Intimacy Direction is a process for crafting intimacy for a live performance as an intimacy director. This can take a form of more traditional forms of sex, nudity or sexualized touch between the characters, but as an intimacy director I also love help crafting stories of other types of heightened intimacy than the sexual kind. I prefer to work as a comprehensive story-teller from the ‘low-end physicality’ of the first meeting between the characters to the heightened moments to make sure that we are telling a common story through the whole performance.
To me intimacy direction is about collaboration. Intimacy director works as a liasion between all the people working in the production advocating for the humanity of everyone. This includes designing and choreographing the scenes of intimacy, simulated sex and nudity. I offer the special techniques and consider different aspects of intimacy, and make sure that everyone involved shares a common approach to the material. My basic approach is to make sure that everyone has the information to do their best possible work. I see this as the prerequisite for telling impressive intimate stories.
My Training as an Intimacy Director
I am currently in my final steps on a pathway to certification in Intimacy Direction with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators. More information what certification within IDC means can be found at this wonderful article: The Certification Question: Response.
The Intimacy Director certification itself means that I have gone through a minimum of 9 weeks of online training, 3 weekends of in-person training and have access to the community spaces and continuous education courses offered by IDC. More information about this training programme can be found here.
Me being certified by the IDC means that I am dedicated in my work to their Core Values: Anti-Racism, Creativity, Excellence, Integrity and Sustainability. This also means that I am accountable for my work within the IDC’s structure: if you find I have not upheld these professional standards, please be in contact with them through this form or directly through email@example.com. In practice my profile be found on their list of certified professionals, but it also means a lot more.
Besides this one education program, I have done a thousands of hours of other training in theatrical physicality, pedagogy and intimacy in its different forms since year 2016. I will be listing more of this at some point when I have time.
My Intimacy Direction Process
Intimacy Direction is a process for live performance. I have gathered here a a rough description of what kind of processes to expect when hiring me. The process will naturally be tailored to fit different budgets and different processes. For the similar processes with recorded media (film, tv, virtual reality etc), see my Intimacy Coordination page.
1. Research for the Production
Preparing for intimacy is an intricate task. I will study the materials and consult relevant specialists to prepare for the work. This might include any specific kind of intimacy, relationship style or forms. I will study any specific aspects of intimacy in question. I will also seek to better understand the content and form we want to present. This helps me frame my specific approaches and ways of working for the project.
2. Intimacy Break-Down
I will create an intimacy break-down based on the production plans. With a written ‘rough break-down’, I will then lead discussions about any specific demands of intimacy and about any additional time or equipment we need. This break-down gives a rough support material for all the other artistic designers when they do their work. My intent is to make sure that everybody knows way beforehands what kind of extra workflow to expect to make the intimacy in a sustainable way.
3. Concrete Plan
I will craft a blueprint-level intimacy plan based on performers’ expressed boundaries, director’s and designers’ vision listing the practical choices relevant to the all the areas of responsibility. The plan will then be discussed and fleshed out into practical schedules and to-do lists as the discussions continue. I will often include some back-up plans and safety go-to’s so that we know what to expect in case of any problems.
4. Starting Workshop
I can hold a workshop day (3–5 hours) to the whole working group about rules around intimacy, consent and etiquette around the intimate scenes. This workshop includes presenting some of the best practices, the intimacy specific to the production and presenting relevant handouts to all the members of production team. Handouts are prepared for every particular production so that everyone in the ensemble knows the safety principles, expected timetables and what to expect in their role in this production. When we include the whole working group, working in a sustainable way becomes a group effor.
5. Choreographical Work
Choreographical work has already started during previous steps. We have discussed the characters and story focusing on the choices during the scenes of intimacy with everyone involved. This same work will then continue with key people in the same rehearsal space. After we create a common story base, we’ll go into practical acting choices, “choreography”.
Depending of the actors, production and the intensity of a specific moment this might take a form of very subtle movement choices to describe the complex growth of a particular human relationship throughout the whole performance — or something very simple to just give tools for actors to confidently play with. The chosen moves serve the story in a way that allows the people to do their best possible work. Sometimes the moves affect the story too: a moment that simply ‘works’ does still need a reason to exist in the story.
After we have fleshed out the story in choreographical form, I am available for check-ins during the latter process now and then. As the story evolves, some pieces of blocking might need to be re-choreographed to better solidify the new context. This also happens when something changes in the setting: clothes, lightning, music and scenography will create changes that need to be addressed. Check-ins might happen when something has suddenly changes between the performers — or in someone’s private life — which makes it necessary to rebuild some of the work. I am also just happy to sit in a room while people rehearse any scenes to get a picture of how people prefer to work.
