Stunt performer

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Stunt performers stand in for actors when the script calls for anything dangerous or specialised to be done on a film or TV set.

Salary range: Variable

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How to become a stunt performer

You can get into this job through:

  • applying directly
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Direct application

You’ll usually need to apply to British Stunt Register’s Stunt Grading Scheme. You’ll need qualifications and skills across at least 6 different sporting areas in 4 of the following groups:

  • fighting – martial arts or boxing
  • falling – trampolining or high diving
  • riding and driving – horse riding, driving cars or riding motorcycles
  • agility and strength – gymnastics or rock climbing
  • water – swimming or sub-aqua

The fighting category is compulsory.

You’ll also need at least one year’s experience in each of your sporting areas. Throughout your career, you’ll need to keep your skills and qualifications up to date.

Probationary members are encouraged to attend shoots as observers in order to broaden their knowledge of the profession. You could do this by getting experience as an extra or a ‘walk-on’.

More information

Career tips

There are no official training schemes or schools to train stunt performers, although some private ‘stunt schools’ offer short courses in skills like stage combat, working with fire and stunt driving.

These courses can be useful for building experience, but will not be accepted towards membership of the register.

Professional and industry bodies

You’ll need to join the British Stunt Register to get access to the Stunt Grading Scheme.

The register is divided into 3 categories of membership:

  • probationary
  • intermediate
  • full

Further information

You can find more details about minimum daily and weekly rates for stunt performers from Equity, the trade union for professional performers and creative artists.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • the ability to work well with others
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • be over 18 years of age
  • have a good level of fitness
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • setting up, planning and performing stunts with a stunt coordinator
  • carrying out risk assessments of stunts
  • performing all types of falls using gymnastics or high diving
  • fighting, possibly with weapons
  • swimming or diving
  • horse riding
  • performing car chases and crashes

Working environment

You could work at a film studio, at a TV studio or on a film set.

Your working environment may be physically demanding, at height, outdoors some of the time and you may spend nights away from home.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a stunt arranger or co-ordinator.