Dreams of Spanking: fairtrade spanking, corporal punishment and discipline fantasies by Pandora Blake. Join us »

 

Behind the scenes

Happy new year! I'm fizzing with excitement at the start of 2012, looking forward to sharing all the hot spanking scenes I've got lined up, booking new shoots and expressing more of my favourite fantasies in film and photography. The start of this year finds me tired, but happier than I've been in ages, with a real sense of acheivement about launching the site and loads to look forward to. I hope 2012 brings you many positive things, love, dreams come true, and - of course - plenty of spanking!

I've just added the first site updates of the new year: behind the scenes material for our latest scene The Prefect and the FagA Taste of their Own Medicine and A Bet's a Bet:

In which Sebastian learns the inherent ridiculousness of shooting spanking stills, and utterly fails to keep a straight face

Jimmy and I cracking up over some joke or other behind Zoe's back

Love the change of expression on Sebastian's face as he explores his brand new riding crop welts by feel!

As well as the photos, I've added a behind the scenes video to A Taste of their Own Medicine, just showing you some of the processes involved in making a spanking video: improvising dialogue, blocking movements as you go, banter, bottom rubs, superstar cameraman who is manning two cameras at once hastily ducking into shot to swap places!

To the two M/M scenes I've added a behind the scenes documentary from that day's shoot, including out-takes and behind the scenes footage from both The Prefect and the Fag and A Bet's a Bet, plus interviews with both performers. The interviews with Sebastian and Jimmy make really interesting watching, as they talk about the shoot, dominance and submission, switching, service, the state of M/M spanking porn and what it was like to work together. 

I think behind the scenes material is really important, and it's a core part of my vision in starting this website. 

Off-screen consent

When the fantasy being played out on camera is not a consensual one, then the consent of the performers becomes all the more important. Some of my scenes are overtly consensual. Some of them aren't. You can't always include consent in the scene itself without breaking the fourth wall, and disrupting the immersion of the fantasy.

Having performers write tweets or blogposts about the shoot helps a lot, but it's nice to have something on the site itself, so that you know what you're looking at is "safe" and not created in dodgy or unpleasant circumstances. Where my scenes explore particularly edgy scenarios, I want to always try and include some behind the scenes material, and contextualise the fantasy of the scene in the reality of the shoot.

I think that it's even more important to express the consent of spankees than spankers. Obviously it's important that none of our actors were forced and everyone was enjoying themselves, but personally, what I'm looking for when I look at a spanking website is reassurance that the bottoms/subs had fun, and were genuinely expressing their personal kink to some extent, rather than simply going through the motions of doing what they were told to.

Lots of my fantasies are quite severe and extreme, but if I'm watching someone else act them out, I want to be absolutely, completely certain that they were doing so because they really wanted to, and not just because they needed the money.

I hope that I've got a strong enough voice in this website that people will quickly get a sense of the extent to which all the scenes represent my personal kink, relationships and fantasies. So when I'm the only spankee in a scene, I don't really feel that I always have to include behind the scenes material, because I hope it should be self-evident if you click around the site a bit that I love what I do, that I'm the one calling the shots behind the scenes, and everything on this site is heartfelt and true to my desires. But when I'm shooting with other bottoms, I really want to go the extra mile to show that they're having fun, too, and not doing anything which doesn't interest them.

I always consult performers about the scenes in advance and ask for their input, and I try to come up with scenarios which will appeal to their personal kink to some extent, and to make sure that they get on well with the tops I'm asking them to work with, and so on.

Interviews vs out-takes

Behind the scenes footage and out-takes are one of the most effective ways of demonstrating the consent of the performers. Video interviews and smiley post-shoot pictures are good, but I know from my own experience of shooting that even if you didn't really enjoy the shoot, you're expected to put on a smile for the camera at the end, and you're still in "work" mode, so you do. Candid behind the scenes footage is much harder to fake, and you can get a much better sense of the performer's personalities and level of involvement by watching it.

If the performers sit on the sidelines looking blank and then switch on the sparkle as soon as someone calls "action", in my opinion that's a very different shoot atmosphere than if everyone is chatting, interacting and laughing between takes. As a producer and a performer I much prefer the latter, and I hope my performers have fun while we're shooting and take happy memories away with them, rather than counting down the minutes until they can take their pay and go home.

