How to Become a Successful Hollywood Stunt Actor in 5 Not So Easy Steps

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One of the film industry’s biggest genre is the action film industry. Everyone loves action movies. And everyone wants to be an action superstar. But there is an unnamed breed of actors that make action movies what they are. They may not be famous, but without them, there would be no action.

Yes, I’m talking about the noble stunt actor. The humble stunt double who takes all the risks to make the production a success.

Perhaps you are one of the adrenaline junkies who doesn’t mind doing death-defying stunts and you’d like to give Hollywood a shot. You have chosen a noble path, my friend. And I will try to guide you down that path of glory and fame. Hang on to your seatbelts.

How to Become a Stunt Double – Dare take the Journey

hollywood stunt actor

Let me be quick to point out that the journey to being a successful stunt actor is not an easy one. No, I’m not trying to discourage you, but I want you to be psychologically prepared for the work you have to put into landing your first gig – trust me, it’s a lot. So what does it take to be a stunt double – besides raw grit that is?

1. Determination- A Lot of It

As with all things Hollywood, making a make takes a lot of determination. This is especially true for stunt actors as work is limited and the competition is fierce. The market is saturated. But just because the market is saturated doesn’t mean you should give up on your dreams, it simply means you just have to work harder to stand out. Determination will help you trudge the road to success and also help you in your practicing. It takes a lot of repetitive work to master a single stunt, and without determination, it’s easy to give up.

2. Get Training – Enroll in a Stunt Double School

In years past, stunt doubles were trained on the job. That was because demand wasn’t good and equipment was scarce. But as the film industry grew (exponentially for that matter), so did demand for qualified stunt actors. A stunt double school will give you the basic skills and training you will need to blaze your trail in Hollywood. Training that will equip you to know and understand the dynamics of different kinds of stunts. A professional qualification will make it easier for you to land stunt double jobs as filmmakers know you won’t waste time and resources making unnecessary mistakes.

3. Perfect Your Skills – A Lot of Them

The trickiest part of being a stunt double is the skill set required. You need to be equipped with a lot of different skills, making it tricky to land stunt man jobs. Different productions require different sets of skills and if you’re lacking in a required skill, you will miss out on an opportunity. The main skills you need to be proficient in to land jobs quickly are stunt driving, falls, martial arts, gymnastics, and even dancing can come in handy.  

4. Know How to Sell Yourself

As said earlier, being a successful stunt actor is no easy road due to the competition and the nature of the business. In order to make it, you need to learn to sell yourself – very well. Stunt jobs won’t come looking for you, no matter how good you are. You have to sell yourself incessantly. Get your name out there. Package yourself in a way that shows that you are a professional who knows what you’re doing. Create demo videos that showcase your skills and send them out to potential clients. As a stunt actor, you’re automatically a business person and you should treat yourself as such. Especially when you’re starting out, you will be a freelancer and that means you will have to do all the marketing yourself. If there was another name to be given to stunt actors, it would be “hustler”. Because that’s what you’ll spend a lot of time doing.

5. Build Relationships

One thing you need to realize about Hollywood is that it runs on relationships. Most of the jobs in Hollywood are acquired via referrals. This means you have to be very good at networking – and leaving a lasting impression as you do. Every opportunity you get to mix with producers, directors, and even other stunt actors must be an opportunity to network and let them know you’re available. This doesn’t mean every conversation must be about you though.

Now You Know How to Become a Stuntman…

As the saying goes, knowing is half the battle won. Now is the time to take all the necessary steps to become the best stuntman Hollywood has ever seen. The hustle starts now.   

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