Lucy Lauren Cosplay Dungeon

Hi All,

I’m in pre-production for the next cosplay dungeon shoot, this time starring the lovely Lucy Lauren. I made a handout of notes/script for the start of the shoot which Lucy and I will go through on camera – putting it up here so Lucy can read it and thought I’d tag it in case anyone else is interested in what we have planned!

Lucy Lauren Cosplay Dungeon

Slave of the Sorcerer

We are going to improvise a script between us, using a table-top roleplaying game to narrate what happens.

We will film us doing that in 30 minute chunks. At the end of each 30 minute segment we will pause, scribble lots of notes on what just happened and some ideas for what we can film to illustrate the story. We will decide if there’s anything we don’t want to film, or if we have to step back and rewind any of the events – and either of us can always call cut to discuss as we go, too.

We’ll tell a story around the table shooting on day one, then on days two and three we will film a bunch of short movies to illustrate it. I’ll edit it together with the footage of us talking to spin a tall tale of fantasy and magic and kinky sex… hopefully!

The idea is to describe the adventures and experiences of a very sexy character in a fantasy world of elves and orcs and ogres and wicked sorcerers in towers keeping girls as sex slaves.

An unspoken rule of this world is that any intelligent creature can and will have sex with any other intelligent creature – so by all means seduce the ogres or chat up the elf archer!

We’re developing it interactively as we go so you can shape what happens to make sure you’re happy to film it. This makes it so much easier for shy Hywel to actually film some more explicit stuff with toys. I’d really like to have fantasy hand-jobs, foot-jobs, blow-jobs, fake sex on screen with orc-cock toys too if you are up for it. Having described the scene together beforehand in the game means I won’t die of embarrassment suggesting that we film it. Or do what I usually do and wimp out of shooting it on the day – I won’t be able to as we have to tell the story we wrote!

Each scene starts with me telling you where you are and what you see – maybe that you are being held prisoner by a band of orcs. Then I ask you what you do (as your character). You could try to escape by stealth, by killing the orcs, by seducing them, talk to them to get information or maybe you want them to take you to whoever is in charge. There’s no right or wrong answer. Ask questions about what’s lying around – maybe there’s some oil in an oil lamp you can use to lubricate your skin and get out from the shackles you are in. I’ll always try to move to story along for you as I tell you what happens next… and ask you what you do about it. Maybe one of the orcs caught you in the act… now what?

Our job is to tell an interesting story and get your character into lots of scrapes – unlike regular D&D we’re going to have a lot of bondage, torture and sex going on as well.

The whole thing is a big experiment and a bit of a treat for me to shoot something different. If it just doesn’t work as a way to shoot for you we can just shoot regular RE instead, but I’m sure you’ll be great! We just need to find ways to get your character into trouble with a BDSM and sexual element and it’ll all work out!

The one thing we need is for you to throw your character into stuff. To be afraid or over-cautious. Whatever happens, your character will come out the other side safe and sound in the end. In the game world even if she’s killed she can be brought back to life. She is going to have a happy ending.

If I ask you a question to which you don’t know the answer… make something up, or say you have no idea and we’ll brainstorm something together. Don’t be afraid of doing it wrong- do something rather than nothing and the story will quickly move on.

I’ve been running games like this for almost 40 years and I’ve got lots of tricks and techniques to keep the story moving. I’ll keep throwing situations and characters at you and we’ll see what turns into an interesting event to film.

Because the back-story of the character is interesting and has lots of possibilities for sexy stuff, we’ll roleplaying through it together. That’ll also give you chance to get used to the idea.

Setting the Scene: Escape from the Sorcerer’s Tower

You don’t really remember much about your past, just that you had one.
You weren’t born here, didn’t gown up in this nightmare place.
Somehow, you came here, probably in the chains and shackles that still bind you.
You had a life before being made into a sex slave of the Sorcerer.

But such is the oppressive weight of magic in this place that you remember nothing about that life. Just that you had one.

You have been here for months, possibly years. Day follows day in a haze of forgetfulness and sorcery. Your life is an endless procession of serving the sordid whims of the wicked Sorcerer. Chained, naked, you tend to his bed-chamber. You particularly hate that one spell he favours casting upon you above all others- the one that drains your will.

Sometimes the spell forces you to remain agonisingly paralysed in position as he uses you for tasks that most men would have furniture to fulfil. A book-stand. A candle-holder. A place to hold his staff. An erotic statue.

Sometimes the spell compels you to actively participate in your own enslavement. He rarely deigns to fuck you, but he often forces you to suck his cock while he works his magic or reads from books of magical lore. When he does fuck you, it is to extract the power of your orgasms to empower his rituals. You come on his command and yet the pleasure of the orgasm is denied you, sucked out so that you do not really even experience your own climax. All satisfaction stolen, denied to you.

With your stolen sexual power he conjures cruel demons of lust from the vast starless skies, bartering with them for arcane knowledge and power, constraining them to the summoning circle on the floor of the chamber where you lie bereft of pleasure as the demons form in the air above you.