Of course, you can't guarantee good circumstances for everyone on the day: in the last year, I think I've been on three different shoots where my co-star was dumped that day or the day before, and most of the performers I work with suffer from chronic pain or health problems. This sort of cameraderie shouldn't be forced. I'd hate it if any of my performers felt pressured into putting on a show of having fun. But spanking shoots, as well as often being genuinely hilarious, can offer escapism from emotional turmoil and (ironically!) physical discomfort. My aim is to try and express that in a transparent, honest way, without artifice.

Private vs public

The best (in my opinion!) spanking and bondage sites already publish behind the scenes material and out-takes. Northern Spanking, the site that introduced me to the idea, are renowned for the quality of their out-takes, in part due to the very relaxed, informal and friendly atmosphere of their shoots. They treat their models better than any other site I've ever worked with. I think I'm still too much of a stress-bunny as a producer to match them for quality of shoot experience, but this isn't a competition: it's about making the whole industry more transparent, more open and more reassuring to new viewers.

I'm not doing anything new in including behind the scenes material; I'm learning from those who are already doing it right.

What I'm doing which I think maybe is a bit new is to publish previews of the behind the scenes material publically, so viewers who are new to the site and are still deciding whether they want to join yet can see that it's there. Most sites which offer behind the scenes material only show it to members, so to casual browsers it may not always be obvious that it's available.

My aim is to present my scenes in as reassuring as possible a way to those who are anxious about the consensual production of kinky porn. I hope that showing previews of the behind the scenes material on the public site pages will send a positive message: that we care about whether our performers are enjoying themselves, that we hope viewers care about that too, and that we clearly distinguish between fantasy, acted non-consent and real, actual, proper behind-the-scenes consent.

 

So that's why I think behind the scenes material is important, and that's what I'm trying to do with it:

  • Make it available as much as possible, especially in edgy scenes or scenes with spankees other than myself;
  • Not publish anything which isn't flattering or respectful, or which compromises a performer's privacy;
  • Make it honest, transparent, and publically visible rather than hiding it away on members-only pages.

You can view a list of all the scenes which have behind the scenes material here, or by clicking the "behind the scenes" tag link on any of the site pages. I hope you enjoy the glimpse into the processes of shooting spanking video, and the chance to get to know our brilliant performers a little better. 

Spanking audio: 'The Royal Wedding'

I've just updated the site with our first spanking audio story, The Royal Wedding. This is a spoken word version of my contribution  to The Spanking Collection, an anthology of original spanking fiction edited by Abel and Haron (AKA Adele Haze) to raise funds for cancer research charities.

'The Royal Wedding' is my first serious piece of spanking fiction, and the first short story I've ever had published in print. It started life as a somewhat wry response to the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton last summer, which was all you could hear about at the time I was writing. The story evolved far more depth than I’d imagined.

Based on one of my more un-filmable ideas, the scenario explores the complexities of consent through a judicial, ceremonial punishment against the backdrop of an arranged marriage. Proud, strong-minded princess Tabina entirely consents to the marriage, but not for reasons of romance: her motivations are political and patriotic.

The punishment itself is not, initially, consensual. She's not so much forced into it as tricked, but she chooses not to resist, and in the end she consents explicitly and wholeheartedly for reasons of her own.

I love audio as a medium. We've got several more spanking audio stories lined up, including some more traditional domestic punishments and sexy consensual spanking. This one is a bit unusual, but it's close to my heart. It's severe, it's based in a fantasy setting, and it contains far more story than spanking (my aim was for it to read like a chapter in a novel in which a punishment scene is described in detail). I had almost as much fun with the world building as I did with the caning sequence itself.


Photo (c) Copyright Loy Pinheiro

The play's the thing

I'm home from a fantastic party with much loved kinky friends, a smile on my face and bruises on my bottom. Several of the Dreams cast were there, although sadly not either of my doms. But there was a silver lining to their absence: I got to play with lots of other people instead, and my toppy side came out as I gave both Caroline Grey and Jimmy Holloway the spankings and canings their beautiful bottoms deserve. I also found myself over both Caroline's and Adele Haze's knees at various points, as well as receiving the attentions of several other delightful tops. So lovely to play with good friends off camera as well as on. Good times!

I've added two scenes to the site since Thursday's audio story - a photoset and a video with accompanying stills. A Secretarial Fantasy includes 94 high quality photos of me in glasses, stockings and a pinstriped slip, bending over the desk for punishment with hand and tawse:

Boss/secretary spankings are as old as typewriters and red pen, but we wanted to do one anyway. It's hard to play a scene this classic "straight" - as strictly non-consensual, I mean. This power dynamic has been eroticised so often that it's impossible to pretend this is a no-nonsense punishment without any sexy overtones. So we didn't try.

