What has been the biggest highlight of your career? The highlight that comes to mind is the very first big show I was fortunate enough to work on, xXx (2002). At that time in my career, I was doing a live show, WATERWORLD, and maybe getting 10-12 days of work per year.
Getting the two months of work on xXx, with all the biggest stunt men and coordinators in the business, changed my life financially and allowed me to develop relationships which have led to decades of future work.
I really need to give a shout out to Wally Crowder. My path to getting on to xXx was that the director was not happy with the options presented to him for a stunt acting role he was trying to fill. Lance Gilbert gave him the Stunt Players [https://www.stuntplayers.com] book and asked him to pick who he would like to audition for the part of TJ. Luckily, I was in the book and one of director Rob Cohen’s choices. The rest is history.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned over the years as a stunt coordinator? The greatest lesson I learned is to ask for help. I always lean on my peers, mentors, and friends for advice so we can figure out the best way to coordinate a successful stunt. Some stunts are straightforward and easy to figure out. Others can get complicated.
Finding solutions can sometimes best be accomplished by brainstorming with others in the profession. Never have an ego. There is never a stupid question when trying to achieve the best gag possible and the safest way to perform it. What are the greatest qualities you seek out in a stunt performer? 1. HONESTY! Never fib about skills in order to get a job. It will be the last time you work for me and because coordinators talk amongst each other, the story will be shared. Coordinators appreciate performers who are honest about their skill sets and will look to put in a future spots.
2. My generation of stunt coordinators expects GOOD SET ETIQUETTE! This is such an important thing to learn when starting out in the business. As our community has grown, and the demand for content has increased (Pre-Covid) we have seen a drop in set etiquette in some of the newer generations (there are exceptions). Those who are professional will work more. What advice would you give up and coming stunt performers? Obviously well rounded stunt performers who can be relied upon will work more. But, it is more important than ever to become a solid actor. I often hire performers to play stunt/acting parts and I go back to those performers time and time again because I know they can deliver.
In 2019, I hired a stunt man on three different projects to play stunt/acting parts. The producers on one show liked him so much, he became a recurring character (worked 5 episodes). Put acting in your tool box. You will work more.
What do you love most about the stunt community? I love our community because I work with my best friends. We seem to all have something in common. I am not exactly sure what it is, but it creates a bond that few people have within a work environment.