Working as a Stuntman: The Skills You Need to Have

Working as a Stuntman: The Skills You Need to Have

Being a stuntman is not just about performing dangerous stunts on screen; it takes a lot more than that. Stuntmen are experts in their field who work behind the scenes to ensure the safety and success of all the action-packed scenes we see in movies and live-action shows. These adrenaline junkies have quick reflexes and perform high-risk stunts that most people wouldn’t even think of attempting.

So, what does it take to become a successful stuntman? First and foremost, you need to have the physical skills and fitness required to perform these stunts. Stunt work can be physically demanding, so being in good shape and having the ability to move quickly and stay safe is a must. This means that regular training and staying in top physical condition is recommended for those aspiring to be stuntmen.



Another important aspect of being a stuntman is the ability to meet the physical and mental requirements of the job. Stuntmen must be able to handle the physical demands of performing stunts, as well as the mental strain that comes with the high-pressure environment of the film industry. They must also be able to stay calm and focused in dangerous situations and think quickly on their feet to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

One final thing to note is that being a stuntman is not just about the thrill and the adrenaline rush. It is a job that requires professionalism and attention to detail. Stuntmen need to be certified and should always prioritize their own health and safety, as well as that of the entire team. They must also be able to work within a schedule and meet the requirements set out by the production team.

Physical Fitness and Coordination

Being a stuntman is not for the faint of heart. It is a physically demanding profession that requires a high level of fitness and coordination. Stuntmen need to be in peak physical condition to perform the dangerous and adrenaline-filled stunts required in movies and live-action TV shows.

Physical fitness is important in order to double for actors and perform stunts that require strength, agility, and stamina. Stuntmen need to be able to move quickly and efficiently in order to safely perform their work. They must also have excellent hand-eye coordination to execute precise movements during stunts.



Stunt training involves a wide range of physical activities, including martial arts, gymnastics, parkour, and various forms of combat. Stuntmen also need to be proficient in working with specialized equipment and performing stunts in different environments, such as underwater or in high places.

The Importance of Physical Fitness

Stuntmen perform physically demanding tasks that put their bodies under a lot of stress. This means that they must take care of their physical health and well-being. Staying fit and flexible helps prevent injuries and ensures that stuntmen are able to perform at their best.

Stunt professionals also need to be mentally prepared for the risks involved in their line of work. They should have the ability to stay calm and focused even in intense or dangerous situations.



Stunt Training and Courses

Many stunt performers attend specialized training academies or courses to learn the necessary skills and techniques for performing stunts safely. These courses cover everything from basic stunt techniques to advanced high-risk maneuvers.

Stuntmen also need to keep their skills up-to-date by regularly practicing and taking part in professional development opportunities. This ensures that they are always prepared for the demands of their work.

In addition to physical fitness and coordination, stuntmen also need to have a thorough knowledge of safety protocols and equipment. They must be able to assess risks and make sure that they and the actors they are doubling for are kept safe during filming.

Wide Range of Jobs and Salary

The world of stunt work offers a wide range of job opportunities, including stunt doubles, stunt drivers, fight coordinators, and more. The salary for stuntmen can vary greatly based on factors such as experience, the type and danger level of the stunts performed, and the location of the project.

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Those willing to travel and work in different parts of the world may find more opportunities and higher pay rates. However, it is important for stunt professionals to carefully consider their own health and safety needs when taking on jobs that involve higher levels of risk.

So, if you are someone who loves the thrill of performing stunts, has a passion for physical fitness, and has the coordination skills necessary to work in this exciting profession, becoming a stuntman may be the perfect career path for you.

Fearlessness and Risk Management

Working as a stuntman takes a unique combination of fearlessness and risk management skills. As a paid professional, you should be willing to face danger and perform in high-risk situations, but also have the expertise to ensure your safety and minimize the risk of injury. Stuntmen need to be physically fit and mentally prepared to handle the adrenaline and pressure that comes with the job.

Fearlessness is a must for stunt performers, as they often find themselves in dangerous and life-threatening situations. Whether it’s dangling from a tall building, being set on fire, or performing daring driving stunts, stuntmen must be able to stay calm and focused under pressure. They have to think fast and react quickly to ensure their own safety and the safety of those they are working with.

In order to become a successful stuntman, you need to have a strong understanding of risk management. This includes knowing how to assess and mitigate potential hazards on set, wearing the appropriate safety gear, and ensuring that all equipment is in good working condition. Stuntmen must also be able to follow strict safety protocols and stay within the highest safety standards when performing their stunts.

