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STUNTPERSON - Training, For More Information, Web Sites

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They jump out of airplanes. They drive like maniacs through city streets. They scale large buildings. They fight to the death with the archenemies of humankind. They are the specialists called stuntpeople. They perform these acts of bravery so that actors can remain safe and do their jobs as actors. If you have been taking gymnastics for years or are great at dance or a certain sport, are in excellent physical condition, are not afraid of taking chances, and love to drive fast, or if acting really is not your thing, you might consider the high-risk career of a stuntperson.

Toward the end of the credits of almost any movie you watch, you will find that stunt players were used, possibly without your even realizing that the film had stunts. A stunt-person's role in a film can be something as basic as riding a horse off into the sunset or performing a dance sequence that an actor is incapable of performing for himself or herself. Or the job might be to go through the moves of an elaborate fight scene or climb the side of a skyscraper. Often, brave actors such as Jackie Chan or Tom Cruise do their own stunts, but even more often they choose to avoid dangerous situations that could harm them physically, thus ruining their careers.

As a stuntperson, you will need head shots and full-body shots accompanied by a résumé listing your skills and previous credits. Read the chapter about actors to find out all about how to get head shots taken and how to put together a good résumé. Often, stuntpeople will start their own Web sites that talent agents can access. Credits, photos, and even video clips can be displayed on your Web site. Some stuntpeople's Web sites are listed at the end of this chapter.

Many stuntpeople are hired not only because of their skills and their reputations, but also because they look like the actors they will be portraying during the stunt. This does not mean that you have to be a dead-ringer for Tom Cruise in order to be hired to do stunts for him. Your face is not likely to be shown on-screen while you are performing as a stuntperson. However, it will be necessary for you to have roughly the same color hair and physical build, and of course you will need to be the same gender. You will probably join a union (SAG), and you even can list yourself in directories of stuntpeople. You never know what actor may need you to be his or her stunt double!

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