Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Nudity in Entertainment - A Nudist's Perspective

I spent my weekend doing a zombie short film. I had lots of fun, met new people, helped out a young director, and got to do something I love. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

In the film, there's a lead zombie who whomps my character and the one I do my scene with, Andrew's character, and I think the rest of the leads. SPOILER: The lead zombie character is female, but it was played by a man. Around 7 PM Saturday night we all discovered she was being played by a large and naked man.

I'm a nudist, but I was caught off-guard by the naked man roaming the halls of USA. In fact, I got lost in the middle of one of my long-winded stories because I didn't expect to see a nude man weaving his way in between lab coats and zombies. The other actors (non-nudists) were far more surprised than me, and two of them mentioned to me that they were offended that this fellow was naked.

The effect will probably turn out really cool in the completed film, and I think this large man was a brilliant choice for a zombie that can take down a couple of tough women and some dudes who are 6'+ tall. I was afraid that the female zombie was going to be so small that I'd be able to take her with my strength. Of course, there may have been a completely different reaction if there was a 98 lb. naked woman wandering the halls. However, here are some recommendations that might make a naked wanderer on-set easier to experience:

1. Maybe let people know beforehand that there will be on-set nudity. Some people have real issues with naked bodies, and they may not be entirely comfortable working with naked people. I got an audition for a film once where the script had my character doing a lesbian kiss with a completely naked girl. I knew when I read the script at the audition that this was to be expected so I could choose at that point whether or not I wanted to pursue this role, based on my comfortability. I think they guy who played the doctor was still pretty uncomfortable with the nudity on Sunday.

1A. If the nudity wasn't part of the original plan but the stars aligned so it would happen, it would be apropos to let the cast and crew know that there would be nudity on-set because it would create the best effect in the film. It might make the thing a little easier to experience, especially for the prudish or modest. At least they would know the nudity was intentional and it wasn't just invasion of the streakers.

2. It's okay to wear a robe or a towel to cover up. As a nudist, I've learned all about where it's okay to be naked and where it's not. At the nude beach, you have to walk to the far end of the beach next to the military base to get naked and sun yourself. That way it's out of the way and barely visable to the other people who are there to enjoy the beach with their clothes on. Imagine if some school administrators walked by and saw the naked guy in the hall. A friend from work was going to come with his eleven year-old daughter on Sunday to be zombie extras. I called him Saturday night and told him he was still welcome to come and bring the daughter but there was nudity on-set and I wasn't sure if he wanted her to witness that. If I knew the nudity was going to be contained -- say, in a bathrobe -- I could've passed that along to him as well. I'm not sure whose responsibility the bathrobe should be, but I'd say the actor and the director should each provide one, just to be safe. The first day of shooting was worse than the second since no one was used to the idea of a naked guy in the halls, but he had a robe the second day.

3. Please don't put your bare ass anywhere. At nudist resorts, you must always carry a towel. The idea is that you can sit on it wherever you land. Don't want to share ass sweat with strangers! Our lead zombie sat bare-assed in a cloth director's chair, no towel between him and the chair. It's bad form in nudist circles to go this. Let's take a lesson from nudists, South Park, and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and ALWAYS BRING A TOWEL.

He's a very professional guy. It was just one hell of a shocker and not the easiest thing for the others on-set to experience. By Sunday we were pretty used to it, and everyone was making cracks (ha!) about it. Fortunately no one was so offended that they didn't return for the second day of filming. Following my little guidelines would've eased the cast's introduction to this naked mutant zombie.

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