Writing kissing scenes can be a tricky proposition. They’re often essential parts of stories, yet they also present awkward and stressful situations for writers.
The kissing scene offers writers a chance to advance the plotline, express an intense emotion, create tension, settle miscommunication or simply bring characters closer together.
One of the most challenging parts of writing a kissing scene is trying to convey how it feels inside. It’s easy to get lost in all the physicality, but it’s essential that you also consider how the body’s emotions are being expressed.
Kissing can cause your heart rate to elevate and breathing to become deeper. Every part of your body tingles with greater sensitivity, making every touch feel magnified. Furthermore, you may be more susceptible to goosebumps or chills, altering the dynamic between both of you.
Intimacy is a crucial element of kissing scenes. It conveys how deeply your characters care about one another and allows them to reveal the most sultry, vulnerable side of themselves to one another.
Despite these advantages, kissing scenes can be challenging to write and perform. They require both actors’ and directors’ comfort level as well as an expert balance between coyness and crudeness.
To avoid having a negative experience, work with an intimacy coordinator who will supervise the actor’s interaction with their partner and guarantee they follow Intimacy Directors International guidelines for context, communication, consent, choreography and closure. These guidelines ensure all scenes adhere to these requirements.
Ita O’Brien is an Intimacy Coordinator and Movement Director who specializes in film, TV, and theatre. She conducts workshops on Intimacy and regularly teaches it at top drama schools.
As Intimacy Coordinator, Ita’s mission is to make actors feel comfortable and confident in their roles. She strives to raise the standards for intimate work in theatre, especially when it comes to sex or sexual violence.
She founded the Intimacy Collective, India’s first network of intimacy professionals, to make the industry safer and more respectful for everyone. Furthermore, she strives to give ICs a distinct identity so actors know they’re working with someone who genuinely cares about their safety.
The Intimacy Collective website states that its members are “intentional, dedicated and compassionate individuals who have made a career out of empowering others in the intimacy field.” It provides various resources for audiences such as trainings, articles and videos; you can also learn more about Intimacy Collective by reading its blog.
Kissing scenes in theater and film are often used by actors to demonstrate their vulnerability. This helps them create a more realistic, authentic, and believable connection between the characters they portray.
However, for some actors who are nervous about physical intimacy or have never done kissing before, this can be a challenge. Fortunately, most actors take an extremely professional approach to kissing scenes and recognize that overcoming any discomfort is part of their job.
Some directors are sympathetic to these concerns and will work with the actors to make them more comfortable. Others might even suggest substituting a physical action that conveys the same sentiment, like giving someone an affectionate hug.
If you have any reservations about a kissing scene, be sure to discuss them with your director prior to shooting. Furthermore, you can rehearse the kiss so that you feel confident and at ease during it by the end.
Before beginning the kiss, make sure your acting partner looks you in the eyes so they understand what qualities you desire in a kiss and how best to position themselves for it.
When starting the kiss, do so slowly and gently. Pull your lips outward slightly as you get closer to your partner’s mouth; this will help create a passionate smooch that lasts longer.
You can add more realism to the kiss by using your tongue, which will help it convey more of the feelings you want to convey. However, be mindful of personal and cultural issues when using your tongue; consult your director before filming if there are any questions or worries about its appropriateness in context of a scene.
Actors sometimes use their tongues when kissing in movies, though it’s up to the actors whether this practice is acceptable. Some find this uncomfortable while others find it an effective technique that amplifies the intensity of the moment.
When required to kiss someone in a movie, it is important to remain professional and focused on your role. Treat the kissing scene like any other acting exercise; make sure it’s done for legitimate reasons rather than trying to gain sexual advantage over your co-star.
Actors often perform intimate scenes, such as kissing, to express a character’s emotional state. Before shooting the scene, actors and actresses usually discuss their comfort levels with one another and with the director or intimacy coordinator to ensure they have everything needed for an enjoyable performance.
Rehearsing a kiss can be intimidating for some actors, especially those who have never done it before. Fortunately, the rehearsal process is usually fairly straightforward and there are numerous ways you can prepare for this type of performance.
1. Understand the Story
When performing a kissing scene, it’s essential to comprehend its dramatic significance. For instance, if you’re playing a young couple who have endured much together, an intimate rain-soaked kiss can be the ideal symbol of their devotion and affection for one another.
2. Consider Your Boundaries
If you have a medical condition such as cold sores that could make kissing uncomfortable, then it may be best to opt out of this type of scene work in class. Your teacher should be supportive of your needs, and there may be other ways of telling a story without involving kissing altogether.
3. Practice a Stage Kiss
One of the best ways to prepare for a stage kiss is to do it alone first, so that you become comfortable with it before inviting your partner onto set. Doing this allows for practicing in a quieter environment which might reduce anxiety levels.
4. Be honest about Your Preferences
If kissing is something you feel uncomfortable doing, it’s perfectly acceptable to let your teachers know. They might assign another scene or find another way in class to convey the same emotion and tone without involving a kiss.
5. Use a modified placeholder
In the past, actors who felt uneasy about kissing would mark their mouthing with either a high five or other gesture that was safe and consensual. Afterward, they’d drop that placeholder once they were ready to initiate contact.
Filmmakers often struggle with how best to capture an intimate moment between characters while making it look natural onscreen. Here’s our guide for creating realistic kissing scenes onscreen.
One way to achieve this effect is with visual effects. This technique allows the scene to appear more convincing without investing extra time or resources into filming it.
For instance, Jonah Hill and Lauren London’s kissing scenes in You People were created using CGI technology, creating the illusion that they are actually making physical contact onscreen. It’s an unusual technique but could indicate Hollywood is getting more creative when depicting sex onscreen.
Another example is the hit soap opera “Neighbours.” This show chronicles the passionate relationships among residents of Ramsay Street and, like many other soaps filmed during the pandemic, producers weren’t willing to forbid kissing scenes.
It was a tricky situation, since the crew needed to adhere to COVID-19 protocols and get lead characters quarantined before they could lock lips on screen. But they found ways around this by having real-life couples join them for kissing scenes on set.
When creating a kissing scene on set, it is essential to have an objective in mind. Don’t just focus on the actual kiss; consider all of its components: tension between actors before they lock lips, psychology of the kiss, and audience reactions afterwards.
Additionally, it’s essential to know your boundaries. If a particular kissing technique or pose makes you uncomfortable, let your castmate know before the scene is filmed so they can avoid it if possible.
Finally, be sure to practice the kiss before filming it so you don’t feel awkward on set. Additionally, discussing your emotions with the director beforehand can help them comprehend what qualities you expect in a scene.
It’s essential to remember that kissing is an organic part of life and most actors find themselves comfortable with it. Even if they don’t, actors still need to act professionally and perform the scene exactly as directed by their director.