A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post that referenced stripping in the title, and it got more hits than anything else I've written on this blog in ages. So I figured, why not give the people what they want?
Is it possible that you, my readers, were actually impressed by the fact that I was making movies and living the dream with spectacular castmates and crew, and that's why you all read it? Sure. But there aren't any updates on The Slightly Awkward First Date of John and Joanna right now, so I can't do more of that. (Check back here next week, though!)
So instead I'm just going to write about doing nudity in film! And why I don't do it.
(Hee. You see what I did there?)
About a year and a half ago, a couple of other actresses and I were brought in to a class for film students about how to direct actors at a prestigious university. The professor wanted to give these future film professionals an idea of what it's like to experience the industry from an actor's point of view, so we did a Q&A with them. And eventually, one of the students asked us about doing nudity, and what does and does not make us comfortable with it/when we were willing to do it. The other actresses in the Q&A both said that they didn't love doing it, but they're artists, so if it was really called for in the story, it was a good enough story, and they were respectfully treated, they were okay with it.
It's amazing how quickly an entire room of aspiring directors got angry at me when they looked to me for my response, and I said "Really? Because I don't do nudity. Not ever. Especially not for unpaid student films. Hell no."
I promptly found myself in a fight.
"But what if you need it to tell the story?" "We're all trying to make art here and we're supposed to collaborate and each give our all." "So you're saying that you never want to tell stories about relationships and sexuality?" "Don't you know how many roles you're losing out on if you won't do nudity?" "You know, I think it's kind of really beautiful, and you're being a little bit closed-minded about it."
They were really not happy that I had such a strong reaction against nudity. And none of them wanted to hear my self-branding reason ("My type is the girl-next-door, innocent and sweet. If there are any nude images of me out there, they will find their way onto the internet, and then that image of me will be ruined forever and I won't be cast-able,") or my business reason ("I mean, if Game of Thrones called tomorrow and said that they had a huge part for me with a huge salary to match, then I'd consider it, but you're asking me to give away a lot, for free, for your student project,") and they DEFINITELY didn't want to hear my artist/storyteller reason ("Besides, nudity is a crutch anyway. You absolutely never need it to tell your story, and 100% of the time you can find another way to show levels of intimacy, attraction, or whatever else.")
To be clear, I don't think any less of people who do, in fact, do nudity. I don't think it's a good business decision, but it's their body and they can do whatever they want with it. I'm also the kind of liberal hippie that says that we shouldn't be vilifying anyone in the sex industry either, though, and that natural bodies are nothing about which to be ashamed. All of these things are personal decisions, and we have to make the one that feels right to us.
But you know, a year and a half later, I don't feel like my career is in any worse of a place than it would be if I did do nudity. And I don't think I've lost anything by speaking my mind, even when those student directors didn't agree with me or want to hear it. I may not have anything against people who do nudity, be they actors or writer/directors who insist on it. But I do like winning fights!