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Home » Featured Business for January 2024: Heartland Intimacy Design & Training
Featured Bus Jan 2023

Featured Business for January 2024: Heartland Intimacy Design & Training

Kate Busselle works offscreen to help make sexy moments feel secure through intimacy coordination and intimacy professional training through her company, Heartland Intimacy Design & Training.

Can you tell us how and why you started your business?

I started Heartland Intimacy Design & Training in 2019 after I realized that all of the intimacy training companies were offering training exclusively in person. I wanted to provide another educational training that didn’t depend on how much money a person had to travel to LA or New York, stay there for a few days, and not be able to ask questions and gather resources afterward. I created the world’s first (and currently only) fully asynchronous online intimacy training program. Eight months after I started the company, the pandemic hit, and I was the only one ready to go to offer training online. I’ve been very pleased with the result and have trained at least 500 aspiring intimacy professionals with my company.

What services do you provide within the film/music industry?

I provide intimacy coordination services for films of all sizes/budgets! My job is not to get in the way of the artistic filmmaking process; rather, I am there as an additional advocate for actors on set. In pre-production, I meet with the actors to discuss what their needs are and help draft intimacy riders with legal (or, if no legal, I can draft them) to ensure everyone is on the same page as to what is being asked of the actors. I also will work with the director and director of photography to ensure that the choreography I provide for these intimate and vulnerable moments work with their vision and to ensure that the actors’ riders are being honored. I also collaborate with wardrobe to ensure that modesty garments and coverings for the actors are available. Finally, I assist in the post-production process by reviewing the edited footage before being locked in to ensure that we are above board with the riders. Oh, and I am also your friendly set mint provider! I always have mints for anyone who wants them.

How has your company grown to meet the needs of Oklahoma’s film and/or music industries over the last 3-5 years?

While I started my company in 2019, I moved to Oklahoma in fall of 2021. 2022 was right when I started to get more involved in film work in the area. The writers strike and SAG/AFTRA strike put many projects on hold, but I am so happy to collaborate with projects getting back to production.

What are the benefits of basing your company’s operations in Oklahoma?

The biggest benefit I have basing my company out of Oklahoma is the fact that I am able to support and advocate for healthy filmmaking practices from the beginning of the film industry right here in Oklahoma. In markets that have been more established like LA, Chicago, and New York, it takes a lot more effort to change the way people have “always been doing it,” whereas the Oklahoma film industry is more welcoming and receptive to new ideas like intimacy coordination. Since it is a younger film community, I have found that when I introduce myself at local film mixers, people are generally excited to know that there is an intimacy coordinator in the area that is willing to support their projects.

What would you consider your business’s greatest accomplishment to date?

I think the biggest accomplishment is the fact that my company is expanding into intimacy coordination. When I originally started doing intimacy work in 2014, I was primarily focused on theatre and musical theatre, so being able to expand into the film market at all is a great accomplishment for me.

What are you working on now/next?

In addition to running Heartland Intimacy Design & Training, I am also Assistant Professor of Movement, Intimacy and Violence at the University of Oklahoma. Additionally to supporting theatrical productions at the University of Oklahoma and University of Central Oklahoma, I am in the process of finalizing and facilitating the launch of a new course on the Heartland website specifically targeted for K-12 Theatre Educators on trauma-informed theatre practices.

What is your goal/vision for the future of your company?

My hope is to launch an intimacy coordination-specific course in the next two years as well as collaborate with more filmmakers in the area. I would also love to provide shadowing opportunities for those who would like to transition into this work. Eventually, I hope to write a book sharing my knowledge with people.

What advice do you have for others who are considering starting a film or music business in Oklahoma?

While I didn’t start my business in Oklahoma originally, I do feel it is destiny that the stars aligned and brought me to Oklahoma. All of the filmmakers I have met have been nothing but kind and positive and desire to share resources with each other. I wouldn’t have the film career I have if it wasn’t for the Oklahoma Film Office’s support and outreach in the short time that I have been here.

What opportunities do you believe await Oklahoma’s film/music industry in the future?

I see a future where we have such a robust lineup of talent and crew that it would be silly for folks to not produce their work in Oklahoma. I also foresee a significant cultural contribution that Oklahomans can provide by supporting indigenous stories and stories that reflect “flyover country” as a diverse cultural exchange.

Each featured individual or business is given the provided questions to answer in their own voice. Other than formatting and grammar, the answers are personal to each featured voice, and are not provided by the Oklahoma Film + Music Office.

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