom's knee, wearing bloomers and a corset, as the homepage header image back when I designed the site in the summer of 2011. I always intended to create a rotating gallery of images on that header, showing a wider variety of scenes, but somehow I never found time.
I was incredibly proud of this film when we shot it. This was my second ever shoot as producer/director, a day with Zille Defeu, her husband Duncan, our friend Jay, Tom and me. The first Dreams of Spanking shoot had just been me, Jay and Tom. Those early shoots were a steep learning curve for me.
Until The Victorian Brothel, every scene was a crash course in new aspects of filming that I had to work out from scratch. There was a lot of stopping and starting. Trying to juggle the mental demands of directing with the physical and emotional challenges of bottoming on camera, I found it hard to avoid getting stressed. But The Victorian Brothel was our final scene of the day, and it was the first scene I'd produced that felt like it went well at the time. With Duncan, Zille and Jay behind the camera, Tom and I got into character and the roleplay flowed. It felt as natural as the roleplay scenes we played in private. Trusting our friends to capture our live improvisation, I was able to immerse myself in the scenario, get fully into character, and surrender to the beating without having to balance that headspace with other, more technical concerns. As a result I was able to take a much harder spanking, paddling and caning than I usually can while performing/directing, and I was really happy about it.
That was over seven years ago, in early December 2009. The reason I didn't edit this film before the site launched, along with the other two scenes we shot that day - Caned in Jodhpurs and Liberated Ladies of the Jazz Age - is simple. The Victorian Brothel was originally written as part of a series of films entitled The Adventures of Molly Brown. I'd written several episodes of it; this was the fourth chapter in the story. I hadn't had a chance yet to shoot episodes one to three, but the shoot with Zille and Tom was a perfect opportunity to shoot the episode in which my character meets his for the first time. I very much intended to shoot the others at some point, however; and I wanted to wait and release them in story order.
Sadly, I never got a chance to film the backstory. Episodes one, two and three fell by the wayside. And when I realised that the age verification policy in the Digital Economy Bill was going to put a cut-off point on my ability to keep the site alive in its current form, I finally accepted that I wasn't going to get the chance to shoot them any time soon. Meanwhile, I'm trying to release as much of the content I care about while the site is still legal in the UK.
So Molly Brown's story starts here: with her first appointment with a new customer in Mrs Slater's brothel. An urchin who grew up in the streets and the workhouse, Molly was sent out to work for various undesirable trades, but somehow always found herself sent back to face the the steely glare - and the hard leather strap - of the beadle. When Mrs Slater turned up to see if he had any new girls for her, he packed her off to the brothel - and Molly's life entered a new chapter.
Scrubbed to within an inch of her life, Molly began her transformation into a girl Mrs Slater's customers might find appealing. She earned her share of licks from the madame, too; but it was nothing compared to the beadle's strong right arm. When Mrs Slater saw how well Molly took her punishment, she thought to send her to one of her more eccentric clients, a gent with a predilection for administering corporal punishment to the plump bare bottoms of comely wenches. Molly lacked the elegance and accomplishment of other girls, but she was resilient and quick-witted, and Mrs Slater saw the potential to train her up to please her more unusual clientele.
Molly took well to Mrs Slater's training, and was finally declared ready to meet her first customer. But although Molly is no stranger to taking a beating, she still is not particularly inclined to behave submissively. Sparks fly between her and the gent as he tries to bend her to his will, and her quick tongue and stubborn nature get her into more trouble than she'd bargained for.
So that's Molly's backstory. You never know, it's not impossible I might be able to shoot the previous episodes sometime in the future - although perhaps I'll look too different by the time the stars align, and I have affordable access to the venues and cast I need. In the meantime I think this scene stands well enough on its own. Although I can tell you now that the next chapter has also been shot, and will be released in the coming weeks, starring myself, Tom, and a new character played by Leia Ann Woods...
Coming back to this film to edit it, seven years after it was filmed, was a weird experience. Tom and I split up three years ago, and it was very strange to watch us on camera. I almost felt like I was watching someone else; and yet in other ways seeing us together all those years ago felt very real, and very personal.
I remember writing this scene for us to play. Although Tom plays a very overbearing, bullying character, and to the uninitiated perhaps this scene might be edgy enough to seem non-consensual, I can tell you for certain that this scenario was my fantasy, and performing it was an authentic act of self-expression. But it was fascinating and somewhat dissonant to watch this recording, a piece of my own personal history, and reflect on how much has changed since then.
