What is an Intimacy Coordinator and why do we need them?
The Intimacy Coordinator choreographs and coordinates scenes of simulated sex and nudity for film and television. They offer a process that provides an opportunity for open communication and transparency for not only the cast but also the entire production as a whole. By creating a safe space, they allow artists to perform these scenes just like any other.
We don't need to look too far back to realise the importance of intimacy coordinators. It's easy to see just how far these types of scenes have progressed in creating more realistic and detailed intimate moments that are more authentic. Ultimately, Intimacy Coordinators play an important role in moving stories and character journeys forward.
When does an Intimacy Coordinator need to be present?
Intimacy refers to a range of moments in a script that aren't always obvious. Aside from the obvious simulated sex and nudity, there are shower/bath scenes, childbirth scenes, breastfeeding scenes, etc. The need for an intimacy coordinator may also depend on the individual's age, experience in the industry, and comfort level. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to artists and scenes, and consents and boundaries may differ from one to the next. Thus, it's always best to consult the artist(s) of these scenes and an Intimacy Coordinator to determine if, when, and how an Intimacy Coordinator is needed.
When should an Intimacy Coordinator be brought on to a show?
An Intimacy Coordinator should be brought in during pre-production. It requires the same amount of time as any other department head. This will allow the Intimacy Coordinator to establish a collaborative relationship with the show and gauge its needs. During this time, they can highlight all the intimate moments they have and what needs to be put in place, such as nudity garments and barriers. It allows us to be more proactive instead of reactive, a very important factor when dealing with intimate scenes.
How does an Intimacy Coordinator create a safe space when working these scenes?
An Intimacy Coordinator allows for consent and boundaries to exist within the space. When the actor is given the opportunity to say 'no' if they do not feel comfortable with a certain touch or moment of the intimate scene, it gives greater weight when they actually do say 'yes.' In addition, an Intimacy Coordinator ensures that a closed set is in place when necessary. This essentially means fewer people are watching or present when the scene is being shot. Taking the time and space to work on these scenes is crucial.
Additionally, the Intimacy Coordinator collaborates with other heads of departments, such as Costume and Makeup, to make sure they have the appropriate intimacy garments and barriers for each actor. As well as providing comfort to the actors, these garments cover areas of nudity that should not be seen.
Can you train as an Intimacy Coordinator?
Due to the fact that this position is still relatively new in the industry, there are only a few training programs available. But before looking into these, I highly recommend that you gain some experience or understanding of the following: the actor's and the director's process, movement and choreography, understanding of working on set, etc.