Q&A With Digital Sin Director Paul Woodcrest
2015 marked a milestone for Paul Woodcrest: in April 2015, New Sensations’ Digital Sin subsidiary released the adult film director’s first all-BDSM video, “Bound for Sex.” And in November, Digital Sin released “She’s in Charge 2,” the second volume in an all-female BDSM series that Woodcrest and colleague Eddie Powell are directing. Woodcrest (who has been in the adult entertainment industry for 10 years and has been directing for eight of those years) had incorporated BDSM scenes in some of his pre-2015 productions, but they were primarily films focusing on vanilla sex — and “Bound for Sex,” with its inclusion of spanking, flogging, handcuffing and rope bondage, marked the first time Woodcrest directed a film that offered BDSM from start to finish.
During a December interview, Woodcrest discussed his expansion into BDSM-oriented films and his evolution as a director.
XBIZ: In what ways do you feel you have grown and evolved as an adult film director?
Paul Woodcrest: When New Sensations moved away from producing parodies and returned to shooting more cinematic projects, it provided me with more creative freedom to try new things. Parodies are fun, but you’re tied to the source material. I felt I started hitting my stride when New Sensations got back to producing the features and series it’s renowned for. The evolution of camera equipment has also been beneficial. Gear is always important.
XBIZ: Looking back on the eight years you have been directing, what are some of the titles that you are especially proud of? What are some of the things about those titles that make them stand out?
Woodcrest: The titles and scenes that always stand out for me are because of the collaborative effort that went into them. When everyone is like-minded and driven, the production is all the better for it. I like to focus 100 percent on one task, be it photography, video or directing. I’m always worried that I can spread myself too thin as director if I’m doing everything across the board. That’s where working with a really good crew and talent comes into play.
XBIZ: You have worked with many performers along the way. What are some of your fondest memories of performers you have worked with? In what ways did you enjoy working with them?
Woodcrest: The fondest memories aren’t from what’s captured on camera roll — it’s what happens behind the scenes. I enjoy people who have a good sense of humor and people that are still there and ready to get the job done at two, three, four o’clock in the morning — somebody who’s going to give it their all and put a smile on their face and still have fun. Professional and personable people are always memorable.
XBIZ: Earlier this year, Digital Sin released your first all-BDSM video, “Bound for Sex.” And “She’s in Charge 2” was released in November. How much of a learning curve was there in directing an all-BDSM video after many years of making non-BDSM-oriented videos?
Woodcrest: Working with talent that are either a part of the BDSM community or who actively enjoy BDSM helps create a good scene. I’m not the one physically doing the act, so it’s good to have people who know what they’re doing and are comfortable working with each other. That allows me to focus on the technical stuff — where to move the camera, how to light the subject, etc. — and letting them work within their own realm.
XBIZ: How challenging is it to make an all-BDSM film compared to a mostly non-BDSM film that incorporates some BDSM scenes?
Woodcrest: It’s just a matter of staying true to the genre you’re shooting. For example, most BDSM fans prefer scenes conducted in industrial or studio environments rather than residential settings like bedrooms. I also just found out that all-latex is a thing, and people into that don’t care about seeing a nipple.
XBIZ: What type of feedback have you been getting from people in the BDSM community?
Woodcrest: A lot of the feedback we get comes from people who are only now being exposed to this type of sex. They express excitement over the setups and the stars and curiosity over the props and toys. They like the aesthetic we bring to the genre.
XBIZ: In the past, there was a strict separation between BDSM erotica and vanilla porn. Many non-BDSM adult directors were reluctant to include even light bondage scenes in their videos, and BDSM videos didn’t include actual sex. But times have certainly changed. In what ways has the mainstreaming of BDSM affected adult video? And in what ways is that beneficial for you?
Woodcrest: Mainstream media have romanticized BDSM, and the effect that’s had on adult is overwhelmingly good for sales of BDSM content and products. It’s made people comfortable with BDSM and sex toys and given porn a new audience. It’s beneficial to us because New Sensations shoots high-end, light BDSM in the cinematic style people are looking for. They want it to look beautiful, but feel intense.
XBIZ: In the BDSM world, there has been much debate over the “Fifty Shades of Grey” phenomenon. Some BDSM directors say it has been good for business by promoting interest in BDSM, while some BDSM purists complain that “it isn’t real BDSM.” What is your view? Has the “Fifty Shades” phenomenon been beneficial for directors making BDSM erotica?
Woodcrest: While the mainstream version of BDSM may not be an authentic portrayal, “Fifty Shades of Grey” has definitely been a positive for the adult industry. It sparked interest in BDSM among the general public despite it being crap. People could have seen it and ran the opposite way. But instead, it got people to pursue new erotic interests. I look at it as a gateway to BDSM.
XBIZ: Please discuss your relationship with New Sensations/Digital Sin. What are some of the things that have made it a productive, beneficial relationship for you?
Woodcrest: NSDS have always given me the tools I need to be productive. They never have cut any corners and have always allowed me to be artistic and creative. When other companies were trying to stick to a cookie-cutter format, they were the one to give me a voice. NSDS is the first studio I shot for and is the only company I currently work for — and I hope to keep it that way.
XBIZ: Technologically, what are some of the most important changes you have observed in the adult industry during your eight years as a director? In what ways are those technological changes affecting adult video?
Woodcrest: It’s no longer just video. We’re using full-blown cinema cameras that are used by our peers in mainstream. It’s adult cinema again. Cameras have become cheaper and more readily available. It’s exciting.
XBIZ: From a promotional standpoint, how important will social media be for adult directors, performers and studios in 2016?
Woodcrest: Social media is extremely important for producers and performers. It’s a wonderful marketing tool. Personally, I don’t use social media. But I work for a studio that does a great job of handling it and that informs me of all feedback.
XBIZ: Please discuss your goals for the future. Are there any genres of adult film that you haven’t explored so far but would like to explore in the future?
Woodcrest: I don’t set goals so much as I stay open to what’s around me. Every project I approach, I’m going to do so with all my energy and creativity. So it’s more about learning and applying techniques and working with the best people possible to create movies that are enjoyed across the board.