You know there are others within the tower. Human guards and magical statues. Other slave girls, some of whom meet their end screaming in the ritual circle as the sorcerer tires of them and gives them to the demons.Noblemen, elves, orcs, ogres, trolls and far stranger creatures visit the tower. Often you are given to them as a sexual toy so the sorcerer can curry favour.

You don’t even know the sorcerer’s name.

You don’t even know your own name, for sure. You think it might be… (ask for a character name. Lucy Lauren is fine!)

Your Vision

Through it all, there is one vision from your past that stays with you, makes you determined not to just give in and lose yourself to this life. It is a vision of… what? A few ideas – a person – maybe a sister? A place that was home. A vision of yourself crowned in fire, taking revenge upon the sorcerer. A mission, perhaps you were a spy send here to find out the sorcerer’s secrets? A fellow slave girl with whom you have shared stolen pleasure and whose life you vowed to save, but who was given as a prize to some noble of a far-off land? Or something less selfless… like a huge buried treasure to steal or a kingdom to conquer? Maybe you are a princess with a throne to re-take. Or a vengeful warrior queen with a realm to conquer.

We are looking to establish a motivation for you to escape, a motivation for you to have adventures outside and a motivation for you to one day return and take revenge on the wicked sorcerer. (The motivation to have lots of sex is below!)

Tonight, for once, things are different. The sorcerer is unexpected called from the tower whilst preparing a ritual. The spell upon you fades as the hours pass. What thought is it that makes you resist the magical fog that clouds your brain and decide to act?

You are kneeling on the floor in the wizard’s chamber. Forbidden books line the wall. You are at the edge of the summoning circle, the book and staff you have been holding for hours causing intolerable pain and cramps from enforced immobility as the spell wanes and you can finally move.

There on the desk is the vile sacrificial dagger intended for the heart of another innocent slave. Perhaps this is the night he was finally going to slay you?

What do you do?

We’ll explore a few options here – but in the end to move the story to the proper start point you decide to use the spell book yourself, casting the summoning ritual with your own orgasm, summoning a demon of lust.

You cannot believe how strong the climax was, after so long denied the ability to feel it.

What do you ask of the demon? Freedom? Power? Rescue? Recall of your past?

The demon offers you a bargain. It gains its power from carnal lust. It will lend you that power (and even bring you back to life if you die).

There’s a catch – to use that power on a creature, you must have sexual knowledge of its blood-line or source of power. If you make a creature orgasm, the demon gains carnal pleasure, power and insight into all who share its source of power, and in turn that lets you channel that power to overcome the creature and those similar to it.

So for example you cannot successfully cast one of your spells on an elf until you have gained carnal knowledge of elves by making an elf orgasm. You will have advantage using your powers on a creature you have personally made come, and normal use of your abilities against those who share the bloodline. But if the creature draws more power from another source – for example a wizard who draws primarily from the element of fire – they will be immune. At least until you manage to bring them to orgasm, or find a powerful fire genie to wank off and gain access to the power of fire that way.

Unfortunately, the reckoning of powers starts from the moment you enter into the pact with the demon… so you will not be able to affect the sorcerer until you find out his source of power – and he might have several. You’ll need to find them all. Or you could hang around and wait and bring him to climax tonight, but the chances of him not noticing the change in you and killing you out of hand seem pretty slim. You can have some life outside the tower. And your vision calls to you. Vengeance on the sorcerer will just have to wait.

You seal your pact with the demon in the only way a demon of lust ever seals a pact – with wicked hot sex!

The demon grants you some powers which you can use at will (see cantrips) and some of greater power; you can call on any two of those powers (or the same one twice) within a battle or within the space of a few minutes, but must then rest a short while before being able to channel them again.

You cannot kill the sorcerer as yet, but can you shatter the magical chains that bind you (dispel magic). You draw your power around you to clothe and armour you (mage armour) and steal the staff. After a moment’s reflection you take the spell book and sacrificial dagger, too. It might be useful… and it means the sorcerer can’t use them.

You light your way with another cantrip.

Escape The Tower

Now… how to escape from the tower? You know you are quite high up, but you can find a window and try to climb down the rough walls. Or you could work your way down to the front door, finding ways to tackle the human servants and magical guardians as you go. Or blast a hole straight through the wall and jump, relying on your borrowed demonic power to shield you.

Now what?

The tower lies beside a lake, surrounded by forested hills and mountains beyond. In the far distance at the end of the lake you can see twinkling lights – a village, perhaps? A track leads up to a raised road which looks well-travelled, although there is no-one in sight at the moment.

The sorcerer is sure to return soon – he will notice your absence and that you have stolen staff, spell-book and sacrificial dagger. He will want them, and possibly you, back.

Even if he isn’t back for hours, the guards in the tower will be after you soon.

What do you do? Where do you go? What is the priority? Does the vision pull you one way or the other, or does the need to make good your escape pull you most strongly?

