If you enjoyed the lavishly detailed, dreamily fantastical nature of recent rediscovery Ms. Howard’s Little Girl, you’re in for a treat: Tammy’s Shame is an equally intriguing companion piece, featuring the same characters and a few new developments.
Like its counterpart this is an intense, edgy film, depicting a scenario that in any real institution would be completely beyond the pale. And of course that’s a lot of what makes it hot: the indomitable Ms. Howard is a force to be reckoned with, and her labyrinthine ruleset seems intentionally designed to produce slip-ups and misbehaviours from Tammy and the other girls in her care.
If you’ve ever wondered what’s really going on in the dream sequences in our much-loved spanking hit My Inner Little Girl, then Tammy’s Shame has the answer. We mentioned at the release of the first part that this is where those clips came from, and this film contains most of that footage - so watch out for the bits you recognise, enjoy discovering the ones you don’t, and picture yourself at the mercy of this inexcusably strict Housemistress’s guideline.
As spanking aficionados ourselves, we like to feature a wide range of implements in our films. Bare hand spanking and canes are probably our most-used tools, of course, but we’ve got a bit of everything: paddles, belts, riding crops, floggers, hairbrushes, tawses, rulers and the occasional wooden spoon.
There’s something a bit special about leather, isn’t there? It has a certain smell, a certain texture. New leather is polished and stingy, but with age and use a leather implement becomes softer and more supple and packs more of a thud. The pointed ends of a tawse give a sharp, sudden kind of pain; the click of a belt-buckle before a beating adds a frisson to any encounter.
A razor strop is a flexible leather strap designed for the polishing of blades. They’re a little archaic now in the age of disposable razors, but once upon a time you’d find them hanging on every bedroom wall - in easy, convenient reach. Many of them have a metal loop on the end to make them easier to mount; ours doesn’t, for safety reasons (the bite that would add when spanking would be actively unethical), but it still has the classic polished wooden handle.
There’s a very particular feel to the razor strop. Leather paddles are heavy and rigid; tawses have split tails; belts tend to be much narrower. A strop is broad, flexible and supple, often soft with age and use but no less punishing for it when applied to the backside.
Rebecca Belacqua hadn’t experienced one of these until this week’s shoot - and she seems to take to it pretty quickly. She kicks and squirms beautifully, both performer and character wriggling and wincing under Kelley May’s hand. There’s a lovely moment in the backstage extras where Kelley mentions how much she’d been enjoying her co-star’s reactions; “I kept having to remember that I’m her mother in this scene, I can’t look at her like that!”
I, too, have always loved being beaten with leather - so I particularly took to this scene, and should you share my predilections I’m sure you’ll agree.
Can we take a moment here to talk about Miss Kelley May?
She’s never filmed for Dreams of Spanking before, but she’s been around in the scene for a while - and it shows. Her Dreams debut is a tour de force, the picture of discipline in a figure-hugging pinstripe dress. She knows exactly how to control her strokes with the heavy wooden paddle, leaving Pandora’s bottom red and stinging with minimal force.
Kelley is curvaceous, stern, scolding and sadistic, and I have immediately developed an enormous crush on her. Frankly she can paddle me any time she likes. (Um. Please?)
Pandora of course shines every bit as brightly as her new co-star in this week’s film. As is so often the case, one of the best things about her performance here is her facial expressions: the sense we have that she’s blasé about her punishment at first and then increasingly concerned as she begins to realise what she’s let herself in for.
In the end, she really is paddled and humiliated to her core - and I reckon she’ll think twice before cutting loose at a work dinner again.
A fetish is as unique as the person who enjoys it. Within the broader terms we use to describe what we’re into - spanking, humiliation, ageplay - there are all kinds of specifics that belong only to us. What do you long to be spanked with? Which words most get you going? Is there a particular kind of school uniform or other clothing that turns you on to wear, or see others wearing?
Our latest release, ‘Come Here Young Lady’, is a custom-made fantasy for one of our viewers. I don’t know exactly what they requested (only Pandora does; your privacy is important to us!) but there’s a lot to love about this film: so much of what makes it hot is in the small details, the way Pandora makes the viewer feel like they’re being undressed and scolded and shamed. It’s also of course an F/f ageplay scene, which regular readers of the blog may have noticed is right up my street!
