Remember Our Soldiers
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Mrs. Portulaca Purpilopilis
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1. Can you explain to young people just what a professional
stunt person is?
It is someone who does the dangerous actions in movies and television shows for the actor.The stunt person usually wears the actor's wardrobe and is made to look like like the actor as much as possible so everyone thinks it is the actor doing the dangerous stunts.
2. What is the best part of your job?
I'd say the best part of my job is to be able to express myself through action and movement. It is also a great feeling to be able to keep the actors safe.
3. What would you say is the most dangerous stunt you've performed? Do you get scared at all about doing some of the stunts?Ever gotten hurt?
The most dangerous stunt I have done was for a commercial. Another stunt woman and I had to barrel roll underneath jackknifed semi-truck that was going 30 mph! The semi-truck driver practiced many times and was within 3" of his mark every time. Once the stunt coordinator was very confident the driver would hit his mark, we set up and did the stunt.I get nervous a lot because I want to make sure I do a good job! I recently did a Ford commercial where I was on a wire and had to jump down 18' to a news stand, then 13' to the ground. That was dangerous but I had an amazing team of riggers behind me that made my job really fun and comfortable. As for injuries, I have been lucky so far and have not sustained any major injuries. I get bruised, scratched and cut on a lot of jobs but nothing a band aid can't take care of.I usually don't get scared.
4. Can you explain how you do a fall from a building?
When doing a high fall it is important to progress slowly. It is very dangerous so we start off at a lower height and then as we practice and get better at it we go higher. We jump into what is called an air-bag. It is a big mat full with air that you can fall safely into. It is important to land flat on you back with you arms and legs spread wide so you can disperse you energy throughout your entire body.
5. What are the necessary skills/degrees needed to become a
It is important to know your body and it's abilities. The more skills you have the better because the more well rounded the stunt person is, the more valuable they are to production, and the more likely you are to get a job. Important but not completely necessary skills include: gymnastics, martial arts, overall athleticism, and advanced driving skills.You also need acting skills so you can move and react in the same way as the actor for which you are doubling. Mechanics, math, physics,and people skills are also important.
6. Any suggestions for young people who might be interested in your career?
When you watch movies pay attention to the action and how the stunt performers do their job. Each time you see action (even if it's a little bit) take notice. It would be good to get involved in gymnastics, martial arts and athletics in general.
7. Describe a typical day at your job.
Every job is different and exciting so it would be hard to describe a typical day. One day you could be falling off a 10 story building and the next day you are getting hit by a car. The cool thing is that your jobs are always changing. There is a lot of downtime while on set so it is better to be surrounded by fun and good people. I hang out and chat a lot with the other stunt people, crew, etc. If we need to rehearse a fight or something we do that as well. Stunt people also help safety one another a lot. We also spend a lot of time going back and forth to the food area!
8. What got you interested in your career choice?
The way it all came about was through one of my gymnastics teammates from college. She moved to LA to pursue stunts and acting and convinced me to move to LA and give it a try. That is exactly what I did.
9. Anything else you'd like to share with young people
about your career?
You can see me in action for an Incredible Edible Egg commercial.It was one of the best times I've had. Although they didn't use a lot of the footage, we were up on a downtown Los Angeles rooftop all day doing a variety of stunts and having a great time.I did a front flip off a rooftop that was 9'high then rode a ladder down to some mats. I jumped a 10' gap from building to building. I did a long vault over an air-conditioner. I jumped off a window sill to a bar and did a back flip off of it. I did a 20' back fall off a building. It was an amazing and fun day...and, remember-don't try this at home!