I reckon the hottest thing about this week’s release - Beating the Competition, starring Pandora Blake, Rebecca Belacqua and Kelley May - is in the tension and contrast between how Kelley is speaking and what’s actually going on in the room.
Because the thing is, she’s perfectly calm. Her tone is rather dry, in fact; she’s delivering a standard training session to one of her employees, making sure they’re up to scratch for an impending promotion. The way she speaks is measured and informative, like this is just another day on the job for her.
Rebecca, on the other hand, is exposed and squirming, deeply humiliated and blushing bright red on both sets of cheeks. She’s gasping and crying out, struggling with impacts both physical and psychological. This is a brand new experience for her, and one she hadn’t imagined would be quite this intense.
There’s something deeply intriguing about that contrast - particularly given that, by the conceit of the plot, Kelley herself must have had this experience too at some point in the past. Her face sometimes betrays her real feelings; her voice is calm, but from the way she’s looking at her compromised employee you can tell she’s enjoying this as much as we are.
Of course, this isn’t the only spanking in the film - and Kelley’s lesson gets an immediate reprise as power rebalances itself once again! After all, it’s only fair that Rebecca gets a chance to put her new skill into action now she’s officially Pandora’s superior.
On 26th September, we released the guest film Caught Camming with Jayda Blayze and Universal Spanking. We’ve been loving our Guest Director series as a way to peek into the creative process of our peers and colleagues, not to mention we get to sit back and enjoy the film without knowing what’s going to happen next!
Working with Jayda and Universal Spanking was such fun, and so we were delighted to be sent a behind-the-scenes interview of the film. After watching such a taboo power dynamic at play with some serious spanking, it was refreshing to hear Universal Spanking and Jayda as their relaxed and authentic selves.
In the interview, Jayda tells us the cringeworthy story that forms the genesis of the Caught Camming plot. And no, it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. If you have ever wanted to ask Jayda if a parent has ever walked in on her - you’ll find your answer in this interview.
The duo talk a little about their favourite and least favourite implements for spanking. Jayda is subjected to a variety of them in the film, from the razor strap to the belt. Jayda describes the wooden paddle as “not bad”, and Universal Spanking jumps on the opportunity to test that theory. Jayda is laughing as she’s instructed to bend over, and is given three strikes of the wooden paddle so she can confirm if it really is “not bad”. It’s a lovely light-hearted moment which is following by a cuddle, and we get a heartwarming insight into the caring relationship between these two performers.
Caught Camming and its behind-the-scenes are out now on Dreams of Spanking. Be sure to leave us a comment and let us know your favourite implement!
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.
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.
My interest in porn performing was largely spurred by the desire to have an avenue for indulging my 'low-concept' kinky fantasies. I’m still a fan of the 'high-concept' (simple ideas that can be succinctly explained in a sentence) but the opportunities to, say, have your self-worth consensually attacked while your head is flushed in a toilet are a lot more infrequent. That’s why Bullied at Home is a strong contender for my favorite film I’ve been in.
Let me back up. Long before I became the perverted hedonist I am today, I was a burgeoning young deviant with unrestricted internet access. Out of that access came the ability to form a broader perspective of the world from an early age, a skill for discerning truth from bullshit with relative ease, and a penchant for depravity. While today, spanking is the core component of my sexuality, it was originally the second kink I had come across that clicked with me.
The first? Wedgies.
One might assume that this kink arose from first-hand experience, but that would make far too much sense. The girl who loves being tormented you see before you was once a boy who had never been bullied in this manner, but was desperate to experience it. Wherever it was in pop culture I first encountered the concept of pulling one’s underwear up to cause discomfort and embarrassment, the end result was a teen who spent far too much time emulating the experience for herself.
Did you know I have a huge embarrassment kink? If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be telling you that I ripped at least a dozen pairs of underwear in middle school from giving myself wedgies hanging from the rafters of our garage. And I definitely wouldn’t be telling you that I once rode my bike around the park and high school near our house with a sign on my back reading “WEDGIE ME” in bold letters. The countless problems with this idea are left as an exercise to the reader.
It didn’t end there, of course. Just as wedgie fetishists and spankos share significant overlap, so do wedgie fetishists and swirlie fans.
For the uninitiated, a 'swirlie' is the act of pushing the victim’s head into the toilet bowl while flushing – another indignity I had never actually experienced, and thus took it upon myself to try out.
While these schoolyard kinks inserted themselves into my psyche at a young age, it took a lot longer to be able to see and articulate the compelling threads that run between them. Namely, strong desires to be humiliated, bullied, and made to feel like the pathetic little girl that I am.
