Before reading this, make sure to check the post on [How to Get Into the Stunt Business].
Here are a few key things you should know, and do, to get started in stunts:
1. HEADSHOT & RESUME:
- This is a given. Get yourself some 8×10 photos and put your resume on the back. It’s a good idea to get some feedback on which photos you should use.
- If you’re not sure how to put together your resume, look up some stunt performers and see what theirs looks like. You can check out my online resume for reference. Make sure you put your contact info and wardrobe sizes at the top. And if you’re union, put it on there. It’s okay if you don’t have job credits to list yet. Include your experience, background and training.
2. DEMO REEL:
- Pictures are worth a thousand words, so videos must be ten times that. Showcase your talents and highlights onto a demo reel. Put it on your website if you have one, Youtube, etc. You may want to have your reel ready to submit with your picture and resume.
- A good length for a reel is under 3 minutes. You can find demo reels online and use them for reference. Remember to put your name and contact info on there.
3. UNION MEMBERSHIP
- There are a couple ways to get into the acting unions. Background Acting, also known as [extras], is one of them.
- This is a great way to learn about what happens on set, if you’re not familiar with it yet. You’ll do some very basic acting, get familiar with the different departments and specific responsibilities of the crew, learn about the culture and etiquette on set and learn some rules and regulations.
- You’ll need to accumulate a certain number of union vouchers to qualify for SAG-AFTRA membership. Look into UBCP or ACTRA if you’re in Canada. Visit their sites for more info.
- Central Casting in Los Angeles is probably the biggest and most well known background talent agency out there. Register with them.
- You can fast track into the union by receiving a [Taft Hartley]. If you’re hired for an acting or stunt role, you don’t have to accumulate those union vouchers. You’ll qualify for membership and just need to pay dues required to join.
- You’ve gotta get yourself out there and continually learn about the business and meet the people in it.
- Train where the pros train.
- Hustle stunt coordinators by visiting them on set. Introduce yourself and submit your pic/resume. Before you hustle, know the etiquette! Your reputation depends on it.
- Join a stunt service. There are a few key calling services for stunts in Los Angeles. Bill’s, Joni’s, Missy’s are a few. Meet with them to see which you like.
- Do your research. There are lots of resources out there like stuntplayers and stunt contact that will help you.
The stunt community is very tight niche. “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”. You can be the most talented person out there. But it won’t matter if no one knows you or if you’re not easy to work with.
Keep up your skills, market yourself and be professional!
Play safe! See you out there!