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Next Level Guy

Nov 19, 2021

Today’s guest is stuntman, Stunt Coordinator & 2nd Unit Director Eric Linden. He is known for his stunt work on some of the biggest blockbuster films and TV shows, such as Black Adam, The Punisher, The Suicide Squad & Red Notice.

In this interview, we discuss:  

  • Stunt work.
  • Building a body of work.
  • Leveling up your skills.
  • How to overcome fear for when you need to jump out of windows or set yourself on fire!
  • His advice for those who want to enter the industry.
  • And so much more.

Please note that this was recorded while Eric was traveling, and there are a couple of places where the audio goes, but hopefully these are few and far between after some editing. 

Here are some key points that I would advise you to concentrate on

  • It is never too late to try a new career path, if it is a dream, go for it! You can always come back to where you are now. Be like Eric and go for what you want in life. 
  • We are at a time when the answer to a lot of our questions are online, and with social media, the people you need to connect with can be reached, the world is a smaller place now. If you really want to go for something ... do it! 
  • Eric felt the fear during his first stunt, but he 'faked it till he made it'. You will always feel the fear, it never goes away, but top performers will use the fear as a method of motivation, to prep them for performing, rather than something that needs you to be scared of. 
  • Eric was inspired by particular media - who are you motivated by? Who can you act like, what characteristics of the top performers you are inspired by, can you adopt into your life to level up your success? 
  • What Eric thinks you should focus on if you are wanting to get into the entertainment industry. 
  • You can never know too much, learn for the sake of developing yourself, learn to have fun, to become better, and learn to keep your brain active as you age. "The more skills you can string together, the more valuable you will be". 
  • Try and work on your skills as you go, to have fun, and to keep on top of your abilities, rather than needing time to bring your skills up to date. If you are into gymnastics, be the person, having fun flipping and tumbling etc and enjoying yourself. When you are pretty much ready to go all year around, you won't miss out on opportunities as they come up suddenly! 
  • Eric explains how to market yourself for work opportunities. We are in a world where there are always companies looking for people to offer experience if you volunteer, or help out. There are mobile phones you can use with amazing video cameras which you can use to record your abilities in great quality and upload to social media and get views from the right people. Don't think you can't do something as you need to have professional head shots etc, when you can use the resources you have now to start to break into the industry you are chasing. 
  • The world is changing, especially since COVID - think outside the box! What can you do differently? Just because something has always been one way doesn't mean it needs to be that way. Look at things deeply, what can you do with your skills and experience and how can you make an opportunity for yourself rather than waiting for others, take the initiative! 
  • Being creative, and being able to put forward ideas, and being fluid enough to suggest revisions to plans of stunts, fights etc, and change as you go is a key skill for stunt people, when they are planning out particular scenes. How can you build your creativity on a daily basis? You can use you creativity to look for better ways of doing things, for ways to improve, simplify, level up etc, and it is a great skill to have, to be creative. And it is a must sought after skill in employees, or someone building their own business. Creativity can be built with mind games apps, drawing, art classes and so much more. 
  • We all have the same amount of time in a day. Top performers will cut out TV time, and other wasted time, and use it to research their art, level up their skills, and become better. Stop wasting time, do your research and level up and you can become like Eric and live your dreams! 
  • You can never be too prepared! Accidents and injuries will happen, but by being prepared, your skills up to date, and focused on the action required, you minimize the potential of getting hurt. Look at the recovery methods Eric uses, what recovery options can you use to keep your body and mind at the top level so you can keep fit and heal in case you are unlucky enough to get injured. 
  • What Eric sees as a similarity in the top performers he works with. 
  • As they say in BJJ, you are only as good as your last roll. Eric is proudest of his last role and then goes to the next one and makes it as good as he possibly can do. Don't rest on your laurels, or past experiences or wins, always be looking to the future and what you can do and get to do, rather than be stuck on what you have done and forget to live! 
  • What Eric recommends you should do if you want to break into the film or stunt industry. 
  • What he wants you to take from this interview. 
  • How you can keep in touch with him.