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Working As A Stuntman In Thailand

Tuesday, 01 May 2007

I get quiet a few emails from Stuntmen, Actors and Martial Artists from around the world interested in coming to work as a stuntman in Thailand in the movies.

Though it does have some major advantages here like they make about 30 local movies a year, it is an emerging player on the world scene, working on the islands and beaches is fun, this is the new center of action movies for Asia, and the low cost of living here, if you can take advantage of the exchange rate.

There are some major disadvantages and difficulties too, more so if you are a stuntman... 

... first up is that most the people emailing me speak English as a second language, and no Thai at all.

This is a major difficulty for getting movie roles. Often casting calls are on the look out for fluent Thai speakers, or Native English speakers for any speaking roles, no use having someone talking English if nobody can understand him.

The US productions will only take speaking actors with US accents, the local movies prefer US accents but Native English speakers are fine (Canada, English, Australian, New Zealand)

Stuntmen who do not talk are a dime a dozen here - they can use local stuntmen who are cheaper and often as talented - plus they will take unbelievable safety risks that would never be allowed in the West.

Unbelievable safety risks and NO INSURANCE, if you are lucky the Production House will pay for your hospital bill but they do not have to. Ambulance is a taxi fare with a tip for the driver to clean up the blood. Still want to be a stuntman in Thailand?

Add in the difficulty factors of heat, food, generally living in a 3rd world country and it can get a bit too much.

Also in a movie you are often only required for 2 or 3 days, coupled with the low stunt pay ($30 to $200/day pay) in Thailand  this makes surviving here very difficult unless you have a business or income back home to draw upon - an Internet income is ideal.

Having said that there are opportunities here to get into movies, but you better be a world champion or very close and you will need the funds to come and live here for a period of 2 years to get setup, meet people, work the rounds at the entry level and learn to speak Thai somewhat, and become fluent in English if you aren't already.

After that you can get the chance to work more often in bigger parts, but it is a lot of work to get in. It would be easier to get into the movie industry in your own country if you are that good though.

Most the stuntmen who stay here stay because they like living here, not because of the work as they can work anywhere but it is a lifestyle choice to live in Asia, or in this case Thailand..

For me, as an Australian, we do not have a film industry to speak of and certainly very few opportunities for someone of my size, so for me this serves as a stepping stone to the US markets. Plus I fill a very good niche in the market here.

In short if you want to become a Stuntman in Thailand or Asia then it is not an easy process, you will have language difficulties, food difficulties, pay difficulties and you will be up against some of the best Stuntmen in the world (guys ex-Hong Kong, ex-Jackie Chan stunt team).

But like anything in life if you really want it it is possible but there is no easy way, I cannot give you or even recommend you for a movie role if I have never worked with you, and definitely not if you are not in the country.

Later when you become known you can skip the auditions and meetings but until then you are required to be here and on call at all times until you get that first stunt, then some acting (stunt-actor) then possibly movie up to a full actor with your own role.

If you really want it go for it! If you sort of just wish you were a movie star better to stay home and work out what really gets you excited in life then chase that 100%.

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