Directing Masterclass with Acting Coach Howard Fine

Howard Fine

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is pleased to offer a Directing Masterclass with acting coach Howard Fine who for over a quarter of a century has built an unshakable reputation as one of the most gifted acting teachers of his generation.

In this Directing Masterclass, Howard will supervise the directors to work with an ensemble of paired actors on pre-selected scenes.

Howard will teach directors how to articulate their visions in a way that allows actors to live authentically within the world of the script. He focuses on areas of personalisation, technique, script analysis and insights into authentic human behavior.

Background and Auditing

A two-day Masterclass for actors (Fri 21 – Sat 22 June) organised by Equity NZ will precede the Directing Masterclass (Sun 23 June). Each full day consists of rigorous exploration of technique as Howard works with the ensemble of actors on pre-selected scenes. The same actor pairings and scenes will be used for the three days.

It is highly recommended that prospective directors also “audit” both days of Howard’s acting Masterclass as this will greatly enhance and inform their understanding of the work undertaken in the workshop. It is also a wonderful opportunity to observe Howard’s technique, lessons and processes.

But it is permissible if prospective directors can only commit to Saturday and Sunday. You will be asked to indicate which days you can commit to in your application.

Note: Both Masterclasses will be open to Auditors from Equity NZ and DEGNZ. Any work done by the selected directors will be in front of an audience of industry peers in a supportive, learning environment.

About Howard Fine

Unique among his contemporaries, Howard is an award-winning acting coach, an award-winning author on acting and is the head of an award-winning acting studio. Howard Fine has trained Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actors in the US, and AFI, AACTA and Logie winning actors in Australia. He has personally coached many of the world’s most notable, recognisable and decorated actors, including Jennifer Connelly, Will Smith, Bradley Cooper, Chris Pine, and Oscar winner Jared Leto. As the Creative Director of two permanent studios, Howard Fine splits his time between Los Angeles and Melbourne.

“Howard Fine is an extremely skilled teacher. He has the ability to help actors create beyond their own experience in a way that is both exciting and compelling. Personally, I feel he is one of the greatest acting teachers working today.”

Martin CampbellDirector (Casino Royale, Edge of Darkness, Vertical Limit)

Workshop Details

When: Sun 23 June, 9am – 6pm

Where: TBC, Auckland

Price: (includes auditing of acting Masterclass days) 
DEGNZ member – Free / Non-member – $60

How to Apply

Application Deadline: 9AM, Wednesday 5 June 2019

STEP 1: Submit your details using the form below.

STEP 2: Send in one PDF to

  • your bio and/or CV, and
  • a brief, maximum 1-page letter that summarises why you would like to participate.

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.



This workshop is brought to you in conjunction with The Equity Foundation and with the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.


Intimacy Guidelines a Win-Win

View from the Top banner

UK based Intimacy Coordinator Ita O’Brien spent three days in Auckland last December sharing her highly acclaimed approach to intimacy on set.

The events gave actors, directors, producers, writers and crew from the stage and screen industries an opportunity to learn Ita’s best practice approaches to intimacy, simulated sex scenes, and nudity, implementing her Intimacy On Set Guidelines.

I attended the introductory seminar and two workshops: the first, for actors and directors interested in exploring clear guidelines when working with intimacy, and scenes with sexual content; the second, for potential intimacy coordinators.

I came away from the workshops with a clear framework for directing intimate scenes. Using the Intimacy on Set Guidelines helped remove any awkwardness and kept the work in a clearly professional space. I feel that I now have more tools in my director’s toolkit and greater confidence in working with intimate content.

Ita O’Brien recommends that Intimacy on Set Guidelines are used as standard practice for all intimate scenes. When a production calls for nudity, simulated sex and/or any sexual violence, Ita recommends productions engage an Intimacy Coordinator.

In many ways, an intimacy coordinator can be likened to a fight coordinator. Far from stepping on the creative toes of the director, the role of an intimacy coordinator, like a good fight coordinator, is to work with the director to help them realise their vision. By helping the director to choreograph, rehearse and stage a scene, intimacy coordinators keep performers safe and able to give their best. Action is broken down into achievable, repeatable beats over which directors and actors lay the emotional journey of the scene. In my opinion, it’s a win-win for directors, actors and the production as a whole.

Equity NZ are currently updating NZ’s Guidelines for Nudity and Intimacy on Stage and Screen. The intention is that these Guidelines become standard practice throughout our industry. At DEGNZ we have been working closely with Equity on updating the Guidelines and will keep our members informed of progress.

The Equity Foundation, who hosted Ita O’Brien’s visit to Australia and NZ, put together a short video of the Australasian events, which you can view here.

Louise Leitch
Director | DEGNZ Vice-President

Intimacy on Set & Stage with Ita O’Brien

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Ita Obrien

As some of you will be aware, Equity New Zealand is involved in bringing Intimacy Coordinator Ita O’Brien from England to run a series of seminars and workshops in Australia and New Zealand (10-12 December).

The DEGNZ board feels the best option for directors in regard to how best to handle scenes involving intimacy, simulated sex and nudity is education. We also feel that directors should upskill so that they have the capability to deal with such scenes professionally.

We therefore encourage you to attend one or more of Ita’s sessions, in particular session #3 so that you can incorporate the work of intimacy coordinator into your own practice as a director.

Please review the material below and make an application through Equity Foundation should you wish to take advantage of this opportunity.


Intimacy on Set and Stage with Ita O’Brien


This event series is brought to you by Equity Foundation and the support of their partners.