Action Director TJ White on set of Amazon’s Grand Tour
Amazon’s The Grand Tour with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May came to Los Angeles to make a statement of why they are the premiere car show on television. Using millions of dollars of vehicles from Aston Martin, Mercedes, Lamborgini, Rolls Royce , Mike Ryans Freightliner Race Semi, Porsche and one of a kind vehicles driving in the Mohave dry lake bed while the host comes blasting through the lines in brand new Mustangs.
This was done with professional drivers and some driving their personal cars. In doing so it took several hours of rehearsal to the over 50 plus drivers to be able to drive at a high rate of speed and hold there mark for several miles while the host come racing though the line. Action Director TJ White from T Minus Productions was brought in to supervise and design the action along with Safety consultant Adam Atella. Using experienced consults helps a production not only be safe of save time while actually filming. This saves a production money in the long run.
Stunt Drivers take years of experience to get in the car and drive a car. There are many terms used for a Stunt Driver. Precision Drivers, Performance Drivers, Stunt Drivers just to name a few.
They are also background drivers and these specific drivers do not have the training or skill set to drive in front of camera as a principle. These are drivers that drive in the background of a shot on driving scenes. These drivers are extra or background drivers or even called extra precision drivers. They drive everyday vehicles to fill a frame. These drivers should never be upgraded to be a precision driver unless a qualified stunt coordinator or Driving coordinator is on-set to supervise and has OK’d the driver and their ability. These are not stunt drivers nor are they precision drivers.
Working with Sevyn Streeter ft. Chris Brown “Don’t Kill The Fun” we were driving expensive cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini at high rates of speed in a tight area. This can make a director and producer very nervous. This is when experience takes over and hiring the right experienced stunt coordinator and stunt drivers for the job is a producers best option for a safe and exciting shoot. It could take 5-10 years of stunt driving for a stuntman or stunt women to get a chance to drive on screen. Stunt Coordinators do not let inexperienced people get behind the wheel. There is a lot to learn about cars and the technology that drives them.
Stunt Drivers rely heavily on the transportation department of a project to prep the car for them to drive. The right tire pressure, tires, breaking system, engine torque and suspension of a car will help the driver perform the stunt that the director wants.
When using very expensive fast cars, a lot goes into the prep of the car. Usually the stunt coordinator is in total communication with the manufacture of the cars. These cars are like fast computers on wheels. What you must realize is that new and luxurious cars don’t come off the lot being able to do 360’s, power slides, and drifting around corners. They must be De-programmed to shut off various traction controls, and safety parameters that are normally put in place for the daily driver. But if you want high speed action and stimulating stunt driving?, then you’ll need the proper mechanic that knows the specific vehicle. Car prep is vital and sometimes overlooked on the production side. Our Stunt coordinators work closely with car prep companies in order to tailor the vehicle to match the shots wanted by the director and producers. Safety is always top priority, and while stunt driving is one of the gags often requested, make sure your production hires the right stunt coordinator so then he or she can hire the best qualified stunt drivers. Your insurance will thank you and you’ll minimize your risk.
Stunt Driver Alyma Dorsey on set of Sevyn Streeter ft. Chris Brown “Don’t Kill The Fun”
TJ White Stunt Coordinator on set of Riveting Entertainment Music Video
Stunt Driver Chris Nielsen Testing a 2013 Hot-wheels Ford Mustang from Galpin Motor Sports for a Justin Bieber “Boyfriend’ Music Video
When you think of action, viewers tend to only think of summer blockbusters. Television was built on family shows, comedy, and variety shows all adapted from radio shows of the same genre. Then came “Slap-Stick” which began showing falls and use of props to convey a unique story. As the medium of entertainment started requiring more action, Stunt Coordinators stepped up to the challenge.
Shows requiring the talent and expertise of stunt performers started gaining the viewers’ attention. Westerns, Super Heroes, and even quirky European Comedies allowed studios and producers to give the Stunt Coordinator more room to create dangerous looking, but safe action and excitement for the viewer.
In the late 70’s and 80’s, viewers were introduced to television’s transformation which opened many doors for the decades to come. The A-Team, Hawaii Five-0, Dukes of Hazzard, Blue Thunder, Magnum P.I., Miami Vice, and of course, every stunt performer’s favorite… The Fall Guy. All of these opened the virtual pallet of imagination for stunt coordinators. Dukes of Hazzard used over 300 General Lees during production. Flying cars, intense fights, explosions, aerial stunts, and everything you would see by going to a blockbuster in the theaters, were now seen in your own homes.
