"My MISSION is to co-create in the telling of intimate, emotionally heightened and or culturally charged stories; while keeping our hearts and souls intact." - Joy DeMichelle
Joy DeMichelle's work as an intimacy choreographer and cultural sensitivity consultant produces consensual, culturally competent, creative containers for dynamic storytelling.
Why did you choose this work?
JOY: The art of acting is intimate, period. Actors are asked to share a whole range of thoughts, feelings and experiences that can draw upon our personal and cultural experiences. Actors are asked to be vulnerable, open an available often times in spaces that are not necessarily respectful of boundaries. I know this first hand because as an actress I have faced abusive, threatening and racist power dynamics in creative spaces. On the journey to healing myself from my own traumatic experiences, I started to study various modalities of healing and became a holistic healing arts practitioner. I quickly realized that suffering for my art was not necessary to be creatively free. With boundaries, consent and choreography in place, we can foster a new approach where we support creative wellbeing and increase the probability of actors maintaining their dignity and self respect.
How would you describe your process?
JOY: My process is collaborative. I sit with the director to capture their vision, share what I see and map out a plan. I help actors live fully through physically and emotionally vulnerable moments while honoring their boundaries and creative process. I also, work closely with other departments to ensure believability and physical safety. It is a team effort, as we support each other in bringing the story to life in the most nuanced way.
What do you do as a cultural sensitivity consultant?
I have an antiracist approach to guiding actors to vibrant, consent-based performances that honor the cultural themes, history and integrity of the communities represented in the script. As a cultural sensitivity consultant, I am available to consult for story, script and character development; particularly when the story asks an actor of the Global Majority, to draw on their own experiences or the experiences of another Global Majority group. When you want to tell those nuanced, beautiful and oftentimes difficult stories - give me a call.
My process secures the likelihood that the physical, emotional and cultural boundaries are not only acknowledged, they are also respected. My work is steeped in years of studying and applying consent practices, influences of Black culture, embodied social justice, human behavior and holistic healing practices.
You've been called "the director's special sauce" what does that mean?
That means I speak actor. My years of training, acting experience and coaching style, allows me to help actors release that extra flavor that delivers a delicious performance.
Actress / Director
"I was doing a movie on location and found myself in a situation where we didn’t have an intimacy coordinator. The scene was intense emotionally, but also I was going to be revealing myself physically.
Joy was referred to me, by someone I trust immensely. In one conversation the night before I was going to shoot my scene, Joy gave me the tools, the language and the technique to navigate what I was about to do. Her depth of understanding, of empowering me, and truly coordinating and choreographing physically what I was going to do like a dance, was profoundly invaluable to me.
I am now preparing to shoot my own film and I will definitely be hiring Joy as my intimacy coordinator. Her care her passion, her love of what she does is eminent, and you feel profoundly taken care of by her.
I can’t say enough except you will learn all the tools you will need to navigate a scene that can be very vulnerable. Joy will empower you with the tools to create boundaries, while expressing and revealing what you want for your character in the scene. I am grateful to have connected with Joy."
"Joy’s leading-edge work on our narrative short film was indispensable. We worked with child actors on sensitive racial issues in our storytelling and we could not have done it without Joy’s exceptional intelligence, sensitivity and competence. Joy jumped in with spot-on coaching for our actors and intuitive support for all, including our adult cast and crew. We could not have made our film without her."
Producing Team, Color of Autumn
"I just have to say that you arrived at the exact time you were most needed, and you've carved a pathway forward for us truly rooted in JOY that our company members, artists, board, and staff will carry into the community we continue to build. How you're able to firmly thread this new paradigm into a kind of pragmatic, authentic, truth-to-power candor that reaches everyone in the room -- regardless of their lived experiences -- is an amazing gift. This was a real, holistic wellness approach and the whole group was made better for it...and brought closer together in trust with one another."
"Joy’s coaching and direction feels like the warmest blanket during a cold winter night. She instills an abundance of confidence in you while also gently helping you unlock the very things you need for your talent to soar."
David Alan Madrick,
Constance Nicole, Writer
Color of Autumn
I was concerned when my collaborators suggested that we would cast actual children as the characters. These concerns remained well after the team assured me they had the perfect professional in mind.
When I met Joy DeMichelle in person, I couldn’t help but hold her in the highest regard for her abundant knowledge and commitment. Whatever fears I may have had quickly evaporated. I watched Joy working with our child actors. She impressed upon them the bravery it takes to tell this relevant story. The exercises she provided elevated the focus on the storytelling, fostered a sense of safety and heightened engagement. Speaking with some of the parents, they appreciated Joy approach to tackling the uncomfortable subject of racism and hate speech.
Joy DeMichelle creates a protective and supportive environment.
INTIMACY & CULTURAL SENSITIVITY CONSULTANT
CBS LEADERSHIP PIPELINE CHALLENGE
(Los Angeles, CA)
Coming April - May 2023
BOUNDARIES & CONSENT WORKSHOP
(Los Angeles, CA)
February 25th - 26th
TIPPING POINT THEATRE
JANUARY 26 - FEBRUARY 19, 2023
THE HIGH TABLE
(SAN DIEGO, CA)
FEBRUARY 9 - MARCH 5, 2023
COLOR OF AUTUMN FILM
Intimacy & Cultural Sensitivity
HEDDA GABLER & A WINTER'S TALE
A CHOIR BOY
(Palm Springs, CA)
October 28 - November 6, 2022