BAA guide to becoming a stunt performer in the UK

Some of the most frequently asked questions we get here at the British Action Academy is how to become a stunt performer and what is the Stunt Register. So we thought we would try to clear up any confusion about the register with this article.

You may also have heard of JISC Stunt Register (Joint Industry Stunt Committee), and don’t really know why this disbanded and what the options now. 

To date, there is still some confusion surrounding the new British Stunt Register, and what it actually is. In simple terms, the register is a directory of working stunt performers and coordinators.

The JISC Stunt Register was the definitive directory of stunt performers and stunt co-ordinators in the UK and had been operating since 1973. It originally started as the Equity Stunt Register, but later became the JISC Stunt Register.

The JISC Stunt Register was governed by Equity, ITV, PACT, BBC and JIGS. Heads of these governing bodies sat on committees along with elected stunt representatives from the stunt register and their task was to improve and regulate the register. 

Unfortunately, over the years, disagreements between elected stunt professionals on the committees and the governing bodies came to a head in 2017 and Equity and PACT decided to remove their representation of the JISC. The JISC was then disbanded as all other governing bodies followed suit and removed their association with the JISC.

Many members of the stunt register saw this as an opportunity to take control of their register and to finally represent themselves and to that effect, in late 2017, a few senior members of the ex-JISC decided to form a new British Stunt Register and 'go it alone'. Currently, the newly formed British Stunt Register has over 300 members, many from the ex-JISC and many new stunt performers. 

There are, however, many ex-JISC members who have not joined this new register and feel strongly that it will be an impossible task to govern themselves. They believe that the new Stunt Register is not what they joined previously and are carrying on working in the stunt industry without joining this association.  

The short answer to that question is no. There is no legal requirement to join any stunt association in the UK.

Of course, we would recommend that every budding stunt performer thoroughly researches the British Stunt Register to make an informed decision based on their own wants, needs, and circumstances.

From our stance, it can’t be denied that being a member of The British Stunt Register may help you with networking in the industry, and possible progression of your career. Of course, there are never any guarantees and gaining access onto the British Stunt Register does not guarantee you work. 

By nature of being an elite group, joining the British Stunt Register is no easy task. You can't just pay to join and neither can you automatically join if you are a stunt performer in another country.

1. Time

You must meet an exceptionally high sporting standard in a range of categories and skills and as such, it can take as long as 5-6 years to train for the British Stunt Register. 

2. Physicality 

Currently, the British Stunt Register has the toughest physical entry requirements of any stunt industry in the world. The sporting requirements are on par with becoming a professional athlete and many people fail to meet the grueling physical standard. 

3. Money

Training for the register is not cheap. It will cost thousands and thousands of pounds. You must be able to pay for coaching sessions, clubs, training courses and equipment.  There are no loans or government funding available, you will have to pay for the training yourself.  

4. Dedication 

Training for the Stunt Register requires the dedication of a professional athlete. After all, that is the level of physicality you are expected to achieve to become a member. You must dedicate your life to your training and possess a determined mindset. You must train almost every day and that can be hard if you're balancing a full time job to fund your training. 

5. No guarantees

Training for and joining the stunt register or indeed getting into the stunt industry any other way does not guarantee work or success. The screen action industry is incredibly competitive and elite so you need to be prepared for knockbacks, rejection, physical training injuries and being determined to promote yourself. However, if you've got a talent for physical performance, have a dedicated mindset and are full of perseverance, you could have a successful career. 

At the British Action Academy, we train hundreds of aspiring stunt performers from all over the world from LA to as far-flung as Japan and Australia. From BAFTA-winning performers to SAG award-winning stunt co-ordinators.

In the last 2-3 years, we have trained over 75% of the new intake of the British Stunt Register and trained over 100 members of the existing JISC Stunt Register. 

Our courses have been designed and are taught by some of the UK's leading stunt co-ordinators and performers, who believe in training the next generation of performers in a safe environment. Our courses introduce you to the performance elements you'll need to become a safe and competent stunt performer, whichever route you wish to take.  

If you decide you want to train for the British Stunt Register, the skills you need to learn are not stunt related and are not performance-based skills. They are a range of sports such as high diving, swimming, horse riding etc, which are important to prove your physical adaptability but they do not teach you how to perform stunts and work with and safety test a wide range of stunt equipment which you will come in contact with during your career. 

All our courses have important elements for the career of a stunt performer and are designed to give you hands-on practical training in the most important skills needed for a career in on the silver screen,.

Whether you're new to the industry or an established stunt performer, we guarantee you will learn a huge amount throughout our courses, not just in performance skills but also about yourself! 

If you've decided you want to train for the British Stunt Register, you will need to download the training rules. Please contact us and we can send them to you, along with being able to help you with training advice and any questions you may have. we would also advise you to budget in attending our B.L.A.S.T stunt course, which will teach you the essential stunt skills needed to become a successful stunt performer. 

If you've decided that you don't want to train for the British Stunt Register but would like to become a stunt performer, you can start off attending our B.L.A.S.T stunt course, which will teach you the essential stunt skills needed to become a successful stunt performer.  

To be sucessful in the industry without training for the stunt register will require serious networking and getting known as a performer. It's not an easy route! however becoming a successful stunt performer whatever route you take is never easy. 

We hope we've managed to clear a few things up in this article. Don't forget we're here for help and advice at any stage of your training or career as a performer. Contact us if you need guidance or advice!

To learn more about the British Action Academy and the courses we provide, click HEREFor more information on becoming a stunt performer please check out our Careers Advice Guide, which can be purchased HERE.

Created by Sam M on 11 Oct 2018

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