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  • Writer's pictureClare Lopez

PROTOCOLS FOR FOR SCENES WITH INTIMACY

Updated: Apr 4

While protocols can vary from union to nonunion projects- and some practices (like intimacy directors) are so new they aren’t yet required- but strongly recommended for union sets- here is what I will offer as some one who has some experience with intimacy/ consent / power dynamics ect:


FIRST:

It’s on the production/ casting director to disclose any intimacy requirements on the casting breakdown. Before auditioning, they are required to share if intimacy, nudity, stunts, fight choreo will be required for the role. (And most of the time they should be sharing that they will have a coordinator on set ect)

Generally, if you aren’t open to any of the listed actions/ scenes/ or implied nudity ect- you should decline the audition. (Or don’t self submit at all if that’s how you come upon it). Just like booked out dates and schedule conflicts- we don’t want to waste their time watching tape from people who aren’t able to perform the skills/ stunts/ or acts of this film.


SECOND:

If they don’t list anything in the initial breakdown - you audition, and get booked, and THEN They send you a script with all kinds of content you don’t want to do- you are 1000% in your right to withdraw from the role. (Again it’s THEIR fault for not disclosing this up front)


THIRD:

Definitely let your agent know your boundaries in this area as to avoid them submitting you for roles that you have zero interest in playing.


FOURTH:

Even if you are ok with some actions and not others- and choose to submit- you should plan to ask for proper safety protocols:

•INTIMACY COORDINATOR

• A Closed Set during filming ,

• A ROBE provided on set,

•Modesty Garments

•NUDITY RIDER

(which is a legal document that will spell out exactly what you will and will not be doing during the shoot- so they don’t randomly ask you to do something improvised- or anything you didn’t agree to in advance). Like other contracts, the nudity rider protects you- and let’s you navigate the exact perimeters of your expectations on set. Many times- the script isn’t locked- things shift- and details of various elements of story can be craftily filmed in a myriad of ways that aren’t close up- full frontal- exposing positions.

• if they want to add any changes (ie remove another piece of clothing, add a piece of intimacy choreography that wasn’t agreed to in the Nudity Rider- they are required to make a NEW draft of the Nudity Rider- and wait 48 hours before filming

• All intimacy / nudity scenes must have a this NUDITY RIDER in place no less than 48 hours before filming. So they can’t just ask an actor to do anything with out in writing and without a proper waiting period.

•- if at the time of signing the nudity rider- you can’t reach an agreement - you are within your right to walk away from the role.


FINALLY:

ALL of that to say: Sometimes we think we are ok with something- but when the time comes we discover we aren’t. Maybe you get a weird vibe on set- maybe every crew member is fabulous but your co-star is a sleeze- or maybe- you just got unexpected triggered by something- felt your voice wasn’t being listened too- or just changed your mind.

YOU ARE ALLOWED TO CHANGE YOU MIND

That is how consent works


And if the time comes when you can’t do something (this could be intimacy or a stunt, or a 15 hour day, ) the courtesy is to communicate that as soon as possible.

This is why intimacy coordinators are so fabulous. They can be the channel for discussing alternative options for the scene to play- while making sure the story gets told truthfully - AND keeping actors safe. They also provide garments, boundaries, and stately rehearsed and staged choreography so that no actual contact is made- but it still reads on camera. They also help facilitate body doubles and actor boundaries to the Director without shame or blame-


Ideally:

  • Know your boundaries before you find yourself in the decision to decide

  • Decline auditions off the bat when you see that the include content outside of your boundaries

  • Avoid working on sets that don’t provide safety measures

  • Communicate clearly and openly as any new things emerge

  • Trust your gut to advocate for yourself



 



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