Coordinator's Corner: Shaun Piccinino

What has been the biggest highlight of your career? That's a tough one, but certainly one of the most exciting highlights so far has to be directing in the middle of bamboo forests and the vast coastline of China for a World War 2 feature film. Based on the amazing true story of Jimmy Doolittle and his men's harrowing mission to retaliate after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was surreal to be in the very places these brave men trudged through almost 70 years earlier. It was a defining moment for me stepping up into the full directors position from coordination and 2nd Unit.  It was also the largest action and set pieces I had ever directed. What is the greatest lesson you have learned over the years as a stunt coordinator? I've been fortunate to have worked with many amazing stunt coordinators over the years that I of course begged, borrowed and stole many lessons from. Hard to say but probably the greatest lesson I ever learned is to simply stay humble, don't think you're the master of every discipline. I always look to hire the best performers, riggers, etc for the job. This ultimately helps the production stay safe, look great and of course become a smashing success! What are the greatest qualities you seek out in a stunt performer? Again I'll go back to humbleness. Now that doesn't mean you can't have confidence but I steer clear of over cockiness as that can lead to messing up or worst case people getting hurt. Important to have the skills and confidence but stay humble at the same time. What advice would you give up and coming stunt performers? Train hard (and smart) to learn the necessary skills and also focus on some specialty skills that can help set you apart from the pack. Never sell yourself on a job for skills you haven't mastered as it can not only put yourself in harms way but others as well. And of course again, stay humble. What do you love most about the stunt community? It's right there in the question, community. I consider myself lucky to have gained so many meaningful friendships and comaraderie within this community. I cherish the time I get to share with my stunt family.

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