Everything you need to know about: Intimacy Coordinator
Intimacy coordinators are a relatively new addition to the film and TV industry, but they are quickly gaining recognition for their important role in safeguarding the cast and crew. Producers are starting to realise that intimacy coordinators are essential in ensuring a safe and comfortable working environment, especially when scenes of a sexual or violent nature are being filmed.
They work with the cast and crew to ensure that these scenes are choreographed and rehearsed in a safe and consensual manner. They also make sure that any nudity or simulated sex is handled in a way that is respectful of the actors’ comfort levels. intimacy coordinators are an important part of ensuring that the film and TV industry is a safe and respectful workplace for all.
For too long, intimacy coordinators have been left out of the conversation when it comes to on-set safety. As a result, many people are still unaware of the existence of this important role. It’s time for them to be brought into the mainstream so that everyone can benefit from their expertise. Examples of popular TV shows which have been praised for their sex scenes are Bridgerton, Sex Education, Normal People and I May Destroy You, all of which used great intimacy coordinators.
What does an Intimacy Coordinator do?
Intimacy coordinators are on-board right from the start of a project, through until wrap. They meet with production teams and department heads to provide briefs, share knowledge about different industry guidelines that apply in this area of work – but also be there for you during filming days so all goes smoothly. They may also run workshops with the director and the actors, or join the rehearsals for specific scenes.
As the title suggests, coordinating is a big part of the role, as they often facilitate difficult conversations between the cast, the director, wardrobe and production. They often have to advocate for people, helping them voice any concerns or reservations they have and find solutions to any problems.
And of course, they choreograph the intimate scenes, along with the director. They plan every movement beforehand and rehearse them with the actors, clearly setting each actor’s limit and boundaries to ensure they don’t have any uncomfortable surprises while on camera. This includes blocking their positions, but also helping them use modesty garments and more kit, such as genital guards and cushions which help them avoid direct physical contact while simulating sex.
They make sure to follow all the guidelines, make the actors comfortable and safe, while still ensuring the end product matched the writer’s and director’s creative vision. So for any film or TV show, it’s absolutely essential to have an intimacy coordinator on set. We decided to write this article in order to raise further awareness of this role and contribute to normalising their position on film sets. As well as keeping our readers updated on how they can receive training and education for this position.
How can you become an Intimacy Coordinator?
Many more people are now aware of this role, so many also want to pursue it as a career. There are quite a few steps to becoming a qualified intimacy coordinator, but there are intimacy coordinator training programs which you can check out and apply to. If you’re based in the UK, check out Intimacy for Stage and Screen, they offer full professional training.
First you will have to attend a three hour workshop as an introduction to intimacy coordinating. Once you have completed this you can apply for the rest of the course, which begins with 6 months of studying the fundamentals, then 6 days of practice and a final examination. If you move onto the third level, you continue with 6 more months of being mentored by a professional. Once all these levels are successfully completed, you are awarded your Intimacy Coordination Qualification.
However, before applying it’s definitely worth checking all the requirements to check if there’s anything you need to acquire first. You need to have worked directly with actors in a professional setting already, as well as having experience with movement instruction, basic anatomy and performance disciplines.
It helps if you have also worked in a role with a heath and safety element, such as being an AD, stunt coordinator, on-set medic, movement therapist etc. Some experience in acting, and working with vulnerable groups is also beneficial when applying. You will need an Enhanced DBS check and a cover letter explaining who you are and why you want to train for this role.
Keep in mind that this may not be a cheap endeavour, you will have to pay for your own kit, modesty garments, Mental Health First Aid training, as well as the course itself which can be quite pricy if you don’t qualify for a bursary.
If you find this article helpful or interesting, check out the rest of our blogs on the Nostairway website. Another relevant article you might enjoy is ‘Mental Health in the Film Industry’. Check back in on our website for weekly updates, we write about a variety of topics, from women in the film industry, to editing software and shooting advice, to suggestions for TV series.