Over time (and especially since having started hormones this past February), those themes have further intensified and coalesced into the primary variety of scenarios I now fantasize about: extremely edgy scenes with plenty of mind-fucking, where the masochism is both physically and emotionally heavy.
That bring us to Bullied at Home. This scene was a chance for me to satisfy those sorts of desires, with the delightfully sadistic bully role filled by the amazing Nimue Allen. Pandora came up with the “threatening to get kicked out of your foster home” spin, which genuinely got me wet the first time I heard it.
I couldn’t have asked for a more safe and comforting environment to be able to get into that sort of dark headspace in, and I hope you’ll agree that the end result is as hot to watch as it was to film!
All too often, trans women are fetishised and objectified in mainstream porn, not to mention erased from spanking porn entirely.
This is something Pandora wrote a while back, talking about which scenes were the favourites of Dreams of Spanking fans. It was in reference to the award-winning Houseboy, which features the fiery Eliza Grey and the adorable Tai Crimson. Tai, at the time of shooting, identified as genderqueer and happily played a male character in the film. But in the year or so since Tai’s debut shoot as a performer, Tai has come out as a trans woman. A perfect time, I think, to acquaint (or reacquaint) yourself with this absolutely gorgeous, cute as a button and wonderfully eloquent young person.
And what a wonderful introduction this photoset is. Radiating innocence in her school girl outfit, Tai slowly strips off her uniform. A shy bite of the lip occasionally crosses her face, as if she’s asking for permission to continue her reveal. She seems shy as she shows you her puffy, newly developing breasts; her utterly spankable bottom. But there's a cheeky glint in her eyes throughout, suggesting that should you wish to put her over your knee, she wouldn’t object ... too much.
Indeed, in the accompanying interview, Tai tells us with a wonderful candidness about how edgy her kinks get (I for one am dying to know just what else is on that “kink menu” of hers). She also talks about her evolving gender identity, making the decision to transition, and the side-effects of hormones on her body. All throughout, her rock-solid sense of identity and her openness and self-acceptance are practically tangible - not just in the interview also in the photo set too, which includes some tantalising glimpses of how much being looked at turns her on.
To me, growing up knowing next to nothing about sexuality apart from what I was taught in school and what was presented in the media, feminist and queer porn has been an education. It's offered a window into my own gender and sexual identity, helping me come to terms with my queerness, what I’m into and why that's okay. And watching and listening to Tai Crimson, I am absolutely certain that she will offer someone else a window into their own identity. So, come and get to know the future phenomenon that is Tai Crimson, and let this school girl school you.
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.
Sometimes protesters wear scowls a clear expression of anger against an unjust system. Sometimes, though, they wear defiant grins – as Adele Haze does in her sponsored caning.
Nimue Allen wields the cane, and in between strokes Adele flashes cheeky smiles at the camera, and occasionally asks for some even harder strokes. She curls her toes with each crack of the cane, and by the end her gorgeous bare bottom is covered in neat red welts.
This scene is the final in our series of sponsored canings, and Adele clearly wants to make the most of it – insisting that the caning be more than 'transient and trifling', as a real act of resistance against the UK porn censors.
Our sponsored caning climax
In case you've missed it, here's a quick recap: in December new rules came into force that meant that many porn websites (including Dreams of Spanking) would be scrutinised by ATVOD – the Association for TV On Demand. This organisation – not democratically accountable, by the way - objects to a whole host of sexual things, from facesitting and squirting through to pain play that leaves any marks beyond 'transient and trifling'. Hence Adele's request.
ATVOD has already made its move on Dreams of Spanking, and as a result the site is under threat of censorship so irrational and strict that it would potentially force Pandora to shut the site down. In response, she and Nimue Allen set up a kickstarter with the aim of raising money to mount a legal challenge against the new regulations. The idea was simple: they'd take one hard cane stroke for each £10 donated, and release the resulting films for free online. They anticipated a maximum of £1000... but they got so much more.
The final total of over £3,800 meant they had to recruit more bottoms to take the extra cane strokes, with the result that there are now ten free caning videos online, each starring a different brave volunteer.
Let's take a trip down the sponsored caning memory lane...
It's a fitting climax – Adele's combination of seditious glee, rage against the 'ridiculous nonsense' of the new porn rules, and eagerness to take harder strokes on the bare bottom – all of these sum up perfectly what our sponsored caning fundraiser is all about.