This is a self-aware fantasy: there's no denying the sexual tension. The question is, who has a crush on who? Or is it mutual, as implied by frants' lovely comment:

Thomas could say "We cant go on doing this all day seven days a week" and Pandora would say, eyes wide open, "Why not ??!"

Today's update is a short Shakespearean spanking film with some accompanying photos. Me, Caroline and Thomas using Kate and Bianca's fight scene from The Taming of the Shrew as a springboard for spankings both in and out of character. Director Cameron has his work cut out trying to control his squabbling actresses, neither of whom can seem to remember their lines. And he's not sure Caroline should be following the stage directions to tie up and strike her co-actress with quite so much enthusiasm...

Click to view trailer for The%20Rehearsal

I've wanted to film Shakespearean spankings since playing the Complete Works over the course of five weekends with a group of friends who included several likeminded deviants. We managed to bring out a fair amount of kink in different scenes and plays.

The Taming of the Shrew is the classic starting place - but I wanted to have a go at a less well-known spanking opportunity, between the two sisters rather than Kate and Petruchio. Any straightforward rendition of the play, however, results in a negligible number of spanks, so we decided to go backstage and re-run the critical moment in rehearsal, with some added punishment of the (obviously kinky) actresses by the director.

All three of us are theatre nerds, and this light-hearted take on a favourite play was a hell of a lot of fun. I hope you can forgive the self-indulgence and enjoy the corsets, petticoats and iambic pentameter - and, of course, the spankings!

How do you watch spanking videos?


Still from The Garden Party by Lupus Spanking

Kaelah and Ludwig have recently posted a fascinating series of posts on how they watch spanking porn, handling the topics of compartmentalisation (can you ignore aspects of a video which aren't quite right and enjoy the rest?), gaze (where are you in the scene: a participant, a voyeur or a fly on the wall?) and sexual explicitness. Their comments and the ensuing discussions are well worth a read.

As a producer on a steep learning curve, however, I'm curious about the practical aspects of how people view spanking films, as well as the philosophical ones.

Firstly there's the technical question of how people access the video. Personally, when I join a spanking site, I'm usually too busy to watch everything straight away. I'll try to put aside a couple of hours as soon as possible - say, that evening - to browse the archive and set multiple videos downloading. I grab everything I'm interested in, watch a couple straight away, and save the rest. Then when I want an, um, private moment, I look on my computer for a video I haven't seen (or a favourite I want to revisit) and work my way through the collection that way. If I can persuade a lover or kinky friend to join me, I might watch several videos in a row. But I don't usually feel like I have time to "indulge" in watching several films in a row if I'm on my own, unless I can call it work as well as pleasure (say, if I'm writing a review). 

However, I know that lots of people prefer to watch films in their browser rather than downloading them - and several people who have joined Dreams of Spanking seem to have watched a lot of films at once. I'm actually quite jealous of this way of doing things, it sounds much more fun! Perhaps now that I've launched I'll be able to make my work/life balance a bit more healthy, and make more time for myself to watch videos I'm interested in.

Then there's the question of how you enjoy the film itself. When we watch mainstream films we start at the beginning and stop at the end, each time we watch it. But, just as there's a difference in the way I read erotic books to the way I read non-erotic fiction or non-fiction, I don't always watch porn this way.

Personally, the first time I sit down to get to know a video, I'll watch it from the start, all the way through. I have to get really bored before I'll hit fast forward - but it's been known. I'm more likely to pay attention to something else and leave it running with half an ear, just so I don't miss anything that might be worth watching. But most films, I'll watch from start to finish. Then, if I'm on my own and if the first viewing has turned me on, I might immediately rewind and revisit the best moments while I seek my climax.

The next time I watch the film, unless it's a really well-crafted story without a dull moment, I won't tend to re-watch the whole thing; I'll skip straight to my favourite parts. The exception would be if I was showing the film to a friend or lover, at which point I'd insist on them watching it all the way through, like I did. (This has not endeared me to people who didn't share my tastes, in the past!)

But then, I'm not an average viewer: I'm interested in the porn industry and how other people make movies, as well as in finding material I'll personally find hot. On a first viewing I'm usually watching with a professional eye, and making notes for my personal interest later. On a second viewing, I'll zoom right in on the bits that are sexiest to me. Depending on the quality and length of the video, that might be the whole thing, or it might be very specific moments. 