While some stuntmen may have a natural talent for performing dangerous stunts, many others have to undergo extensive training to acquire the necessary skills. There are schools and academies available where you can learn everything from basic stunt techniques to advanced courses in specific areas such as driving or live-action combat. Once you become a certified stuntman, there are always opportunities to further your education and stay up to date with the latest safety practices and techniques.

Being a stuntman is not for the faint of heart. It requires a certain level of fearlessness and a willingness to push yourself to the limit both physically and mentally. However, it is important to remember that your health and safety should always come first. Stuntmen perform incredibly dangerous feats, but it is their expertise in risk management and their ability to perform safely that allows them to excel in their careers.

How much do stunt doubles get paid?

Being a stuntman or stuntwoman is an exciting and dangerous profession. These skilled professionals are an integral part of the movie-making world, performing all those daring and thrilling stunts that you see on the screen.

But how much exactly do stunt doubles get paid for their work? The answer to this question can vary widely. Stuntmen and stuntwomen are typically paid on a per-job basis, with salaries ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per day.

When you join a stunt academy or school to learn the art of stunts, you’re not only learning how to perform these dangerous feats, but you’re also learning the skills needed to work as part of a team. Stunts often require teamwork and coordination, so it’s important to be able to work together with other professionals to ensure a safe and successful stunt.

Stunt doubles are also required to stay in peak physical fitness. They need to be quick and agile, able to react and move fast in high-stress situations. To keep themselves in top shape, many stunt doubles take fitness courses and engage in regular physical training.

To become a certified stunt double, you should consider joining one of the reputable stunt academies or schools. These institutions offer courses and training programs to teach you the skills you need to work safely and professionally as a stunt performer. These programs also provide the necessary knowledge and requirements to work in the theatrical and live-action movie industry.

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One of the highest-paid jobs for a stunt double is when they perform dangerous stunts that require the use of expensive and specialized gear. The salary for these types of stunts can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars per stunt.

However, the job of a stunt double does come with its risks. Stunt work can be incredibly dangerous, and there is always a possibility of injury. Therefore, it’s important to stay focused, know your limits, and take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

So, if you think being a stunt double is something you would enjoy, be sure to join a reputable stunt academy or school, get certified, and start gaining experience. Once you’re part of the stunt industry, the pay can vary widely, but with hard work, dedication, and the right opportunities, you can make a successful career out of being a stunt double.

Experience and Versatility

When working as a stuntman, you need to have a wide range of skills, as well as the willingness to be flexible and adapt to different situations. The best stuntmen and women are those who have experience in performing a variety of stunts and are able to quickly learn new ones.

Experience is key when it comes to working as a stuntman. The more stunts you have performed and the more different types of stunts you are able to do, the more likely you are to get hired for jobs. Stunt coordinators and directors want to hire professionals who have proven themselves on set and can handle any type of stunt that is thrown their way.

Being versatile in the types of stunts you can perform is also a necessity. Stunt work can vary greatly depending on the project, so stuntmen and women need to be able to adapt and adjust their skills accordingly. Whether it’s high falls, fight scenes, or car chases, a successful stuntman must be able to handle them all with expertise and precision.

Join an academy and get certified

If you’re serious about becoming a stuntman, then joining a stunt academy is highly recommended. Stunt academies provide the necessary training and education to help you develop the skills and knowledge needed to work in the industry.

Stunt academies offer courses on a wide range of topics, including basic stunt techniques, fight choreography, wire work, and more. These courses will not only help you learn the physical skills required for performing stunts but also provide valuable knowledge on how to stay safe and minimize the risk of injury while on set.

Once you have completed the necessary training and gained some experience, it is important to get certified. Certification shows that you have met the industry standards and are recognized as a qualified professional. This can greatly increase your chances of getting hired for stunt work.

Stay focused and take care of your health

Working as a stuntman is demanding both physically and mentally, so it is important to stay focused and take care of your health. Stunt performers need to be in excellent physical condition to be able to perform the stunts required of them.

Regular exercise and training are necessary to maintain peak physical fitness. This may include strength training, flexibility exercises, and cardiovascular workouts. Proper nutrition and rest are also essential for quick recovery and overall well-being.

When performing stunts, it is crucial to follow all safety guidelines and use proper safety equipment. This includes wearing helmets, pads, and harnesses when necessary. Stuntmen and women should also be familiar with different types of safety gear and know-how to use them effectively.

