Everybody wants to be in the entertainment industry. There are occasions, however, where a person develops a passion for something other than acting and singing. And that’s becoming a stuntman. Being a stuntman or woman in the industry is just as difficult as any of other aspect and it takes just as much work and training to becoming good at it, let alone a professional.
A stunt person is usually called on set because a major company doesn’t want to risk the safety of any actor or actress who hasn’t had any training with a particular stunt. There are many details involved, and many safety hazards to avoid. If you want to become a stunt person, consider the risks first and foremost before going through the steps you need to take in order to begin getting jobs.
Types of Stunts:
There are many different types of stunts consisting of falling off a building, being involved with explosions and much much more. Being familiar with each type of stunt before and during your training is very important so you can understand the risks involved and how to do it properly.
Some stunt players specialize in specific types of stunts, and others train in a variety of stunts. As someone in the industry, if stunts are what you’re into, it’s important to train in a variety of stunts, because you never know how that may help your career. Being familiar with more than one type of stunt can bring on more jobs and therefore help you with becoming more known.
Falls – High falls, low falls, and falls in between is a type of stunt that can involve falling off a building, falling down a set of stairs, or even falling on the floor. It’s important to know how to do it properly, especially when it’s a fall where special equipment has to come into play.
Water Stunts – Learning how to swim and go scuba diving is important in this aspect of stunts. Many stunts involve water, so not drowning is naturally important.
Fight Stunts – Stage combat and fight stunts for film take planning and a lot of practice so as not to hurt yourself and the person you are working with. Sometimes stage fights involve a group of people, so knowing each other’s movements, and working on timing and angles are very important in order to make it look convincing.
Rock Climbing – It’s good to learn an extra activity that you can contribute to any stunt that involves outdoors or involve mountains and rough terrain.
Sky Diving – This would fall under the category of high falls, just kicked up a notch. When learning to be a stunt person you don’t have to do anything that you feel uncomfortable with, but it’s an added bonus of being able to do falls from any length.
Fire Stunts – All the time, you see people caught on fire in a scene. Ever wonder how it’s done without any harm coming to the “unfortunate” person? Timing is especially important because when a person is fully surrounded, they have little breathing time, so professionals will have to be on standby to put the fire out in the nick of time. And here, you will also see all of the precautions and fire gear the stunt player has to wear before they are put on fire.
Wiring and Rigging – None of us can defy gravity, so using wires will assist with stunts that involve spectacular presentations. It also comes in handy when you’re on a set that’s not space friendly for doing certain fight stunts.
There are many more stunts to name. These are just the ones that are seen by audiences more often. Some are not nearly as complicated as others. Training, however is still a must.
Occasionally, you will come across an enthusiast who has done stunts without any professional training. To be perfectly honest, that’s how a lot of people start out. And some have done it for so many years, it seems like they’ve had professional training when many have not. What you have to understand here, is that even though they may not have had training, they most likely have had some guidance from another professional who has done it longer. So remember, even though their training wasn’t traditional, eventually they were trained by SOMEBODY.
You may also come across someone who has a knack for doing stunts and learn as they go. It’s rare, but it has happened. Training is still recommended here. Don’t do harm to yourself when you really don’t know what you’re doing.
Pick a school that’s closest to you. This may be hard for some, because you can’t always find what you need in your area. If you can’t get to school right away, there are also workshops and seminars that can assist you and get the ball rolling for you. So keep a look out on any and everything. Do some networking and get to know some professionals. You never know how things may work out for you.
Start Doing Minor Stunts:
Don’t jump the gun and try to get into doing so many stunts that it’ll make your head spin. Start slow by going on auditions and doing minor gigs. This will help you gain experience which is very important when it comes to getting more lucrative jobs. This is also essential for getting your foot in the door. If you have to resort to forming your own small film projects where stunts are involved, do so. Add whatever you can to your demo reel so other professionals can see the extent of your talents.
Join the Union:
When you’re finally qualified to join SAG/AFTRA, this will help you gain more lucrative jobs. It’s a point in your career that you’ve finally done enough to prove yourself. In order to join a union, however, you must have prior experience. That’s why starting out doing minor gigs is important. Those gigs will add on to your experience.
Creating a Stunt Team:
This is not a necessity, but when you’re experienced enough to create a stunt team it will allow many directors and producers to find out who you are. They will even want to get in contact with you to coordinate stunts for an entire project. Even actors will want to work alongside you. The Jackie Chan Stunt Team is perhaps one of the biggest and best stunt teams there are today. Do research and find out what you can when it comes to starting one, if that’s what you want to do. Become certified first. That way you can have the say in a lot of what’s going on.
There are endless things you can do, so take advantage, and most of all, be careful.