For more opportunities to work with guest teachers curated by Heidi, check out the Acting Collective.


Class size: Limited
Prerequisites: Open to all
Location: Online

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May 24th
7:00pm-10:00pm EST
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(PRIORITY LIST) Creating Safe Intimacy On Set with Carly Zien

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Class content

Get prepped on how to navigate the often unfamiliar territory of intimacy scenes on film/TV sets so that you can establish a safe and consensual working environment for yourself and others.

Find out where the industry is heading with intimacy coordination standards and protocols so that you’re in the loop when you get to set. Feel confident in setting and respecting boundaries so that you and your collaborators have the support you need to carry out your jobs in any rehearsal or performance setting.



This workshop is all about filling you in on what you don’t know about intimacy coordination and intimacy scenes on film and TV sets. It’s also about empowering yourself in those tricky professional scenarios so that you’ll never have to wonder, “What do I do if…”

Get the tools so that you’ll know what to say, what to do, and who your allies are on set. Lots of new procedures are being introduced and becoming part of standard set protocol. Stay in the loop…join us!




This workshop will begin with an introduction to Carly (who she is and what she does) and to intimacy coordination. Then, the group will explore Intimacy Directors International’s Five Pillars (or Five C’s) of Intimacy Coordination: Consent, Context, Communication, Choreography, Closure

  • Consent: Discussion of what is consent, group exercises to practice verbal and non-verbal consent
  • Context: Using context to develop instant chemistry between partners
  • Communication: Discovering and expressing our physical and emotional boundaries
  • Choreography: Creating a story by working with a partner to choreograph a hug
  • Closure: Creating a container for intimate work with partners and characters

Everyone will be able to ask questions and participate in a discussion at the close of the workshop.

Who is this class good for?

  • Seasoned actors
  • Beginning students
  • Improvisors
  • Directors
  • Screenwriters
  • Stage Managers

What you get

  • Gain knowledge about how to advocate for safety and ease in intimate blocking scenarios
  • Practice advocacy skills
  • Get clarity on personal boundaries
  • Learn how to communicate those boundaries with a partner
  • Learn how to choreograph simple intimate moments (hugs, handshakes)
  • Learn how to create closure with fellow actors and with intense or challenging characters
  • Learn how to create instant chemistry with a scene partner
  • Understand how the industry is changing and incorporating intimacy coordination
  • Plan of action: concrete tools and procedures to implement in any rehearsal or performance setting

About Carly

Carly Zien

Carly is a working actress, business owner, intimacy coordinator, and audition coach for actors in all mediums.

Carly attended Yale School of Drama for both her undergrad and her MFA, and she was always involved in the audition process for their MFA program. From watching thousands of MFA hopefuls, she learned what makes a strong, well-crafted, and inspired audition. Carly is passionate about empowering artists and helping actors discover and rediscover their passion for what they do.

Carly served as Intimacy Coordinator on the following sets: Almost Family (FOX), Porcelain (short film), Geranium (short film), #LoveMyRoomie (web series), White Flags (independent film). She lives and works in LA.


Carly is an incredibly compassionate teacher and fellow actor-artist who deeply understands all the angles that an actor needs support for in their journey—from prep to performance to nourishing yourself for a lifetime in the career of acting. Her coaching and teaching skills are backed by a genuine love of the craft and art of acting. Carly is a gem of a guide for actors. Carly is also an alumna of my studio and shares a philosophy of empowering actors with inspiration and tools!

Conversations with Carly



I became an intimacy coordinator because I saw the rampant sexual harassment and assault that was taking place in acting classes, rehearsals, and on set. It struck me as crazy that there was no standard process for highly intimate scenes, especially when there are so many safety protocols for scenes involving combat and stunts. I was pleased to find other like-minded folks who were forging a path in the field, and I’m so grateful to be able to continue this work as the industry works to clarify its standards around intimacy.




What was a difficult challenge for you as an actor? 

Deciding between my passion for acting and my need for stability and security.


What was a crazy or silly moment on set? 

I’ve found that the best way to learn something is to teach it yourself. When I pass on my knowledge, it helps my students and me to stay in shape!


What is the main thing you wish you knew then but that you only understand now?

Salaries. We are at the top of our field and are being paid less than fifty dollars an hour for shows. I believe we should only be performing in six shows per week, and that we should demand higher wages.


What moment or experience as an artist do you feel most proud of?

Playing Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.


Who do you really look up to in your field and why?

All of the women working towards 50/50 by 20/20. I’m excited to have more female directors, cinematographers, editors, screenwriters, art directors, etc.


Tristan Rose Gillia


This class was fantastic, necessary, and Carly is amazing! I learned so much and I feel much more empowered now. Carly gave us concrete tools and set out the guidelines. I feel so much more at ease.

Kimberlee Murray


It was so great to have a dabbling into different areas of the class…moving from advocating to how we ourselves would choreograph an intimate moment.

Kevin Townley


It really underlined the fact that having an intimacy coordinator on set is a must for my film.

Highly informative, compassionate, and empowering!

Natalie Hinds


Carly led this discussion with such care for each and every one of us—truly was a joyful excavation into a not talked enough about topic of an actor’s work and process. I have been waiting for this class to be offered again and I jumped at the opportunity. I spent the majority of the session thinking how WILD it is that there is not an intimacy coordinator at every school theatre, community theatre etc etc.

Kara Jobe


carly is down-to-earth and wise


I feel more empowered and knowledgeable. I wish all people in the entertainment industry took classes like these.

Wunmi Fowora


Wonderful. I felt delightfully uncomfortable yet respected the whole way through which made for wonderful growth and learning.

Caitlin Diekhoff


It was very insightful. I was glad to see so many directors there!

Wes Mason


Excellent class. Thank you so much for this.

Christina Schaudel


Thank you for having this workshop with Carly! She was AMAZING!!!!

Rose Sias


This type of training allows me to clearly see what had been missing on sets for so long. I can learn how to advocate for myself and others more effectively. I recognize that many people hide or don’t acknowledge biases and traumas and on set they can feel vulnerable and unsafe. Delivering a great performance while every party is protected is a great thing.

Kelly Drake


I learned a lot about how to properly inform and prepare actors for intimate scenes as early as when casting begins, how to direct actors in intimate scenes, and how to effectively create a safe and nonjudgemental environment on set.

Talley Gale



Emma Wisniewski


I feel more able to advocate for myself and my scene partners in situations that could otherwise become uncomfortable/unsafe. This was a really accessible introduction to intimacy choreo and inspired me to learn more.

Welinton Vallejo


I really appreciate this class. I believe it’s helping everyone feel safer. And that will lead to better work and happier people. I’m glad to be a part of the solution. Thank you!

Studio guarantee

Full disclosure — please note that we do not guarantee that actors in these classes or workshops will be hired for any project that we might direct, produce, or cast. We teach and coach because we enjoy supporting and nurturing actors as you develop your personal process for auditioning, working and creating your own work.