If there’s a particular fantasy close to your heart that you’d like to see Pandora bring to life, everything you need to know can be found on our new customs site. In the meantime, head over to our newest release to let Pandora - and her favourite spanking slipper - put you right in your place.
In the current circumstances, audio stories are a good way to get a fix of naughtiness discreetly. Just put in some headphones and enjoy an intimate spanking fantasy, direct to your eardrums.
Bare That Bottom, Boy is an immersive little tale of domestic discipline and bare bottom spanking. And this fantasy is dirty. Pandora Blake plays a young and wicked stepmother to you, dear listener, in the role of a young man badly in need of discipline. Pandora slides from stern disciplinarian to teasing sensualist. Her "it's-for-your-own-good" strictness is spiced up with hints of tantalising, forbidden pleasures to come.
This story plays on the theme of erotic humiliation. Any subs with a taste for taboo naughtiness will find themselves squirming with anticipation.
As someone with a fondness for consensually mistreating cute young men, I personally found myself identifying more with Pandora than with her victim, but that made me enjoy it all the more. I could envisage myself participating in the ritualistic removal of skin-tight denim jeans, baring a pert, vulnerable pair of buttocks, all ready to be reddened by a good, hard spanking.
Fun though it is to relish the subtle touches which let you know there are naughty undercurrents to spankings and punishments, there are times when it’s even more fun to be explicitly filthy. The delightfully spiteful refinements Pandora proposes to include in this punishment gave me a few ideas to put into practice the next time I get someone cute and willing over my knee...
Before we go any further I should warn you that The Abusive Therapist is a severe spanking film. It is an edgy fantasy direct from the kinky imagination of spanking starlet Tai Crimson. Here's the scene description:
Tai plays a vulnerable young woman struggling with anxiety and intrusive thoughts who begins a course of therapy. She soon finds herself mentioning her spanking and humiliation fetish - but she isn't prepared for the reaction of her therapist, Pandora Blake. Pandora recommends a course of 'corrective therapy', based on the idea that Tai's ideation about being spanked only persists because she doesn't really know what it feels like. Once Tai understands that in reality, spankings hurt and there is nothing sexy about being embarrassed and punished, Pandora declares that Tai will be 'cured'.
Once Tai is thoroughly humiliated, Pandora takes her over her knee and raises her skirt, giving her a no-nonsense firm hand spanking to show her what it really feels like. As the punishment progresses onto Tai's bare bottom, Pandora becomes ever more sadistic. She applies the stingy, vicious bath brush to Tai's cheeks with vigour, punctuating the spanking with a lecture about how sick and disgusting Tai is for fetishising spanking. Pandora makes it clear that she will continue to administer this type of aversion therapy until Tai gets over her 'perversion'. Ultimately, in this humiliation fantasy, is it the patient who is perverted, or the therapist?
Please note that this comes with emphatic trigger warnings for kink-shaming, stigmatising language, and emotional and physical abuse of a vulnerable character by a mental health professional.
DIsclaimer: there is nothing wrong with having a spanking fetish, and this is definitely not how therapists should behave.
I was quite nervous about watching this scene, because while I am dominant I am not really comfortable delivering humiliation. It feels wrong, especially when it involves shaming someone for their kink. The idea of watching this film definitely put me outside my comfort zone. When Pandora (as the performer not the character) admitted how difficult she found it, I could really empathise. However, I should know not to worry when watching a Dreams of Spanking production, because this is really well done. This roleplay is very much led by the performers, and clearly shown that it is done with full consent (and a fair amount of enthusiasm from Tai).
The main film is book-ended with cuts of the performers laughing and joking behind the scenes. For me this really helped, and eased a lot of the concern I had about this type of humiliation. Seeing Tai having a great time before the in-character bit begins helped me relax and enjoy the film as a hot fantasy.
Tai has such an expressive face and a few times the camera zooms in on her expression. I loved the way she tries not to show her joy and excitement about the prospect of being spanked, but sometimes the mask slips and we see the arousal on her face. At one point Pandora tells her that only sick little perverts have the thoughts she does, and I noticed Tai let just an edge of a smile slip through. I found this film truly fascinating to watch because of these glimpses of Tai's enjoyment, and because of the energy in the roleplay. The way it all comes together feels very respectful, but at the same time very realistic.
