6 Things to Consider When Asked to Do a Nude Scene

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At some point in an actor’s career, a proposition to do the infamous “nude scene” will appear and a constant back and forth between agent, actor, casting director, etc. ensues. Regardless if you believe in displaying your goods in the name of art or shielding them in the name of God, you are exchanging more than just your time and energy, but also giving up a naked digital clone of yourself. If you decide to do a nude scene, then ask yourself the following questions so you can maximize as much publicity from the project.

1. What is your ultimate career goal? There is no guarantee that a nude scene will elevate your career, nor is there one that it will enhance it. You have to be selective in the projects you choose since there will be an exchange, and it’s up to you on who will be profiting from the deal. If your ultimate goal is to win an Oscar, then showing off your naked body in the 20th “American Pie” film will affect your goal. The roles you select will sculpt your public image over time, which will also play a big factor in future castings and your appeal to select demographics.

2. How much is shown and how is it presented? A static shot of an exposed body versus a love scene illicit different vibes and using your objective view—you’re better able to agree or disagree with the way you’ll be exposed. For instance, a renaissance period film having a love scene while playing corny pop music will completely negate the credibility and elegance of the film’s image. Remember, you want to win the bigger payoff in every decision you make; your body, brand, and talent is your meal ticket and your performance weighs heavily on the way it’s received by the audience. This leads me unto the next point….

3. Contracts on exposure. If you’re exposed, there will always be a naked digital version of you floating around, but to what extent? If the agreement you make is casual and not in writing, you will have a hard time combating any discrepancies in the agreed shots taken of you. Also, is this project independent or attached to a studio? How long are you required to promote the film, if outlined? Make sure you know your rights before you shed the clothing.

4. Getting a body double. Depending on your career level, your acting ability may entitle you to a body double. This option isn’t likely when you’ve just begun your career in acting, but it never hurts to try.

5. What’s your marketing plan? Referring back to my exchange analogy in the above points, executing a marketing campaign in conjunction with your first nude scene will add extra mileage to your goal. You need to evaluate all known projects in the near future that may be affected by your nudity. If your agent has notified you of a possible Disney audition and you get the role, bare in mind that your previous roles will affect future casting selections.

6. How will this be distributed? Understanding the path of distribution will assist you in your assessment of the value of the movie; for instance, knowing whether it’s set for domestic or international release or even straight to DVD will give you an idea of the value of your commitment. By having an idea of the length of time it may take before the film is distributed, you may be able to slyly take advantage of your younger image before transitioning into more adult roles.

There is nothing wrong with nudity, however, being wary of affects on your image, needs to be evaluated so you don’t regret your actions later on. Acting may be your passion, but keep in mind that you’re still your brand that is moldable by your choices. Any event or role can be spun in your favor, but it’s a lot easier to fall than it is to fly, so keep that in mind.

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Garrett O. Thomas
Garrett O. Thomas is a publicist and Backstage Expert.
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