Do you need to seek out nobles? Gold? Maybe you need to seek out lesser Wizards to drain their powers for yourself? Or just start bringing as many different sorts of creature to orgasm as you can for now? Remember that your powers are great, but they won’t work on any new sort of creature at first. You will probably get captured often in new situations. Turn it to your advantage and to matters sexual as soon as you can- they sooner the come, the sooner you have the power to escape or to get what you need from them!

2020 Plans

Hi Everyone,

I mentioned recently that the world has moved to wanting bondage videos rather than still photosets. Recent custom commissions drive home just how much so- we’re getting about 15 video commissions for every 1 stills set commission.

As a result I’ve decided to change the RE update schedule as of the site’s 19th birthday on 1st April 2020. It’s really important to me that I make sure I deliver exactly what I promised when you signed up. The longest membership period you can sign up for is currently 3 months, which is why I’m giving so much notice of the change.

We will move to updating with new material every other day, plus at least two archives every day.

At least one update in three will be a video, and at least one update in three will be a stills photoset.

For the moment I am planning on one video update then two stills, so it will go video update, stills update, stills update, video update, etc. Plus at least two archives every day as at present.

I reserve the right to vary that in future (e.g. if we’ve got a huge number of videos to get through) but guarantee that at least one in every three updates will be a video and one in every three will be a stills set.

To compensate for the overall slight reduction in the total number of updates, I will no longer be trying to split videos when they reach the 10 minute mark and so the videos will often run longer than I’ve allowed them to at present. This fits better with the average running time of the story-led custom videos we’re currently shooting.

If you’re interested in why I’ve decided to do this and the business and artistic case for it, see below. But the short answer is
that I’ve not changed my prices since 2014 and since then we’ve gone from 7 minute HD videos to 20+ minute 4K videos as the norm, as well as making stills sets bigger and longer. Something has to give and I think this re-orientation best suits the way we’re shooting today- we can spend longer shooting each stills set and shoot more complex story-led videos better this way.

Why Are We Doing This? Business and Artistic Case.

Pricing

I have managed to hold our subscription prices the same for the last six years. Inflation in that time has raised prices at least 10%, including my main expense (paying the models). In 2020, something has to give.

One possibility was to keep the update schedule or even add extra videos, but that would have meant a substantial price hike, and hiring a video editor (which I may still do but I’m nervous about taking staff on in the current climate- I’d like to see how things go for a while and maybe hire indie contractors for specific jobs instead).

I know times are tough in my major markets and just don’t think an increase would be affordable for a lot of people. Refocussing towards video and a gentle reduction in the frequency of stills updates is more sensible.

Regular Updates

One of the things that has always kept me coming back to my favourite sites is regular and frequent updates. I want to be encouraged to come back often because there’s always something new to see. Every other day (plus archives every day, as now) seems to keep that, which I really like.

Sustainability

Videos take longer to shoot and WAY longer to edit than stills. An increase in video production was only something we could do temporarily to see if it looked like a better way to go- and it does. To sustain that increase rate of video production, the stills have to come down. This also makes the update schedule feel more sustainable as I get deeper into my fifties (my aching back will thank me LOL)

Every other day feels like a really nice way to go. I know how to do things better now, and I want to allow the time to do it. My burnout at the start of 2019 also shows that fewer, but better, is the way to go for me at this point in my career. A gentle reduction and refocusing is necessary and this seems like the best way.

Time for other projects for art’s sake

As we ramped up custom video production, all the side projects (like Elegance Studios long movies) had to be put on the back burner. It’s really important to us to have at least a bit of slack in the production schedule for personal artistic projects.

That was driven home to me by how much I LOVED being able to set aside a week of prep and production and shooting time to do the recent Cosplay Dungeon fantasy story with Faye. I really want to shoot more in that series and get back to shooting some longer and more ambitious projects “in our own time” (i.e. not based on custom commissions).

The whole RE team really love doing the location shoots as well and this change will allow us to have a greater fraction of the shoots on location and fewer just trying to meet the update schedule. It means the guys and girls who come on location can spend more time on crafting each set and less time making the numbers.

The change to updating every other day will make this difference: it’ll let us concentrate on doing fewer things better, both for the membership site and for the extra self-contained projects which this will allow us to bring back into production for 2020.

Fits in much better with the custom shoots, longer clips on RE

As well as having to fit in more shoots, it is noticeable how many of the customs are coming in substantially longer than the “regular” short RE clips. Many of them are more like Elegance Studios film length! Moving to this update schedule will let me deliver more of those at their natural length, or split sensibly into two, rather than trying to force a split into 10-15 minute long segments to keep the site in its bandwidth limits.

Takes account of the big changes in what we deliver

The last time we raised prices back in 2014, a typical RE video update was about 7 minutes long and we’d just started updating in 1080p full HD. There were longer videos, up to half an hour, but once a month at most.

Of videos due to go up on the site in the next couple of months only one of them is under 10 minutes long, and most of them are over 20 minutes. And we’re now delivering in 4K.

These are VERY different beasts to shoot, edit and upload than the 7 minute HD clips of six years ago. I had to buy an expensive new iMac this year just to be able to physically process the video footage in the available time each month!

