Shooting movies has a lot of parts behind the scene and besides the creative crew and the production crews and the actors, one of the most important jobs behind the scenes are stunt drivers or precision drivers. These are the guys that get paid to do fun tricks with picture cars. Driving a picture in a movie production as either a stunt driver or precision driver takes a lot of effort and dedication.
The first step to becoming an elite in the picture car driving industry is to apply for a stunt driving school. This is more or less compulsory because you trying to teach yourself will be too expensive and borderline illegal. Stunt driving school already have picture cars and professional handlers who can show you the ropes. They will teach you all the tricks and skills that are required when you are driving picture cars for a movie production. Most importantly, you cannot learn these skills yourself.
Here are some of the most important things you need to know about the journey to becoming one of the select professionals that drive the picture cars that feature in movie productions.
Learning to driving picture cars is easy and anyone can become a stunt driver or a precision driver by taking a course in a driving school. However, it is a very difficult environment to thrive in. Why is that so? It is simple, there are too many stunt drivers in the market. Most times, production crews already have stunt drivers and stunt driving schools still churn out new graduates every year.
This means that the wages are lower than before. Don’t expect to start getting jobs and becoming a millionaire overnight. The stunt driving sector is not unionized so the pay is not regulated. Standing out from a crowd is also increasingly difficult nowadays and learning new skills that can differentiate you is harder. Deal with it, that’s the industry you’re in.
As a driver of precision cars, the choice of a professional driving school is critical to the skillset that you would have acquired. The advantages of choosing a great stunt driving school cannot be overemphasized. You learn directly from the best of the best in the industry and they give you their tips.
Learning from a driving school also means you do not have to suffer trial and error. You are instructed in the best possible and safest techniques in well-controlled environments. Most importantly, you also have access to the picture cars that you will be driving in the course of your work. This is important because it allows you to get familiar with the craft and standard setups which reduces learning curves.
Having professional and experienced instructors also help you to get professional counselling and consulting for free! Most driving schools have ties with production crews and other businesses in the movie industry and so if you excel, chances are you will get to meet your potential employers.
Perfecting your driving skills allows you to become consistent and dependable. Your mistakes will cost damage to picture cars worth thousands of dollars so you must be certain that you have learnt your skills to the best of your abilities and industry demands and also get them spot on every single time you are required to drive.
Once you have reached the point where you are employable but need to get out there to let people know that you are employable, you should save up and buy your own stunt car. Yes, this should be a car that you can use to carry out most of the stunts you will be required to do on set.
Next, you need to find a place to practice your stunt driving skills. Once you are sure and pulling off your skills comfortably, you should them get a video recording team. Your skills need to be documented. Think of it as your resume that you can send out to companies that are hiring.
Get a headshot picture usually about 8 by 10 inches large, black and white. You’re better off using a professional photographer to do all that for you. In your resume, also as a stunt man, you have to be honest. Information that employers want to see on your resume are your physical measurements and attributes like height, weight, shoe size. You should also include any professional certifications you may have, films and TV credits and also a list of special skills that you have which could differentiate you from others such as martial arts or boxing.
You have to keep sending your resume out and film works. You may not receive a job offer as quickly as you want but it is normal. It is a difficult industry to break into so you should be prepared to make the needed connections and wait till something comes up.
While waiting for work, you should also continue to keep yourself busy. Find another job which will keep you busy and motivated. You should also establish a digital presence through social media or a website and constantly upload videos of your practice sessions and new tricks so that potential employers can find you easily for work. Your video portfolio will allow employers give you the once-over before calling you.
Make sure you practice as much as possible. Consistency is what makes amazing successful precision drivers stand out from the rest of the crowd. Film everything you do and find ways to bring a flair to your driving. Have friends around to film you and share on social media also. Do not turn your practice sessions to a play time. Stunt driving can be dangerous and so you should put all safety considerations into play. If possible, find an agent that can help you to get your name in the consideration for movie roles and television