There are lots of ways you could watch a spanking video, and in my opinion none of them are right or wrong. You could re-watch the whole thing each time, like a mainstream movie. Or the first time you watch, you could skip straight to the 'action' and just watch that bit, ignoring the rest. I know at least one person who 'channel hops' their way through a porn video each time they visit it, fast-forwarding until something catches their eye, but never watching for very long before they get bored and skipping ahead again. This way you get a different experience each time you watch the video, but you probably won't pick up any nuances of storyline. 

I know that not all porn videos are alike. Those which are primarily a visual experierence with very little plot or context might fare better being fast-forwarded. If you skip dialogue you might either miss the boring bits or crucial plot, depending on the quality of the script and acting. Full length features such as those produced by Lupus Spanking often rely on visual storytelling and clever plot twists, and skipping part of the story might mean the rest of the film makes very little sense. In some scenes the spanking is the best part, but in others it's witty banter, or a moment of meaningful eye contact or body language between the performers. 

So I'm curious. How do you watch spanking videos? Is it different for different types of film? What does it depend on?

Redrump's F/M art

I've been playing around with the blog a bit this week, adding some links to my favourite kink and spanking blogs on top of the existing blogroll of cast/crew blogs and recommended ethical porn sites. One of them is relatively new to me, but as soon as I saw it I knew it was a keeper: Red Rump's Spanking Art.

I was already planning my next couple of F/M video shoots, but these hot illustrations have made me impatient to get started:

I love the spankee's expression, his fit toned body, and the energy in the body language.

This is adorable: the playfulness, the sexiness, the cheerful, affectionate supportiveness of the spanker even as she prepares to wallop his arse again. I fucking love that she's giving him a hardcore paddling while wearing long stripy socks and not much else. (I discovered I liked the Clothed Female, Nude Male genre before I even realised it was a genre - I just love the contrast between elegantly dressed women and gorgeous, vulnerable, beautiful nude submissive men. But Semi-Clothed Female, Nude Male is okay too, especially when it's this cute.)

A more traditional F/M image, and I'm not sure I like shouty dommes. But I like the emphasis on the spankee's handsome face; the way he's gripping the chair for support.

When I don't like F/M it's usually because it's All About The Domme and the spankee is just a placeholder. I like both participants to be present in the scene, and I like male bottoms who have a personality and are nice to look at. Red Rump's art has all of these things, as well as humour, imaginative scenarios and cute female spankers. I'm feeling thoroughly inspired for our next F/M video shoot!

Little girls, big spankings

As an adult spankee, there are few things more self-indulgent - and more satisfying - than playing a little pouty punished girl. Similar to the pleasure of expressing all those emotions we aren't allowed as grownups through the role of a teenage schoolgirl, from brattiness and bitchiness to naive innocence and indignance, being spanked as a little girl is a different emotional rollercoaster to being spanked as an adult woman. You can be poutier, brattier, you can make more of a fuss... but you get to feel safer, littler, more protected and more controlled. Especially for high powered adult spankees who are very much in charge of their lives and careers, this kind of play can offer therapeutic relief from the responsibility of the real world.

I didn't plan it this way, but both this week's site updates explore the theme of domestic age play - one F/F, one M/F.

Ms Howard's Little Girl is an age play fantasy starring Zoe Montana and myself, and the scenario was suggested by a reader of my blog. Tammy is staying at Ms Howard's house for the summer, and is unused to her strict rules and old-fashioned methods of punishment.

Preview image for Ms Howards Little Girl  Preview image for Ms Howards Little Girl

I find the idea of visiting an over-strict guardian makes the fantasy much easier: not only is it more believable for a kid to get into lots of trouble if they're new to this sort of discipline, but it makes the whole thing a bit more permissible because they aren't stuck there forever. Rather than a dark narrative of someone desperately trapped in a horrible situation, the spankee who's new to the situation is able to respond with the indignance, surprise and brattiness which is so much fun to watch.

Preview image for Ms Howards Little Girl  Preview image for Ms Howards Little Girl

(Speaking of visiting, Zoe is currently in the UK for a few weeks, and I had loads of fun meeting up with her for some spanking play on Friday. She's an expert caner and so much fun to hang out with - an ideal combination as far as I'm concerned! We've got some more shoots planned while she's here, including some much more grownup/erotic scenarios. I can't wait.)

Our latest video update, Through the Bedroom Door, explores a voyeuristic angle on domestic punishments. Caught peeking in at her cousin Amelia's spanking, Pandora earns herself the same punishment. When they complain about this treatment, their strict guardian decides that six of the best will teach the girls some respect.

