I realised a few weeks ago that even if I spent a day a week working on my spanking site, I wouldn't have a chance of launching it by Christmas. Now it's nearly the end of October, and I wouldn't be able to manage it even if I could find two days a week. Which I can't; I'm gradually catching up on my perennial work backlog (generated by an inability to say no to things, too many partners forming tempting startups which of course I want to help out with, and a bizarre insistence on working to make pipedream projects happen rather than simply relegating them to the "some day" pile) but my to do list still has a depressing number of things on it which have a higher priority than my fairtrade kinky porn project.
When I realised that 2010, like 2009, was going to end with this site still in its long gestation, I felt very down in the dumps about it. I cursed myself for my inability to focus, for not working hard enough to get everything else done (although I know this is bollocks really), for making poor decisions in giving my time this year to other people's projects and causes. But I'm not very suited to regret. By the time I'd slept on it, I was feeling a lot more zen about my choices this year. My baby spanking site may not be born yet, but I haven't been wasting my time. And although I'm always frustrated by not being able to make as much progress as I'd like with any one project, I'd rather lead a rich and varied life than spend all my time on one thing.
It's okay, anyway; people rarely have money to spend just after Christmas. A March launch date makes more economic sense in some ways. It certainly doesn't mean I'm a failure. (I won't be surprised if the March date falls by the wayside as well, but giving myself deadlines is one of the ways I prioritise between all the tempting conflicting demands on my time. And the nice thing about setting deadlines for yourself is that it's alright if they slip; as long as the deadline spurs you to focus, it's served its purpose.)
When I was still aiming for a Christmas launch, I'd pledged to myself that I wasn't allowed to spend any more time shooting (the fun sociable part) until I'd caught up on editing, admin, site design and development (the time-consuming solitary parts). It's not like I don't enjoy these things, but somehow I found myself producing another shoot before I'd made much more in the way of progress with the rest of it. It was easy to find excuses - oh, well, this venue is probably available for a limited time only, and I should make the most of it while I have access to it; I need some better promotional images in order to do the web design - but the truth is that shooting is exciting and exhilirating and involves having kinky fun with lovely people, and all the rest of it involves long hours I have to spend at my desk.
I'd like to say that the stills shoot yesterday was definitely DEFINITELY the last shoot I'm producing until all the rest of the work is done, and I am going to spend my time working on the site and editing the backlog rather than planning more exciting future shoots. But I know that's not true. I'm already planning another video shoot in December. Guiltily. But I shall assuage my conscience by doing lots of editing AS WELL. Then the next shoot clearly won't be procrastination on the other work, but a reward to myself for making progress.
But you guys don't want to hear all about my prioritising troubles, you want to hear about the shoot yesterday. I'm getting the pics back from the photographer in a couple of weeks, so I'll leave proper scene descriptions til I have some images to illustrate them with. In the meantime:
- I'm getting better at this. Quite a lot of planning went into this one, although the callsheet still only went out on Saturday night (but everyone had had advance notice of the costume they needed to bring, so that wasn't the end of the world). I feel like every shoot I produce goes more smoothly. There was almost no stress or faff on the day. We kept to schedule and got through five different set-ups in under eight hours, with time for lunch and tidying (not bad when we had to dress each set individually for a different historical period and flavour). I'd written an additional scene to be fitted in before lunch if we could, but by late morning we were running slightly behind, so I cut it, which meant we started the afternoon ahead of schedule. We actually finished the day half an hour earlier than I'd planned, which made me wonder if I shouldn't have left the extra scene in after all - but having more time is no bad thing, and that scene will work just as well on a future video shoot.
- This was stills only, and so very much in my comfort zone as an artist - although it was, bizarrely, the first stills-only shoot I've produced/directed. Strange to realise that. I hadn't directed other models before, but I've been directed a lot and had a very clear vision about what I wanted, so it came quite naturally. Tom directed part of one scene and most of another, since he knows much more about either 19th century ceremonial magic or fencing choreography than I do.
- I found it much easier to bottom while directing stills than I have to bottom while directing video. Because I was directing, I found the pain much harder to take than when I'm simply modelling, and can immerse myself more fully, but because it was stills, there was much more opportunity to react out of character if a stroke was too painful, or to pause to collect myself. If I reacted to a hard stroke with, say, an annoyed yell rather than a submissive whimper, it didn't ruin the dynamic of the scene, because the camera didn't record it. And I could ask Tom to pause between strokes of the strap to give my bottom a rub without having to call "cut". Because of the increased opportunities for out of character conversation between shots, modelling for stills is much more compatible with directing than modelling for video.
- Daniel R was amazing to work with, and totally unflappable despite not having shot spanking material before. He got what I was trying to do, he was professional, efficient, calm, and amazingly good at lighting - the darker atmospheric scenes with candlelight came out so much better than I'd hoped, and I know how hard that is. I was really happy with the shots I saw on his computer screen, and can't wait to see the finished results. Thanks so much to him and his partner for all their hard work yesterday. I was able to hand the lighting tech completely over to them, and it made my job so much easier.
- It is such a privilege to be able to work with close friends. I knew what all my models were capable of, I trusted them, I didn't have to worry about them, I didn't have to feel guilty for spending valuable social time working, because I knew I'd see lots of them anyway - it was just really emotionally easy. Plus they all share my vision, and so I can trust them creatively to strive for the same aims as me. Working with new people is wonderful, but it's different, and it's definitely more effort. This felt very natural and straightforward, and this week I really needed that.
Because we were doing stills only, I took the opportunity to do some scenes which would be difficult to shoot on video. The aforementioned fencing choreography, for instance; or the Magician's Apprentice scene I shot with Adele, Tom and Jimmy, which included a special effect which would be beyond my skills on video, but which was easy to produce in stills. I was also able to persuade Tom and Jimmy to do some M/m work, which made Adele and I very happy, but which I don't think they'd be comfortable doing on video. Having done the stills versions successfully, though, I now think that the other three out of yesterday's five scenes would be doable on video, so it's possible we'll revisit those at some point.
I've decided that I'll let myself blog about specific scenarios in detail when (and only when) I've got each one ready to publish, in the hopes that this will motivate me to get the post-production done promptly. For now, I'll just post this photo I took on my cameraphone between takes, of Adele and Jimmy being very sweet as the magician's apprentice and his new girlfriend (who is, unbeknownst to him, also the magician's apprentice-to-be):
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