7. Audience Lectures/Workshops
During the process, I am happy to also give open lectures or workshops about theatrical or filmed intimacy if they are wanted. My personal project is to make the different aspects of the work more inclusive and accessible to everyone interested in the ‘magic tricks of intimate moments’. If the basics of the work is made more accessible, it becomes easier to for me to work as an intimacy director in the future.
8. Check-ins after the Rehearsals
My work mostly finishes at the first night, but as an intimacy director I am available to be contacted in case something unexpected happens and intimacy must be re-addressed. This is all part of the package we have discussed in the beginning.
My Rate Table as an Intimacy Director
I list below my standard rates to give a picture of the typical amounts of money I ask for my work. If you are using any collective agreement, I am also happy to just be hired according to the payment of intimacy director or fight director in that agreement.
I prefer to have the full discussions about getting paid for any specific project and make sure that we are on the same page before I even start working.
If any of my tasks demands me to travel, daily allowances and any actual travel expenses are added to the invoiced sums.
1000–8000 € (+ VAT)
At the beginning of the project, I will give you an estimate of what kind of prep work is needed for a given project. As with any artistic designer role, I will need 1–5 months of preparation time depending on the scale of intimacy.
800 € (+ VAT)
This means a day when I am working in a rehearsal space with actors: typically a maximum of six hours of on-location work and the practical preparations for the day.
1000–3000 € (+ VAT)
This is used when I work for a longer period of time as an in-house intimacy director available to work in a flexible way in a performing arts company. If we make a longer contract and I work with the same people, my rates are lower, that is.
200–500 € (+ VAT)
The consultation tasks are such tasks where I help in a small way with a production without being the assigned an actual intimacy director. This can be just having a discussion about the preparations for the intimacy or a workshop in a specific aspect of the intimate illusions or intimacy safety structures.
Special Cases for Live Performance Projects
There are currently four reasons that make me able to tailor productions for any budget and any target audience. Check if any of these ‘programs’ apply to your production.
Help with my Intimacy Director Final Exam!
I need productions to be used for IDC’s Intimacy Direction Program.
This can be of a production of any kind, but has to include heightened intimacy (simulated sex or nudity), and a possibility to work as an ID with the production. It can be community theatre, university theatre, professional theatre, and any kind of live performance.
During the project I will consult my mentor and after the production I will forward a link to some people that I have worked with over the course of production to ask for a references attesting to the safety and excellence of my work (at least one from a performer and one from a director).
As taking part in my certification needs work from a production in the form of references, and it will grealty benefit me, I am happy to be very flexible with my prices for any productions that would be happy to serve as part of my final exam.
Stockholm University of the Arts Research Project
I am currently working with my MA degree at the Stockholm University of the Arts. This includes me delving deeper to the production: studying the productions I am working with by coming to the rehearsals even when I am not needed and learning about the rehearsal processes in more detail. You can read more of the project here. If you would like to consider your production to be part of the research project, I would be happy to tell you more.
For this kind of project, I am happy to work with any project that has in it some kind of physicality whatever the intensity, but I will need to have discussions with the working group to learn also of your working methods.
Independent and other Indie Productions
After having worked in the eco-systems of Eskus (eskus.fi) and Teatterikeskus (teatterikeskus.fi) here in Finland for a while, I am happy to work with smaller productions with more flexibility and even with a reasonable personal risk if the production needs to start working before funding decisions. If you are honest and clear about it, I am happy to work with you: the minimum I need is to simply get my own expenses covered. Other than that, everything else is negotiable. If you are working with such productions, see production planning process guidelines by STST and Teme (Eettinen toimintaohje tanssin ja sirkuksen kentälle | TEME) .
I understand that sometimes students have difficult time finding the funding for their productions. My prices can seem overwhelming for such a production, but there are always solutions to be found, so please be in contact with me.
To name a few, there are Kansan sivistysrahasto and Svenska studiefonden which might be of help, or if a project has special artistic value, there are other ways for students to find other funding. Most schools can also offer some funding for their projects. Let’s not make the money the obstacle for sustainable learning processes.
The Necessary Productions
Sometimes a production leaves the world a better place. See my Ethical Guidelines for more information.
A necessary production works under a responsible employer. The story it tells is an important one. Maybe the people doing the production belong to a minority — and we can make sure that they can take steps to make their voice heard in this production. Maybe you have decided that a certain side of intimacy needs to be shown. All these might count as Necessary Productions, so if you have such production, let me know. I am always happy to make the world a better place.
+358 (0) 40 717 2486