Best Intimacy Coach Says Too Many TV Bosses Still Don’t Appreciate The Role | Television industry
Too many movie and TV bosses still don’t understand the value of intimacy coordinators and hire them only as a ticking exercise, one of the industry’s top figures said.
Ita O’Brien was celebrated on Sunday by actor and writer Michaela Coel, who dedicated his best actress Bafta to the “essential” work she performed on I May Destroy You. Coel spoke emphatically about the “internal devastation” she had felt working on shows that did not have a privacy coordinator.
It was a description O’Brien was familiar with. “It’s so fantastic that she says it like that because that’s absolutely what’s going on,” O’Brien told The Guardian. “In every workshop I do, everyone will have a story.”
After Harvey Weinstein’s revelations and the #MeToo movement, demand for O’Brien’s services increased from 2018. But she said she was hired for productions where the director didn’t want anyone to be hired. ‘she is involved.
âReally, I was just a rocky exercise for the producers. I was told to check with the actorsâ¦ and then not to do anything, âshe said. Was it still the case? “Yes, yes, yes … absolutely.”
O’Brien recalled a production where she asked for gender parity on the crew of a sex scene, which otherwise would be almost exclusively male. âI was told not to ask that. What you are doing now has a negative impact on production and we will not. There have been many times that I have stepped away from the sets and it has been so hard and I feel like can I keep doing this? “
She said there had also been shows where the experience was positive, including Sex Education, It’s a Sin, Normal People and, of course, I May Destroy You, which was Sunday’s Baftas’ flagship show. .
O’Brien said she had no idea Coel was going to dedicate her victory to her. ” I had no idea. I wasn’t even looking at it because I’m in Prague and I had lost my glasses, I was in front of the hotel trying to find them, and then all of a sudden all these texts came in, I thought: what’s going on?
Working with Coel has been a privilege and a joy, she said. “Michaela is such an amazing woman.”
O’Brien’s role in the productions is relatively new but, she says, vital. Artists wouldn’t do stunts without a stunt coordinator or dance without a choreographer.
She said acting was a craft to be cherished, like a Stradivarius violin. “You wouldn’t hand that violin over to someone who is going to take it and hit it against a wall, but in fact that’s what happened.”
She recalled being on a panel with actor Sofia Helin, star of The Bridge, where Helin said every intimate scene she ever did had “cost” her. âThere was a hiccup from the audienceâ¦ someone from her. But this was the case when the work was not created within a professional structure.
Before Weinstein, O’Brien said, âThe narrative was that an actor can’t say no. If an actor said no, he would be considered a troublemaker. They would be the scapegoats because they are unprofessional. An actor should be able to do any degree of nudity or sexual content because he is an actor. “
The truth was, everyone had a different relationship to their nudity and how comfortable they were with sexual content, she said.
Her job involves a lot of discussion, preparation, establishing comfort zones, as well as practicalities – knowing, for example, when genital protection is or is not needed. ” Nothing is left to chance. “
As the demand for intimacy coordinators grows, O’Brien, a former dancer and actress who got her Equity card 38 years ago, is getting involved in training the next generation.
One of the next frontiers is the audition process, where she said the actors are particularly vulnerable. Being asked to remove clothes during an audition is never acceptable, O’Brien said, and processes need to be in place.
âIf ever intimate content is desired, a touch or a kiss is desired, then there must be guidelines. There is a long way to go to truly, truly believe that we have an industry where people can express themselves and be safe to do a good job.