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For men and women who love the thrill of danger and who are willing to take risks, becoming a stuntman might sound like the perfect career choice. Perhaps the most important skills needed to become a stuntman or stuntwoman are strength, stamina and coordination. Physical fitness is an essential element of this job, and it can be very helpful to have a background in martial arts or gymnastics. Typically, no specific degree or certification is required to become a stuntman. Making contacts in the film industry, gaining employment as an apprentice and practicing extreme sports, such as rock climbing and dirt bike riding, may give an aspiring stunt performer an edge, however, when applying for jobs.
If you have connections or know people in the film industry, one of the best ways to learn the skill of performing stunts would be to become an apprentice to an established stuntman. To be mentored in the profession by someone who already knows the ins and outs of the stunt world would generally be extremely beneficial. Additionally, stunt training academies offer seminars and courses on how to perform various stunts. Attending one of these schools, such as the International Stunt School in Seattle, Washington, in the United States, or the London Stunt School in London, England, would most likely give you some good field experience. Also, listing a stunt training school on your resume may draw attention of hiring authorities within the industry and help get you an interview.
Another important part of training to become a stuntman is to grow adept at a wide variety of daredevil or adventure sports. For instance, mastering scuba diving, rock climbing and fencing would most likely be useful. Additionally, learning horseback riding, high-performance driving and motorcycling would generally be highly constructive steps to take as well. Taking the plunge into learning activities that most folks consider dangerous, such as sky diving or hang-gliding, may also give you an edge over competitors when applying for stunt jobs. Athleticism cannot be emphasized enough in this field, and often professional acrobats or expert martial artists look toward this arena for job placement.
With the advancement of technology and computer simulation, the need for stuntmen and stuntwomen in the movie industry is on the decline; however, many movie directors still hire a stunt coordinator to supervise the action scenes within their films. When job hunting to become a stuntman, it is highly recommended that you send tapes of yourself performing several stunts along with your resume to as many professional stunt coordinators as possible. Often technological tricks are combined with real-life stunt performances to achieve the special effects needed for a movie, so taking stage combat classes, reading books on performing stunts and educating yourself on the topic as much as possible may help you gain an audition. Generally, the more training and experience in the stunt field you can claim on your job application, the better chance you will have at procuring a position as a stuntman.