Stunt Performer Spotlight: Jeff Budner
Tell about yourself and your story! My name is Jeff Budner, and I'm a stunt performer and actor based in LA. I started performing in junior high, doing shows like "A Christmas Carol" at South Coast Repertory. After that, I decided that performing is what I wanted to do for a living, so I attended an arts high school and I ended up getting my degree in acting from a conservatory in Philadelphia. After graduating and working a variety of performing jobs around southern California, my path led me to get cast a live stunt show, which became my stepping stone into the stunt community. I was fortunate enough to work with seasoned stunt performers, and I could watch and ask and learn and train. Inspired by what I saw, I decided to fully dedicate myself to stunts, so I worked hard to get my SAG card, and I've been hustling ever since. I'm excited to see what new opportunities await as filmmaking continues to shift and adapt to the times. What inspired you to become a stunt person? My stunt inspiration grew from my love of 90s action. I took in a steady diet of Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, Batman and Hook, and any stick in my backyard turned into a sword or a lightsaber or a magic staff. That was what pushed me towards performing in general, but after I started seriously pursuing stunt work, I realized the whole reason I wanted to pursue acting in the first place, was because five years old me, understood that actors got to play with weapons in the movies. What is your greatest skill as a stunt performer, is there a story behind it? I would say my four greatest skills as a stunt performer are high falls, weapon work (specifically, swords, knives, and staff), physical comedy/pratfalls (plenty of experience being the comedic relief in the live stunt shows), and dialogue (as I said, a strong background in acting). What is the best part about being a stunt performer? I love stunt work because stunt performers get to do the things that others only fantasize about, from playing with swords to flying on wires to drifting cars to going to places that others aren't allowed to go. What advice would you give other stunt people? The strongest lesson I've learned as I've made my way further into the business is: the ones who succeed are usually the ones who simply didn't give up. Anything else you would like to tell the community about? To the community: Given that I grew up on nineties action, one of the best things about being in the stunt community is how often I brush elbows with people who have helped shape my childhood. These are the coordinators and performers who created the iconic action that I recreated with my action figures or imitated in the mirror. Every time I learn from them, or train with them, or even cross paths with them, I'm always humbled and inspired and driven. Thank you. If you want to know anything else about me as a performer, my website, www.jeffbudner.com, has my reels, resumes, stunt and casting profile links, and more, everything you'd need to know!