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What is a Stunt Coordinator?

The stunt coordinator is an experienced individual that is often found wherever the main action is taking place on the film set. This individual has a lot of responsibility, and is likely to present anything there’s some death defying stunt or dangerous and unbelievable act to take place within a film. Every great production that intends to include any real action needs a stunt coordinator. But, what is the stunt coordinator, and what does their job entail?

What is a Stunt Coordinator?

The stunt coordinator is behind the action and adventure. Taking place on the screen when you watch some of your favorite movies and television shows.

They’re responsible for coordinating the cast and crew involved in the stunt scenes. That take place during production in order to capture these great acts on camera.

Stunt coordinators actually choreograph the stunt scenes that take place. Making sure that all of the details are covered. And that everyone involved remains as safe as potentially possible.

The stunt coordinator will work closely with the Director to ensure each stunt achieves the vision of the production while maintaining the safety of cast and crew involved.

A Dangerous Career

Stunts are often incredibly dangerous acts, even under the most well-coordinated conditions and with proper safety crew and interventions nearby.

Most stunt coordinators are essentially “retired” stunt performers. In order to coordinate stunts, you must know how they take place and how to perform them. Just as many dance choreographers were once dancers, many stunt coordinators were once performers.

What Does the Stunt Coordinator Do?

The roles and responsibilities of the stunt coordinator vary on set depending on the intricacies of the stunts to take place.

Their main role is to coordinate the stunts that are required in order to achieve the desired outcomes. Much of this coordination revolves around casting the appropriate stuntmen and women for the job.

Stunt coordinators know exactly “who” they’re looking for to perform a stunt before the cast members for the position. They typically cast on appearance.

For Example

The stunt coordinator might go into the stunt coordination thinking, “I need to cast an Asian woman that is 5’8” with a small build.” In doing so, they begin their casting specifically in search of someone who fits the visual appearance of what they need.

But, appearances aren’t everything! Stunt coordinators are looking for stunt performers to act, and perform the desired scenes. So not only do they need an “Asian” that fits the bill.

They need someone that is capable of performing the training and subsequent choreography that they deliver in order to achieve the stunt.

With Production

When they’re not choreographing stunts, stunt coordinators can be found interacting with other members of the production crew to help everyone understand how the stunt will take place and what their role is during the production of the stunt.

They work with hair, makeup, and wardrobe to ensure safety of the stuntman when implementing the stunt and filming the scene. 

Outside of that, the stunt coordinator consults with others in order to actively engage in the coordination, choreography, and consistent delivery of amazingly organized stunts that wow the audience without risking harm to the cast.

It’s an incredibly busy and demanding job, but as an ex-stunt performer, most stunt coordinators couldn’t imagine doing anything else!

Want to learn even more? Check out this interview with stunt coordinator America Young done by CineD!