In videos involving physical feats, safety and realism are hard enough to promote individually, let alone in tandem. A stunt coordinator’s job is to maximize both, improving aesthetics and reducing liabilities while minimizing your stunt budget. Hiring an effective freelance stunt coordinator is thus critical for any action film.
Know what you need
Attention To Detail
Making stunts both safe and realistic requires examining a myriad of small details. The more detail-oriented your coordinator is, the safer and more authentic the stunts will be.
Stunt coordinators must be willing to own up to mistakes they make, especially if they undermine safety.
For both safety and efficiency, it is essential that your stunt coordinator communicates with performers in a way they have no trouble understanding.
What to look for
The duties of a stunt coordinator include:
Selecting Stunt Performers
The coordinator must hold auditions for stunt performers, selecting candidates with experience, physical ability, and a willingness to obey instructions.
It is a stunt coordinator’s job to thoroughly examine your set and instructions, making sure that the performers are never in danger.
Balancing A Budget
Coordinators must manage your stunt budget effectively, cutting costs without compromising the safety of the performers or the aesthetic effectiveness of the stunts.
Questions to ask a potential candidate
Have you ever worked as a stunt performer?
The best stunt coordinators begin their careers as stunt performers and then transition into coordination later in life. Such professionals have an easier time gauging the capabilities of current performers. They also have more empathy for stunt performers, and are thus less likely to press them to do something unsafe.
What types of stunts do you specialize in?
Most coordinators focus on water stunts, car stunts, or stunts in some other specific location or scenario. You should make sure their experience matches the specific needs of your project. If you want to include multiple types of stunts, you may need to hire more than one coordinator.
Has a stunt actor ever been injured under your supervision? If so, how did it happen and what did you do?
It isn’t necessary for a coordinator to have a perfect record. What is necessary is that they did not deliberately neglect the safety of actors, and that they took the appropriate steps after the injury.
How much experience do you have negotiating with insurance companies?
If an injury does happen on your set, your stunt coordinator may have to meet with your insurance provider. A coordinator with experience in such meetings will have more success preventing the insurer from finding excuses not to pay up.
How much money have you had to work with in the past?
Stunt coordinators have to manage stunt effects budgets, so the more budgeting experience they have, the better. Look for someone who can make do with significantly less money than you can offer, but is nonetheless willing to do more when more money is available.