The life of a stunt person is relatively unknown. With the movie industry’s ignorance to the stunt industry, who are willing to put their lives at risk for the stellar shots, the hard work of stunt persons goes unrecognised.
For the regular person, diving through glass or out of a burning car sounds petrifying, but these select few live for the adrenaline rush’s; I spoke to qualified stuntman Sam Amos about how people get into the industry and what to expect.
“Life as a stuntman is a buzz, it’s exciting but dangerous. I guess you never know what’s going to happen next, what’s going to be asked of you, where you need to go, every day is different.
“The stunting community is an amazing group to be a part of, I’ve met lots of different people with lots of different skills and passions.”
Sam, ironically, grew up wanting to be a fireman; but as he grew older, his passion for parkour and free running grew, which opened his eyes up to the stunt world. “Being a stuntman isn’t a well-recognised job. It’s rare you’ll hear someone say they grew up wanting to become a stuntman. Everyone in the industry has a story on how they got into ‘stuntmaning’, and everyone’s story is different.
“My story’s a funny one. I first got into parkour in 2009 through seeing a friend do a backflip, I was asking lots of questions and so he invited me along to one of his gym sessions. I fell in love with it straight away.
“After about four years of training, I became a professional acrobat. I worked in a circus in Germany for six months and through that contract I met lots of different wonderful people, that’s where I was introduced to the Stunt Register.”
To be considered a stunt person, you must be on the Stunt Register, which requires extensive training and experience. It can take years of lessons/training to gain the qualifications for the register. Sam explained: “There are five different sections overall, and within each section is a range of different sports and disciplines which you can complete in order to complete tick that category off.”
This infographic outlines the requirements for The British Stunt Register:
Sam continued: “I did boxing, scuba diving, horse-riding, gymnastics with free-running and parkour, trampolining and high diving. It took me almost four years to complete all the sections. The hardest part was having to hold down a full-time job, have regular income and time for training whilst still paying for the different certifications and training that I needed.”
Stunting has taken Sam all over the world, with opportunities emerging in some of the most unexpected places. “I’ve worked all over Europe, I’ve also done some work in Asia and Australia and New Zealand too. The variety of work I do is broad as well, I’ve been a cowboy in a German film, I was the Red Power Ranger in Saudi Arabia about three months ago. It’s the different jobs which make it so interesting, and I love travelling so to be able to do them abroad is a bonus!”
Here’s Sam’s advice to anyone thinking of becoming a stuntman:
Trampolining performances are becoming popular globally (Image used with permission from Sam Amos)
If you’re interested in finding out more about the British Stunt Register, click here.