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How do people get into the stunt business?

Most current, young, successful stunt performers (with few exceptions) had either theme park live-show experience or were exceptional in a skill such as martial arts, motorcycles, car driving, gymnastics, diving, circus, horseback riding, etc.  Some are the 2nd or 3rd generation members of famous stunt families.  This was not the case even 25 years ago when theme park performers were shunned by the Hollywood stunt establishment and so-called “Stunt Schools” had  a bad reputation.


Is a Stunt Class or School necessary?

It is extremely helpful and worth the investment if you select a good one.  Class, camp, academy, course, center, school….no matter what the title, they are all schools (look at a Thesaurus).  The word “school” sounds juvenile. This course is expert, intensive training and some “Stunt Schools” used to be just a bad rip-off, and run for a profit by inexperienced failed stunt people.  The name is not the important factor.  What is important is the training you will receive, the experience level of the instructors, the class size, and instructor to student ratio, the reputation and resume of the owners and the assistance and connections offered after Graduation.


How much money can I make?

Professional Stunt People are all members of the Screen Actors Guild, an exceptional union with high pay scales based on many factors, and offering many benefits (medical/pension/residuals) in the run of a career.  Most successful film stunt people make at least a low 6-figure salary annually.  Those that double well-known actors or specialize in certain categories (car work, fire burns, high falls) can make much more as do Stunt Coordinators.  All this information is provided in detail, in class, by the John Zimmerman’s Stunt Camp.  What you earn will ultimately be up to you.  You have to market yourself with your headshot, resume and demo reel.  You have to “knock on doors”, visit film sets, make connections.  You need to practice your skills and learn more from the new friends you will make in the stunt business.  You will need to move to “where it is happening”.


As far as theme park or attraction live-show, stunt performing goes, the pay is less, but you can stay in one place and work at the same location everyday.  The big parks have great perks (workout and practice facilities/good pay/medical/vacation/pension).  A lot of people polish their skills this way while making a steady income, making connections and going after the film stunt work during days off and vacation time.  Many make the jump to film when they feel they can, while some make a career in the live venues. 


Taking a stunt class is NO guarantee that you will become a working stunt performer.  That is up to each individual.   Determination, persistence and patience are very important.  Practicing many physical skills all the time are also important, and making yourself known  and meeting the right people are the most important.  You can be the greatest at something, but if no one knows about it, you will never be able to show it.  Not bragging about yourself, but marketing yourself.  Stunts is a teamwork business.  You need to make friends.  Friends to practice with, friends to learn from, friends to help you get a job.  Maybe you are the wrong height or complexion or do not have a particular skill, but your friend does.  He recommends you and you do the same for him next time.  Starting to get the picture?  The more you work, the more money you make.  That is how the Stunt business works. 

All this information will be provided in detail, in class, by the Stunt Camp staff

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