Adele explains that she tumbled onto the spanking scene as soon as she discovered it existed – in the late 90s, when internet groups started taking off. Initially focused on bottoming, she now mostly plays as a top, as well as doing and other work as a fetish performer. This free caning film marks her first time bottoming in well over a year, a mark of how important it was for to her to join in with the UK porn protests:
“I'm not personally affected because I don't make my own material.... although pretty much any work I've done that's on the stricter side would fail the ATVOD test,” she explains. But this sounds, Adele says, like corporate censorship – by cutting off the ability to make a living from kinky porn, you're essentially trying to wipe it out. She highlights the fact that ATVOD's jurisdiction only falls upon studios that they deem to be suitably 'TV-like' – which often comes down to production decisions such as including opening and closing credits, scripts and music. “So if I did want to start a studio, the only way to go around the criteria that you are TV-like is to make really terrible porn.”
Please go and watch all of the sponsored caning videos – every single one is available for free on Dreams of Spanking, and licensed under Creative Commons (so share them around if you can!). In protest against porn censorship, a lot of people were willing to put their bottoms on the line and make unique, personal, caning scenes that reflect their own frustrations about porn censorship.
From Adele's seditious smile to the curl of her toes as she accepts a hard cane stroke, from the bright red marks on her bottom to the gasp of breath when she takes stroke thirty eight, this caning film is the perfect finale to the sponsored caning series. Three hundred and eighty three cane strokes in total, and each and every one sends a clear message to ATVOD: We might get beaten, but you'll never beat us.
Michelle Knight is a bondage fan and activist against porn censorship. Despite not being a fan of corporal punishment, she volunteered to take fifty hard cane strokes in protest against ATVOD. Why? Well, as Michelle explains:
“I'm doing this not for my own pleasure, but to help raise the money to take them to court.”
Bravely, Michelle bends over the sofa and calmly takes every single stroke – her first caning on camera. Her reasons for doing so are more complicated than you might think, and her pre-shoot interview gives some fascinating background on the history of UK porn censorship, as well as her personal reasons for taking on this challenge.
Reason 1: Show the truth, not the fiction
“There's a lot of fiction out there,” explains Michelle. She's spent the last twenty years educating people on issues to do with sexuality – running bondage website RealBondage.co.uk and writing books, as well as taking part in support groups for trans people. “There's a lot of fiction out there, and people are making decisions based on that.”
Her website and books are aimed telling the truth about bondage for people who are curious. Michelle explains that, when not given the right information, people are reliant on a fiction about BDSM and sexuality that encourages them to 'panic, panic, panic!'
What better way to challenge that fiction than by showing a real-life caning scene, complete with discussion, negotiation, and occasional breaks for tea and banana cake?
Reason 2: It's not the first time
Protesting the UK porn laws is not new to Michelle, who confesses that “ever since 2008 I've been a thorn in the side of the CPS, Home Office, Lords, my MP – oh boy!”
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act in 2008 (often referred to as the 'Extreme Porn Law') sought to ban 'extreme' porn, and as you might have guessed, the word 'extreme' includes plenty of bondage, spanking, other forms of BDSM – things which kinksters engage in safely and consensually all the time.
The latest furore, with ATVOD, could see sites like Dreams of Spanking under the jurisdiction of a censor which hates any but the most gentle form of spanking. But it's certainly not the first - just the latest in a long line of attacks on kinky porn.
Reason 3: They haven't done the proper research
That 'Extreme Porn Law' – in 2008 – was subject to a rapid impact assessment before being passed. The key word here is 'rapid' - as Michelle explains, the organisation responsible for reviewing it mentioned that it did not have enough time to do a proper job.
This is a criticism that comes up frequently when looking at how the government makes changes which impact pornography and sexuality – lack of consultation with people whose lives will be affected by changes means that those making decisions rarely – if ever - get the full picture.
Reason 4: It's undemocratic
These are not policies which have been put forward in manifestos, or offered publicly for debate. In the case of the 'Extreme Porn Law', it was buried in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, which tackled a whole range of other topics completely unrelated to porn.
The recent changes are no different – they are primarily being made by ATVOD and the BBFC: statutory bodies which hold no direct democratic accountability.
Michelle explains: “They are operating as a law unto themselves – they are not fit as a body. They're making it up as they go along.” She adds that, from the government's point of view, this is almost certainly not an accident: “They don't want discussion on this. They want to oppress us. That's one of the major things I'm against.”
Reason 5: This is the only way to do this
There are lots of ways you can protest against democratic changes – you can stand in the street with a placard, or write to your MP. And while these things may help raise awareness of the changes, ultimately Michelle believes that the solution is more drastic:
“It looks like the only way we're going to be able to do this is to drag them through the courts.”