Published on: 21 November 2019 in Campaigns

Directing nudity and simulated sex: guidance for directors

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Directors UK has launched a new set of guidance for directing scenes featuring nudity and simulated sex – the first of their kind in the UK.

Everyone deserves the right to feel safe at work – this is just as true when working on a Hollywood blockbuster as it is on a prime-time drama or a debut short film.

As the professional body for directors working in the UK screen industries, we know that directors don’t want anyone to feel unsafe, exploited or mismanaged when dealing with scenes of nudity or simulated sex. And so, working in consultation with both our members and industry colleagues, Directors UK has compiled a set of best practice guidance for creating a safe on-set environment, one that allows directors and their collaborators to make daring work.

These new guidelines are born of the need to set clear and shared professional expectations that apply to everyone involved in making sensitive content, with the aim that they will become standard working practice within the industry.

Our guidance gives tips and advice for collaborating with each of the key partners that directors are likely to work alongside on this kind of material, including producers, writers, performers, casting directors, wardrobe and make up, agents and intimacy coordinators. While the advice covers topics such as rehearsal techniques, directing scenes of sexual violence, planning shots so they adhere to individual contract clauses, and finding creative solutions to challenges that occur on set.

Susanna White is the Directors UK Vice-Chair and Film Committee Chair, and a BAFTA-winning director whose work includes Generation Kill, Parade’s End and Bleak House. She says of the guidance: “The director, as the creative lead on a production, should set the tone for a professional and respectful on-set environment. We are all here because we want to tell compelling and impactful stories, and no member of a cast or crew should ever be put in a position where they feel unsafe, exploited or mismanaged — especially when making sensitive material. Throughout my career, I have seen how vitally important it is to know how to approach sensitive content with professionalism. The guidelines created by Directors UK set the standard for directing intimate scenes, and will help to foster a safe working environment for everyone on a film or television set.”

The guidance has been welcomed and supported by our colleagues at Equity, the Casting Directors’ Guild and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, and has the full support of BAFTA, the BFITIME’S UP UK and ERA 50:50.

We hope that Directors UK members and other industry professionals find this guidance useful. If you have any comments or queries then please contact us at communications@directors.uk.com.

Find out more about the guidance and the work that went into producing it.

Download the Quick Guide for Screen Directors

Download the full Guidance Notes for Screen Directors

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