AJ, tell about stunts and how you got into the profession.
When I was a youngster watching "The Flip Wilson Show" with my parents in San Bernardino, Burt Reynolds was a guest who performed a short fight scene on stage. He was answering questions from people in the audience.
Someone asked: As an actor aren’t you worried about getting hurt doing a stage fight?
His answer: I started this business as a stuntman.
As an athlete I was intrigued and extremely curious. This curiosity kept eating at me. I finished high school and a year of college and decided it was time to give Hollywood a shot. I jumped on my Yamaha RD 350 twin and headed for Sunset Blvd.
I parked it and started walking Sunset knocking on production and producers doors explaining my sports and racing experience. I asked if they knew someone I could contact. As you can imagine, I was kicked to the curb like crazy.
Then, I entered the office of a producer named Paul Marion. He actually seemed interested in my story. Mr. Marion paused for a long moment and gave me a name.... Al Wyatt.
He said, "If anyone I know that may help you, it’s Al Wyatt. I’m going to give you an answering service - “Teddies.“ Ask for Al."
Al called and I gave him my story. He said check in once a month and I’ll see what I can do. As I remember, that went on for a few months. On one of my many calls, Al said meet me at Paramount Studios for lunch, I want to introduce you to someone.
It was John Moio. I thought that was cool because Paramount was fairly close to Berdoo. Yes, I was so uninformed that I figured the studio was in the city of Paramount. I called information and got the real story. At this meeting Al said since you have never worked in the biz I’m going to give you a contact - “Carl Joy, Independent Casting.” So you can possibly work extra and learn the camera and movements.
I called Casting and Carl said check in once a week. I stopped by casting every Tuesday on my way to race pro Speedway at Ventura Speedway. I got my extra guild card and kept checking in with Al. Then I called and he asked if I would like to come on a set in Stockton to check out how a stunt program works. "No pay but a great experience, you can bunk in with my son Al Jr."
I jumped at the chance. Jr. was cool, gave me some nice insight into the stunt world. The film was “Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry.“ This is where I met and friended Ted Duncan. I hammered Ted about my motorcycle, car, boxing skills and stayed in touch from there on out.
Al also set me up with Paul Stader who was running a stunt school in Santa Monica.
I learned a ton about picture fights, high falls and camera at his school. I finally got a call for my first stunt. Ted Duncan called and asked if I could setup a motorcycle and do a motorcycle head on into a limousine. Of coarse I said yes.
I jumped on a plane for the first time and headed to Atlanta, Georgia. The hit is on my reel. On this set I met and became good friends with Don Pike and Arron Norris.
Ted and Don hired me on a few thing’s after that. Eventually I learned enough to start coordinating shows.
At one point I received a call from Carol Rosenstein, president of Together Again Productions. Carol wanted to know if I could coordinate a stunt competition to possibly go for a world record on a television series they were producing. I gave a few ideas and they chose a motorcycle jump from a ramp to a target to start the show.
The world record attempt would be a east coast against west coast Cannon Car Roll Challenge . Identically setup 1970 Chevy chevelle Malibu’s. I won the competition and set a new world record. I can say this... if you’re like I was and have no movie experience - get out and pound the pavement.
It’s been real.
Stunt Players Directory: https://www.stuntplayers.com/player/aj-nay/