Have you ever wanted to be an action hero? Do you and your friends like to practice taking falls, just for fun? Then you might have what it takes to be a Hollywood stunt performer. Cody Laudan is a stunt performer who has worked on several movies, including Jason vs. Freddy, Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed and I, Robot. He's played a robot who gets shot by Will Smith, been hacked to death by Jason and jumped off a 50 foot building! Kidzworld's got the low down from Cody to find out what it takes to become a Hollywood stuntster.
How To Get Started As a Stuntman?One of the best ways to enter the world of Hollywood stunts is to have a good set of skills that you can bring to a movie set. Production co-ordinators are looking for people with experience in things like gymnastics, riding motocross, skateboarding or martial arts. Performers also spend a lot of time practicing stunts and developing their technique. "I practice fight scenes, getting hit by cars and landing different jumps," says Cody. "Sometimes I'll see a stunt on TV and I'll go out and try it. I'll train at gyms with some friends and we'll try different ways of climbing a wall or swinging from a rope. We also practice car stunts. We'll go to a parking lot and one guy will drive and the others will practice getting hit or rolling over the hood." (Kidzworld doesn't recommend this kind of training!)
The Painful Life of a StuntmanWhether they're jumping off tall buildings or dodging bullets, it's not surprising that stunt performers often get hurt. "You get a lot of bumps and bruises all the time," says Cody Laudan. "I've never broken any bones before. You try to eliminate injuries by rehearsing a lot and wearing pads. You build up to a stunt. You practice jumping off a 10 foot building before a 50 foot one."
Why Being a Stuntman RocksFor Cody, the best part of being a stunt performer is the reaction he gets from the audience and other actors. "It's great to hear someone say, 'Whoah, man, that looked really brutal, like you looked like you got messed up and got hurt really bad.' I like selling a fight scene to the audience and hitting the ground hard. It's also a good feeling when you make an actor look good and he comes up to you and says, 'Hey man, thanks for making me look good out there. That's gonna look great'."
Why Being a Stuntman SucksBeing a stunt performer often means working long hours and sacrificing your personal life. "You have to be dedicated and committed," says Cody. "You might be getting ready to have dinner with your girlfriend or boyfriend, and you get a call that you have to go into work right away because they need someone to jump off a building. You never really know when you might be working. It's not a nine-to-five job."
The Stuntman's Bling Bling?The amount of money a Hollywood stunt performer makes depends on a lot of things such as the type of stunts being done, the amount of experience the performer has and how big the budget for the movie is. Some stunt performers make thousands of dollars a day, while others might make that much in a year. "This business is not about the money," says Cody Laudan. "You're getting paid for doing something that can be dangerous and risky, but you just love to do it. You're not going to make it in this business if people think you're only in it for the money. You have to be dedicated, hustle and love what you do."
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