In 2012, we have seen on television an unbelievable amount of options over the past several years when it comes to deciding which of the over 500 channels of entertainment to watch. Every network, production company, studio and show is looking for the WOW factor. From Daytime Drama series, to Reality Shows, to every show that uses an Acronym (i.e. N.C.I.S or C.S.I. insert your city name here), and even comedies are relying on talented stunt coordinators to make their product POP and WOW. Coordinators, such as TJ White, have the trust and admiration of those looking to excite and safely create television shows that viewers can’t stop watching.
Movies, commercials, T.V. shows, music videos, and live action shows all have a common thread, Rigging. To the viewer, it looks like people are flying, floating, falling uncontrollably, or even made to be string puppets. The skilled Stunt Coordinator can envision such spectacular and visually stimulating stunts by knowing how to rig the set to accomplish the unbelievable.
The use of rigging in music videos for such entertainers like N’Sync and Chris Brown, allows the artists to transform into the vision of the director’s imagination. Stunt Coordinators incorporate cranes, truss systems, wires, and countless other techniques to get just the right effect. The importance of SAFETY is of the upmost concern when utilizing these elements. The equipment used, such as wires and ropes are made of the highest quality grade materials. Truss and securing devices are rated for load and stability to ensure safety at all times. Attention to these details is what makes TJ White one of the most sought after Stunt Coordinators in the business.
Rigging requires skill and sophistication that can only be achieved with years of experience. TJ White has been in the industry for decades and has an amazing resume of projects completed. Trust is a key factor in a Stunt Coordinator’s mind when choosing the crew. The typical team required to successfully rig a stunt needs to be able to work independently. As a unit they create the structures, ramps, or setting up wires needed for the stunt. Only the best technology is used for stunts requiring pulleys, harnesses, sheaves, and all equipment used to design the needed effect.
Hollywood Stunt Coordinator takes great pride and steps to ensure the SAFETY of all productions. Our team of talented stunt professionals has created many amazing effects with the use of rigging. Movies such as Spiderman and Batman would not be able to make characters fly into scenes out of the sky, hang upside down, or jump between buildings without the talents of rigging.
Check out some of the videos we have been able to use the same effects to allow Chris Brown to float, Justin Timberlake hang like a puppet, or even have two people fly 100ft in the air for Ne-Yo.
The best water movies are films that involve water as a major thematic element. Typically set on a major body of water, such as an ocean, river, lake, pond or creek, these compelling and entertaining stories that just happen to take place or involve water.
Water Stunts are probably one of the most difficult to coordinate and control. To the average viewer, they have no idea of the highest concept of complexity involved in stunts requiring any aquatic motorized vehicle. First and most important, there are NO brakes. So the individual that is piloting the vessel must understand completely the speed, angle, and ability of the craft.
Movies such as Face-Off, Speed 2, and Miami Vice all used very talented stunt professionals to captain all the watercraft needed to give the excitement needed in each scene. Water World used an enormous variety of vessels and had a very successful safety record during the entire filming. It requires a very talented Stunt Coordinator and team to achieve the high quality action and precision desired by directors and producers.
Actresses with there Stunt Doubles on “Days of Our lives”
A soap opera, sometimes called “soap” for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming. The name soap opera stems from the original dramatic serials broadcast on radio that had soap manufacturers, such as Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers, as sponsors and producers. These early radio series were broadcast in weekday daytime slots, usually five days a week, when most listeners would be housewives; thus the shows were aimed at and consumed by a predominantly female audience.
Soap operas became a staple of daytime television in the United States in the early 1950s. Along with game shows, reruns of situation comedies, and talk shows, the soap opera was traditionally a fixture in the American broadcast networks’ daytime schedules. Christina S. Beck argues the significance of soap operas are based on viewers’ co-constructing narratives to show how both traditional and online soaps help negotiated the lived experience of people.
Many long-running US soap operas established particular environments for their stories. The Doctors and General Hospital, in the beginning, told stories almost exclusively from inside the confines of a hospital. As the World Turns dealt heavily with Chris Hughes’ law practice and the travails of his wife Nancy who, tired of being “the loyal housewife” in the 1970s, became one of the first older women on the American serials to become a working woman. Guiding Light dealt with Bert Bauer (Charita Bauer) and her alcoholic husband Bill, and their endless marital troubles. When Bert’s status shifted to caring mother and town matriarch, her children’s marital troubles were showcased. Search for Tomorrow mostly told its story through the eyes of Joanne Gardner (Mary Stuart). Even when stories revolved around other characters, Joanne was frequently a key player in their story lines. Days of our Lives initially focused on Dr. Tom Horton and his steadfast wife Alice. The show later branched out to focus more on their five children. The Edge of Night featured as its central character Mike Karr, a police detective (later an attorney), and largely dealt with organized crime. The Young and the Restless first focused on two families, the prosperous Brooks Family with four daughters, and the working class Foster family of a single working mother with three children. Its story lines explored realistic problems including cancer, mental illness, poverty and infidelity.
