Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

About twenty years ago I spent an afternoon on a bondage photoshoot for a company here in Los Angeles along with a female bondage model whom I’ll call Sarah. I had only been doing Trannies In Trouble for a couple years and I had this idea that I would branch out and introduce myself to the few companies in L.A. who shot bondage and fetish material. This happened so long ago that much of my memory has faded, but we were shooting in the San Fernando Valley in a studio owned by a company that designed artwork for porn videos, I believe. There was no money involved – it was more like a test shoot. There was no explicit sex for the scene, just bondage and maybe the Hitachi and some spanking. The crazy thing is that I was supposed to be the one dominating and tying up the female model. Looking back, it would have made much more sense if the female model were the one tying me up and dominating me. Even without having much experience as a Domme she would have been better than what I did. Having a crossdresser take the Domme role is so rare anyway (except on Trannies In Trouble), so I’m still surprised that those were the roles we were given. Somehow I thought I could pull it off. Boy, was I mistaken!

I showed up already made up and gave it my best, which honestly wasn’t very good. I still have the pics from that day on an external hard drive but looking at them now just makes me wince. From the start I made a series of bad decisions. The outfit I chose wasn’t hot, with a very plain green blouse and a short skirt that made it look like I had no butt at all. I also decided to wear my own hair, which was dyed blonde at the time but only looked so-so. A wig would have been much better and much more feminine. The rope work I did on the model was terrible. It was routine and lame and the gag was even worse. I tried to gag her with a couple scarves, but the gag ended up sagging and drooping below her chin. It was nothing like the strict gags I do today.

I know some would probably say, “Oh, I’m sure it wasn’t that bad. We’re all our own worst critics,” etc. But no, believe me, what I did was weak, and I’ll never share those pics. If I saw them on Twitter, I’d think, “Oh wow, those suck!” The sad thing is that the production company had a real studio with a little set with a bed, and they had a huge softbox for illumination in front and even some backlights set up behind us to put some illumination on our hair. The set up was adequate and with the right actors and energy it could have been a good scene. But the truth is I didn’t have the confidence to dominate a genetic woman whom I had just met. We didn’t have any chemistry to begin with and we didn’t take much time to talk about the scene beforehand or try to establish some minimal connection. We just didn’t have any rapport. And frankly, I was afraid to touch her, so you can imagine how well that was going to work out!

I think we were only shooting still pictures that day, which also surprises me. I’m pretty sure there was no video, and if there was, I only hope it was destroyed. Once we started shooting, I had this sick feeling in my gut that things weren’t going very well, and I knew I had no idea how to take the dominant role with this poor woman who was stuck with me in this scene. I recall there was an assistant, maybe two, helping out, and I recall the photographer at one point getting frustrated and telling me basically, “No, no, you gotta tie her and dominate her, C’mon!” Or words to that effect. Poor Sarah was quiet and I’m sure she could sense my lack of confidence. I really just wanted the whole thing to be over, which after an hour or so it was. It was deeply embarrassing, and I just knew I’d done a crap job.

If I had it to do it over again, first I would arrive with a much better outfit. I would wear a wig and I would carefully talk with the other model beforehand. In fact, I would probably try to exchange some emails before we even met to share some possible ideas for the scene. Nowadays I would know how to discuss boundaries, safety signals and safewords, how and where she wanted to be touched, and what was off-limits, and what we wanted to do to try to make a hot scene.

Of course, I could easily discuss those things now, but that’s after twenty years of shooting and putting together hundreds of scenes. At the time I thought I had enough experience, but I was pretty clueless. Even today, I’d much rather play the Domme role with a crossdresser or trans woman rather than a genetic woman, unless it were a genetic woman (they are out there, I’ve heard from a few over the years!) who was really into being tied up by a crossdresser. I shot a scene like that years ago at FetishCon with a genetic woman who was totally into it. It was a lot of fun, and I got off on putting her through the wringer since I could see that she was getting off on it too. The energy just feeds on itself when things are really clicking.

But this shoot in Chatsworth (or wherever the studio was located) was a total dud. It was one of those times when I went home and felt sorry for having wasted people’s time. If I had it to do over, the thing to do would be to just interrupt the scene and admit that it’s not going well and see if we could make some changes, and at the very least redo the bondage and the gag. But just continuing on when I knew it wasn’t working was an exercise in frustration. Thankfully, I’ve never seen those pictures posted online and I assume the material was never used.

I had to go back to the studio about a month later to pick up the pics since they agreed to share them with me. But I never saw any of the people involved again or that model. I recall someone at the front desk gave me a CD and that was it as I walked back to my car and drove home. Most photoshoots are pretty productive and a lot of them are fun. But the duds can really stay in your head, though of course you often learn the most when things don’t work out. There have certainly been other photoshoots that didn’t work, but this was one of the worst. Looking back, I still don’t know why I chose that boring green blouse and decided to try to wear my own hair. C’mon!

“Talk To Me”

It’s been a while since I’ve done a short movie review but the other night I finally got around to seeing the 2022 horror movie, “Talk to Me” on Amazon. It’s really good. There’s nothing kinky about it, no bondage except for a leather strap to secure people to a chair, though not done in a sexual or kinky way. It has engaging actors, humor, and a dark and disturbing story. The concept is pretty crazy, with a group of young people in Australia getting together to chase the thrill of getting temporarily possessed by spirits through the use of an embalmed hand. The lead actress, Sophie Wilde, is terrific as are all the actors. One cool thing is that one role is played by a trans masculine actor, Zoe Terakes, who’s fantastic, playing a cocky guy who’s a real jerk but still kind of likeable. What’s nice is that the character’s gender or trans-ness is never even mentioned in the movie. It’s never an issue and is just taken for granted.

I like horror movies, though I’m pretty easily freaked out. “The Exorcist” and “Carrie” were both pretty traumatic for me. I found this one pretty creepy with a very disturbing ending. (Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it.) It was directed by two brothers, Danny and Michael Philippou, who previously did YouTube videos, so it’s an impressive achievement making something so good for their first movie.

One of the best early scenes in the movie is an impressive montage sequence where the young people are hanging out and taking turns getting possessed for the thrill of it, in the same way that teenagers might get together in the family basement, partying and trading bong hits. It’s a clever scene how it’s all played for fun, as if nothing could possibly go wrong with getting temporarily possessed by spirits – how could that be a bad idea!?

It’s a short scene and it’s on YouTube. I don’t think it gives away too much of the movie, and it is impressive how natural and believable the actors are.

Part of what makes the scene so good is the amazing song they used, Le Monde, by Richard Carter. It’s a modern remix, updated and taken from the classic Edith Piaf song, La Foule (“The Crowd”), and it has an urgent other-worldly feel that fits perfectly with the scene. The original Edith Piaf song has such an instantly recognizable sound and strange lyrics (in French, of course). It’s about a woman who gets caught in a crowd at a big street party where she gets thrown together with a guy who may be the love of her life, the two of them then separated minutes later by the unruly crowd, never to see each other again. It would be like finding your soulmate at the Hollywood Halloween street party and then suddenly being separated by the throng of half a million people, knowing you’ll never find that special person ever again.

The movie gets much darker as it progresses, dealing with loss and grief and the consequences of some very unwise decisions. If you’re a religious person, the question of spirits and the afterlife probably make it even more disturbing. I really enjoyed it and hope to see it again with a friend or two. If you like horror, it’s a good one. Highly recommended.