Pandora does a great job of making the therapist a believable (and horrible) character, despite the outrageous and untrue things she is saying. The spanking is convincingly hard and very accurate, and Tai’s bottom bruises beautifully. It starts with hand spanking, and moves through a few spanking implements finishing with a vicious split-tailed tawse. The final close-up of Pandora with a slightly evil looking grin on her face, stroking the tawse while watching Tai leave the room, is perfection and finishes the scene perfectly. If you enjoy humiliation play I think this is going to be a must-watch film for you.
I have decided I love audio porn. It’s like bedtime stories for grown-ups; all that’s missing is the “are you sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin”. They are perfect for curling up in bed and listening in blissful solitude; whether you’re looking for kinky inspiration for your own partner play, to inspire sexy dreams, or just to stimulate you in the moment. Pandora Blake’s voice is a perfect balance between throaty arousal and moderated calm.
Lucy’s Punishment by Rosie Bower is a delightfully naughty audio spanking story about a schoolgirl who fantasises about being punished by her teacher, Mr Roberts. She decides to make her fantasies reality, and sets about pushing all her teacher’s buttons until she gets what she wants. When her provocation has the intended effect, and he loses his self-control and tells her to see him at the end of school, she spends the rest of the day in a cloud of anticipation.
However, punishment is never what we expect it to be, and when Lucy’s begins by her being made to list her crimes she realises she might be getting more than she bargained for. She is told to lift her skirt, pull down her knickers, and count each stroke. I really enjoyed the part when she finds out that forgetting to count out loud means that she has only extended her punishment.
There is a delicious moment when something in her shifts, and she begins to truly enjoy the humiliation of her punishment - especially when Mr Roberts ups the ante by bringing in other unseen teachers to watch her be caned. She is held in the moment by the pain of each stroke, but at the same time finds herself drifting into fantasy; imagining what else she wishes they were doing.
The glimpse into Mr Roberts' thoughts when Lucy asks for that last stroke of the cane is beautifully done. It gives a window into all the possibilities that might have been, from the perspective of the person who is truly in charge of this situation, in a way that Lucy’s idle fantasies don’t.
When we share Lucy’s thoughts before she makes herself request one more stroke of the cane, it is as if we are somehow watching her evolve. She finds a maturity that involves realising and taking responsibility for her sexuality, her provocative actions, and her sexual future. It really added something to the story, turning a lovely sexy tale into something that sparks something more in our imagination.
This lovely - and very hot - schoolgirl caning story is a perfect candidate for audio porn because it involves so much imagination and fantasy. It's easy for the listener to imagine themselves in the story; although whether you relate more to Lucy or Mr Roberts is up to you.
I wasn’t sure how I would get on with audio porn. As a writer, part of me loves the idea because I’m all about the sexy words - but I know I can be quite fussy about audiobooks. It’s all about the person reading them, the voice giving you the words. The wrong tone and the story is ruined. With the right voice though, it can be a wonderful experience. Audio porn allows you to use your imagination while listening, and it can be a great way to really put yourself in the scene, especially with the intimacy of earphones.
I shouldn’t have worried though. Pandora Blake, who narrates most of the audio stories on Dreams of Spanking, has a lovely voice that seems perfect for audio porn. Head Girl, written by Rosie Bower, is a smart sexy story that gives a twist to traditional school punishment scenes. Head Girl Julie learns she has to punish her friends for various misdemeanours. When her friends refuse to take the threat of her punishment seriously she finds herself getting angry, and decides to make them respect her authority as Head Girl.
The anger she feels gives Julie confidence in what she is doing, and she takes total control of the situation, forcing her friends' obedience to her will. What I really like about this spanking audio story is the way Rosie Bower shows us the thoughts of each person in the scene. It gives us an insight into what makes each character tick, and delves deep into their embarrassment, humiliation, indignation and other feelings about being punished by Julie.
My favourite punishment in this story was Liam’s, the cool guy who thinks he can get away with doing whatever he wants. The story takes on an extra dimension of hotness when it's revealed that despite himself, the humiliation of the situation is arousing him. His helplessness in the face of his body's betrayal and the way Julie uses it to embarrass him further is really hot. I adored Julie’s glee when she learns how much she enjoys administering punishment. There's a moment when she has to mentally remind herself that this exercise is about teaching Liam an effective lesson, and not about her pleasure. It's delightful - and it made me think that actually it seems very much about both.
