Movie Stuntman Jobs

If you want to feel alive, try living on the edge. Nothing compares to heart pumping adrenaline. It’s addicting. If you would rather dodge bullets, crash cars, or leap out of airplanes than type one more office memo, then you should consider a career as a stuntman.

Stuntmen are the faceless action heroes of film and television. They work the scenes of the movies that are risky. They do live action stunts that make all of us action film lovers drool.

Imagine dangling from a helicopter, driving a Ferrari in a high speed chase on windy mountain roads, jumping off rooftops, slashing an evil doer with a sword, crashing an 18-wheeler, or falling off a cliff. This is just a day in the life of a stuntman.

Stunt Man on Movie Set Photo

Not anyone can be a stuntman. Stuntmen are highly trained professional performers. They take risks as part of their jobs. Every stunt is executed exactly as planned, practiced, rehearsed, and reviewed. Stunts are designed to be as safe as possible. A beautifully choreographed sequence is amazing to watch.
Stunts take lots of work. This means long days. You may work 14 hours a day for multiple days in a row. You’ll also find yourself in interesting locations. Who knows where a stunt might need to be filmed – climbing the Eiffel Tower, skiing the Grand Tetons, blowing up the Great Wall of China.

Stunt work is hard to come by. Though no formal education is required to work as a stuntman, to apply for a job you must be a union member of either the Screen Actors Guild or the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. These major film unions dictate who can work on what films. It’s hard to get into these unions, but once you do you can start to apply for jobs.

Stuntmen often attend stunt school. Stunt schools often last around a month and can be quite costly. Precision driving skills, wire work, martial arts, high falls, rappels, stair falls, foot falls, harness work, weaponry, and unarmed combat are a few of the things you’ll learn at a school like the International Stunt School.

After stunt school, get your resume and head shot out there and help set up stunts. Like any industry it’s who you know, but in the stuntman industry, it can also be about what you look like, what skills you have, and where you are. If a movie in the Amazon needs a 6 foot tall kung-fu expert and you’re in the area, you’ll get a job fast so the movie can stay on budget. As you get a few gigs under your belt, you’ll start to get more work.

You’ll become the action hero you always wanted to be.

Stuntmen average $70,000 per year. If you’re newer to the industry, you may only make $5,000 per year. It all depends on how much work you manage to find. The highest end stuntmen can make up to $250,000 per year. All it takes is one stunt to make money – the highest paid stunt ever was $150,000 for jumping off the CN Tower in Toronto. That’s about a $15,000 per second wage. Could you do that?

Stuntmen love their jobs. They get to do death defying stunts and get paid for it. So if high speed boat chases, ninja fights in temples, diving with sharks, parachuting into lakes, walking on walls, or climbing a building sound better than staring at a computer screen, you should look at a career as a stuntman. See the JobMonkey entertainment jobs section for related careers.

Quick Facts About Stuntman Work

Job Title: Movie Stuntman
Office: Anywhere stunts take place
Description: Practice and perform action sequences for TV and film.
Certifications/Education: No formal education required. Union membership required. Stunt school recommended.
Necessary Skills: Martial Arts, Climbing, Sky Diving, Scuba,
Potential Employers: Major Motion Pictures, Television
Pay: $5,000 to $70,000 per year (The best of the best can make up to $250,000 per year)

Helpful Links:
United Stuntmen’s Association
Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame
Stunt Kids
Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures
Screen Actor’s Guild
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

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