Since these 15-30 minute 4K videos are the new normal, for sure something has to give. And since customers are paying us to shoot videos, it has to be stills.

We still love stills. We’re doing them better and will continue to improve.

Since the last price increase in 2014, we’ve moved up to 42 megapixel shooting for stills with a sack of expensive lenses to get the best out of the sensor. Not that the Hasselblad was bad, but it couldn’t deliver in available light, low light or mixed lighting scenarios. We’ve got a lot more strings to our bow photographically as a result.

I hope you’ll agree that we’re shooting more interesting, varied and sexy stills than ever before… but doing four stills sets a week is a drain. The new iMac helped a lot with the physical processing and editing time, but that’s still quite substantial. What’s more important is the drain on creativity. It sometimes feels like a bit of a production line. We REALLY enjoy it when we can take more time for each one and put more creativity into it as a result.

The every-other-day update schedule will allow us to so this. We can go from an hour per set to shoot to an hour and a half easily, even two hours for some sets, and still leave time to film more videos each day than we do now.

As a result we will be able to do an even better job of every stills set we shoot by taking the time to make each one that bit more considered, varied and special.

Reduction in length of time stuff stays on the members’ site

One thing I will have to monitor over the next few months is the total bandwidth as we move to more and more of these monster video updates. For most of the last six years updates and archives have stayed on the site for six months from release date.

I’ve recently reduced that to five months. I may need to reduce it further to four months. This won’t have any effect on those of you on recurring subscriptions, since you’ll still see everything, but it will mean those who only join occasionally are more likely to miss out.

Well, sorry – I do need to encourage you to stay as a recurring member as that’s the whole basis of the business model. It spaces out the bandwidth usage much more for example.

Change is exciting (and a bit scary)

I didn’t realise myself how much things had changed on the site since 2014 until I looked up the numbers to write this post. I thought that the reason I felt so stressed out and overloaded earlier in 2019 was just me not working very efficiently.

But looking at what we put out in a typical month now, compared with what we were putting out in 2014… the difference is stark. Photosets have got longer, and at 42 megapixels, bigger. Each one takes longer to process as a result. Video have got a LOT longer, and a LOT bigger – it’s no wonder I ended up working so inefficiently. I needed to be working to 10pm a lot of nights to queue up exports and video compression jobs, at least until I invested in the new iMac.

Now the question is more about editing time- editing video scales roughly linearly with video length, so a typical 28 minute video now takes four times as long to edit as a 7 minute from 2014. No wonder I was feeling the strain – I literally have about four times as much video to edit as I did in 2014! Adding probably 25% to stills editing time even with the new iMac as well it’s no wonder I suddenly ran out of time to shoot Elegance Studios videos.

I’m excited to get working on shoots for 2020, because of the extra leeway this will give us to improve each one… and that makes me think that this is the right plan for me moving forward. I hope you’ll agree with me that it’s an exciting prospect! I really look forward to showing you the results in 2020!

Backup strategies for BDSM productions

Hi All,

Ultra-nerdy post occasioned by some Twitter discussion about backup strategies. I’ve been in the business nearly 20 years and have had to transition my backups to new hardware many times. So far (touch wood) I have not lost anything.

I thought it might help newer producers and especially model-producers who aren’t used to having to do digital imaging tech jobs the way that most webmasters are.

Basic Principles

  1. You don’t have it until you have three copies of it.
  2. Don’t delete it from the card until you’ve backed it up at least twice.
  3. One of the copies has to be physically separate from the others. If your laptop gets stolen, it does you no good if your backup drives all went with it.
  4. Figure out what you can afford to lose and plan accordingly.
  5. You have to have a routine.

Three Copies

Hard drives fail often (see https://www.backblaze.com/b2/hard-drive-test-data.html) about 2% of drives used by industrial backup company Backblaze fail per year. If that 2% includes your single 8 TB external drive with everything you’ve ever shot on it… YOU ARE FUCKED.

Want to start selling all your old clips on a new store system? You’re out of luck.

At least in fetish porn, there’s a LONG sales tail – stuff I shot two decades ago still sells and a lot of the profit I generate comes from these steady sales of older clips, since the costs are all paid any sale is pure profit.

That’s why everyone needs at least three copies of your work. Hard drives are cheap compared with the lost sales or the cost of production.

Don’t be cheapskate. Buy an extra hard drive or three. Think how many hours of work it took to create the data. It quickly adds up to tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds, and many work months or years. Suddenly £100 here and there on more hard drives sounds like a fucking BARGAIN considering how much it cost to shoot what’s on there.

Don’t delete it from the card until you’ve backed it up twice

Your footage is at its most vulnerable when there’s just the one fragile, easy to reformat, easy to drop down the loo camera card. Don’t leave it un-backed-up for a second longer than you have to.

Newer cameras are starting to have a second SD card slot so you can record two copies simultaneously in case a card fails. Follow that maxim- get a second backup as soon as you can. Don’t just read the footage in to your laptop – copy it to an external hard drive immediately too. Two external hard drives is better.

