A Guide on How to Become a Stuntman

how to become a stuntman

Stuntmen perform a lot of activities on behalf of actors that the actors themselves can’t do. Sometimes stuntmen can also perform for entertainment. The most important requirement for a stuntman is physical strength and stamina. Their body should be in top form. Know how to become a stuntman.

They should be flexible, be versatile, and have great coordination. Gymnastics, martial arts, and other such body workouts can help build a body that’s fit for performing stunts.

Stuntmen are required to perform activities with an accuracy and swiftness that actors generally can’t perform. Activities like skydiving, high-chase races, extreme high-adrenaline parkour stunts, rock climbing, use of firearms, and deep water diving are some activities they involve in.

There are several institutions that teach aspiring candidates how to become stuntmen. When you have the basic skills, you can enroll in those institutions that equip you with the basics required to become professional stuntmen. These schools teach you the skills in the craft, and trade secrets to becoming better stuntmen

Stuntman Jobs

It is not rare to see a stuntman having to deal with animals, jumping off a passage, performing stunts on airplane wings, getting into fistfights, or deal with fires and explosions. There is danger in every stunt work, whether it is movie, stage work, or television.

However, these stunts, even though they look unsafe, have a lot of safety precautions in place. In movie productions, for obvious reasons, the stunts are made to look extremely dangerous and full of adrenaline. On the other hand, a few of the stunts are actually as unsafe as they seem. In that case, the ability of the stuntmen to manage those situations is what determines how he will come out and how entertained the audience will be

The following are some of the most common areas for a stuntman to work

  • Activities involving fistfights, explosions, or fires
  • Activities that involve use of any equipment such as tightrope walking, ziplining, or using machines for various stunts
  • Activities involving adrenaline-filled use of boats, cars, planes, or other vehicles — chasing, ramming, stunts, or for any such use
  • Activities that need parkour stunts across alleyways or on top of buildings
  • Gliding down from high-rise buildings or using other such methods of being suspended in the air
  • Jumping down from edifices or climbing up them
  • Stunts that seem heroic such as entering blazing buildings, tackling fire or inflammables
  • Dealing with guns and shooting — above ground or underwater

In addition to this, they also have some other duties

  • Ensure that the safety precautions for the activities are adequate
  • Provide safety inspections and conduct audits for the safety of the actors, especially in risky scenes that involve tumbling rocks, snow-clad mountains, or rainy countrysides.
  • Supervise performances of other stuntmen or assist them in security activities

[Also Read: Steps To Become A Firefighter ]

Education & Training for a Stunt Performer

You can work as a stunt performer without having any formal qualifications. However, you will still need a special confirmation from the Entertainment, Arts and Media Alliance before working. You should at least be 18 years of age to apply.

To meet the requirements for Stunt Action Individual grading set by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, stunt performers must have at least six months of documented general stunt teaching or work experience and qualify in any of the four categories of Height, Body Control and Stamina, Animals and Vehicles (Driving or Riding), or Water activities.

After the courses are finished, licenses or previous experience might be needed to prove competency in a team. An up-to-date knowledge of first aid is also compulsory. After landing gigs as stuntmen, they should find agents and managers who will help them find jobs.

To display their services, they send their portfolio or taped performances to their agents who then forward it to the people looking for stuntmen. This acts as their resume and the people hiring them would be able to select the best.

Working Conditions for a Stunt Performer

Stunt performers work on activities that require precise timing and the use of several props and equipment that could look unsafe. It takes huge experience and effort to work out a reasonable procedure for performing stunt work. Stunt work can be actually demanding and might need a lot of time spent in painful places or positions, such as underground and underwater.

Each shot in the film could require several retakes which means stuntmen might to redo those acts that are uncomfortable or injurious over and over.

Stuntman salary and Employment Opportunities

In the United States the stuntmen average salary is $69,000 per year. If you are new to this profession, you might just make $6,000 per year. Everything depends on how much work you are able to find.

Stunt performers work on contractual basis for film corporations, video production houses, and television stations. They might even work in various entertainment centers like theme parks, circuses, showgrounds and shopping centers. Extensive experience is necessary to gain the essential skills. (1)

Bottom Line

You don’t get a chance to choose and pick what you want to do. It is a complete package. You need an interest in the world of stunts. That is the important factor for how to become a stuntman. With the completion and experience of additional gradings, stunt performers might become stunt coordinators and security supervisors as well