By Ozzi Ramirez
Welcome to NYWIFT, Evelyn Fogleman! Evelyn Fogleman is an NYC-based intimacy coordinator, writer, and content creator. For the past decade, she has worked on film and television projects for Netflix, Marvel Studios, Amazon Studios, Warner Brothers, CBS, and A24…. just to name a few!
Before her current roles, Evelyn enhanced her filmmaking experience by production assisting, assistant directing, and performing stunt work. During this time, she worked as a Second Second AD in Jackie, the 2016 Oscar-nominated film that stars Natalie Portman. She also earned a Screen Actors Guild nomination as part of the stunt team for her contributions on the Netflix series Daredevil and a Directors Guild Award for working alongside Bo Burnham in the 2018 critically-acclaimed indie hit Eighth Grade.
Learn more about Evelyn as we discuss the gradual and much-needed omnipresence of intimacy coordinators on film sets and how she turned lemons into lemonade during the pandemic!
Tell us about yourself. Give us your elevator pitch!
Hi there! I’m Evelyn and I’m an intimacy coordinator, writer, and content creator living in NYC.
Although intimacy coordinators have been around for a while, since the #MeToo movement, some in the film/TV industry have been reevaluating the culture on film sets and intimacy coordinators are becoming more commonplace.
What are the primary responsibilities of the job and what are some basic qualities that every intimacy coordinator should possess?
As an intimacy coordinator, I work with directors, performers, and crew as an advocate, liaison, and choreographer to execute scenes that include nudity, simulated sex, or other kinds of performance that may leave a performer hyper-exposed.
On a practical level, this means my job is to make sure everyone on set can give informed consent around the work we’re doing, act as an advocate for the boundaries we’ve established, and support the performers and director as needed with movement tools and techniques that allow us to make these scenes look fantastic while working within our performers’ boundaries.
One of the things I find incredible about the other intimacy coordinators and directors I’ve had the privilege of studying and working with is that we each bring our own unique perspectives and experiences to the work.
That being said, some common qualities that make up the bedrock of intimacy coordination are empathy, the ability and desire to connect with a wide variety of people, a passion for teaching consent-forward language and practices, and a strong understanding of how to use movement in storytelling.
How did the opportunity to work as an intimacy coordinator come to fruition and why did you decide to explore this role? How did your previous film jobs help you prepare for this position?
I really feel like intimacy coordination found me in a sense. This work perfectly combines the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired in my many years and roles on set with my deep personal passion for seeing improved cultural conversation and understanding around consent and sexuality.
It was back around 2017 or 2018 when I first heard about the work that Alicia Rodis was doing to raise awareness in the film and television industry about the importance of the role. I followed the work she was doing over the years following and was blown away by the ways her work and the work of other ICs was making serious progress in shifting the conversation around how we approach consent on set.
Fast forward to 2020, I was at a turning point in my career after recovering from an industry hazard we don’t talk about nearly enough: burnout. I wanted to use the skills I had acquired over many years on set, but I wanted to do it in a way that contributed to better working systems than the ones I had been brought up in (instead of continuing the same old cycles).
It was at that place that I was introduced to Intimacy Directors and Coordinators and their intimacy coordinator training program, which is where I dove headfirst into training for this role with some of the most admirable and talented mentors I could have asked for. Through the training in this program, I was able to marry my strong understanding of set culture with new tools for facilitating consent conversations and crafting choreography that’s as safe as it is steamy.
In addition to bringing an Intimacy Coordinator on board, what are some approaches you believe productions could implement to ensure that actors and others on set feel safe and comfortable?
I think the larger shift I want to see in the industry is a greater emphasis on the people creating the art over the art itself. Simple things like clear reporting structures with fast response times for harassment and other hazards are essential, and I’d also like to see more continued education around consent-forward working structures being provided to directors, producers, and ADs, so that this language and awareness doesn’t stop once I step off set.
As a stunt assistant on shows such as The Punisher and Daredevil, what has been your most high-risk and/or fun stunt to perform?
Oh boy, I wish I had the talent to give you a daring high-fall story, but my role on these teams was much more behind-the-scenes, helping build the logistical infrastructure around these stunt scenes, so our incredibly talented stunt performers could show up on the day and crush it safely.
Having said that, I had the opportunity to play a few times. You can see my incredible trip-and-fall work featured in a few shots of Doom Patrol: Season One, and some truly legendary gunshot reactions in several pre-vis sequences.
I also ran away from some anthropomorphized, blood-thirsty….butts! That’s the one I’ll be telling my grandkids about for sure!
What brings you to NYWIFT?
I firmly believe in the value and importance of community. As women and creatives, the community we surround ourselves with is doubly important while facing systems and environments that have historically under-represented us.
NYWIFT gives me more opportunities to build my community as well as contribute my knowledge and skills toward paving new paths for the next generation of women in our industry.
What is the best (and worst) advice that you’ve received?
I’d firmly say the worst advice I ever received was, “The word ‘No’ doesn’t exist on set.” I’m actively working to help correct that culture of coercion.
The best? That’s a little trickier, but I always go back to “putting your oxygen mask on first,” meaning that you can’t help others if your basic needs aren’t met first. That’s something I try to practice myself and teach others as well.
How did the pandemic affect your career?
For me, the pandemic was an almost serendipitous time of transition. Just before the pandemic, I had made what felt like a HUGE decision to step back from set work while I sorted out my mental health and next steps. So by the time everything closed down, I was ready to jump headfirst into training for this next big step in my career with IDC, and finally had the time and resources needed to do it.
Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years? Do you have any upcoming projects?
My goal moving forward is to continue to bring this work to as many sets as I can and continue to educate people on why this role is such a necessary part of the future of our art form and industry.
I just finished working with pop-folk artist MALINDA on her visual album, where we depicted this really beautiful queer love story through music and visuals. I’m also in the midst of finding my next opportunity while expanding my advocacy and education on this work through my social media channels.
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