"I created a methodology to protect students who want to do this work."
January 11, 2019 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Oh god this is so fucking necessary. I had a little stage combat in school (not enough!), but literally no one ever discussed with me the etiquette and process of staging intimate scenes. I’ve had directors who were great about it (through-choreographing every gesture) and mostly other directors who said things like “Just love each other! How can I tell you how to love each other?” Even now in rehearsals I never quite know how to make my cast mates comfortable when we start staging romance. And for my work it usually stops at kissing! TV and film actors must have it so much harder. As far as I’m concerned this should be industry standard.
posted by fast ein Maedchen at 10:06 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]

"I'm not here to make you do what you don't want to do. I'm here to make sure that you are consenting every step of the way. I'm here to respect your boundaries, and to make sure everybody else respects your boundaries."

So, basically, moderators for sex scenes.
posted by otherchaz at 10:07 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

As someone who knows nothing about improv comedy other than the ostensible definitions of the words "improv" and "comedy", I was surprised that there are sex(y) scenes in improv comedy.
posted by Jpfed at 10:23 AM on January 11

This article is incredibly interesting. Thanks.
posted by medusa at 10:39 AM on January 11

I read somewhere about an actor decades ago, trying to be thoughtful towards his female co-star, speaking with her before filming an intimate scene: "I want to apologize in advance if I get an erection," then adding, "I also want to apologize if I don't."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:13 AM on January 11 [14 favorites]

I heard a woman who does this interviewed on NPR a few months ago (It might have been Alicia Rodis) and thought that it's shocking that it's taken until now that this profession is a thing.
posted by octothorpe at 11:26 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

But truly, "yes, and" is about the acceptance and agreement of ideas; a "no" can be using your suggestion in a different direction. When we treat "yes" and "no" as changes in direction, we can still get fast, energized comedy without violating anyone's boundaries.

I'm glad someone addressed "yes, and" which was what first jumped to mind for me as the sort of thing that, if taught wrong, could be used by abusive people to normalize their creepy shit or victim blame people when they try to assert boundaries. If you're improving and some creeper jumps into the scene announcing "Honey, I'm home, come over here and give your husband a kiss" the 'yes' means that yes he is the character that he said he is but the 'and' could be "I'm not going to kiss you after what you did..." or any other thing that moves the story along and adds something new to the scene.
posted by metaphorever at 11:42 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]

I was surprised that there are sex(y) scenes in improv comedy.

It's not so much that there are sex scenes as that there are intimate scenes that can go sort of sideways if people aren't on the same page. So like acting out some sort of "Why I oughta...." fist-shaking thing could be a Honeymooners-style jape, but could also be sort of triggering and problematic (and unfun plus unfunny) to someone surprised by it. I appreciated that the people this article talks with really took on the fact that you can actually do something where no one is a creeper and yet still something goes badly wrong in a way that could have been avoided with more explicit boundaries and consent. The fact that most (usually male, usually privileged) directors have never even though about doing something like this just speaks to how little they've had to think about boundaries as something affecting their return on investment. I was interested to note that H-game-B-ofthrones-O has intimacy coordinators now.
posted by jessamyn at 12:09 PM on January 11 [9 favorites]

This is a super super great idea to be doing. I'm really disturbed by the number of media I've consumed in which I've later learned it was a true, not-acting-at-all violation of the women in the scene. So, I'm not surprised that the attendees here are all women, but I hope we move to a place where this is an industry practice for all actors.
posted by odinsdream at 12:52 PM on January 11 [8 favorites]

This was a very interesting article--thank you for posting it. Adam Noble's analogy of it being like a fight coordinator is a great one.

I heard one of the interviewees, Alicia Rodin, being interviewed on the CBC a few months ago, and it was fascinating. If only this kind of thing had been taken seriously over the decades, it would have prevented so many coercive and assaultive film scenes. I can't remember if it was in the same interview, but shortly after Bernardo Bertolucci's death in the fall there was a CBC piece that mentioned Marlon Brando's sexual assault of Maria Schneider in Last Tango in Paris, with Bertolucci's foreknowledge. Schneider had no idea that's what Brando was going to do, but Brando had told Bertolucci he was going to do it to get an "authentic" response from her. She did not consent to the scene, and I will never watch that movie because of it. An intimacy coordinator can create a different culture onset and prevent those horrific experiences for actors.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:09 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]

I recently worked on a show with an intimacy coordinator. There was some very minor sexual content. The coordinator called me the night before and outlined the choreography of the scene, and the ways in which she was there to protect my dignity and safety. I found myself unexpectedly moved to tears during the call; I've never been offered protection like that on a set before.

I was sad to hear that some directors (not the one I was working with) push back against this new role, hard. The woman I was working with had just come off another show whose director had actively worked against her in almost every way.
posted by lizifer at 3:56 AM on January 12 [9 favorites]

hopeful for the day when movies can honestly end with a "No women were harmed in the making of this film" message
posted by odinsdream at 10:16 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]

Sina: Then I talk with the actors about what they're comfortable with doing. I tell them, "I'm not here to make you do what you don't want to do. I'm here to make sure that you are consenting every step of the way. I'm here to respect your boundaries, and to make sure everybody else respects your boundaries."

This was interesting to read in light of a local sexual predator - also the artistic director of a local theatre company - (previously), who used "artistic direction" as license to sexually assault female actors.

His wife has since been hired by Cameco Capitol Arts Centre in Port Hope, Ontario and he's being brought along as a "consultant." Curiously, the marquee sponsor of the centre, Cameco, has a uranium processing facility in Port Hope, a town that has long dealt with contamination issues from uranium processing, so the whole metaphor is incredibly on the nose.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:54 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

« Older Friday Frivolity: Yippee Ki Yay, thy fornicator of...   |   Repurposing flowers Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.