Preview image for Through the Bedroom Door  Preview image for Through the Bedroom Door

Ever since the day I took these photos of Zille Defeu being punished in the bedroom, while I hid outside, listening and peeking like a naughty sibling trying not to be caught, I've wanted to make a film exploring this voyeuristic angle. I think the idea of overhearing or glimpsing a real domestic punishment is a hot button for a lot of people, especially those who really did encounter friends and neighbours being punished when they were young.

Preview image for Through the Bedroom Door  Preview image for Through the Bedroom Door Preview image for Through the Bedroom Door  Preview image for Through the Bedroom Door

The implication in this scene is that punishments of this severity are normal in the household. The girls are indignant, but their guardian's manner gives the impression that this level of strictness is par for the course, not an extreme circumstance. My personal interpretation of this scene is that the girls are wartime evacuees sent to stay with a male friend of the family, but you can read it however you like.

Tom was very convincingly scary as the old-fashioned guardian, and Amelia and I had a lot of fun being pouty and indignant together, and not getting away with it in the slightest!

Preview image for Through the Bedroom Door

Preview image for Through the Bedroom Door

Preview image for Through the Bedroom Door

Lou requested these screengrabs of the ending, where Amelia and I are kneeling next to each other on the bed. Enjoy!

One month in

Preview from this week's bonus photogallery starring Pandora Blake and Zille Defeu: After the PunishmentDreams of Spanking is one month old today! I'm still walking around in a state of semi-disbelief; but keeping on top of my update schedule, blogging, promotion and email while, slowly, attempting to rediscover the concept of a social life has kept me too busy to think about it.

This month has been the proof that launching an adult photo and video website is much, much more like having a baby than writing a PhD, because after you've passed the PhD you can start to think about other things, whereas once your baby's born you're busier and more involved than ever. (Anyone who has done all three is welcome to tell me I'm wrong.)

Last year, when I was still hoping to interest a corporate investor in the projest (I didn't, in the end, borrowing funds from close friends instead) I produced all the documentation relevant to such an effort. The business case, the executive summary, various plans and projections, and an estimated first year's budget. Although it didn't result in investment it was entirely a worthwhile experience, not only teaching me a lot but giving my confidence in the project a much-needed boost. Coming up with the first year's projected figures was a surreal, educational experience: on the one hand pulling numbers out of thin air, on the other doing useful research into my competitor's pricing structures and working out some best-case and worst-case scenarios for how much I'd be able to spend on shoots. 

I spent nearly five years and several thousand pounds building this website on the assumption that it would be worth it, financially as well as creatively. I knew too many website owners to think I'd get rich, but being able to keep making spanking films, and perhaps earn back my expenses in the first couple of years, would be a good start.

Now that we've been up and running for a month, I have some data to set against those speculative figures I drummed up six months ago. As well as the joy of watching my baby grow, it's fascinating matching the reality against my predictions.

Here are some juicy stats for you: Since we launched on 23 December, Dreams of Spanking has welcomed 22,173 visitors on 28,882 separate occasions, adding up to a total of 205,635 pageviews. The average visitor spends four and a half minutes on the site looking at an average of at 7.12 pages. The bounce rate (people who leave the site in the first three seconds) is only 31.98% - lower than any other site I've ever managed.

The search terms by which people have reached the site are also revealing.

Visitors have found us by searching for Zoe Montana, Pandora Blake, Amelia Jane Rutherford, Adele Haze and Zille Defeu. Out of the male performers, Jimmy Holloway and Thomas Cameron are most sought after on Google. 

Aside from the obvious (variants on "Dreams of Spanking", my name, or individual film names - the most searched-for so far being A Yuletide Birching and Caned in Jodhpurs), here are the other most common search terms which lead spanking enthusiasts to us:

M/M spanking
spanking dreams
F/M spanking
spanked in jodhpurs
spanking schoolboys
birching
breeches spanking
breast whipping

I'm pleased to discover that in almost every case, the searcher will have found something of interest. It seems like our tagging system is working well so far!

Of course, a discussion of search terms wouldn't be complete without a look at the more weird and wonderful searches which led people here. Some of my favourites:

women's sex jodhpurs - "Look, I've had them specially made with a split crotch"

a bottom being spanked - there's something delightfully innocent about the idea of someone typing this into google

after birching pink - the latest colour in the new "Dulux Spanking" range

artist makes a girl get naked and spanks her - Oooh, now you're giving me scene ideas...

bed spanking and breakfast - now THAT sounds like a fabulous business model!

birching birching - twice as painful as the regular kind

bottom red bad girl punishment whipping and spanking - oh dear, spanko tourettes must be a difficult condition to live with

cfnm trenchcoat - so, right, if he's nude, SHE must be wearing the trenchcoat? Okay, hot.

cfnm for the thinking feminist - wow, now I'M turned on. Can I have your phone number?

