Storytelling is sexy. Whether it's written, audio, or dramatised on screen, storytelling can make the difference between something that's hot while you're watching it, and something that stays with you for a long time afterwards.
When I write the blogs for Dreams of Spanking, it's always important to pick the right key phrases so that people can find scenes during search. Judicial caning, hand spanking, over the knee, etc – it means that everyone knows what they'll get if they click through, and also serves to get people horny. If you're anything like me then the phrase 'over the knee' probably conjures instant hot mental images, so if a scene involves that kind of punishment I'll make sure to be clear about it.
But the problem with this kind of directness is that there are lots of other more nuanced things that might be particularly erotic, but that aren't as instantly recognisable. Let's face it – lots of people search for 'six strokes of the cane' but fewer people search for 'depersonalised punishment' or 'endurance punishment'. That's where storytelling comes in.
Depersonalised punishment is a really interesting thing to explore – the idea that someone is receiving a beating because they have to rather than because they specifically deserve it. Rituals and ceremonies are both great vehicles for this: the punishment can be impersonal because it's not an individual need but part of a greater story.
Our new film, The Clone's Training, is sci-fi porn that fully explores this concept. Clone number eight – played by the gorgeous David Weston – is being drilled in the nuance and detail of the behaviour of his progenitor, the Crown Prince. Identical genetically, the clone and the Crown Prince are impossible to tell apart just by looking. Birthmarks and scars have all been faithfully reproduced, and the clone now needs to perfect his behaviour so he can infiltrate the royal family and 'become' the prince.
Instructor Pandora Blake gives firm and strict directions: stride purposefully, keep your chin up, hand behind your back. Every movement, in other words, must match the Prince's own gestures. And, of course, he must also be marked so that any blemish on his body matches exactly the ones on the Crown Prince.
A punch to the hip should replicate a bruise the Prince sustained, but to truly fool the medical scanners, clone number eight will have to have a six stroke judicial caning, just as the military Prince received only the day before...
You don't often see sci-fi porn, probably because most people associate it with either huge budgets or crap special effects. But there's a wealth of hot potential in science fiction, and you don't need CGI to make the concept work. Dystopic worlds in which individuals must behave a certain way. 1984-style future societies where citizens unquestioningly obey. And, of course, the deliciously sexy possibilities of armies of identical human-looking robots (I'm looking at you, Battlestar Galactica, with your sexy Cylons) and cloning technology.
This film plays on the clone scenario to dish out an incredibly clinical, depersonalised punishment. While many will watch this because they just love caning stories, others will be aroused by the impersonal nature of the punishment itself. The medical officer and instructor, played by Pandora, is concerned only with shaping clone number eight into as close a copy of the Prince as possible. As a consequence, when she strikes him with the cane it's not in anger or lust, but with a calculated necessity. And when he bends over to receive the strokes it's not because he feels he deserves them, it's because he is so used to obedience that it doesn't occur to him to question why he has to go through this. He just knows he must fulfil his destiny.
When you've watched The Clone's Training, if you're after more porn with amazing stories, it's well worth exploring Dreams of Spanking's 'sci-fi and fantasy' tag. The Royal Wedding is an audio story about a medieval princess, featuring an amazing public flogging which – again – is an impersonal ritual, but has more significance when told from the perspective of the princess who endures it. I also really like 'Psychic Weapon C' – another sci-fi porn story, but here the pain is used as a means to extract information. It's not quite as clinical, because the victim is actively fighting against the beating, but the fact that it's administered by henchmen makes it – in my opinion – an awesome example of pain being dished out as a matter of unflinching necessity.
So that's why storytelling is sexy – it's not just about a simple act, it's about the before and after, the build up and the tension. I could watch any scene in which a beautiful guy gets six of the best, and be delighted to have seen it, but the story turns it into something I think about for a long time. Not least because I can't help imagining exactly what happened to clones one through seven...
My ambition has always been to make artistic spanking films, real little movies with involved storylines, believable characters and attractive videography. Of course in the real world budget constraints and inexperience set limits on what is achievable. However, I within those limits, I still indulge myself from time to time with more complex and creative films such as Psychic Interrogation, Primae Noctis and Liberated Ladies of the Jazz Age. But there is always room for improvement.
It's very rare that I get the chance to really go to town, and bring a fantasy fully to life, exactly as I imagined it. One such opportunity was our shoot with premiere kinky producer couple Hywel Phillips and Ariel Anderssen, the stunning blonde actress better known to the spanking world as Amelia Jane Rutherford.
Hywel has been making fetish movies for over ten years, and when it comes to photography and filmmaking he's both a passionate artist and highly technically skilled. When we did a shoot trade with his glamour bondage site Restrained Elegance last year, he was generously shared his kit and expertise in the scenes for Dreams of Spanking.
I'd written a shooting script listing the shots we needed, but hadn't done any storyboarding - Hywel decided camera angles and other details on the fly, effectively acting as director of photography. He also masterminded the lighting, and it was a real treat to work not only with high quality lights, but someone who really knows how to use them. We were filming with the same baby Canon I always use, but you only have to glance at the screengrabs to see the difference that decent lighting makes to the video quality.
This storyline goes right back to the roots of my kink: one of my earliest kinky memories, a night when I was 7 or 8. I couldn't sleep, and was coming downstairs for a glass of milk. My parents had the TV on and I could hear it as I came downstairs, then glimpse the screen through the open door.
It was a period drama of some kind: I saw a girl in petticoats, lying facedown on a bed, screaming in terror as a man stood behind her, furiously thrashing her with a cane. I paused halfway down the stairs, heart pounding, barely daring to breathe. Suddenly I couldn't face my parents: I turned around, and sneaked back upstairs. They never knew I was there, and I can't imagine they ever suspected what I'd seen and the lasting effect it had on me.
(I recently looked on IMDB, out of curiosity, to see if I could find the program. I remembered the title from an advert showing around the same time, which I recognised from the snippet I'd seen, but now I honestly can't tell if it's this program of that name, or this one. I've never heard anyone else mention this caning scene and I'm not sure if I dare risk finding out that it was all - or mostly - in my fevered imagination.)
The image stayed with me for many years, and it was always one of the things I planned to revisit if I ever started making videos of my own.
A Ghost Story brings that historical snippet into a sinister modern day storyline. Amelia is a model staying at a quaint old B&B the night before a photoshoot. But her beauty sleep is disturbed by horrible dreams of Victorian times, mistreated girls and ghostly goings on. What secrets does this spooky old building keep - and can it really be haunted?
This is an atmospheric, evocative historical ghost story that merges past and present, dream and reality. Amelia gives an outstanding lead performance, and is a joy to watch throughout.
I really enjoyed editing this film and compiling the soundtrack from the excellent music of composer Kevin Macleod. It's a unique little spanking story in honour of All Souls that combines period drama, suspense and horror sequences and intense caning action.
I hope the end result is appropriately shivery and horrible, but of course the reality of shooting it was tremendous fun. Amelia is always a delight to work with and it was lovely seeing how well she and Hywel work together. You can get a glimpse into the filming process through our behind the scenes video, which shows not only the usual making of, outtakes and silliness between shots, but also a very special out of character caning to refresh Amelia's marks for the final scene. I've grabbed some exclusive screen captures from that caning just for this blogpost:
22 strokes of the 12mm dragon cane administered by Hywel, her real life partner whom she married this summer. It's a candid, intimate little caning sequence that provides a lovely real life counterpoint to the darkness of our latest CP fantasy.