JockSpank is thrilled to re-publish a series of interviews first published in TD Monthly in 2009 under the title “The 39 Steps”, to celebrate their 10th Anniversary.
TDM is a North West UK based publication including personal ads from Spanking and Cprporal Punishment enthusiasts across the UK, and is now beginning its 15th year serving the UK spanking community.
TDM EDITOR’S NOTE: JANUARY 2009
To celebrate TDM’s 10th Anniversary issue, I am pleased to announce a TDM first: exclusive interviews with leading figures of the CP world!
There are 3 interviews in total, with each consisting of 13 questions.
As a result, I have nicknamed the interviews, “The 39 Steps!”
Interview 1 is with none other than Rich O’shea of Sting Pictures.
Interview 2 is with Keith and Si of CP Services London.
Last, but by no means least, interview 3 is with Mr. Andrews of Sting fame!
At this point, I would like to thank all those named above who very kindly agreed to take part and devoted time and effort to answering my questions.
I would like to begin, “The 39 Steps”, with the first exclusive interview, with Rich from Sting Pictures!
Phil Jones (Editor & Founder: TDM): January 2009
INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD O’SHEA FIRST PUBLISHED IN TDM JANUARY 2009
Q1. How did the idea come about for Sting Pictures initially? As I recall, there were no UK film producers at that time specialising in male-to-male corporal punishment films. Did you see a particular gap in the market at that point or did the idea develop over a period of time?
A. It was by accident. I had worked within the UK film and television industry for many years, first as a lighting cameraman then as director. Obviously, I have always had an interest in CP and a friend had shown me a couple of US made videos which although I thought good I could not help myself in observing a short film critique. I suppose then I was told to put my money where my mouth was and make something similar.
This we did in the early eighties, but due to the fear of prosecution in those draconian days (not being approved by the government) we decided to shelve it all, In fact, unlike the rest of the world no adult videos were allowed in the eighties and any videos you could find were £10, 4th generation VHS copies under the table in Soho. The rest of the story is fairly well known: in happier times about 10 years ago we took the original footage out of mothball and it made part of the first Sting film, “The Punishment Book”, Volume One.
Q2. ‘The Punishment Book’ series of films ended with number 6. Did you feel that this series had run its course and that it would be more beneficial to produce more specific films from that point onwards?
A. We decided to end the series at a well recognised number. It was felt, too, that we wanted to try to concentrate on the original idea of making film features. These would be about different subjects where historically CP would have featured strongly.
Nettle Birching in Instruments of Persuasion 2
We, of course, did produce the two part series entitled, “Instruments Of Persuasion”, Parts 1 and 2 and may in future select subjects for a documentary style approach. The ‘Instruments’ DVD’s became very popular. I guess the downloads now reflect the Punishment Book Style with the same presentation of short stories.
Paul’s famous caning in Gray Shorts
Q3. The film, “Grey Shorts”, (one of my particular favourites) was, as I recall, the first STING film in which all the scenes were set in an educational establishment. Along with its sequel, “St. Datchet’s Academy”, amongst others, this theme is very popular: the school discipline-type film. In your experience, are the school discipline films the most popular of all, in comparison to (say) those dealing with Institutional discipline such as, “My Borstal Days”, or is the popularity about the same for both?
A. It would be foolish I think to suggest that school discipline is not the most popular, it is. However we do get a very strong take up on other subjects like the Borstal and reformatory themed films. Also, we try to bring a variation of scholastic styles to our productions, hence the inclusion of Approved schools and stories from abroad such as Discipline Down Under. In future we will look at the British naval training ships, too, which fall in to another category of tougher disciplined maritime education.
Q4. In 2007, “Asian Incident”, received a GAYVN Awards nomination in the category of ‘Best Speciality Release’. This must have been particularly satisfying.
A. At the time it was a complete surprise. I was emailed by AVN to say it had been chosen. It was extremely pleasing as although we didn’t go on to win, actually getting the nomination over dozens of other titles was extremely satisfying. I am pleased to say that it looks like, “Instruments Of Persuasion Part Two”, may well be in line to be chosen as a nominee film for the 2009 awards but we’ll have to wait and see…fingers crossed!