Even the most cursory glance over the search terms confirms my ideas about what many spanking enthusiasts are looking for - high quality male spankee films, historical scenes, M/M, stories inspired by literature, erotic consent and non-consent, scenes that blur the line between spanking and BDSM.

The sign-up rate has been higher than I ever expected - I exceeded my end-of-first-year monthly average after only two weeks, and new members have continued to join steadily since then. The percentage of female viewers is respectable, if not as high as I'd like, matching that of other spanking sites in the UK which have a female audience.

I'd like to encourage more female spanking fans to help shift the spanking and porn industries towards catering to women's fantasies, which will only happen if more women let producers know what they want, and treat themselves with the occasional site membership. Our five day subscription fee is aimed specifically at women customers, although I know the men appreciate it too. (Becoming more accessible to women is the main reason I want to offer pay-per-download for individual scenes as soon as possible, although it'll take a while to save up for the software.)

Thankyou so much to everyone who has supported our aims, left comments, sent tweets and emails, linked to the site and signed up so far. With every day that passes I receive new confirmation that I'm not alone in wanting to push the boundaries of spanking video and photography; in wanting to see arty, fairtrade spanking porn with a mix of genders. The overwhelmingly positive feedback we've received is proof that if we follow our dreams, anything is possible.

What they're saying

Since we launched, several bloggers have written reviews on the site so far. Some of these were completely unsolicited surprises, either by interested passers by or paying members; others were prompted by my inviting someone to join our affiliates scheme and, in some cases, giving them a review membership.

Reading people's comments has given me far more pleasure than perhaps it should have. What can I say, I love feedback. Sharing my creative work and hearing how people respond to it is the other half of the joy of creating it in the first place. I gain great pleasure from making things I think are beautiful, but being able to share them with others enhances that pleasure. The more enjoyment others gain from my work, the more my own joy multiplies.

(I enjoy feedback so much that if I could get away with sharing my work for free, I would, because then more people would be able to see it. The only reason I'm charging for it at all is because being paid means I don't have to spend all my time earning food/rent money in other ways, and frees me to focus fulltime on my favourite thing: making more pretty things. 

Basically, you could call me an attention slut. Or an artist, I guess. Take your pick.)

Collecting feedback has been fascinating, especially seeing where reviewers agree/disagree with each other. I love constructive criticism: it means people are taking my work seriously. Good criticism which helps me improve can be better than praise. Sometimes criticism is aimed at a decision I've thought hard about, and rethinking the issue in the light of public feedback can cast new light on my choice, or re-affirm it. There are issues on which I'm flexible and happy to follow the popular preference, and there are issues on which I have a firm stance, even if it costs me custom. Feedback, especially critical feedback, can be the fastest way to find out the difference.

So what are people saying?

Secret Spanko wrote the first unsolicited review after joining the site the week we launched. He picked out Caned in Jodhpurs and Caning Merit Badge for special comment. Criticism included the presence of M/M scenes, photo galleries which did not have accompanying videos, and the large size of some files (particularly Caning Merit Badge, which is an hour long movie). Overall, comments were positive:

There are only a handful of movies, so far, but in that handful contains better dialogue, better build up, and a better variety of spanking scenes than is found in five years of updates from some of the more well known and established spanking sites mentioned earlier in this post. ... Wide variety of good stuff, flashes of absolute brilliance better than any that have come before, but just hoping/wondering if they can maintain it.

Fred, also a paid member, had been following the pre-launch blog quite closely. After the long wait, I was very interested to hear what he made of the site. He picked up on a couple of teething errors (broken file links) for which I was very grateful, and otherwise seemed pleased:

I really like the feature that non members can look around the site and see a shoot preview. A prospective member can get a feel for what the paid content will deliver. Very open and transparent. Full marks here! I love the browse by keyword, that will be very useful when the site has thousands of features. [...]

My partner is from the USA and she has a thing about cute British boys with British accents. She was ecstatic over “A Bet’s a Bet”. [...]

We both liked “Sexual Dominance and Submission”; this is an interesting mix of sex and spanking. If you had told me about it I would have probably said it was not my thing. However: photographs taken in a mirror, it’s arty, and I like the idea of porn as art. I like subtle as well, so slightly rude pictures taken in the mirror work very well.

One of my aims was to produce scenes which couples could enjoy together, so this was lovely to hear. I was very gratified that he picked out two of my more risky scenes (including the controversial M/M and kinky, sexy play in addition to "pure" spanking) for positive comment. If I'm aiming to appeal to women and couples, this suggest I'm doing something right.

