Published on: 19 August 2020 in Campaigns

Intimacy in the Time of COVID-19

Reading time: 3 minutes and 7 seconds

Today, Directors UK is proud to launch Intimacy in the Time of COVID-19, an update to our previously published guidelines for Directing Nudity and Simulated Sex.

Intimate scenes of any nature have always required skill and a craft-led approach to ensure that everyone feels safe — but now COVID-19 has introduced a new set of challenges and considerations, from the risks of transmission at close quarters, to the need for increased hygiene and sanitisation practises. 

Intimacy in the Time of COVID-19 offers a plan of action for directors making work of an intimate nature under new COVID restrictions — beginning with working with the script, right through to preparation, rehearsals and shooting. Our update also explores the responsibilities of the director in this new working environment. By following these new guidelines, directors can work collaboratively with other creatives to create a safe set and establish a new best practice for directing intimacy as the industry returns to work.

This update, alongside our Directing Nudity and Simulated Sex guidelines launched in November last year, is the result of in-depth consultation and research. We have worked with directors Susanna White and Bill Anderson and intimacy coordinator Vanessa Coffey to ensure this new advice enables directors to create a safe working environment, but also offers a framework within which to create impactful and high-quality work. 

Read Intimacy in the Time of COVID-19

Speaking today, Bill Anderson said: “During the COVID-19 lockdown, audiences consumed content like never before. We need to restart filming to continue to deliver the vivid and wide-ranging content that audiences value. Directors have a pivotal role to play in ensuring the film and TV industry restarts as safely as possible. Now more than ever we need to delight audiences hungry for the intimacy of connection, and contribute to a creative culture that has proven so valuable to us all during this pandemic.”

Susanna White said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a new set of challenges for us to navigate. Directors are inherent problem solvers, and we can’t wait to get back to work. One of the effects of social distancing has been to appreciate and re-evaluate physical contact as never before. The simple act of hugging has taken on a value no one ever dreamt of. It has made us really mindful of the power – both positive and negative – of touch and we need to carry over that mindfulness into the workplace. We’ve always used our craft to convey intimate stories and relationships on screen, and now, we must do that more creatively than ever.”

Our Directing Intimacy and Simulated Sex guidelines were published in November 2019. They provide best practice for directors working with producers, writers, performers, casting directors, wardrobe and makeup, agents and intimacy coordinators, and explore in-depth solutions to challenges that occur on set when filming scenes of an intimate nature. Find out more about the Directing Intimacy and Simulated Sex guidelines here. 


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