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Stunt FAQ

I want to be a stunt performer. What do I need to know?
Fair warning, being a stunt performer is not easy. Doing high falls, body burns and flipping cars requires skills that take years of training and experience. Navigating your way through an industry that has more workers than work opportunities makes it that much more difficult. But if you still think you have what it takes to be a stunt performer…

How can I learn to be a stunt performer?
What training you need depends on the relevant skill set you expect to have. There are a number of skills that a stunt performer may have: martial arts, precision driving, tumbling , etc. And there are just as many workshops/courses/gyms out there that will offer you training (at a cost). But ultimately there is still a lot to be learned from experience and listening to seasoned professionals on set, even if you are not yet working as a stunt performer.

How do I get work?
Stunt performers are chosen by Stunt Coordinators based on a number of factors, including skills, look/build, etc. Be aware, there’s a substantial amount of stunt performers available, but often, not enough work. So you need to ask yourself: what makes you special? What specific skill set do you possess that you can market to compete in this business? It helps to be considerate of your fellow stunt performers. Having friends is great, but when it comes to industry politics, being neutral is actually better. And in the end, nothing beats being in the right place at the right time.

How do I contact stunt coordinators?
If the opportunity presents itself, you can introduce yourself to a stunt coordinator while you are working on set in another capacity (ie. background performer, special skill extra). Being a pest, however, will not get you hired any time soon. Some will be interested in seeing a resume. Some will be interested in seeing a demo reel. Some won’t be interested at all. Be patient.

Do I need to be able to act?
Acting is often an important part of what a stunt performer does. You may not always be in the foreground of a shot, but you are still on-camera and reacting in a believable way is crucial.

What’s a stunt adjustment?
In addition to the scale amount earned for being contracted as a Stunt Performer, a stunt coordinator will add an adjustment to that rate (more $) based on the difficulty of the stunt you perform. Check out Mike Scherer’s article, The Bump, for more on this topic.

 
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