Q5. “Discipline Down Under” and; “1900 House Of Correction”, was the first double-bill released by STING. As both of these films had completely different themes, this must have been a particularly challenging project, i.e. different sets/clothing/punishment scenes/eras, etc.
A. At the time we decided to do this as an experiment. The two films were being made concurrently and we felt that the contrast on one DVD could produce an exciting result. The distinct variation of age and history between the stories worked well, and in a single presentation we feel provided greater interest. Costume-wise it was a nightmare. Rob is very particular that things are right costume-wise, and he also demands that the lads get clean clothes to wear after each day’s filming. I seem to remember we had two racks of the stuff on constant standby for each different segment of filming.
Q6. STING films have become very well known for their authenticity, and, in my opinion, this is one of the reasons why many people find STING films so enjoyable. This level of authenticity must require a good deal of research. Am I correct?
A. We do a great deal of research into the subjects we film, from both from the costuming point of view and also the dialogue. We don’t, of course, always get it right and a lot of latitude has to be kept in the story-telling to continually return to people’s favourite subject, i.e. spanking. From an historic point of view the intensity of CP action within one story would not have happened, but most of the events portrayed certainly would have at some stage in time. One of the reasons we started Sting was to get away from the type of CP production that has a headline title such as, “My Fifties Schooldays”, which when played ends up badly costumed and shot in a nineteen nineties front room! One thing for sure is that keeping the retro look and style is time consuming and expensive, but that is our filmic genre: to do anything else would just be following the herd.
Q7. Regarding the STING lads themselves, it’s interesting to see the different lads’ reactions to the punishment they receive in the films. Is it true to say that some of the lads prefer to take a particular type of punishment or implement than another? For example, I know from experience that some guys will enjoy or take (say) a slippering or the paddle, but will draw the line at a caning or the birch.
A. All the lads are very different. Some are little toughies who will cope with anything, whilst others are much more hesitant when it comes to the various instruments concerned. We have some who absolutely loathe the cane whilst others prefer it.
Tigger, for example, will do anything to avoid the strap but will take the cane with vigour. In fact, I would say the cane is the most disliked of all the instruments and we often pay a bonus to the lads who can take it well. Mostly all the lads can handle spanking or the slipper, but with both the Czech boys and the Brit lads they tend to be very stoic in taking a whacking and it’s hard sometimes to get good reactions, even with Dr Barton!
Q8. This next question comes from a TDM subscriber and a collector of all the STING films and Downloads: The gentleman concerned is interested to know how the English STING lads get along with the European lads that feature in the more recent films since STING’s move to Prague. In particular, do the English lads feel a need to take more punishment than their European peers, lads being lads, or does this depend very much on the individual lads themselves?
A. We flew over the Brit lads as soon as we were settled in Prague, and they got on very well indeed with their Czech counterparts. We were worried about this aspect of the move as we knew we needed to retain the quintessentially English feel about some of the CP featured. On the whole, the English and Czech boys are about equal in their ability to take the punishment, but I would say that maybe the Czech boys and certainly the Estonian lads have the edge. Out of all the guys we shoot with, the Estonian boys are by far the toughest. Had circumstances been otherwise, we would have worked with the Estonian boys a couple of years earlier than of late.
I did notice that when Matt Mills was here shooting the New Prefects Revenge story (pictured), that the Czech boys did not want to be made to look unable to take a whacking and we shot some good stuff. Peer pressure certainly played a part that day.
Q9. Regarding STING’s move to Prague previously mentioned, I remember reading on the AVN web-site an interview you gave outlining some of the reasons behind the move. For the benefit of TDM subscribers without Internet access, could you briefly outline the reasons for us now?
A. There were several reasons for the move, both financial and political. Whilst we would prefer to work in the UK from the point of view of originality, we became aware that requirements of the BBFC and other planned laws would make our stay uncomfortable. Britain has some unique and somewhat stupid rules for keeping everybody watching what ‘they’ want you to watch. None of these requirements particularly point to Sting Pictures material and anything coming in from abroad, but as producers we very much wanted to work in an adult production friendly country.
