While stunt driving may look like it's just all fun and games, it isn't just the barrel rolls, flips, and chases that you see happening in the movies. Stunt driving also includes exact driving that must be performed repeatedly until a director considers the shot successful. Many stunt drivers have successful backgrounds in the racing industry because being a stunt driver requires high-speed vehicle control. But racing experience is certainly not essential to get into the business.
Stunts are regularly performed in adverse weather conditions, hot vehicles with no air conditioning, and under various stressors like high impacts or g-forces, so physical and mental resilience is an important character trait. A driver should always be of average height and fit looking. A neutral appearance is essential for the versatility of playing different roles.
Having a micro-awareness of the small details is critical because many things can go wrong during a stunt, requiring a stunt driver to be very detail-oriented. High-speed stunts can be dangerous, so it's always essential to keep your cool. Calmness is also necessary for dealing with the demanding conditions of the job overall. Drivers are expected to work with a team of people that prepare a car, rig explosives, etc., so drivers must be team players.
In most cases, stunt drivers start earning next to nothing until they have proved themselves safe and competent with expensive equipment. The most experienced stunt drivers can make a six-figure income on average annually. Regardless of your income, it is vital to have great insurance benefits because injuries and death happen in stunt driving.
There are many driving skills required for stunt driving. The job requires precise high-speed control, the ability to drift in any vehicle, and being well-versed in performing handbrake turns and j-turns. More advanced moves include more destructive stunts like jumps, barrel rolls, flips, and driving on two wheels.
Motorbike stunt riders are required to do a variety of different tricks. These tricks can include drifting, burnouts, jumps, rear and nose wheelies, and off-road riding. In addition, motorbike stunt drivers often encounter scenes that deal with stairs, small jumps, curbs, and various street furniture.
Being a stunt driver requires many skills and plenty of experience, including being educated on all makes and models of vehicles and expertise in driving as many cars as possible. The more vehicles a stunt driver can drive, the more likely they will be used on set. Driving a manual vehicle is required for every stunt driver.
Knowing engineering basics can help with understanding vehicle strengthening and roll cages for the more dangerous stunts. In addition, a driver should be well versed in chases from classic movies to talk knowledgeably about the industry.
Drivers should get experience in other work that involves performance driving. This experience could be helping to choreograph stunt driving scenes or working at a high-performance driving course or local race track.
A driver needs to get to know film industry personnel. Approaching stunt crews to see if they have any openings or are willing to teach a newbie the basics is a great idea. Creating a demo reel and a resume and getting it in the hands of film companies so they are aware that you are available for work is another good strategy.
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