Published on: 06 November 2019 in Events

DIRECTORS’S CUT round up — Sex, Guides, and Videotape

Reading time: 4 minutes and 14 seconds

In our Sex, Guides and Videotape session an expert panel discussed the issues around directing intimacy, nudity and sex, and introduced our forthcoming industry guidelines on the topic. 

The session’s host was Directors UK Campaigns Engagement manager Tash Moore, and she was joined by The Deuce director Susanna White, Evie director Miranda Howard-Williams, Equity Equality & Diversity organiser Dr. Ian Manborde, and intimacy co-ordinator Yarit Dor. Find out more about our panel here. 

The session started with a discussion of whether the freelance culture that dominates the industry can make performers feel pressure to appear nude. “I think quite rightly MeToo has made us scrutinise a lot of things in the industry about levels of comfort” said Susanna White “and people are very vulnerable in freelance culture across the board – not least actors.”

Dr. Ian Manborde said that performers can also make themselves vulnerable by pressuring themselves to impress those they are working with. “That’s why the guidelines are so helpful…what they suggest is a way to ensure that even if the performer isn’t really thinking about their own welfare, the person in charge of production is taking responsibility.”

But it isn’t just an issue for performers. Miranda Howard-Williams highlighted the difficulties that directors can face, particularly in situations where you get your script late: “You already have your actors, and those actors are either comfortable or uncomfortable with it…and you have to find a way to negotiate that, because you’re not going to recast a long-running character.”

Throughout the session, it was made clear that good practice needs to be put in place at all levels of production — an issue that is further reinforced by the Directors UK guidelines. This process needs to begin in the audition room: “You need to ask why is it important for the director to use a full kiss or have actors simulate sex for an audition piece? If there’s a genuine case for it then maybe I would bring and intimacy co-ordinator in to advocate for the performers’ safety.”

Keep checking in with Directors UK for more information on our Guidelines on directing intimacy, nudity and sex — which will launch to the public in the coming weeks. A podcast from this session will also be published shortly.

Find some photos from our session below.

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