Coordinator's Corner: John Stoneham Jr.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career? When I was young I grew up watching The Hulk, Star Trek, The Terminator's, Independence Day, Planet of the Apes and such. I wished I could work on such amazing projects. Be careful what you wish for... I at least Stunt Coordinated a bunch of remakes and sequels - ha! What is the greatest lesson you have learned over the years as a stunt coordinator? The people on set screaming and yelling the most, sadly are usually the least skilled and knowledgeable. Not all of them have a large performing background unfortunately. This has held true in my experience. My first stunt day was 1977. I got to see a lot over the years. You can't always just blindly trust the Stunt Coordinator. Always be comfortable with what stunt you are doing and tell them what you are good at. Please don't rush into being a coordinator. Learn all stunts and enjoy the process. The more you have performed all the stunts the better you will be as a Stunt Coordinator. I still enjoy performing way more than Coordinating. What are the greatest qualities you seek out in a stunt performer? Performers that listen and come with a positive, happy demeanor are the best. Let's face it, we are on set for 12-15 hours a day. It makes for a longer day if it's not fun. A well rounded stunt performer is easier to place in a spot than someone who specializes in a few things. What advice would you give up and coming stunt performers? Learn new skills. Be as well rounded as possible. Always tell the Stunt Coordinator if you don't feel a stunt is in your wheel house. We can always put you somewhere that makes us all look good. What do you love most about the stunt community? I have had the opportunity to work in many different stunt communities and some are better than others, but for the most part everyone just wants to do a great job. I do like the communities that also help others and give back (helping train new performers as there aren't any schools, as we all know).