Written by Shona Smith on Aug 20, 2020. Posted in General Interest

Directors UK publish intimacy in the time of COVID-19 guidelines

Directors UK have published additional guidelines acknowledging new considerations of directing intimate scenes when working during coronavirus.

Used for scenes that necessitate nudity or simulated sex, intimacy coordination has become widely embraced in a move to drive out sexual misconduct. Directors UK published guidelines for directing intimate scenes in November 2019 and recent productions including Normal People (pictured) and White Lines have used intimacy coordination on set. Covid-19 has introduced another layer of considerations needed to make sure everyone feels safe on set. The additional guidelines acknowledge the risks of transmission at close quarters and the need for increased hygiene and sanitation practices.

In recent weeks, British broadcasters published additional guidelines on how to carry out closer contact on set that allowed recognisable on screen relationships to be shot. The new intimacy guidelines from Directors UK is another resource that provides a plan of action for directors making work of an intimate nature during Covid-19 from the script to prep, 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” says Directors UK.

Directors Susanna White and Bill Anderson and intimacy coordinator Vanessa Coffey were consulted to make sure that the new advice enables directors to create a safe working environment - while still having the ability to create impactful work. The guide suggests narrative alternatives such as depicting the intimate scene through characters saying what they will do, as well as technical alternatives like considering casting real-life couples who won’t need to socially distance.

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”.

Read the update here. 

Image Credit: Element Pictures/Enda Bowe - Photographer: Enda Bowe

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