Dana Kane wrote the first review I really hadn't seen coming, from the perspective of a fellow professional - and, of course, a female top, one of my target audiences - who hadn't paid for access but had spent some time on the free areas of the site:

We get some insight into the seriously impressive work which has gone into building the site itself, including a genius little bit of code which allows the site to operate without a restricted members' area.
We also find out that Miss Blake's website includes all sub-genres (including M/M spankings) within one site, which I'd like to stand up and applaud. We're too small a group, us spankos, to go around breaking ourselves up into even smaller groups, in my ever-so-humble opinion. And you know my motto: This is about your backside, not your front side.   

Dana, what a brilliant motto! I couldn't agree more :)

The best thing about this review was that it got me talking to the delightful Ms Kane, who as it happens is visiting the UK in March and interested in working with us. I love her classy demeanour and intimate approach to F/M, and have booked her for a video shoot in London. I'm really excited to meet her and work with her.

Yeowch Spanking, who independently joined our affiliates scheme, didn't say a great deal, but it made me smile:

Even though it's still taking shape, it looks absolutely fantastic with a hint of romance in its tone. Anything Pandora does is top quality spanking stuff so this is one new adventure you should definitely check out asap.

A hint of romance! Yeah, I like that.

Brushstrokes emailed and offered an honest review in exchange for an access code. He's very widely read, particularly in America where I'm not well known, so I was happy to provide one and curious to hear what he'd say. He promotes M/F and F/F spanking sites and tends to prefer the more mainstream, popular style: very pretty, young and slender models, hard spankings, OTK position, domestic and school scenes. I expected him to react with bafflement to quite a few of the choices I was making. But he was surprisingly, and pleasantly, complimentary:

I was quite guilty when I started in this business of viewing [many spanking models] as wayward girls just out to make a buck. The truth is I have been fortunate to meet many a girl that blows Your Humble Narrator away intellectually. One I have always suspected was our dear Pandora but viewing her site for the first time simply enforces my suspicion. Our Dear Pandora and her rather lucky significant other and able spanker Thomas Cameron have decided to take a less traveled route. While the site is overwhelmingly M/f and F/f Spanking she apparently knows some naughty boys as well and have included a few F/m and M/m. [...]

While that might not be my thing, I indeed applaud her for trying something different but as I explored her site I discovered how unique Dreams of Spanking really is. [...]

The scenes are probably some of the most well acted I have seen consistently on a spanking site. You can indeed tell that someone took the time and love to write many of the scripts. Likewise the outfits are simply excellent spanning from period pieces to my personal favorite schoolgirls. [...]

Film Quality is simply excellent. I will indeed made a confession, I didn’t even need to download the videos to see the quality since the streaming option that Pandora has is simply excellent. Some of the best I have ever seen.

So that was unexpected, and rather gratifying.

Dreams of Spanking - Cherry Red Award Winner for Best New Spanking SiteMy friend Dave has also followed the project since the beginning and been highly supportive of my goals, so I hoped that the site would meet his expectations. It seems it did. I sent him a review pass and invited him to join the affiliates scheme, but he took me quite by surprise when he emailed to tell me he'd given us a special "Cherry Red Award" for Best New Spanking Site on his blog. How lovely of him! And awesome, because now I can tell people the site is "award-winning" ;)

More seriously, the award was attached to a review that quite took my breath away. I'm actually too embarrassed to quote it here - it's so very warm and glowing, and he taps into every single thing which I am most proud of, and the decisions I am most invested in. Dave, it seems, shares a lot of common ground with me in terms of our aesthetic and political preferences (his motto, I think, is It's all good, as long as it's cherry red - I quite agree!), and he approves of many of my less popular, and more personal, choices. So that was utterly lovely of him, and very validating. Thankyou, Dave, for having so much faith in the project - I will do my best to live up to it!

Then today, blogger and site member Tim the Tum wrote another unsolicited review - always the most interesting. He had positive and negative comments to make. He praised the design, the orderly site navigation, the Cast section and film quality. I was very pleased to notice that he appreciated the range of inspiration the scenes draw from, not only picking up on the somewhat obscure Stross scene but also correctly identifying the TV show which gave me the idea for Need to Know.

