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Stunt Performer Job Description, Career as a Stunt Performer, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training Field experience

Average Salary $52,000 per year

Job Outlook Good

Basic Job Description

Stunt performs work for movie industries and producers to perform stunts in place of actors including fight scenes, car chases or crashes, falling from buildings, or even dance style routines for actors who are not professional dancers. Stunt performers are professionals in the field they are performing and skilled in how to perform a stunt without causing injury. They know what types of protective gear to wear to prevent real injury and know how to act out an actual fight or catastrophic type of scene. Many stunt performers are also skilled in designing their own protective equipment that is customized for each movie stunt.

Education and Training Requirements

Most stunt performers start off working in the movie industry by working as an extra on various movie sets. This helps them get a feel for how the movie industry works and how stunt performers do their work.

Many stunt performers are already experienced in extreme sports such as motor cross, drag racing or mixed martial arts for fighting. They use these skills to act out scenes for performers in a safe manner that does not cause actual damage or injury to someone who is inexperienced.

Some performers take classes at acting schools that specialize in stunt performing and training. This can teach specific skills needed for the trade, but most stunt performers already have experience in extreme sports.

Getting the Job

The ideal stunt performer will likely already be trained to work in an intense and brutal environment. Most of them know how to professionally race or crash cars, re-enact fight scenes, bungee jump or even sky dive. Stunt performers will be overall fearless people and be willing to go to any extreme to make a scene realistic and as intense as the director intends.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Most stunt performers start off as extras in small movies and eventually work their way up to larger films with bigger stars and directors. They will gain resources and connections with each movie they are in and eventually have the chance to demonstrate their skills as a stunt performer.

Movie producers and directors are always looking for people who can effectively deliver a scene in need of stunt performers without causing injury or damage to anyone. However, technological advancements in the movie industry are helping some film directors to add more special effects to a scene without the use of a performer to act it out. The skills of stunt performers are still used for big scenes, but technology is occasionally taking place of the use of some stunt performers.

Working Conditions and Environment

Stunt performers rarely have the same work day twice. They are almost always working on the movie scene performing stunts. Many times, a performer has to do a stunt several times in order to get a successful shot. One day a stunt performer will be crashing a car into a wall at the end of a car chase, another day they will be in the middle of a shootout while being held hostage in a bank, and the next day they are laying face down in a river after being attacked by a zombie.

Stunt performers need to be in excellent physical shape in order to endure the high stress and intense activity that is involved with many stunts. They need to be virtually fearless and capable of handling the risk of physical pain or even injury. They need to properly prepare themselves with the right equipment and know what to do to avoid landing the wrong way or severely hurting themselves.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a stunt performer is about $52,000 per year. Stunt performers often have nowhere to go but up in the industry as many of them are constantly working to get to Hollywood, so many performers who build their connections and continue to gain more opportunities wind up making 6 figure incomes after working in the industry for a few years.

Stunt performers usually work independently and have to provide their own medical insurance and vacation time. However, since stunt performers are part of such a risky industry, employers or movie producers will provide liability insurance for stunt performers in the event that they are severely injured. If this is not provided, it is often beneficial for a performer to insure themselves in the event of a catastrophic injury.

The biggest benefit to a stunt performer’s job is that they are doing something they truly love to do. They get to utilize their talents, meet new people and advance their careers every time they perform.

Where to Go for More Information

World Stunt Academy
7095 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 308-9820

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCommunication and the Arts