There are some aspects of this film that I would definitely do differently nowadays. For instance, the way that Tom's patriarchal character throws around the word "whore" makes me wince, now, as an advocate of sex workers' rights who is fighting against stigma and whorephobia. These days I would seriously consider before I took on the role of a historical sex worker, but back then I didn't think twice.
Editing this, I had the opportunity to reflect on how far Dreams of Spanking has come - not only politically, but technically. The Victorian Brothel was shot before I knew to record audio separately from the cameras, or to use face lights. It was a frustrating edit in some ways, as I struggled to salvage a legible soundtrack from two cameras that both had audio isses - one picking up a lot of wind noise (from where I have no idea, given we were indoors), the other plagued by mechanical clicks and whirrs from the operation of the camera. But I feel like I've managed to massage it into a shape that communicates my vision, hopefully without too many technical distractions. I hope you'll forgive any that remain.
For me, the power of this film comes from the interaction between the characters. It's a hard corporal punishment scene, both physically and emotionally - the intensity brings me/Molly to tears towards the end. But not only is the spanking itself severe, the atmosphere of the scene is rife with tension. The scenario unfolds as a battle of wills between a cruel gentleman with particular tastes, and a spirited wench who doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut. I certainly took more strokes, and harder, than if Molly Brown had been submissive than rebellious. But I loved it.
Life has moved on since Tom and I filmed this scene. We are no longer together, and there have been many changes for both me and Dreams of Spanking. But this film holds a special place in my heart. It shows what Tom and I did best - hard, accurate spanking that pushes me to my limits, quick-witted dialogue, sparks flying between two strong characters, and Tom's trademark brand of elegant, articulate dominance.
When I filmed this scene, it seemed to encapsulate everything I wanted to achieve with Dreams of Spanking: immersive roleplay between real life partners, lush costumes and locations, and imaginative historical settings with a quirky sense of humour and a rich attention to detail. That was why I chose a still from this scene as our banner image - and why, although much has changed since then, I'm still very pleased to share it with the world.
Despite containing nakedness, over the knee spanking and hard caning, there is something almost innocent in these images. Maybe it's the Victorian setting, or Pandora's white flouncy underskirt. Whatever it is, it really gives this scene a romantic air that I love. It's a sort of nostalgia for a time I only know from books and films.
The Victorian Brothel starring Pandora Blake and Thomas Cameron is a gorgeous sepia photoset that manages to perfectly capture a sort of mentor/protegee experience. I think the slightly cheeky but nervous smile on Pandora's face as she looks up at him is one of the things that make me think of the asymmetrical power dynamic between a strict teacher and student who is eager to impress.
There is an innocence in the photos of Pandora as a Victorian wench getting ready to meet (and please) her new client. I love the image of her kneeling at his feet; the way her hands are tucked under her bottom, and she is looking at the floor but still turned towards him, and the smile on his face as he sits relaxed. It holds possibility; his hand resting on his knee looks like all he has to do is lift a finger and he will be touching her breast. It’s powerful; charged with sensual tension but not overtly erotic…and despite not being submissive, I find I can’t decide if I want to be on the floor or in the chair.
The sequence of photographs where Pandora is showing herself off for Thomas is fascinating. There is an air of confidence but also uncertainty. It conveys the feeling that she is proud of her body but not quite sure if the person she is showing off for approves. Even when she is laid over his knee she seems confused by his lack of apparent response to her charms - which makes her reaction to the first spank so delightful...
I love the careful way Thomas explores her; lifting her skirt, parting her white bloomers, stroking her bum, and skimming past her more delicate area before teasing with a finger, as if he is testing her readiness. The way he lines up the paddle while Pandora tenses, her face crunched as she prepares for the first impact of leather.
I think my favourite image in this set is the one of the cane impacting on Pandora’s bare bottom. The pose, composition, the way the heels lift her bare bottom, and the stocking tops frame the ‘impact zone’. I love how the cane is pressing into her flesh, bending slightly with the force of the stroke. Plus, it is a very lovely bottom, especially with that pattern of bruised stripes across it. It’s an image I have gone back to more than once.
Finally her punishment is over, and Thomas gathers Pandora on his knee. There is something really sexy about the way Pandora bites her lip as Thomas bites her nipple. The way he has her arms pinned behind her back just adds to the feeling. This is a really hot image, that gave me all the right kind of shivers. The film that goes with this photoset has just been released, and I can't wait to watch it because I think it will be hot hot hot.
The last image in the set reminds me of those collectable cards you used to get in cigarette packet, of the sexy ladies in their underwear. It has that air about it, Victorian pin-up perfection.
This is an elegant, evocative photoset with so many beautiful images in it. Which is your favourite?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.