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Becoming an Intimacy Coordinator

"We don't need to see another hot sex scene. We do need to see the emotional reality of what happens when we think we may be ready for something new and different in sex only to discover we are absolutely not.” - Kristen Knittle, Intimacy Coordinator. 

Side Order is the first film in which Kristen Knittle worked as a professional Intimacy Coordinator. The following blog is her personal reflections on the challenges, rewards, and overall experience.

actors prepare for physically intimate scenes during film production
Side Order actors prepare for physically intimate scenes during film production.

It wasn't long after deciding to become an Intimacy Coordinator that I heard of Side Order, which was filming here in Portland, OR and still in the casting process. Several actors who auditioned mentioned it to me, and said that they had mentioned me to the casting agent and the director. I emailed both to introduce myself and find out if using an Intimacy Coordinator was something the director was interested in. Luckily for me, she was!

Intimacy coordinator working actors on film set.
IC, Kristen Knittle, works with the actors of Side Order during film production.

Working on this project from pre-production through principal photography was absolutely a great opportunity for me. Going into my first project as an IC I knew that it could possibly bring up some past traumas of my own and might even determine that being an IC wouldn't work out for me based on those past events. But once we began, it joyfully morphed from fear to empowerment. 

rehearsing intimacy choreography for camera during film production.
Side Order actors playfully rehearse intimacy for camera.

Being on the other side of the camera and intuitively knowing exactly how to bring Ashley's vision to life was an incredibly freeing experience. I felt confident in both my ability to choreograph the intimacy for the camera and to be able to hold the actors in a safe space as we worked through the scenes. Both the cast and the crew were wonderful, professional, and so much fun to work with. Instead of reliving my trauma, I found joy and comfort in this new process that the Intimacy Coordinators have created. I kept thinking, "Why didn't I think of this before?!!"


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