Sex and the actress

With the shoot for K kicking off tomorrow, my days are mostly full with tweaks and adjustments to the script – none of them major, most of them just revolve around the practicality of filming in a certain location or the availability of a certain actor on certain days.

For example: if a certain scene is inside rather than outside, then a night shoot could be scheduled during the day and they don’t have to call the actor back for an extra night.


Can we change the order of bits of dialogue to fit in with the geography of the location, so that it can all be filmed in one take?

Stuff like that.

It’s nothing too taxing, but it’s fiddly and takes up time. Time which I was going to use to start a new project; but will just have to wait a few days.

I’m back on a rather steep learning curve at the moment, with all sorts of interesting (at least to me) little tit-bits coming to light. The sort of things not really covered by screenwriting books* because they’re only peripherally connected with writing. I’ve decided to start a new series of blogs about these curious little bits of info.

I thought I’d start with sex.

I’ve always been of the opinion a well written sex scene should leave the reader feeling the need to go off and have a little fiddle.

I’m not talking about a sex scene in a family comedy or a film intended for a wide audience – you could argue they shouldn’t have sex scenes in them anyway; but sometimes they are necessary and a quick snog, fumbling partial disrobing and a dive beneath the covers is all you need.

But what about a film which demands a proper sex scene – sweaty, writhing, dirty sex?

Well, if an action scene should take your breath away, a funny scene should make you laugh, then a sex scene should give you the horn.


Except, maybe not.

I don’t know if this is just confined to my shallow end of the pool, but it seems sex scenes make actors and actresses nervous. In the specific case I’m thinking about, it refers to an actress; but I’m assured the same applies to both men and women.

A sex scene, with even partial nudity, is something people have to think about. Do they really want to do it? How will it affect their career? What will their mum think of them? Will they be typecast as a slutty girl from now on? Do they really feel confident enough about their own body to put it on display for all and sundry? There isn’t even a huge paycheck to soften the blow.

Obviously, some sex scenes are crucial to a story – but do they have to involve nudity? Can the scene be written in such a way that it’s obvious no one will see anything? If the scene is written using words like ‘quivering’ and goes into a lot of detail about ‘things being inserted into gaping orifices’ then it’s bound to make someone stop and think about the type of movie being made.

So how do you write a sexy sex scene without making it sexy?

Do you make your script reader-friendly or actress-friendly?

If it’s a spec script, then I guess you write the hottest sex scene the story demands and wait and see what any future potential producer thinks.

If it’s a script written to order and plunging headlong into low-budget production, then you might have to think again. Obviously in this case you can ask the producer or director; but how an actress might feel about it is something I’ve never really had to consider before.

I don’t really have a point to make, it’s just something which came up recently and I thought I’d share.

And I’m back to revising the script. Those of you who read regularly might find it ironic to learn I’ve just been asked to put more swearing into it.

Another fucking first.


* Or at least the few I’ve read – I’ll happily admit I’m no expert.

Or should I say actors for both genders? I don’t know, it seems to upset some people and not others.

Categories: K, Things I've Learnt Recently | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Sex and the actress

  1. You should say actors for both genders, you big ol’ sexist you.

    Unless, of course, you start using diminutives for all the other creative professions too. Like a noveless, for example. Or a poetess. Or a screenwritress.

    And let’s not forget the mimesses, puppetresses, and directresses.

  2. Some people get offended either way:

    “Do I look like I’ve got a cock?”

    “Erm, no.”

    “Right, then I’m a fucking actress, aren’t I?”

    “Yes, I guess you are.”

    “Actor, honestly! You PC twat.”

    “Sorry … Can I have my Big Mac now?”

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