I take small, cheap, external portable drives with me on location shoots because I have to format the cards during the week. Two or three £50 drives might be all that stands between me and losing a the footage from a trip that took thousands of pounds and many person-hours to put together.

Cards are cheap – buy more, I’m doing this now the fast ones have come down in price so hopefully next location trip I won’t even have to wipe the cards during the week.

One copy offsite

If your house burns down, that’s grim. If you can afford it, you’ll be insured. But if your house burns down with the only copy of years of filming on it, you might also be out of business. And if someone steals your laptop on the road, make sure all the copies of yesterday’s shoot aren’t with it.

There’s a limit to what you can do here but tucking one of your portable external HD copies in your suitcase or your car glove box rather than having them all in the laptop bag is worth doing.

When you get home, the same principle applies. But how do you get that additional off-site copy?

Hard drive in a friend’s house works well. (Encrypt the hard drive so said friend can’t pirate your stuff even if they were so untrustworthy as to try). I did this for ages, swapping a big box of hard drives with my ex-wife who lived around the corner (and who is my best friend).

It’s a pain, though. What about a more sensible and automated strategy?

Raw images and unedited video footage are huge. Backing everything up to a cloud provider would be prohibitively expensive for 20 years of raw footage (it comes to 100 TB or so for me!) More importantly the bandwidth of domestic internet connections means it would take a decade to upload.

So you need to be smarter.

What can you afford to lose?

This is the bit of analysis I’ve not seen much in generic “back up everything you have” advice by data security companies. I’ve got more data in my study than many medium-sized enterprise computer companies, but I don’t have the budgets to match. We generate huge data sets which we have to deal with using cheap consumer methods.

Work out how much each class of data is worth to you. Concentrate on backing up the high value stuff. For me, this goes as follows:

  1. Unedited footage and unprocessed images. This is highest of high value because I have invested all the time and money into shooting them but not got any return yet. That’s why you need to be ultra-paranoid of data straight out of the camera: you can’t afford to lose it, especially once everyone has been paid and gone home.
  2. Finished clips and edited photos, in the best quality possible. Let’s call this “archival quality”. This stuff is useful to hold on to because in future you might wish to make a more compressed version is another format. I always keep a “master copy” of edited videos in full resolution, using a high bit-rate codec like Apple ProRes. If you’re shooting in 4K but selling clips in 1080p HD, you’re throwing away the opportunity to sell in 4K in two years’ time if everyone now demands it. Ditto if you kept WMV copies, and everyone now prefers MP4, you’ve lost resale value. Export very high quality JPEGs of images in full resolution too. When I started, 1 megapixel was a huge image. Now people like to download the full 42 megapixels. I wish I’d exported full resolution JPEGs of my earliest images. I’ve frequently gone back to my archival edited copies to export in a new format when fashions change; we’re probably all going to swap to HEVC/H.265 formats in the next few years and people will increasingly be wanting 4K. It’s easy enough to be prepared, it just takes some disk space.
  3. “Sale-quality” images and clips. This is the heavily-compressed full HD MP4 files and JPEGs you’re probably selling today. These are your actual products, and you MUST at least back these up somewhere so when “NewClipsStoreEveryoneLoves.com” opens up you can upload your back catalogue. On the plus side, you might have multiple off-site backups of these already if you use something like the FTP interface to Clips4Sale – you could download all your old clips from there if you needed to. So long as C4S haven’t gone bust of course, so don’t count on it one hundred percent, have another independent offsite backup as well.
  4. Raw footage for sets you’ve processed and put on sale. It’s vaguely worth hanging on to this if you like to allow later reprocessing, but I’ve hardly ever done that in two decades. So the raw footage goes from being the most valuable data on your hard drive to the least valuable at the point where you’ve exported the video and put it on sale.
  5. Maintaining your edits. Saving things like Final Cut or Premiere Pro projects or Lightroom catalogues. In my experience I might go back to an edit after a few days because someone pointed out we left in an “action/cut” call, but beyond that, I never re-edit stuff. I keep a copy for video out of paranoia, but strip out large files like proxies. I don’t bother keeping anything for stills, not least because the skin smoothing software I use is works on rendered pixels not parametrically like Lightroom. So just high quality final JPEGs is OK for stills. I could save 16 bit TIFFs but they are huge so I don’t.

It’s that change in the value of the raw footage that makes our backup strategy different from a lot of other businesses.

We’ve got very high value unprocessed raw data. Very high value sale-quality data that we’re about to put on sale. High value sale-quality data which has been on sale a while. Medium value archival quality data that we might want to strike a new format export from one day. Then low value old raw footage and projects for films we’ve already edited an exported.

To keep costs sane and to automate the process, I use a cloud backup services for my offsite backups these days but I only back up the unprocessed raw data and the sale-quality data. I want to be able to stretch to the archival “master” video files one day, but right now my bandwidth won’t cope with 60+ GB a week.

When you run out of space on your current backup hardware, which you will because file sizes keep growing, migrate your unprocessed data first, then your sale-quality data, then your archival data and only back up the old raw footage and projects if you think there’s any chance of going back to them to re-edit later.

