Professionalism in a BDSM shoot

So how does a professional production company handle bondage shoots to ensure everyone is on the same page? I interviewed Peter Acworth, founder of San Francisco based Kink.com, the largest producer of online kinky adult entertainment and here’s how they approach BDSM shoots to make sure there are no mis-communications before, during, and after the shoot.

Last week, James Lipay of Norwalk, CT was arrested and charged with fourth-degree sexual assault for alleged actions he committed during a bondage shoot with an amateur model. Details are sketchy and it may come down to a he said/she said scenario since the only people present were the photographer and model.

Some of the problems Lipay faces could certainly have been avoided with better communications, preparation, and documentation. So how does a professional production company handle bondage shoots to ensure everyone is on the same page? Peter Acworth, founder of San Francisco based Kink.com, the largest producer of online kinky adult entertainment provides some insight and here’s how they approach BDSM shoots to make sure there are no mis-communications before, during, and after the shoot.

What procedures does Kink use to avoid charges of sexual assault by models/actresses who may change their minds after the shoot? Do they sign paperwork outlining the nature of the shoot in addition to the video interviews?

Kink goes to great lengths before, during and after the models shoot here to ensure that they are aware of what they will be doing and that they are comfortable with the shooting requirements. Bondage and s/m can be an intense experience, especially if someone has never experienced it so we want to make sure that the model is the right fit.

  1. When we book a model for the first time, we conduct a phone interview to go over the content and requirements of the site they will be working for and answer questions if they have them. We go over what the model should definitely be ok with and what types of things are optional.
  2. We issue the model a password to the site and encourage them to watch a scene before they come and let us know if it is something they think they can do or if they decided it is not for them.
  3. When the model arrives, we give them a form called “Model Rights.” This form states that they have a safe word, which they can say at any time during their scene to stop the action and the director will check in with them to see if they would like to continue. It also states that they have the right to stop the shoot at any time for any reason and they will be compensated for the number of scenes they completed. We explain to them that this type of shooting is not for everyone and that if they are feeling uncomfortable and need to back out, we completely understand and support that.
  4. We conduct an interview on set before the start of the shoot, where the model answers questions about their experience, likes and dislikes, etc. They are also told their safe word on camera and the director explains the scene they are about to perform.
  5. We conduct a post interview on camera about the scene, asking the model if they enjoyed themselves, if they would come back, what their favorite part was, etc.
  6. Since after care is such a big part of BDSM, the Talent Department always checks in with the model after their shoot, either privately in person or with a phone call the following day. If anyone voices a complaint, we address it right away.

What advice can Kink offer to amateur bondage photographers to avoid this type of situation?

It is extremely important to explain the scene you have planned in advance and to let the talent know that it is encouraged to speak up if something is not ok with them. Constantly check in with the models you are working with to make sure that they are ok throughout the scene. Follow up with each and every model.

  • I’ve always appreciated the professional approach that kink.com takes with all of their productions. They are at the top in terms of quality and it doesn’t suprise me to know that they take their business as seriously as they do.