As a whole, this story is equal parts hot and discomforting. A school story in which some cool, rebellious kids have to resentfully submit to punishment from their teachers' pet friend is one that many of us might be able to put ourselves into, one way or another. The fact that this is an unwanted punishment, which they still find arousing even as they hate it, creates a delicious tension. It also raises fascinating questions for me about about the psychology of punishment and humiliation.
I have to admit that the character I find myself identifying with the most was Julie. I love the way that she reflects on past resentments and jealousies to fuel her determination to carry the punishment through to its conclusion. And of course, I love dishing out a spanking and decorating a bare bum with marks that will leave a reminder to re-enforce the lesson - and the idea of doing so to my squirming friends who thoroughly deserve it is very appealing.
So my verdict on audio porn? I found this story super hot, and I enjoyed the process of listening to it more than I expected. I enjoyed imagining the scenario and Rosie Bower creates some enticing images that will stay with me. I loved was the image of the two girls bent over the desk, and of Liam bending over clutching his ankles, naked, embarrassed and unable to constrain his erection. So sexy.
This post is illustrated with pictures from Head Girl spanking video A Taste of Their Own Medicine, starring Zoe Montana, Jimmy Holloway and Pandora Blake.
One of the things I've occasionally thought about, as a feminist who runs a spanking site, is content warnings. Fundamentally, the idea behind these is that if something might include content likely to trigger someone recovering from serious trauma, it's respectful to give notice in advance that the topic is likely to come up, so anyone who needs to can prepare themselves and isn't caught off guard.
I think it's a really great way of making material more inclusive. Yet I've never gone ahead and instituted content warnings on Dreams of Spanking, at least not overtly. What I do instead is to make the content of each scene very explicit in the tags and copy surrounding the film. I try not to spoiler plot twists, but I do often remove the element of surprise from how the story of a film unfolds, in the interests of pre-warning viewers what they can expect - both to catch the attention of people with particular niche tastes, and to pre-warn people who might find certain content distasteful or upsetting. So far, I've been happy with that system. But if any film on Dreams of Spanking has made me wonder if it should include a content warning, it's our latest film starring Tai Crimson.
When I was editing Caned at Home, I found parts of it so extreme - both in terms of the severity of the physical punishment and the nastiness of the verbal degradation and emotional abuse - that it made me feel uncomfortable. The whole scene was shot in a single take, so I didn't see any out-of-character interactions to break the tension and reassure me that Tai was okay with what was happening until the scene was over. However, I needn't have worried. The moment "cut" is called, Tai bounces up and enthusiastically tells me that she could have taken double the number of strokes. In fact, she almost seems disappointed that the scene hadn't been harder.
So I decided to reuse a film format that I trialled during our ATVOD investigation (and which may have played a part in our successful appeal win, although it's hard to be sure); showing snippets of out-of-character performer interviews or behind the scenes interaction both before and after the main film, to contextualise the fantasy in the real-world context of the performers' tastes and desires. Since we won our appeal, I hadn't particularly felt the need to do this - especially with films where the fantasy shows pleasure spankings and explicit consent. But Caned at Home is definitely not one of these.
If edgy domestic scenarios showing the disproportionately severe punishment of a helpless girl aren't a turn-off for you, Caned at Home has much to recommend it. In particular, the sequences of hard and fast cane strokes falling one after the other without a break are some of the most convincingly severe thrashing I've ever seen on a UK spanking site. Tai has a high tolerance, and this was the third time we'd played together; she'd asked me to push her to tears, and this was our last scene of the day, so there was no reason to hold back. As it turned out, even the nastiest verbal abuse I could come up with - and one of the hardest canings I've ever delivered on camera - weren't quite enough to break her.
Perhaps you love severe caning and verbal degradation as much as Tai does, in which case Caned at Home will be right up your street. But if, like me, you prefer to know for sure that the performers were into it before watching a scene of this intensity, I recommend watching the performer interview and behind the scenes video first, to reassure yourself that no only was Tai unharmed by the making of these scene, but actively enjoyed it. It's lovely to work with a young woman who is so in touch with her kinky sexuality, and so articulate at expressing her fantasies and fetishes.
Besides, severe canings that leave livid welts are most definitely not BBFC-compliant. Dreams of Spanking is currently the only UK spanking site where you can watch material like this, and we will remain so until the Digital Economy Bill means we have to stop, too. So enjoy it while you can.
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.