I keep that stuff on general principles, but I’m relaxed about not having offsite backups of the old raw footage in particular.

Routine

Automated backups which happen without you remembering are much better.

I use Carbon Copy Cloner to keep my local backups up to date and Backblaze to automatically backup to unprocessed stuff and sale-quality stuff to the cloud. The only thing I trigger manually is a “push” of data from my working disk to my archival RAID arrays once I’ve offloaded the cards and organised photos and videos into sets at the end of shoot day. Then the archival RAID automatically backs up to a second one daily in the small hours.

My Advice

I hope this has helped a bit to think about your backup strategy. Think about how much of a disaster it would be to lose some of your footage at different parts of your workflow and plan accordingly. £50 spent on another hard drive might literally save you thousands of pounds of lost work and lost sales.

Cosplay Dungeon Ideas

Hi All,

Our first attempt at the “D and BDSM” idea crossing tabletop roleplaying with BDSM and round-the-table dirty talk with cinematic filming worked out far better than I’d any right to imagine.

You can watch the trailers for part one and part two of Faye’s cosplay dungeon adventure or buy them here: part one or part two (released on Friday 22nd November 2019, which is tomorrow as I’m writing this).

I’m thrilled with the way it turned out, so I’m going to make more. Faye and I had some ideas about which models might be interested, and sure enough they were jumping up and down with enthusiasm when we posted about it.

So I’m just setting out ideas for characters they could play. We need vivid personalities who will be proactive, getting themselves into a lot of sexual and BDSM adventures.

Here are a few thoughts.

N.B. Images are grabbed from Google without attribution, sorry – hopefully the artists won’t mind me using them as a mood board as a jumping-off point for costume ideas.

We’ve got plans for a two-girl shoot with Faye as a story sequel but I think I need to do one more solo shoot to fine tune the shoot workflow first. So looking at introducing another main protagonist character with her own storyline set in the same Duchy first.

Slave of the Sorcerer

Kidnapped and held as a naked sex slave by a wicked sorcerer, she manages to call up a demon in the sorcerer’s summoning circle and seal a pact with it. It breaks her free of her prison and grants her great magical powers. Once she has mastered them, she will be able to return to the wizard’s tower and take her revenge upon him. But first she must complete a quest, of sorts, to grow her magic.

For the demon she summoned was a succubus, a demon of tantric sexual lust. Her own powers will grow as she drains sexual power from her foes. If she has no connection with a foe’s source of power (either their blood-line or their magic) her own powers will not function against them at all. If she manages an indirect connection, like having swallowed the come of a member of that race or having made someone who uses that power source orgasm whilst they call up it, she can exercise her full powers against them. And if she has done that directly to the individual involved, she will be able to overpower their defences and have advantage against them in any physical or mental battle.

She doesn’t know either the sorcerer’s bloodline or his source of magical power, and it would be far too dangerous to confront him now (even if she could seduce him, his power would overwhelm her at this point). So she must seek out as many different bloodlines and sources of power as she can, and lure them into having an orgasm and either her being able to swallow their come of make them use their magic as they orgasm. Each bloodline or power source she consumes will make her own powers grow!

Betrayed by the Flesh

She tries oh so hard to be good and disciplined. Her intents are noble and pure. And yet she cannot resist the call of her flesh. For in her veins runs the blood of lustful, wicked spirits/fae/demons/dragons. She betrayed her duties for carnal pleasure and her home town fell as a result. Now she is on a quest for forgiveness, hunting the monsters who destroyed her home, but always just a hair’s breadth away from falling into a frenzy of carnal lust and betraying herself once again!

This would suit a more barbarian/warrior/ranger/paladin sort of character.

What she cannot deny is that the rough sex and BDSM feeds her demonic bloodline – each time she succumbs, she becomes energised and even more powerful… it is SUCH a temptation!

The Femme Fatale (aka Compiling the Kama Sutra)

A scholar or member of the college of lore, she has been sent to the duchy as a spy/investigator to get to the bottom of strange goings-on and rumours of slave trading. She has a healthy libido and has a sideline… she is compiling a fantasy version of the kama sutra! She therefore wishes to indulge in sex with as many people (and creatures) as she can, and will make careful notes….

The Vampire Hunter

A very earnest and dedicated warrior who has come to the Duchy to investigate the rulers, suspecting that there is a blood coven in action. She is extremely brave, protected by a blessing which ensures that she will always come back to life. Which means she is prone to charge in to situations which are waaaay out of her ability to handle. She’s probably going to get roughed up a lot more than some of the more consensual sex seeker characters above!

Twisted Vampire Hunter

She’s a vampire hunter with a twist – she’s a vampire herself. Rather than just trying to stake the Duchy’s vampires, she’s aiming to stake them and supplant them. More apt to use magic and sex to bind people to her, she’s more in the line of a dominatrix character who won’t always come out on top, rather than the brave damsel stereotype. She might very well be absolutely WICKED. Or she could regard her own condition as a curse and try to slay any and all vampires she meets until her own curse is finally cured, by slaying the coven master of her particular vampire bloodline. At which point she will regain her humanity (or elfosity or whatever) … but will she have become what she most hates in the process?

