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Intimacy Coordination

Everything You Need to Know

An Intimacy Coordinator as defined by SAG-AFTRA's Standards and Protocols for the Use of Intimacy Coordinators, is an advocate, a liaison between actors and production, and a movement coach and/or choreographer in regards to nudity and simulated sex and other intimate and hyper-exposed scenes.

Closeness, tenderness, and connection are words used in the dictionary definition of Intimacy. One person's experience of intimacy will not be the same as anyone else's experience of intimacy. This undefinable concept of life has got to be definable for the story telling mediums of camera and stage.

On set we need to be as clear about intimacy as possible. An extremely intimate moment in the storytelling might not always require an IC. At CINTIMA, we've created a framework the clarify the gradation of intimacy work in film and television.

We at CINTIMA love a spectrum, and like all things on a spectrum there are the binaries at opposite ends, and then a whole lot of area in between.

On one end of this spectrum we have a scene that DEFINITELY NEEDS an Intimacy Coordinator, there's is no question about it - the scene involves nudity, simulated sex, the performers have riders that need to be handled and signed, boundaries that need to be addressed and held, modesty garments and barriers will be used, and there will need to be a separate rehearsal to dial in the scene and the choreography.

On the other side of this spectrum, we have a scene that DEFINITELY DOES NOT NEED an Intimacy Coordinator, there is no question about it -- the scene has nothing to do with intimacy, sex, or anything exposed or tender, the actors are not touching, and is mainly monotonous dialogue.

But what about the scenes in between the obvious YES and NO ends of the spectrum? This is where the nuance lies. Some scenes that fall within this gradient can include intimate moments that involve partial nudity, kissing, or physical contact that could potentially trigger trauma for some performers, or scenes that involve verbal sexuality, or the insinuation of sexual violence.

An Intimacy Coordinator can help navigate these more nuanced scenes by facilitating communication between production, performers, and crew, ensuring that boundaries are respected, as well as developing a choreography that ensures the scene is both safe and believable.

At CINTIMA, we believe that every production should have access to an Intimacy Coordinator, regardless of the size or budget. So, if you're not sure whether your production needs an Intimacy Coordinator, we encourage you to err on the side of caution and consult with one to ensure that your performers feel safe, respected, and empowered on set.

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