How to Become a

Stuntman

The complete career guide to be a Stuntman: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • 7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

A stuntman performs difficult and risky stunts for the movie industry and producers, such as fight scenes, motorbike or car crashes, falls from high buildings, or even technical dance routines.


What is a Stuntman?

Duties

  • Execute individual stunt sequences upon the direct personal supervision of a stunt coordinator.
  • Research the type of stunts that will be appropriate for the movie or television script, in coordination with crewmembers like the producer, director and other stunt performers.
  • Closely imitate the actor’s appearance and body language when playing the character, so stunt scenes are seamlessly incorporated with the film.
  • Do several hours of training for high impact activities based on the type of stunt required, in keeping with safety regulations.
  • Keep accurate records of stunts performed and submit relevant paperwork such as records of risk assessments to the production team.

Day In The Life

During a typical workday, the production company may call a stuntman onto the set as early as 6.30 am in the morning. Usually, he is required to reach at least an hour before the crew call for hair and makeup, which depending on the role can take up to two hours. Much of the time goes while shooting pre-rehearsed scenes unless there are changes in the script. The complexity and riskiness of the stunt determines how many takes are required – e.g. large stunts with special effects could be wrapped up in two takes. Stuntmen will often train together to mimic the moves required in a script more naturally. Rehearsals for upcoming scenes take place later in the evening and everything is done by 9 pm or 10 pm at night.

Work Schedule

A stuntman usually enjoys an exciting and engaging work schedule. You can find yourself working in all types of weather conditions and in uncomfortable circumstances like the top of a mountain, down a mineshaft, underwater or in a moving vehicle. You would be working on the set of a tv show or movie for most of the day, rehearsing and performing stunts. Tools like pads, fireproof suits and crash mats would be used to as a precaution to keep you safe.

The hours are often very long, with early starts, late finishes and work through the early hours of morning. When a stunt is particularly complex, you will have to do multiple takes for a successful shot. For instance, one day you could be dangling from wires off a skyscraper while another day you could be shooting at the bad guys. Due to the variable nature of the work, you must be in peak fitness to handle the stress levels and be comfortable with flexible work hours.

Growth Of The Job

While stunt performers begin as extras in small film productions, with talent and perseverance they work their way up to major movies with more prominent stars. Once in a while, stunt performers may be spotted by a casting crew to play a part in a movie. As you build up a stellar reputation in the movie industry for a few years, you can easily make a six-figure income.

Typical Employers

Stuntman jobs are very selective and hard to find. To apply for such jobs you will have to become a union member of the Screen Actors Guild or the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. These unions are in charge of choosing who gets to work on which film.


How To Become a Stuntman

Minimum qualifications for becoming a stuntman is that you must be at least 18 years old and have superior physical fitness levels. The majority of stunt performers begin their careers by working at the movie industry as an extra on set. This is a good way to get exposure to the functioning of the industry and the type of work stunt performers have to undertake.

These days you can also learn the tricks of the trade by attending a stunt school. Training can take up to a month and involve learning relevant skills like unarmed combat, stair falls, high falls, martial arts, weaponry and harness techniques. There are often specific schools for the type of stunts you want to do going forward, e.g. Rick Seaman’s school is great for car stunts like car races or car crashes. A few acting schools also provide courses on stunt performing and training, which is a good choice to hone your skills in extreme sports. A stuntman is successful if he is dedicated to living a very active lifestyle.


Stuntman Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

---

Average

---

High Range

---

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$11/hr

Average

$23/hr

High Range

$36/hr

How do Stuntman salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Stuntman's can make an average annual salary of ---, or $23 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make --- or $11 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #815 Nationally for All Careers


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Stuntman. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Stuntmans

  • 2.5%   Doctorate
  • 5.7%   Masters
  • 30.4%   Bachelors
  • 7.7%   Associates
  • 28.8%   College
  • 20.5%   High School
  • 4.4%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

30,000

2024 Est. Jobs

32,100

Job Growth Rate

7%

Est. New Jobs

2,100

How does Stuntman job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 2,100 jobs for a total of 32,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #317 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Stuntmans

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 14,500 600 1%
Amusement parks and arcades 1,900 200 0%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 1,000 --- ---

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