Intimacy Coordinators Join Film Crews

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The #MeToo movement drove film sets to take extra precautions including the development of a new position titled Intimacy Coordinator. An intimacy coordinator oversees the filming of nudity, intimacy and sex scenes. Their primary goal is to protect the actors from any form or issues of harassment.

The protocols or guidelines are still being developed, but seem to focus around the following:

  • Meet with showrunners, executive producers, producers, directors, assistant directors, and actors to determine the degree of nudity, intimacy, and simulated sex
  • Meet with actors prior to the filming of intimate scenes
  • Maintain the continuation of consent in all stages of rehearsal and filming
  • Review contracts, nudity riders, story content, modesty garments, and wearable barriers
  • Review final edit in keeping with contractual obligations

There was rarely a need for a position of this type prior to 1964 when the Hayes Motion Picture Code was enforced. Even during the latter part of the 20th century, the small number of scenes shot that could make use of the position rarely occurred. However, in the past ten years, the number of R-rated films has dramatically increased.

In the past, most American films that received an R-rating was due to violence. That trend is rapidly shifting to increased nudity. The rating issues overseas, until streaming came into vogue, was the opposite. Many countries stopped the release of American films because of its excess violence, while nudity was rarely an issue.

While the intimacy coordinator is being attached as a production role, the real reported #MeToo issues have mostly happened during meetings in hotel rooms during location shoots. SAG-AFTRA members have made recommendations that actors do not take meetings in hotel rooms to avoid potential harassment issues from arising.

There is no telling this early in the process of intimacy coordinators will become common players or watchdogs on film sets regardless of intimacy scenes. Nor can one person oversee the behaviors of a 300-400 person cast and crew with any certainty. However, the concept of the position does seem good for those involved in uncomfortable scenes that may require the tact and diplomacy previously lacking on set.

From an insurance standpoint, the creation of the position may soon impact the production company’s liability and force compliance to keep insurance rates down. This new position may end up being a must-have position regardless of the need for it, but time will tell.

Copyright © 2020 by CJ Powers