Finally, it is important for stuntmen and women to be willing to travel and work on a flexible schedule. Stunt work can take you all over the world, and you may need to adjust your schedule to accommodate the needs of the production.

Professional Training and Certification

Working as a stuntman is not something you can just jump into without proper training and certification. The world of stunts is exciting, but it is also dangerous, so it is important to have the right skills and knowledge to stay safe on set.

There are various training academies and courses available for those who want to become stuntmen. These courses cover a wide range of skills and aspects of the job, from learning how to perform quick and adrenaline-pumping stunts to understanding the technicalities of driving and operating gear for different types of stunts.

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One of the most important aspects of training is learning how to work as part of a team. Stunt work often involves working closely with other performers, including actors and double stuntmen, so good teamwork skills are essential. Stuntmen should be able to communicate effectively and stay in sync with their fellow performers to ensure everyone’s safety during live-action sequences.

During training, stuntmen are taught a multitude of skills, including how to perform various types of stunts, such as high falls, jumps, and car stunts. They are also trained on how to handle different types of gear, including harnesses and safety equipment, to ensure that everything is done correctly and safely.

While some stuntmen may focus on specific types of stunts, such as car driving or fighting sequences, it is important for aspiring stuntmen to be well-rounded and have a wide range of skills. Stuntmen should be willing to learn new things and adapt to different types of stunts and requirements.

Once you have completed the necessary training and acquired the required skills, the next step is to become certified as a professional stuntman. Certification shows that you have met the highest standards and are well-prepared to handle the challenges of the job.

Getting certified involves passing a series of tests and demonstrating your skills in front of a panel of industry professionals. These tests may include performing stunts, showing your knowledge of safety procedures, and being able to handle unexpected situations.

When you are a certified stuntman, you can start working on movie sets, TV shows, theatre productions, and even in live-action sports events. Stunt work can take you all over the world and can be a very rewarding career. Not only do you get paid well, but you also get to experience the thrill of performing exciting stunts and keeping audiences on the edge of their seats.

Becoming a Stuntman for Women

Stunt work is not limited to men; women can and do excel in this field as well. Women stunt performers have to meet the same requirements as men when it comes to skills, training, and certification. They also face the same level of risk and danger during stunts. There are many successful women stunt performers who have broken barriers and made a name for themselves in the industry.

Stunt Doubles

Stunt doubles are an essential part of the stuntman world. They are the ones who perform stunts on behalf of actors when the risk is too high or when the actor’s face is not required to be shown. Stunt doubles need to closely resemble the actors they are doubling for, both physically and in terms of skills. They should be able to perform the stunts exactly as the actors would.

Type of StuntSalary
Small stunts or background stuntsLess than $5,000 per stunt
Dangerous stunts or car chases$10,000 – $25,000 per stunt
High falls or building jumpsUp to $50,000 or more
Final battle sequences or intricate stunts$100,000 or more

The salary of a stuntman can vary greatly depending on the type of stunt and the level of risk involved. Some stunts may not pay as much, while others can offer a substantial paycheck. It is important to discuss the salary and clarify the terms before agreeing to perform any stunts.

FAQ

What skills are required to work as a stuntman?

To work as a stuntman, you need to have a combination of physical fitness, courage, and exceptional coordination. You must be proficient in various physical activities such as martial arts, gymnastics, and horseback riding. Additionally, it is essential to have knowledge of safety protocols and the ability to perform stunts and fight scenes convincingly.

Is it necessary for all actors to use stunt doubles?

No, not all actors use stunt doubles. Some actors prefer to do their own stunts to add authenticity to their performances or challenge themselves physically. However, there are certain instances where using a stunt double is necessary, especially for highly dangerous stunts that require specialized training and experience.

Can anyone become a stuntman?

While anyone can theoretically try to become a stuntman, it requires a specific set of skills, physical abilities, and training. Not everyone has the physical fitness, coordination, and courage required to perform stunts safely and convincingly. It is essential to undergo proper training and gain experience in various physical activities and stunts before pursuing a career as a stuntman.

What are the risks involved in working as a stuntman?

Working as a stuntman involves significant risks. Stuntmen often perform dangerous and daring stunts that can result in serious injuries or even death if not executed properly. Even with the necessary safety precautions in place, accidents can still happen, so stuntmen must be prepared for the physical and mental challenges that come with the job.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.