Caning Merit Badge was singled out again for comment ("almost painfully intimate" ... "not one for the fainthearted" ... "can be a little hard going" ... "ultimately rewarding" - which was very interesting) and I was absolutely delighted to see someone finally give Tom's work the recognition it deserves:

Thomas, who appears in a number of the videos, is the site's revelation; I'm not aware if he has appeared in videos before, but he comes across as very natural, and comfortable in his role. When he scolds there is little of the bombast that I find repellent in many male spankers; he is authentic and effective. Nice job!

The criticisms are the same as those made by others: he wishes the standalone photogalleries included videos, and he's not into M/M. I find it very interesting that these two aspects, along with the large file sizes of the videos, are those most commonly picked up on by paying customers. I want to talk in more detail about these choices and why I've made them, but this post is long enough already, so I'll save that for another day.

The most strongly positive response, so far, has been from bloggers who received a review pass (perhaps not surprising), but also from a female industry insider, and a spanko couple. That's very interesting. Male viewers who are connoisseurs of spanking sites and perhaps used to the way other websites do things have provided the most criticism, mostly on aspects where I differ from the status quo; but these same people have also appreciated other choices I've made. I've loved finding out what works for people, what doesn't; what scenes they pick out, what they expect. It's been particularly affirming to see so much positive response to the acting, costumes, ambitious plots and involved storylines - and lovely to hear the films described as having "high production values" given our low budget and my inexperience!

I'm also pleased every time someone mentions the website design and user interface; a lot of work, thought and expertise went into the branding and site structure and navigation, and it's what D and I do professionally in the vanilla world, so it's lovely to see site users respond positively to our proposed improvements on the usual way of doing things.

Thanks so much to everyone who have reviewed the site so far, and the site members who have left the fantastic and very useful feedback on individual scenes. I appreciate every comment, positive or negative. Most of the time, criticism helps me learn and improve. Sometimes it helps me realise that I feel strongly enough about something that I don't want to change it, and that's really helpful too. Every piece of feedback is a learning curve for me, and I'm grateful to each and every person who has taken the time to share their point of view.

F/M films: a new approach

The latest update is our first F/M video, a 20 minute schoolboy film called Non-violent Resistance. It stars Jimmy Holloway and Sebastian Hawley as the sixth form's bright young rebels (AKA mouthy know-it-alls), and me as their young, inexperienced form teacher. When the boys combine their tech skills to sabotage the school's new intrusive CCTV network as an act of protest, I have no choice but to punish them - despite sympathising with their political ideals.

This film is a first attempt at something I've been thinking about for a while. I wanted to produce F/M video with a difference:

  • The script is believable with an element of mutual justification. The boys are the 'heroes' of the piece - strong characters acting out of a sense of personal honour. They are articulate, with interesting things to say, and their actions and motivations are understandable.
  • This isn't just arbitrary punishment: it's the inevitable result of an interesting and hopefully plausible situation. The story is one of activism, political principles, boundaries, authority and personal responsibility. 
  • Both boys are physically attractive with young, toned bodies. They are eye candy and highly spankable.
  • Jimmy and Sebastian are confident, expressive actors and the camera shows them off to good effect. During the spankings we see their faces and reactions as much as their bottoms.

Speaking of facial expressions I noticed a cool thing while I was editing. Watching it frame by frame, it becomes very clear. During his caning, Jimmy's studied expression of sullen nonchalance lasts several frames after the cane lands.

The pain doesn't arrive on his face until a moment later.

You always hear about there being the space of a heartbeat before a cane's impact and becoming aware of the sensation, but I've never noticed it captured so clearly on film before!

The other thing I noticed while I was editing was quite how much my topping skills have improved since we filmed this. The OTK spankings aren't the hardest or the longest ever, and after the event I thought of dozens of arch put-downs with which to quell my mouthy students. But hopefully it doesn't matter too much, because my inexperience makes sense within the story.

For ages I've wanted to see F/M where the male spankees were just as hot and interesting, given just as much personality and screentime, as the female spankees are in my favourite spanking films. The traditional school scenario, with two troublemakers punished together, seemed an obvious starting place. So we have the two school pupils in detention, writing lines; over the teacher's knee, and bending over the desk for the cane; afterwards, comparing and exclaiming over each other's stripes. Classic motifs of spanking video all. But I'd never seen it done with schoolboys and a female teacher.

This is the sort of scene I love playing as a spankee. It's very much told from the boys' perspective. They are, after all, in the right: although they have broken the rules, by their teacher's own admission she agrees with their point of view. Too nervous and inexperienced to effectively impose authority, she fails to convince them by reason and unwillingly resorts to corporal punishment to keep order. My character in this scene ends up compromising her own stated principles, and it's the schoolboys who come out on top. Morally speaking, at least.

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