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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Becoming a Professional Stunt Performer

People can watch films like Die Hard, Rambo or even MTV shows like “Jackass” or “Nitro Circus” and think they have what it takes to become a Professional Stunt Performer.  The truth of the matter is that there is no easy way to get into the business.  Stunt performers spend most of the time and energy training just for the chance to be able to perform these jaw dropping stunts.  It takes years of training either in horses, racing cars, gymnastics, free running, Mix Martial Arts, acting, and stunt training from experienced stunt performers and stunt coordinators.

If you ask your self, How do i get in the business?  Well, the first thing is to start training. Get into a gym and work on your flexibility, core strength, balance, and agility.  There are many gyms in Los Angeles that focus on Stunt Training like: White Lotus, XMA, Valley College open gymnastic night, and Bob Yerkes Circus Productions.  There are also Stunt Schools that you can attend around the United States that you can get your basic stunt training to acquire the skills needed to start out.

Also note that training does not stop when you start working on projects, it is just the beginning. Directors, Producers, and Stunt Coordinators create all types of different stunt sequences for films, television, commercials, and music videos that are impossible to train for if they are new innovative stunts.  As massive as their imagination allows them to dream, those skills required to perform those stunts get greater and greater.

After you begin your stunt training do not think that this is the time to start sending your headshot out to Production, and Stunt Coordinators to get a job. The first step should be trying to get a job in a stunt show at Disney, Knotts Berry Farm, Universal Studios, or even Six Flags. It is here you will grab hold of great stunt training and meet some of the upcoming stunt performers in the business. Many of the top Stunt Coordinators and Stunt performers in the business today started out in live stunt shows spanning all over the world.  Some even continue to perform at these live stunt shows to sharpen their skills and exposure.

Another avenue to go is to start working as an extra in TV, and Film projects.  This will educate you on the way a set works, the hierarchy, know who’s who, and what to do and what not to do.

Think of a Stunt Performer as an athlete. You must take care of your body through nutrition, exercise, and prepare mentally.  You will need all your senses to be sharp, for your reflexes and strength may very well save your life.  There is a reason production does not allow their actors to do most of there own stunts. It is because with an injured actor you are not able to continue your project causing delays.  That is why production companies hire a Stunt Coordinator to find a skilled Stunt Performer to stand-in for actors.  Sometimes even the stunt performer  that is trained get injured.  Then production will have to find a replacement for them. So the key here is to train so you can pull off the gag with no injury and as least amount of takes as possible.

So after reading this, if you still have the heart and audacity to want to become a Professional Stunt Performer, then go out there and start training. Who knows, with due time you may just be the next Hollywood Stunt Coordinator.

2012 Summer Blockbusters Films



The term comes from a block-leveling bomb, but has taken on more meaning in the film business.  But what exactly makes a movie a blockbuster?  Is it the cast, theme, budget, or time of year?  Typically a modern blockbuster requires A-list cast, director who has credibility, and a budget that makes the National Debt look like a layaway plan.  Recently the market and industry has seen a shift in what is actually considered a Blockbuster.  A film’s marketability, branding, franchising, and now the ability to produce more than one film into a series, increases the overall strategy of the studio’s investment.
The biggest value of all blockbusters have one common denominator.. Stunts and Action.  It takes a talented stunt coordinator like TJ White and a trusted talented stunt team to create the amazing action seen in each year’s Blockbusters.  This year is no different with the overload of action packed releases.  Spiderman, Avengers, Battleship, Bourne, Dark Knight, and even the new comer, Hunger Games.
Not all succeed, such as Prometheus, Battleship, John Carter, Men in Black III.  They all succeeded in their own realms of viewership, but as studios count the pennies spent to the ones earned, it becomes a completely different equation.  The year of the animation domination has shown how the Blockbuster is changing.  Movies such as Madagascar 3, Ice Age, and Brave have brought more money to the Blockbuster bottom line per screen than ever before.  Oddly enough, even animated films require the expertise of a stunt coordinator to correctly create the emotion and complexity involved in teaching how to illustrate how to properly show the excitement in a fight or fall.
So, the Blockbuster is revealed and anticipated by all each season.  And there are many more to look forward to, such as Expendables 2, Superman, Total Recall, G.I. Joe2, SkyFall, The Hobbit, and hopefully Die Hard 6…  But always remember, it takes talented stunt coordinators and performers to make all of these Blockbusters look amazing and safe.