Interview: Stunt Performer and Coordinator, and set Intimacy Coordinator, Deven MacNair

Head shot of Deven MacNair

I think we all understand broadly what a stunt person does and the how a stunt coordinator would work. The focus is always safety, y’all. Deven adds experience as a Studio Teacher and child actor stunt trainer to her lengthy resume. She is also a tireless fighter for gender parity in the industry and for casting race and gender-appropriate stunt performers. Read more here.

But what is an Intimacy Coordinator? This new job born of the #MeToo era, is a person that works on the set with actors who are acting in sex scenes, including those with sexual violence. She works on “rape choreography” and intimate action, to ensure that the performers, including stunt people, feel comfortable and safe. Some of her work includes helping with aspects of costume, and being the person who checks in, especially with female actors, on how they are feeling after each take. The goal is to maintain the highest level of professionalism and, above all, personal safety. Kudos to HBO for being the first major network to mandate the presence on set of an Intimacy Coordinator.

You can connect with Deven via Twitter: @devenmacnair

What was your first job in the entertainment industry (and how did it come about)?

I went to an open call or “cattle call” if you will for a live action show in Japan ……and I got it!…It was very much the whole saying of “luck happens when opportunity and preparation meet!”

What was your second job?

Funny enough I am unsure… was just a lot of little things, working background any chance I could, training, becoming SAG-AFTRA which took me 7 years! I can’t think of the EXACT second job.

What was the best piece of advice you heard starting out, and why was it good?

This career you have chosen is rather volatile, and unpredictable pretty much the only thing you can control and MUST control is being on time and most importantly ‘keep your homelife stable and clean.’ (Or as Marianne Williamson says in her book The Artist’s Way, “Stay away from Crazymakers.”)

What about the worst piece of advice?

If you are waiting tables or have a side hustle you aren’t a REAL Stunt person. (Insert your Entertainment job here).

What advice would you give to someone wanting to break into the business today? 

This is a marathon not a sprint. There is no overnight success. When in doubt be kind and don’t forget to make time for family and friends – career is second always.

Thank you Deven for these wise words, and for your efforts on behalf of women in the entertainment industry. Filmmaking can be gruelling, time-expensive and emotionally draining. It’s good to be reminded to remember out families and friends outside of work.

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