While these soap have been airing for may years that have also made great stride on making there dramatic sense look as good as scripted prime time TV shows. This is done by using highly qualified stunt coordinators in the business. Because an average soap shoots an episode a day it takes a skilled stunt coordinator to effectively design and supervise action scenes. There is not a lot of time to set up the stunt so production relies on the Stunt Coordinator and his or her team of stunt performers to come in to set prepared to do the stunt quickly and safe. It is rare if a stunt performed will be able to do a second take due to the time constraints’ the production team and director have.
In 2011 the Academy of Art and Sciences of Television gave day time Emmy to Tim Davison for Stunt Coordinating General Hospital. In 2012 Stunt Coordinator Tim Davison is nominated for a second time for General Hospital along with Stunt Coordinator Terry James for Days of our Lives. Terry James was nominated for two Emmy’s last year for Days of our Lives and Young and the Restless. Terry is the longest running stunt coordinator for any day time television show supervising all aspect of the Stunts for Young and the Restless for the past 25 years.
Every year we look forward to the Award Season, as to be able to admire those in the industry of entertainment for their accomplishments in acting, directing, lighting, and even wardrobe. But rarely do the people who create the action and excitement get acknowledged. That is why we are so proud of the group of people that show gratitude towards the hardest working professionals in the entertainment industry. The Taurus™ World Stunt Awards honor the movie industry’s unsung heroes, the world’s best stunt professionals. They risk their lives to perform the most daring stunts that bring action and excitement to the movie-going public.
This is the Oscars for the Stunt men and women that make every summer blockbuster to commercial rememberable.
It is amazing to attend any award event, but The Taurus World Stunt Awards is by far much more rewarding. It allows those who stood in harms’ way to make the actor shine or allow the audience to believe he/she is performing an unbelievable act that brings the character to life, to be recognized for their accomplishments. The Stunt community is a very humble, tight-knit group of individuals that pride themselves on athleticism, safety, and a no-fear attitude.
The Taurus™ World Stunt Awards were envisioned by Red Bull Energy Drink CEO Dietrich Mateschitz and benefits the Taurus™ World Stunt Awards Foundation. They recognize everything from Best Fight to Best Coordination and everything in between. We at HollywoodStuntCoordinator.com appreciate all that the men and women have accomplish this past year and look forward to another successful and SAFE year of entertaining and excitement.
HollywoodStuntCoordinator.com is one of the leading websites in the world helping marketing entities, public relations houses, car conglomerates, and production companies bring live action stunt shows to life. Curtis Koller, VP of Development, stated “Working as head of casting for Disney Animation for years has helped us at T-Minus Productions utilize our creative outlets here in Hollywood to produce dynamic live stunt shows. We use the same artist at Pixar and Disney to storyboard the show to give the clients an idea of the possibilities of how our show will run. With our resources of Directors, Stunt Coordinators and high-tech stunt equipment we are able to create an original stunt show or reenact stunts that has been played out before in a film or television show of your liking.”
CEO TJ White has over 20 years of experience in front of the camera as well as behind bringing his expertise to heighten the energy in a live stunt show arena. TJ’s experience of working with some of the biggest artist in the world like Britney Spears, JLo, 50 Cent, and the Foo Fighters gives your clients the professionalism and capability to pull off a show of the highest caliber in the business.
The capabilities are endless on what T-Minus Productions can achieve to make your live stunt show the jaw-dropping production to remember. Regardless of how modest or how massive your budget is, T-Minus can ensure that they provide you with the ultimate experience to fit your needs.
Live stunt shows are the opportune way to show of your product and make the audience remember who you are. With the talented and innovative minds of this team working with you there isn’t anything that you cannot achieve. Top companies all over the world consistently call upon T-Minus Productions to create a fantasy of stunts to indulge their spectators in a bevy of wonderment.
Stunt Coordinator TJ White with Stuntwoman Boni Yanagisawa
Stunt training actors and actresses is something that elite stunt coordinators and stuntmen do quite often on set. The reason there is an industry in stunts is because in most cases it is impossible for an actor to be able to act and have the ability to perform all stunts. Although in many cases there are a few that insist on doing some of the labor and in more cases the directors are the ones that require the actor to enlist in stunt training so they can get their shot for their action sequence.
Using the Bourne film series as an example of why stunt training actors can increase profit in the box office. These films wouldn’t be as thrilling if you didn’t see Matt Damon speeding through the streets of Paris in a Mini Cooper. The fight sequences wouldn’t be as brutal if you didn’t see a glimpse of Damon’s face versus just the back of his stunt double’s head. Of course his double is there to do more of the extreme and technical aspects but directors know what audiences want and they want to believe their favorite action hero can actually do most if not some of the stunts.
