So, Boneboys was my first stunt role. I was on set for a total of three days and got to body double one of the leads. It was definitely a learning experience.
Mostly I learned that movie work is a lot of waiting followed by brief flurries of action.
Other than patience I learned:
- On set etiquette
- On set gun safety etiquette
- Good stunt men are the most careful people on set. They want to be physically capable of doing their jobs as long as possible. Bad stunt guys only think about getting themselves into a bigger stunt.
- It is possible to cover my forearm tattoos with enough makeup to be fine on camera. And it only takes about a half an hour.
- Most dangerous: I learned that standing on top of police cars is fun
- Be present, be ready to go. Don’t complain, don’t get in the way, and don’t leave without your lead’s permission/knowledge.
I need to add the following to my ‘Stunt Bag’:
- Back pad (called an armadillo or razor back for the series of plates that runs down your spine)
- Hip pads (eventually)
- Climbing harness
- Variety of climbing pieces and some rope probably
I’d like to get into being the on set still photographer, but that requires a large money/equipment outlay. That setup requires:
- Two camera bodys, maybe one at full frame
- One fairly wide angle lens
- A custom Sound blimp – a sound proof case for the wide angle lens + camera so the still camera’s shutter noise is imperceptible when sound is rolling.
This year I helped out with the Scare for a Cure haunted house. It was a lot of fun, and because of my stunt experience I got to be rigged up with a pneumatic device for explosively spraying blood on people, called a squib. So Squib Zombie was my name…
I was stationed outside a trailer with a chain link fence around it. When the party came through, the guides led them into the fenced off area and conveniently forgot to close the gate. Cue Squib Zombie. I charged out of the shadows, through the fence and into the trailer area. Once appropriately close, Crazy Nick would step out from behind the trailer, shoot me with a shot gun and I would spray the party with fake blood and fall flat on my back dead. Then there would be some yelling and interaction with Nick and his family and people would be ushered off by the guides. Running 40 feet and getting shot every five minutes about 55 times a night. I had a great time.
At some point in the event I realized that the process of refilling the squib was way creepier than my yelling and flying out of the darkness:
I destroyed one of my Goodwill tuxedos to serve as my costume. The idea behind that is that if a global apocalypse comes, I’m going to put on my finest clothes and go out in style. That turned out to be a great choice since now I have a beautifully blood-stained and hacked up tuxedo.Since the role involved falling on my back a lot on rocky scrappy ground, I slit open the back of the jacket and inserted some closed cell foam camp mat for safety’s sake.
This is the email I sent to the Scare for a Cure list after I worked it this year. It is a pretty good summary of the time I had:
Since it was my first time working the Scare for the Cure I figured I would write up some impressions of the haunt. In the run of the 2010 SCARE for a Cure, I:
- destroyed a tuxedo (never getting the deposit back, I guess)
- ran 40 feet and was “shot” between 50 and 60 times a night
- took a similar number of falls
- was actually shot once
- had my fingers and leg stepped on
- was kicked in the leg and ribs
- was kicked in the head twice in one night (accidents all)
- was tripped over
- was groped by under aged girls (they were harvesting blood off my jacket, honest your honor. Wait. That didn’t make it better did it.)
- was beat or prodded with a staff, a cane, a shot gun butt, and a wooden paddle
- was bitten by unknown insects between my fingers
- learned how to expertly aim fake blood fired from my nipple area
- dyed my bathtub pink
- am still bright red down the left side of my body
- painted SO MANY guests red.
- learned that pomade and dirt don’t mix well. Or maybe mix too well
- am covered in a large variety of bruises, scrapes and bumps
and most importantly:
- I had a great time
- I met awesome people
- We raised money for a great cause
Thank you all for this opportunity and especially the variety of Crazy Nicks (Nikki even), the car zombies and of course Crazy Nick’s daughters who were always scarier than I was.
Check out my photos from the Scare: http://www.nathanblackphotography.com/Events/Scare-for-a-Cure/
I’ve been taking stunt man classes for about 8 months now. I found out about the class through a girl I was dating. Me and the girl didn’t work out, but the class sure is.
Every Sunday from 6-8 I go to Crenshaw Athletics and work out with Richard Hancock and whoever else shows up. Richard is an awesome guy who has been doing gymnastics for 40 years and stunt work for 30. He is the real deal. His imdb page is a mile long and full of awesome action.
The class is a lot of fun. The first 1/2 hour is general aerobic warm up, with fake punches and general gymnastic skills. That leads into the middle hour of skills training. Depending on the week we will do jerks, fight choreography, gymnastics training, fall training, big falls or who knows what else. The last half hour is always a brutal crossfit style workout. Everyone in the class is awesome, friendly, playful and helpful. I know that if I want to learn anything, I can go up to whoever it is knows how to do it and ask, and they will attempt to show me.
I figured out a long time ago that I can’t workout just for the sake of working out. Fitness for me has to be towards a purpose and interesting, or I loose interest really quickly. This is totally fitting the bill.
Check out some of my pictures from stunt class: http://www.nathanblackphotography.com/Sports/Stunt-Class/
If you want to come join us, check out the facebook page for the Austin Stunt Class