The Australian Stunt Academy is a professional training school for those who are serious about getting into the stunt business plus those who are just fascinated by it and would like to have a go, but not necessarily enter it as a profession.
The Academy is world recognised. Its purpose-built facility on the Gold Coast has a high fall tower, abseil wall, horse arena, motorcycle track, commando-style obstacle course and movie set locations. The Academy is the official trainer for Japan's Universal Studios Stunt Academy and attracts students from around the world.
The stunt industry works a little differently in each country, with different entry requirements, procedures and promotional methods. The Australian Stunt Academy can discuss the ins and outs of breaking into the profession in all major movie-making countries. In Australia, stunt grading is required by the MEAA (part of the Theatrical Workers Union) before being permitted to work on union movies and television shows.
For those people there are short courses which are run over weekends. There are four or five modules, each containing several elements of skill in motorcycling manoeuvring, slides, jumps and stops.
Short Course Level One includes Stage Combat 1 motorcycling, abseil/rappelling, tumbling and wirework. Level Two includes Stage Combat 2 driving, mini tramp and advanced motorcycling. Level Three includes weapons fights, fire burns, car hits, stair falls and high falls.
Three-week intensive training courses are for those who are keen to be part of the specialised stunt industry. The weeks are made up of intensive training courses, tailored stunt seminars, advanced regular training and international stunt seminars with an emphasis on the most common stunts found in film and television production and live action shows.
The highly-skilled and experienced professionals at the Academy have credits under their belts from blockbuster films such as The Matrix>, Thin Red Line, Mission Impossible and television shows including Moby Dick, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth and Lost World. Some of the tutors are world-class athletes, motorcyclists, gymnasts, high divers, racing drivers or from other areas requiring much concentration and expertise. They are all keen to pass on their knowledge and keep their industry professional and incident-free.
The three-week course is run over 100 hours from Monday to Friday. The theory and practical elements of the profession are given as much importance as the actual physical elements. Important subjects such as on-set etiquette are covered and of course, safety.
There are regular weekly training sessions at Southport pool on the Gold Coast each Thursday from 6.30 to 8.30pm. Activities include tumbling, mini tramp, trampoline and martial arts.