A Naive Fae

Counterpoint to Faye’s larcenous and manipulative brat of an elf, she is an innocent to whom inexplicably bad stuff keeps happening. Being fae, she’s probably got a very earthy and healthy sex drive and is quite unfussed about bestowing her favours widely, but lacks Faye’s manipulative twist.

We’d need to figure out why she is out and about and doing stuff, to make sure she’s proactive enough to be our protagonist and keep getting herself into scrapes. A curse, perhaps, where all creatures of even vaguely the right sexuality who look upon her lust after her, and she is seeking a way to remove it? Perhaps she too has to collect semen from as many bloodlines and power sources as she can in order to brew not potions of love or lust but potions of “leave me alone” which will let her move as normal through life without constantly being hassled?

Blood of White Dragons

A barbarian warrior or sorceress through whose veins flows the blood of icy white dragons. Not much idea for her personality, more for her outfit: lots of white and light blue colours in the costume, white furs, etc.

Perhaps she is on a quest to find a mate (a white dragon, perhaps?)

And a few snippets…

Here are a few other snippets of ideas which could be fleshed out into a proper character:

  • Monk who uses sex and tantric magic as a way around conflict with the very worst of creatures
  • Starry-eyed princess
  • Steampunk tinkerer
  • Wild magic sorceress whose magic often backfires on herself, usually resulting in her getting tied up with some sort of magical webs or tendrils etc.
  • She is a very proficient mind reader and keeps getting psychic flashes of what people want to do to her. If she lets them, she can get her way afterwards (or perhaps she’s under some sort of curse or geas).
  • Warrior baroness just inherited the barony, wakes up naked and in chains as has to make good her escape, find out what happened, take her revenge, reclaim her throne.

And Finally…

Just leaving this here as a reminder to myself.

Faye’s step-sister Renestrae

Sharp tongued, sharp witted, frighteningly competent, she’s already made herself into a god-damned princess with undreamed-of riches and power enough to be going on with. But now her cursed step-sister (we said half-sister in the film but let’s skirt around that in case the two characters have to get it on at some point!) has gotten herself into some sort of mortal peril off in a hick Duchy in the back of beyond, so of COURSE it is Renestrae who has to come to the rescue. The family insists. How very, VERY tedious.

Elegant Erotica, Silk Soles and Restrained Elegance

Hi Everyone!

As you may have seen from my recent posts, we’ve been upping our production of customs.

This has been very successful, many thanks to everyone who has ordered a custom! I’ve got 20 in my work queue in various stages of pre- and post-production for the autumn and more are coming in each week. This is fantastic and we’re having a great time making them for you!

The majority of custom requests are for videos. So this represents a significant increase in our video production rate. It also gives me a (very nice!) problem: I suddenly have more finished videos than the regular membership website schedule calls for right now.

In business model discussions with members, fans, models and other producers I learned that the majority of bondage production in the English-speaking world is supported by the customs-plus-clips4sale way of working.

Custom video customers cover the main production costs (the model fees, usually) and the producer makes their wages selling the resulting clips individually via Clips4Sale and other individual purchase sites. Clips4Sale has a LOT of traffic, and a community of purchasers many of whom seem to shop almost exclusively via C4S.

I’ve therefore decided to change my long-standing business practice of releasing everything on the membership sites first: some stuff will now debut on Clip4Sale and the eStore first.

I’ve also decided that some of the videos need a separate branding, as they aren’t always bondage or foot fetish.

We’ve chosen “Elegant Erotica” for those videos, and the web page www.ElegantErotica.store now points to our Clips4Sale store accordingly.

So moving forward, video clips in general and custom videos in particular will often debut on Clips4Sale before becoming available on the membership sites.

Will it become available on the members’ site eventually? That depends.

If the clip is branded as www.ElegantErotica.store like this:

it is exclusive Clip4Sale content, not enough bondage or foot fetish for it to be at home on either membership site.

It will therefore be available only for individual sale through Clips4Sale and other sales channels including our eStore of course.

It won’t be making an appearence on the membership sites, so if you want to see it, you’ll have to buy it individually.

If the clip is branded as SilkSoles.com (i.e. it looks like this):

Then it is non-bondage foot fetish content suitable for Silk Soles and will eventually make its way onto the Silk Soles membership site. Given the current production rate, I expect every clip we shoot like this will make it on the membership site in time.

If the clips is branded as RestrainedElegance.com (i.e. it looks like this):

it is a bondage clip suitable for RestrainedElegance.com.

If a film releases on Clips4Sale and the eStore first, it will not end up on the members’ area for months, possibly years, MAYBE NEVER.

So if you like the look of a clip and it is debuting on C4S and the eStore, don’t hold your breath for it to show up on the RE members’ area, buy it now. My intention is that all the clips with the RE branding may eventually show up on the members’ area, but I need flexibility in scheduling to manage bandwidth budgets on RE as well as making sure we have enough variety of models and bondage in the videos on the site.

