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Hiring The Right Stunt Coordinator for the Right Job



Stunt Coordinator TJ White and Stunt Driver Terry James on set of Justin Bieber “Boyfriend” Music Video.

What does it take to be a great Stunt Coordinator? Many think that you can just get handed the accolade and title of stunt coordinator. This happens on many projects where a director, producer, UPM or even someone’s assistant may know a stunt person and all of sudden they think they would be able to stunt coordinate a project  for them.  With more and more under qualified and/or inexperienced stunt coordinators supervising jobs where people are getting hurt or even killed, insurance companies are getting more involved with risk management. Not only are people getting injured but the stunt is not performed the way the producer or director envisioned making production costs increase.

An experienced stunt coordinator must at least be a stuntman or stunt woman themselves for at least 10 years learning the craft of designing stunt sequences, setting up stunts, performing stunts, and  working closely with productions.  Sharpening their craft by learning from experienced stunt coordinators, special effects supervisors,  stunt performers, directors, and producers.  Many stunt people make the jump into stunt coordinating because they are not able to work as much as a stunt performer and feel they would work more as a coordinator. The transition must be made based on experience, trust, and more importantly a pristine safety record.

Many Stunt Coordinators specialize in certain stunts such as car work, horse work, fights, flying planes or helicopters, armory, wire work, fire, underwater, ect.  It is rare to find a stunt coordinator that is an expert in all of these skills. That is why some coordinators are better for some jobs over others. A coordinators capacity is always challenged and advanced as they are constantly studying new techniques and other specialties in order to make them more knowledgeable on what they’re doing and what others in the industry are doing.

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