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Skye Jordan | The Truth about Stuntmen

July 24, 2013

One of my favorite creative outlets is sneaking off to a movie. Preferably a matinee. Preferably alone. The dark theatre, huge screen, surround sound—it takes me completely away for two solid hours. No phones. No interruptions. (Unless you’ve got a rowdy neighbor.)

I love all kinds of movies—drama, suspense, romance, comedy, thriller, even a horror if it’s not too gory, but until I started writing my Renegades series I’d never really given the action scenes in movies much thought. Now, I look forward to watching them with a whole new appreciation.

The concept for the Renegades came before I knew much about stuntmen. Now that I’ve researched the industry, I’m even more fascinated and can see countless story angles emerging for these sexy, talented, adrenaline-seeking professionals.

Here’s an intro to my Renegade’s series:

The rough and ready stuntmen of Renegades are experts in the fine art of death and destruction on the big screen. The best of the worst.

When it comes to tearing it down or blowing it up, no one can do it better, faster or with more flare than a Renegades’ bad-boy on a mission. When it comes to pleasing a woman, no one can do it with more intensity or eroticism than that bad-boy with the need.

And while women come hot and fast for the sexy Renegades, holding on to the right woman may be the hardest stunt they’ve ever had to pull off.

While some say the days of Hollywood stuntmen are numbered because of the growth of digital effects, the truth is that audiences are becoming savvier and more demanding. Audiences can tell the difference between manmade effects and those performed by talented actors.

At their core, stuntmen are the men and women who push technology to their limits, not the other way around.

Those skilled, sexy professionals are the heroes of Renegades.

Here are a few fun facts about stuntmen:

Stuntmen aren’t paid to get hurt

Stuntmen are paid to take risks, but they are intensely focused on safety. It’s their business to know the most efficient, most dramatic, and safest way to execute a stunt. And if stuntmen don’t work, stuntmen don’t get paid, so safety means money. Most stuntmen do not go through their career without some major injury. And while deaths do occur, they are rare in relation to the number of stunts performed.

Each stuntman has his specialty

While all stuntmen have to have skill in certain areas—falling, balance, overall athleticism—they all specialize in something, and often have talents in several areas. Fighting, martial arts, fire, motorcycles, auto racing, high falls, etc.

Because there are so many stunts, they are categorized in three broad areas: practical effects (everything from short falls to fighting, firearms to horses), mechanical effects (stunts that require the aid of machines, like long falls or wire work) and vehicular stunts (which can range from cars to boats to planes).

A successful stuntman is both a jack of all trades and a specialist, because not knowing enough can get you hurt, but only knowing how to do a few things will keep you from working.

Stuntmen don’t have to retire if they’re injured

When the body wears out, the mind retains value. Because far more preparation and expertise goes into setting up the stunt in comparison to executing it, a stuntman who has been injured or has aged out of beating the crap out of someone often moves on to stunt coordination. A stunt coordinator orchestrates both the action and the cameras for the stunt sequences.

Actors often start off as stuntmen

Stuntmen often work closely with Hollywood stars, taking them through the ins and outs of complicated stunts. Their background often leads them into stunt doubling and bit parts, giving them the credentials to move into feature films.

Stuntmen have their own awards

Stuntmen are actors, but aren’t eligible for Academy Award recognition. To honor excellence in the field, the Taurus World Stunt Awards were created and feature multiple categories, from best fight scene to best vehicle stunt to best stunt coordinator.

I hope you’ll join the Renegades on their first thrill ride: RECKLESS, releasing early August 2013.

Share your favorite action movie or a fun fact about stuntmen to enter for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Amazon or 1 of 3 E-ARCS of RECKLESS!

Skye Jordan

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