So my first week in Vancouver was a bit of a blur. The day I arrived was the first day of a massive annual parkour event called PKBC. For three days almost 100 traceurs (people who practice parkour) trained inside the Origins gym, out in Squamish through the rocks and boulders and all over downtown Vancouver. Being more of a veteran to these sorts of events, I paced myself over the 15 hours of training. True to form, all of the young’ins busted out their big tricks the first night, giving into their excitement and devouring the adrenaline filled vibe of the group. Rookies. Though I was sore and stiff every morning, I completed the weekend without incurring any injuries. Yay me! First time for everything.
I settled into my room in the beautiful part of Vancouver called Kitsilano. I am renting from a lovely couple who have an adorable dog and a full supply of delicious coffee / tea. I do not consider myself a coffee snob, to be perfectly honest I do not like the taste of coffee. And yet, I tend to drink copious amounts of it and I seek the premium stuff. No Starbuck’s for me if I can help it. There are tons of independent coffee shops in my area so I have tried to find my favourite spot. No luck yet but I will keep searching.
Speaking of coffee, the main part of breaking onto the stunt scene is to network with current professionals. I have been fortunate enough to have been given a few contacts to meet up with over coffee (lots and lots of coffee). They had invaluable advice to give:
- the gyms / facilities to train at where stunt doubles themselves train (to get noticed, further network)
- signing with a background agency to get on set
- building a stunt resume
- the basic outline of a demo reel
- various methods of getting your information in the hands of a stunt coordinator
- the creepy guys to avoid taking stunt courses from
- NOT to sleep with any stunt doubles or coordinators (deemed professional suicide if it goes badly… or well)
- BE PERSISTANT!
The biggest piece of information they gave me was the potential timeline of breaking into the industry. Every single person I asked said that a minimum of 1-2 years should be expected to become a paid stunt performer. Two years! Yipes! I had only allotted 3 months. That was a kick to the proverbial junk. Everyone’s timeline and experience was different but it quickly became evident that getting one’s “big break” was going to take more sweat-equity than I had originally thought. They really make you put in your time, regardless of how talented you are.
So, one week into this pursuit and I’m already contingency planning. For now, I’m pushing ahead with training, networking and exploring my potential new home. When in doubt, sweat it out…literally. I’m going out for a run.