I joined a phenomenal new acting studio back in April. This has been the most supportive and fulfilling acting experience I have ever had in my life. The last time I felt this challeged and secure was my sophomore year in high school. This studio thinks completely outside the box and has a way of challenging and transforming actors. This past week’s acting class was about intimacy.
A word that can strike fear in the hearts of many an actress. Why you might ask? While we make a career out of being emotionally vulnerable in front of the camera, the thought of being physically exposed as well can be emotionally draining, exhausting and terrifying. All you can think is ugh, now I have to bear my soul and potentially my body to 60+ crew members made up of, make up, hair, AD, grip, producers and ect.
Since you often have a lot of people around when filming, even on a “closed set” which should only have crucial crew members. Our fabulous instructor took the time to ask us what we feel comfortable showing? Nothing? Your butt, side boob or topless? It was interesting to hear each woman’s opinion on what she feels okay with sharing to the world depending on if it seriously supports the characters development and arc throughout the series or not. We all agreed that the amount of topless nudity just for the sake of being topless in film and television is absurd. There are so many bro movies out there that just have women topless for the sake of adding sex to the film while all the men are fully dressed and the women only have two lines. There should be some criteria for if the role has to have nudity, or inplied nudity to support the character.
If it was a series regular or guest star reoccurring role; then it would be worth it for the screen time. If the character grew up being a tomboy, runs her own entrepreneurial businesses, surfs or is a total hippie; then it would fit the character more. Some surfers are comfortable running around pretty much naked, which we the audience could believe. Still we discussed how to choreograph a scene much like we would in stage combat for fight scenes or a dance for a musical number. While intimacy coordinators are becoming more popular you can not rely on them/every set to have your best interest at heart. There is a huge learning curve right now and some directors are more cautions of assisting the scene because of the #metoo movement. Most of the time they expect the actors to figure out the intimacy scenes on set on their own. So we women (and men) need to take intitive to choreograph the scene ahead of time with our friend or scene partner. Making sure to cover what we do not feel comfortable showing, but offer an alternative. Of course which body parts are being shown of camera is discussed and negotiatied before we have even accepted the role and set foot on set.
My favorite part of the class was seeing how beautiful it is to be powerful and in control of your body. Seeing each set of scene partners play both roles (the class is all women and we each took turns playing the man and the woman in the scene), take tips on how to help your guy partner in the scene. How to break the ice when this could be your first day and scene with your partner. How badass it is to be confident because confidence is the sexiest thing you on and off camera.
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