Ita O'Brien. Developing an ethical approach to intimate content.
In which we discuss the career of teacher and intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien and understand why Michaela Coel chose to thank Ita for her work when she won the leading actress award at the 2021 Baftas. These are some of the intimacy on Set guidelines discussed in the podcast.Intimacy on Set GuidelinesBest practice when working with intimacy, simulated sex scenes, and nudityProducers to Identify whether a production may include scenes of intimacy and sexual content as part of the risk assessment; ensure that relevant departments are informed and necessary measures put in place:a. Put in place wardrobe - appropriate covering for genitalia b. crew required for a closed set C. consideration of, and budget for, an Intimacy Coordinator.No initial auditions or screen tests are to include sex scenes or to involve nudity. Where, in exceptional circumstances, nudity or semi-nudity is required in a recall, the actor must be informed in advance and provided with the script. All material recorded must be protected and be destroyed once the role has been cast.a. The actor to sign a written agreement with the Casting Director that any recording of a nude or semi-nude audition will be confidential.b. The actor may be asked to audition in specific clothing (e.g. swimwear) required for a commercial but will be informed in advance.c. If an actor is nude or semi-nude in a recall, they may bring a support person to be with them throughout the shoot.d. The only other people allowed to be present in the audition room will be the Casting Director and/or Director/Producer, and the Reader.At point of contract all scenes involving nudity, intimacy, or simulated sex to be discussed with the actor and representative/agent, so that agreement is made with full disclosure.a. The standard Equity contract for screen productions allows the actor to agree, or disagree, to performing nude and to performing simulated sex and to choose the type of nudity the actor is willing to do (e.g. buttocks only, or full frontal).b. Actors sometimes accept a role in which their character will be semi-nude, only to find later that additional scenes have been written into the script which include full frontal nudity and simulated sex. Actors should not sign a contract for full frontal nudity and simulated sex if only prepared to go semi-nude.Directors to plainly describe and discuss with the relevant actors all scenes involving intimacy, simulated sex, and nudity at the appropriate times in the creative process:a. Before signing the contractb. Throughout the rehearsal processc. And into performanceAgreement and consent by the actor, and actors’ representative, to be given each and every time when working with intimacy, simulated sex scenes, and nudity.Establish boundaries around areas of concern, including an agreed strategy to halt the action where necessary, in rehearsals and filming on set, such as ‘time out’.When sculpting intimacy or a simulated sex scene, for the actor and director, or the actor and director in conjunction with an Intimacy Coordinator, to follow the Intimacy On Set Guidelines as standard practice, a. To always have a third party present, keeping the work professional, not private b. Identify the blocking of the scene c. Agree areas of physical touch d. Sculpt the physical actions using plain words e. Separately identify the emotional content of the scene f. Integrate the physical actions and emotional content, creating a seamless intimate scene Support the show