Is becoming a stuntman right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do stuntmen do?
Career Satisfaction
Are stuntmen happy with their careers?
What are stuntmen like?

Still unsure if becoming a stuntman is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a stuntman or another similar career!

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How to become a Stuntman

Becoming a stuntman requires a combination of physical fitness, specialized skills, training, and determination. Here are steps to pursue a career as a stunt performer:

  • Build Physical Fitness and Strength: Stuntmen need to be in excellent physical condition to perform demanding stunts safely. Focus on developing strength, agility, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness through regular exercise and training.
  • Gain Experience in Action Sports: Participate in action sports such as martial arts, gymnastics, parkour, rock climbing, or extreme sports to develop agility, coordination, and confidence in physical activities. These skills are valuable for performing stunts in various settings.
  • Take Acting and Performance Classes: Stunt performers often need acting skills to portray characters convincingly during action sequences. Take acting classes or workshops to improve your performance skills, body language, and facial expressions.
  • Learn Stunt Techniques: Enroll in stunt training programs or workshops offered by professional stunt performers, stunt schools, or specialized training academies. Learn essential stunt techniques, safety protocols, and industry standards for performing stunts safely and effectively.
  • Obtain Specialty Skills and Certifications: Acquire specialized skills and certifications relevant to specific types of stunts, such as martial arts belts, scuba diving certifications, or advanced driving courses. These additional skills can increase your versatility and marketability as a stunt performer (see below).
  • Network and Make Connections: Build relationships with professionals in the entertainment industry, including stunt coordinators, directors, producers, and fellow stunt performers. Attend industry events, workshops, and conventions to network and showcase your skills.
  • Create a Stunt Reel: Compile footage of your stunts, performances, and action sequences into a professional demo reel showcasing your abilities. Your stunt reel is an essential tool for demonstrating your skills and experience to potential employers and casting directors.
  • Seek Entry-Level Opportunities: Start by seeking entry-level opportunities as a stunt performer or stunt extra in film, television, commercials, or live performances. Look for casting calls, auditions, and job postings for stunt roles and submit your resume, headshot, and stunt reel for consideration.
  • Join Professional Organizations: Consider joining professional organizations such as the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures or the United Stuntmen's Association, which provide resources, networking opportunities, and advocacy for stunt performers.
  • Continuously Train and Improve: Stunt performers must continuously train, practice, and update their skills to stay competitive in the industry. Attend workshops, seminars, and advanced training programs to refine your techniques and expand your repertoire of stunts.

Stunt Training Schools
There are several reputable stunt training schools and academies that offer comprehensive programs for aspiring stunt performers. The following are just a few examples of stunt training schools:

  • The International Stunt School (ISS) - Located in Seattle, Washington, ISS offers professional stunt training programs taught by experienced stunt coordinators and performers. The school provides hands-on training in various stunt disciplines, including high falls, fights, fire burns, and driving.
  • The Stunt Ranch - Based in Austin, Texas, The Stunt Ranch offers stunt training courses for individuals interested in pursuing careers in the entertainment industry. The school provides instruction in stunt techniques, safety protocols, and equipment handling, with an emphasis on practical, real-world training.
  • The Stunt Performers Academy - Located in Los Angeles, California, The Stunt Performers Academy offers intensive stunt training programs led by industry professionals. Students receive instruction in a wide range of stunt disciplines, including fight choreography, wire work, and precision driving, and have the opportunity to work on professional film sets.
  • Action Horizons Stunt Training Center - Based in Orlando, Florida, Action Horizons Stunt Training Center offers specialized training programs for stunt performers and aspiring stunt actors. The school provides instruction in stunt fighting, falls, wire work, and other stunt techniques, with access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.
  • United Stuntmen's Association Stunt School (USA) - Hosted by the United Stuntmen's Association, the USA Stunt School offers training programs for stunt performers at various locations across the US. The school provides instruction in fundamental stunt techniques, safety procedures, and industry standards, with an emphasis on practical, hands-on training.
  • The New York Stunt Institute - Located in New York City, The New York Stunt Institute offers professional stunt training programs for individuals interested in pursuing careers in film, television, and live entertainment. The school provides instruction in stunt fighting, falls, fire burns, and other essential stunt skills.

There are several training programs, courses, and certifications that can enhance a stuntman's skills, safety awareness, and marketability in the industry. Some of these certifications and training opportunities include:

  • Firearms Training and Certification: Stunt performers who handle firearms or perform gun-related stunts may benefit from specialized firearms training and certification courses. These courses cover firearms safety, marksmanship, and tactical shooting techniques.
  • High-Fall Training and Certification: Stunt performers specializing in high falls or falls from heights may undergo specialized training and certification in high-fall techniques. These courses teach proper falling techniques, landing strategies, and equipment use for executing high-fall stunts safely.
  • Combat and Martial Arts Certifications: Stunt performers involved in fight scenes or martial arts sequences may pursue certifications in various martial arts disciplines. Obtaining belt ranks or certifications from recognized martial arts organizations can validate proficiency in specific martial arts styles.
  • Driver Training and Certification: Stunt performers specializing in driving stunts, such as car chases or precision driving, may undergo advanced driver training and certification programs. These courses cover vehicle handling, stunt driving techniques, and safety procedures for performing driving stunts.
  • First Aid and CPR Certification: While not specific to stunt performance, obtaining certification in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is essential for all stunt performers. This training ensures that stunt performers can respond effectively to medical emergencies on set and provide initial care until professional medical help arrives.
  • Specialized Skills Certifications: Depending on the types of stunts performed, stunt performers may pursue certifications in specialized skills such as scuba diving, rock climbing, skydiving, or rigging. These certifications validate proficiency in specific activities and may be required for certain types of stunts.