Tell about yourself, April!
I'm a mountain girl! I'm from Buena Vista, Colorado where I grew up rock climbing, hiking 14ers, whitewater rafting, and snowboarding! When I was 16, I moved to Australia to be an exchange student for a year, and while I was there I joined a circus and the Boy Scouts (Venturers)!
I had so much fun there, in the circus I did acro-balance and spanish web, and in the Boy Scouts, I had the time of my life going caving, and rappelling at Wee Jasper Caves! After I got back from Australia, I graduated High School, and then went to The Colorado Film School and got my BFA in Film Production so I could be knowledgeable about being in front of and behind the camera.
I moved to LA with my husband in 2013 and I've been pursuing acting and stunts ever since! I trained with Mike Chat at XMA and he really opened my eyes to the stunt world! I'm so thankful for his guidance and encouragement to start stunt hustling and reaching out to coordinators and letting them know I'm here and ready to work or help in any way I can!
What inspired you to become a stunt person?
When I was 11 I watched RUSH HOUR 2 with Jackie Chan, and from that moment I knew what I wanted to do with my life.
I was watching the bloopers at the end of the film and Jackie Chan was breaking character and laughing so hard. My dad said, "Look how much fun they're having!" and that's when I realized that maybe I could do that too!
What is your greatest skill as a stunt performer, is there a story behind it?
I would say my greatest skill at the moment is fight choreography or high falls up to 30'. I enjoy heights, so if I'm in a harness climbing or rappelling I feel very comfortable with that too.
What is the best part about being a stunt performer?
Best part is definitely the community! Since becoming a part of the stunt community, I have only met the nicest and most down to earth people! It really inspires me and brings me back to my roots of just being myself and enjoying the journey of pursuing this craft!
Joe Witherell has been one of the kindest and most open hearted people I have met. He used to let stunt performers practice their high falls in his backyard and not charge a dime. The same goes for Tony Snegoff, just to be around someone that is so helpful and wanting others to succeed is really inspiring and I hope that one day I can give back to this community the way I have been given to.
What advice would you give other stunt people?
Yes, being skillful is absolutely great, and you have to have a base skill-level, but more than anything, working hard, being kind and helpful is what keeps getting you work!
If you can alleviate some stress put on the Stunt Coordinator, by listening and being ready to help at any time, that is great work ethic that will keep getting you work.
Also, another very valuable skill to have is to practice how you approach someone who could give you a job. Don't come from a sense of "I want a job" but more of a "Lets collaborate! I have these skills to offer, and I would love to help move pads!" kind of approach, ultimately you're looking to build a relationship over time and build that trust.
I am still learning everyday, and I'm thankful for the opportunities I have had, and the people I have met! I look forward to what the future holds because there is still so much more to learn!
Anything else you would like to tell the community about?
Stay true to yourself, it's not about what you do so much as HOW you do it.
Stunt Players Directory: https://www.stuntplayers.com/player/april-taft/
Stunt Listing: https://www.stuntlisting.com/?id=2131