Here, as in the USA, they look at what we make as a real industry, whilst in the UK the Victorian approach all seems alive and well. Unfortunately, a real shift towards autocracy is happening in the UK, coupled with the emergence of a Stalinist surveillance society. This in real terms will in the end make sheer nonsense out of the word freedom. The other reason was, of course, financial and with the current climate of the pound being one on one with the Euro we are now glad we made the move. The Czech Republic also, for example, does not have council tax or car tax or radio and TV licences. I could go on but let’s just leave it that under this new roof we hope to go on to make even better films.
Q10. I understand that STING have a brand new film due out soon on DVD, entitled, “Reformatory USA”. Any chance you could give TDM subscribers an idea of what they can expect from the new film.
A. The new film is a bit of a departure from the norm for us. We have been asked many times to make something more USA CP orientated, hence this new title, Reformatory USA. It is, in fact, quite a sizable feature with more than 16 guys in it. All the old stars are appearing with, of course, some of the new guys we have here. The story charts the life of a young inmate who finds the unofficial punishment record book whilst routinely cleaning an office. There is plenty of action, with a penultimate scene featuring two hunky guys getting a dose of the paddle, strap and switch one after the other. It’s all in edit right now, but due to its size and length it is taking a bit longer to finish. We were lucky in that we found an ex US naval officer in Prague who was able to do the reformatory governor’s voice dub.
Q11. The Film Downloads seems to be going down very well with enthusiasts at the moment. I believe that you’re planning on releasing a 2008 Downloads DVD. Having seen the Downloads from the web-site, I know that this will be very good news for those people without Internet access, and can assure them that they’re in for a treat. Are there any further details on the Downloads DVD at this point?
A. The download stories gave us the opportunity to produce short stories much more quickly than, say, a full length DVD feature. What we have now done is put the first set of stories onto DVD to make a normal DVD release: this is especially for those who don’t use the internet or download video material. Also, many people have asked to have these download stories on one DVD. In fact, the quality of direct to DVD footage is slightly higher, too. This DVD will also include some unseen footage of a story specially made for its launch as bonus material.
The story is set in 1900 again and features James B plus a new model, with the return of a look at Colonel James Templeton Lee’s academy for the wayward sons of Edwardian gentlemen.
Q12. I believe that STING have a further project in the pipeline entitled, “The Brothers”, featuring, amongst others, Margusta (pictured above dealing with young Darren). Any further info you can give us regarding this?
A. The Brothers is a new mini feature to be released soon. This idea came from two books we were sent about the Irish industrial schools. I can’t give out any names, but I can tell you we learned a few things about the harsh and somewhat painful life of young guys entrusted to an education with the Brothers! We will be celebrating this new story with the re-emergence of Margusta, a long-standing friend of Sting. His contribution, plus the welcome return of models from Estonia, has been a delayed but very welcome edition to the latest films.
Q13. My final question is on a slightly more personal note. Which do you prefer? Being part of a scene in which you deliver punishment to one of the lads or being behind the camera? Or do you enjoy both equally?
A. Without doubt I prefer to be behind the camera. I feel this is my natural place and it’s where I can really control what goes into a Sting film. I have been happy with the Hitchcock approach so far, but really it’s better if others actually do the re-enactments or role-plays. For me so far it’s always been as portrayed in the film Zulu when the young soldier asks the Sgt Major, “Why are we here, Sarge?” “You’re here because you’re here”, replies the Sgt Major. That’s been the case with me: so far there has been no one else. We are getting a fair few good older actors now to undertake the adult roles played out as they would have been. Of course, I like delivering some of the punishments, but to do this on camera on a film set is nothing like you might feel if it were involved one to one in private, quite different, in fact. There is far more to worry about such as how it looks and will it all edit in post production to make a good film for others to view. That, after all, is what Sting is really all about.
The other two interviews will follow shortly
JockSpank Editors Note: If you enjoyed this interview you will be pleased to know that Rich O’Shea has also given two recent interviews to JockSpank, these can be read here and here
The Link to TD Monthly is not currently available, this post will be updated when it is