Feet safely back on terra firma, today's lessons are ready to begin. One half of the group is sent to do jerk backs, whilst the other half learn about airbag safety. The jerk back is an example of an explosive power stunt. The idea is that the performer should look like they’ve just been hit by an explosion or a super-powered punch. The students, one by one, get harnessed up, the harness is attached to a pully system with two guys holding the other end standing on a scissor lift.
When action is called, the guys jump off the lift which pulls the harnessed student up into the air and backwards, where they are caught by a set of crash mats. Just add some visual effects and it will look as if they’ve been caught in the blast on an explosion and thrown across the room. The other group are learning how to safely set up an airbag.
Andreas tells the students about a film he saw when he was young, Hooper. The film starred Burt Reynolds as a Hollywood stuntman. He would drive onto the set, get out of his car, jump off something, get back into his car, and drive off. Andreas saw this as a child and thought “Great, that’s the life for me.” The reality is quite different.
On set, you are responsible for your own safety. Yes, you have to have trust in those around you, but at the end of the day, you need to know what you are doing and ask the right questions so that you are sure that you can perform the stunt safely. The group learn how to set up a crash bag, check that it’s safe, and then learn how to dismantle it. Not the most exciting activity of the day, but one of the most essential lessons they will learn on the course.