I know this is not the most convenient for you as a customer. To date, we’ve been able to guarantee that everything apart from EleganceStudios.com long films will definitely be on the members’ area eventually, so if you stay a member you will see everything. But with production running so far ahead, this isn’t possible for me to guarantee, sorry.

Business Model and Forward Planning Digression

That’s the end of the public service announcement part of this post.

I know some people are interested in my business model thoughts, so I thought I’d explain what’s going on. Feel free to skip this bit.

For 18 years I’ve had a pretty stable release schedule. We’ve done a few tweaks over the years – from an update being by definition the photos that came of a single 36-exposure roll of 35mm film, to daily updates splitting sets into multiple parts, adding video at one per week, then consolidating to the current 5-days-a-week schedule with four photosets per week, not split into separate parts unless they are deliberately conceived that way (e.g. as a multi-part story with each part in a different tie and a different location). Plus one video per week. Plus one stills set a week for SilkSoles and videos for SilkSoles as and when timing permits, which in recent times means “only when we get a custom video”. I’m proud of never once having missed an update.

This schedule is nicely inside my control and allows me to plan ahead, something which is quite necessary to manage a 6-day-a-week schedule (312 updates a year, of which 52 are video, 52 are Silk Soles stills and the rest are RE stills).

For a while we made cinematic films under the EleganceStudios.com banner, but the time we used to allocate to this has increasingly been taken over by custom videos. We still intend to make Elegance Studios films, but most of the recent ones have actually been long customs rather than our own productions, and the couple of longer films we’ve shot in the last year are still waiting to be edited behind the growing queue of customs.

We’ve now reached the point where the video production needs to step up to meet demand and as I said at the opening of this post, that gives me a new problem, albeit a pleasant one- right now, we’re producing videos faster than we can use them on RestrainedElegance.com.

I don’t know if this is a temporary thing- maybe the custom work will expand even more, in which case the RE membership site model needs to shift towards video, or it might settle back to something more like the one-video-a-week RE schedule. And it’s a challenge because I’m not in control of what people want us to shoot. We can get a sudden rush of costume drama 45-minute films which will need slicing up into multiple parts for RE to control bandwidth costs, and leave the nude-in-metal fans a bit bereft. Or we can suddenly have everyone wanting 5 minute struggling videos with the same model. Maybe the custom production will suddenly drop off, as it did a couple of years ago.

For all these reasons, I’m keeping the possibility of putting clips which have been shot as customs months or years ago up on the membership site to “damp down” these clusters of flux and flow in what gets commissioned. But if the production continues to outstrip the one-a-week RE schedule, some stuff may never make it.

Planning for this is tricky.

I’ve also got a year or so of content plus months of shoots planned on the assumption that the update schedule is going to stay the same. I know a lot of RE members are members mainly because of the stills, so I’m reluctant to go to an alternative schedule which would be two videos and two stills sets per week. Videos take more time to produce and critically more bandwidth on the site, so if I’m upping the commitment on the videos, the stills have to come down significantly.

Most producers seem content to surf the waves of what’s happening this month or this year, but I guess having been in the business for nearly 20 years now, never having missed and update and wanting to keep it that way, I’m more prone to looking forward and worrying about stuff. It’d probably be wiser to make money while the sun shines, pile ’em high while the sales are good on C4S and not worrying about this stuff. And certainly not post about it, which is almost certainly counterproductive as far as sales go. (However hypothetical my discussions, someone always seems to decide it means a complete change of direction and cancels their membership accordingly. Sigh. But I like being open and writing these blogs focusses my own thoughts, too).

In the longer term, I must acknowledge that I’m no longer in my early 30’s as I was when the site launched. I’m now in my early 50’s, and with the best will in the world the update schedule will have to come down at some point. It is possible that the whole business will have a new golden age and I will be able to employ younger people with less creaky backs and knees. But if that doesn’t happen I’d rather reduce my output, reduce the membership price accordingly and gently keep doing the stuff I love for as long as I’m physically capable. Realistically, I’ll HAVE to reduce the output when I hit 60 in nine years.

Left to my own devices I’d vaguely thought sometime around a decade from now when I hit 60 to think about ramping down the video production to maybe one every two weeks, and the stills down to two per week and regard that as semi-retirement.

In the meantime, I need to actually increase my video production while there is demand. That’s fine, it eats up our contingency time where we used to shoot Elegance Studios videos and do other business ventures like landscape photography, but it is totally sustainable for now. It just messes with the RE video schedule a bit.

I could separate off the stills and videos components of RE entirely, that would certainly allow more flexibility. But given how confused customers can be by the fact that stuff on the shopping carts isn’t all on the RE members area all the time, I can only imagine how much bafflement that would bring. I may do this in the future if the video side continues to dominate, I guess.

For now I’ve decided that this is the least dislocating option. The RE update schedule stays the same, we use our contingency business time to shoot customs, I release the customs on C4S as soon as they are ready and they await possible addition to the RE members’ area some time in the future when it suits the RE schedule.

Cheers, Hywel