Interview with Lane Leavitt
President, Leavittation, Inc.
Stunt Rev: What does it take to be a stuntman?
Lane Leavitt: It may look like we are all wild and crazy people in this industry. That's not what it takes to be a success in this business. What you need are skills that can solve the problems a filmmaker has trying to tell their story.
SR: How does someone get noticed to get a job in a movie?
Lane: The stunt coordinator is the person on each project that designs the action and decides who is best to solve the unique problems a director has trying to tell the story. He oversees the hiring and the techniques that will bring impact to the show. He is the person you must impress.
SR: How can you best impress that person?
Lane: Be yourself; be respectful and helpful without being a phony.
SR: What do you mean by "being a phony?"
Lane: Be careful to not represent yourself as something you're not. If you say you can do something really well and you can't, you may never work again.
SR: What skills best equip someone for stunts?
Lane: Timing is everything! Being able to be in the right place at the right time.
SR: Are you talking about luck?
Lane: No, timing is twofold. If you look just like an actor and he needs a new double and you can win the trust of the coordinator you're in. If he can't trust you or if you make a fool of yourself in front of the movie company you could cost yourself and the stunt coordinator your jobs. The other factor of timing is this: if during a stunt you're in the wrong spot at the wrong time you could hurt or kill yourself Even worse, you could hurt or kill someone else. People with bad timing never really know they don't have it! That's why luck has nothing to do with it; timing does.
SR: What is the most important thing a person can do to be a stunt performer in movies and TV?
Lane: Find and meet as many working stunt people as possible and win their trust. To be a stunt person you are asking other stunt people to trust you with their financial futures and even their life. Then if you find someone you would not trust in a rough spot or with your wallet gently move him or her out of your life!