FOR DIRECTORS & PRODUCERS
Intimacy on Set guidelines provide a clear structure and transparency for both director and actor, from the very first audition all the way to set or stage.
An intimacy coordinator structures and choreographs the intimate scene based on the director’s vision. By methodically breaking down the scene into beats, all physical content is planned through consent which provides transparency and and safety for everyone involved. After the actors have agreed on touch, they add the emotional moments and finally text.
The work with an intimacy coordinator begins with an initial conversation about the production. After reading the script, the relevant scenes are discussed with the director or FAD.
The intimacy coordinator prepares the work by being in contact with relevant professionals and departments. Once on set or rehearsal, work is done according to schedule. After the work is completed, a follow up with the actors are done.
photo: Roger Turesson DN
Watch the film ‘Staged sex: how an intimacy coordinator works with actors on sex scenes’ by The Guardians with intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien.
Intimacy coordinators (ICs) are not hired to take over the direction of critical scenes in a project; they are a department head, akin to a stunt coordinator, and are there to help deliver the director’s vision.
Directors UK has launched Intimacy guidelines to assist directors working on nudity and simulated sex scenes. In the section 'Working with Intimacy Coordinators'
They advocate for safe practice for performers and crew. They:
• Undertake a risk assessment. • Facilitate open discussion around what might be achieved with the performer’s OK.
• Check with performers which actions and language might be ‘triggering’ for them.
• Help to establish personal boundaries and freedoms between performers.
• Work with the director and performers to choreograph specific character body movement that propels the storytelling.
• Can suggest substitute actions and contact, utilising safe practice techniques.
• Keep nudity and simulated sex performance ‘on plan’ and, where changes are required, ensure that these are negotiated.
• Advocate for performers and crew, which also provides some protection to the production compaany and director by demonstrating that duty of care has been taken seriously.
Getting the most out of your collaboration with an intimacy coordinator.
• Review the IC’s previous work and testimonials so that you understand their experience.
• Share the script, and your vision of it, with the IC as early as possible.
• Hold a planning meeting with the IC to discuss tone and objectives; share ideas.
• Introduce them to the other Heads of Department so they can start collaborating.
• As with any screen collaborator, develop and maintain a respectful relationship with them.
• The IC should be present at rehearsals of intimate scenes to help plan blocking and contact.
• The IC and director should work together with the performers.
• On the day of filming, explain to the crew who the IC is so that everyone knows they are authorised to be there and can engage in any safe practices needed on the day.
• On the day of filming, give the IC time and space to make their final ‘safety’ checks – just as a stunt coordinator would. Ensure your assistant director knows to accommodate them.