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Intimacy Guidelines a Win-Win

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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

Directing In the Intimate Zone

,
Jennifer Ward-Lealand

Call for Applications.

Until now, many directors have given little thought to directing actors in scenes that involve intimacy, nudity and simulated sex. This needs to be addressed, as these scenes can make actors feel extremely vulnerable, particularly when this sensitive area of performance is not given the preparation and care it is due.

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ encourages members of the Guild to apply for our one-day workshop on directing intimacy with Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira.

In this workshop, we will discuss and work with actors on the process of developing an intimate scene for the screen using the best practice guidelines developed by UK intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien, who was brought over by Equity to run training workshops in Auckland late last year.

There are four places for directors to participate and up to 14 places for directors to observe.

Participant Directors upon selection will each be invited to submit a short, intimate scene – either with or without dialogue – for consideration ahead of the workshop. During the class, Participant Directors will take turns to direct and co-direct pairs of actors in intimate scenes under Jennifer’s guidance.

When: Sunday 10 March 2019, 9am – 5pm

Where: MTG RM, 2 Kingsland Terrace, Kingsland, Auckland
A travel allowance may be available to selected Participant Directors travelling from outside the Auckland region.

Cost: Free
Light refreshments provided.

About Jennifer Ward-Lealand

Since training at Auckland’s influential Theatre Corporate, Jennifer has worked extensively in theatre, film, television, musical and radio for over 35 years. Jennifer is one of New Zealand’s most recognisable acting talents and a respected theatre director. She has taught for The Actors’ Program, Toi Whakaari and NASDA.

Jennifer is currently President of Equity New Zealand, Patron of Q Theatre, and serves as a trust board member of The Actors Benevolent Fund. In the 2007 New Years Honours List, she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to theatre and the community. She was given the SPADA Industry Champion award in 2018 and in the New Year’s Honours List was made a CNZM, Companion of the NZ Order of Merit for services to theatre, film and television.

Eligibility to Apply:

This workshop is R18.

If you apply as a Participant and are not selected, you will be considered for a place as an Observer.

Participant Directors:

  • You must be a DEGNZ member.
  • You must have experience directing at least short films/dramatic content, and are working in/moving into longer-form drama/film.

Observer Directors:

  • You must be a DEGNZ member.
  • Preference will be given to those who are actively engaged in directing or preparing to direct narrative drama, especially if you are dealing with scenes of nudity, intimacy, and/or simulated sex.

To Apply

Application Deadline: 3PM, Friday 22 February 2019

STEP 1: Sign in below and submit the form.

STEP 2: You will be redirected to the File Upload page, which can also be found here. Upload your application file(s) in PDF. Submit before the deadline:

  • a CV/bio with filmography
  • a brief, maximum one-page letter summarising why you would like to participate/observe, what you hope to gain from the workshop, and any experience directing intimacy (not a requirement for selection).

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

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This initiative is brought to you with the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.

NZFC