As filmmaking advances with new technology there is an advancement that is happening within the actors as well. With new creative ideas of how stunts can be done and how far the line can be crossed the evolution of stunt training actors has to forge ahead.
Today, it is a fact that stunt training has elevated the action actor into another realm of fame and glory. Tom Cruise’s ability to train and do many of his stunts in the Mission: Impossible film series is due to the hard efforts of the stunt department training and perfecting his proficiency in stunts. Audiences flock to the theater to see Cruise be Ethan Hunt because they believe the action. Fans don’t like to be fooled so when they see their action actor performing alongside their doubles it gives them a sense of relief to know that their badass hero that they just spent $20 dollars to go see at the theater is delivering the goods.
Training begins many weeks and even months before any director ever yells “Action!” In pre-production the stunt training can include motorcycle driving, stunt driving, and various forms of fighting to make sure that the actor is believable when it comes time to film. When the actors have gone as far as they can go then the stuntmen and stuntwomen come into play. Many stunt performers include: college athletes, cirque de soliel performers, high divers, Olympic athletes, MMA fighters, NASCAR drivers, and even sensi’s themselves. These experts will work alongside the actor to create a reality that then can be taken on screen and be creditable.
As always safety is rule number one and stunt coordinators and stuntmen will always be sure to use proper stunt equipment and pads to reduce the risk of injury. It is important to have well qualified coordinators on set and involved with the stunt training because if your lead actor gets injured because he or she thought she could do the stunt, well then your whole picture is postponed and all your momentum becomes deflated along with the studio’s pocket book.
The classic textbook tale to become a director is that you must first go to film school where there you will start to direct shorts, commercials, and music videos. After many of these trials you could possibly get the chance to direct a full length feature film where here you may have the chance to get your break. This ideology has worked for many but not for the masses. In reality many directors have started their career not in the power chair but in a position that has them closer to the action than any director can possibly get to and that is in the stunt department.
Directors Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh
When filming, a director calls upon the stunt coordinator or 2nd unit director to create and oversee the action scenes to ensure safety and to certify that the right sequences are caught on film so that they have what they need when it comes time for post production. With the given that these 2nd unit directors and coordinators are in the thick of events it only seems like a natural progression for them to be the ones that are directing the films of today. Many stunt men turned directors are not blatantly obvious to the general audience but when you look deeper at their body of work you can see the difference and realize why this happy marriage between these two fields workHal Nedham and Burt ReynoldsA couple of the most famous stunt men that became directors are Clint Eastwood Million Dollar Baby (2004), J.Edgar (2011) and Hal Needham The Cannon Ball Run (1981), Smokey and the Bandit (1977). These successful directors learned their craft while performing and supervising action sequences on film sets. In addition to those greats, there has been many more up and coming directors like TV and film director David Barrett The Mentalist, Blue Bloods. Along with Steve Boyum stuntman turned director for Hawaii 5-0, Supernatural.
Hal Needham and Burt Reynolds
More success stories include Dan Bradley who 2nd unit directed for such blockbuster films like The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. Bradley just wrapped the remake of Red Dawn in which he directed. Brian Smrz directed Hero Wanted with Cuba Gooding Jr. and came from 2nd unit directing pictures like Iron Man 3, X-Men:First Class and Live Free or Die Hard.
Making a name for himself in the thriller genre is 2nd Unit director David Ellis who did the 2nd unit on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone along with The Matrix Reloaded. A few of his directing titles include Final Destination, Cellular, and Shark Night. The majority of action in these films were computer effects that Ellis designed to give the audience the thrill of their life. Being a seasoned stuntman gave Ellis the vision of what looks good on film and what the audience craves.
Studios, producers and directors alike have always relied on Stunt Coordinators to get the action footage needed to balance out the film. With the experience of directing stunts and camera angles it is more evident that a 2nd unit director would make the smooth transition into the director’s chair telling the entire story through their well trained eye.
Director David Ellis instructing Actress for next shot.
Most recently the box office hit Act of Valor was produced and directed by two stuntmen Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh. With the well choreographed dance of high fleeting action and explosions created by McCoy and Waugh the audience responded by spending millions of dollars in the theater proving that the formula of stuntmen turned directors works and is profitable. Who better to direct a film then the ones that are in the trenches?
With the success of the Act of Valor many may see this stuntman turned director a trend. To attest this we must say that it is not a trend but it is the way it has always been. Smart and sophisticated stuntmen can make this an effortless conversion. If you are already shadowing the director or in most coordinator’s or 2nd unit director’s case showing the director exactly what needs to be done then it makes sense as to why these men have been such a success. Act of Valor may have been the most recent of films to prove this point but it most definitely won’t be the last.