Posts tagged stunts

Dream The Impossible Dream! Innovation = Success

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If you ‘think’ your dream is impossible, think again!  It’s truly up to YOU whether you succeed or fail with your desired results!  And often, it is innovation (thinking outside the ‘box’), that can be your best friend!

I was in Toronto, Canada on a film called “The Long Kiss Goodnight.” I was the stunt double for the lead actress, Geena Davis, and we were filming five months of mostly nights…in one of the worst winters Toronto had seen. Of course Geena had to look good for camera, and her wardrobe was designed for looks and not practicality for the weather. And of course, I, as her stunt double…needed to figure out how to appear like ‘Superwoman,’ even though I was feeling like a ‘Do-Do bird’ as I put that wardrobe on and stepped outside.

I immediately began slipping all over the place in the snow and ice, in the thin-soled, high-heeled designer boots (two and a half sizes too big!)…while trying to balance myself with a 30lb rifle in one hand, and 20lbs of ice skates slung over my shoulder! Thinking of the high action stunts that I needed to do the next day in the snow and ice, I was horrified and my heart caught in my throat. I was an athlete…not a magician! Yet…what could I do? The wardrobe group offered no solution to the problem. They said that there certainly was nothing they could do by the next morning!

Well…I thought about it for a while, and after work, set off to a cobbler shop in one of the underground malls. There…I purchased similar looking boots in my size, and then convinced a cobbler to install sharp golf cleats on the bottom of the soles. On the set the next day, no one knew or cared about what I had done with the shoes…all they cared about, was that I could do what was asked of me…without looking like a duck on ice! You just got to love innovation!”

 Bottom Line:

 Identify desired result

Acknowledge obstacle

Use resources at hand to eliminate obstacle

Achieve success

 

 

 

 

 

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Dana Hee on Leadership and Success

Dana Hee being interviewed about Success and Leadership by NAVALLO, a site that features interviews with the worlds most successful people

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Here are the questions and Dana’s response

1. How do you define success?
Happiness in each and every moment that is good, as well as tolerance and acceptance of those bad things that you have no control over.

2. What is the key to success?
For me, being “present” or “in the moment” as much as possible. Also, persistent education about the world around me, combined with open mindedness that I may not always be right.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
No. For the first 23 years of my life I felt like a complete failure, and I had very little self confidence or self-esteem. I was so afraid of failure that I was too afraid to accept a challenge, too afraid to take a risk, and too afraid to even try.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
The knowledge that the thrill of victory is worth the possible agony of defeat. I know, because the first 23 years I felt like a failure for being too afraid to even try. Fortunately, I learned that there are consequences for our actions, and especially our in-actions. Sure, there is often a price to pay for victory, but the cost of not rising to the challenges in life are far greater. Victory is here, and then gone, yet the pride and satisfaction to have the courage to go for what you want? That lasts a lifetime!

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
To be humble in my greatness, to be accepting of my weaknesses, to be happy with this life I have been given, and to be proud of even the smallest step with courage.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love riding horses, living a simple farm life with my animals, and I love any opportunity to interact with others in the interest of helping to elevate the human spirit and show others just how much is truly possible.

7. What makes a great leader?
Passion, compassion, and interaction along with the ability to help others build their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Innovation is key, yet do not forget to always be growing your area of knowledge and expertise to stay ahead of the curve. Additionally, global education and interaction is critical, regardless of whether you interact outside your country or not.

Interview from http://www.novallo.net   NAVALLO, a site that features interviews with the worlds most successful people  http://www.navallo.net/dana-hee

Success and Leadership

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Fighting Fear With Courage! A Stuntwoman’s perspective on performing death defying stunts!


Sometimes it’s important to remind yourself where you started out in life…and where you are now. I was looking through some old stories that I wrote for magazines and such…and came across one from back when I first started out in Hollywood. My words from years ago help to re-generate my soul from time to time. Perhaps you can find your own cool stories to remember!

A Brave New World
“I still recall that day on the set of the Natassja Kinski film, “Bella Mafia,” as if it were yesterday.
It was the day I did my first car hit in my career as a Hollywood Stuntwoman. I remember standing on the paved road in my yellow sundress and strap sandals with the sun warming my back, and glinting off the metallic silver bumper of the car rapidly closing in on me.

It approached much faster than what I had envisioned it would. There was a moment of extreme panic and fear, and I felt like bolting from its path. Then, the fear was replaced by the sudden rush of adrenaline that surged like a locomotive through my body. Steeling myself to focus on what had to happen next, I bent my knees in anticipation of the slight thrust upwards I would make on contact.

As the bumper caught me and lifted me into the air, the ‘whack’ of my body slamming against the hood resonated in my ears for a moment before being swallowed by an intense silence, as I was spit up and over the top of the car. There was a surprising and disorienting sense of peace as I spun through the air, catching glimpses of blue, then brown…before landing with a resounding thud on the side of the road.”
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You know, you’ve really have to wonder about the Mario Andretti’s of this world! And, likewise, all of the skydiving, bull riding, bungee jumping extreme-adrenaline freaks!! Why do they do what they do? Why would anyone purposely put themselves in harms way? I wonder if it’s for the same reason I’ve been doing just that for the last sixteen years.

From competing in full-contact fighting in the Olympic Games, to performing dangerous and debilitating stunts for Hollywood films, I’ve evan had moments where I’ve thought that I must be insane.

What compels me to place myself in front of an oncoming car, or allow someone to jerk me thirty feet through the air and slam me into the nose of an airplane?

Hmmm….perhaps it’s because I’ve wanted to forget about the painful scars of my childhood…the years of life in an orphanage, with alcoholic, suicidal, abusive family members, on the streets, in halfway houses, a government shelter, and a foster home.

Maybe it’s been an effort to strip myself of my negative self-image, and cloak myself in the resulting praise and admiration of my peers. What I do know, without a doubt, is that I have been driven by the need to face my fears head on.

I guess if I had come into the world feet first, I wouldn’t have felt so compelled to challenge my fate, as I would’ve been able to hit the ground running.

As it was, my rocky start in life did nothing to ensure that I would be able to hold my head high in society. Indeed, I was handicapped with a huge lack of self-esteem and confidence.

Luckily for me though, I was too hardheaded to accept defeat with humility and grace. So after years of struggling against the force of the whirlpool trying to pull me down, I forced my head up out of the water, and struck out swimming.

You know, it’s amazing what one can accomplish with a spark of hope and a lot of determination.

When I finally took hold of my life I was actually able to make my dreams of Olympics, Hollywood, and life come true.

I guess it’s a tribute to the strength and courage of mankind that someone like myself was able to rise from the ashes, and hover in the clouds. Then again, maybe it has nothing to do with strength or courage.

Personally, I feel my successes in life have much more to do with fear…fear that I’m not good enough, fear of pain and humiliation, fear of the unknown, and most of all, fear of failure.

For me, it was fortunate that I finally recognized that, ‘that’ was what was holding me back in life. It is equally fortunate that I felt a burning need to change that. The fact that I chose to face and conquer my fears is commendable. The fact that I chose to face fear with more fear, is nuts! Or is it?

From stair falls, to car hits, that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I get when I face fear, and pull off a death-defying stunt makes me feel good about myself.

It reinforces the fact that it is possible to put my fears aside, if only for a time, and accomplish what I set out to do.

It’s a very empowering feeling! And it’s a recipe for success I’ve used many times now.

I wonder…. perhaps that is what drives the Mario Andretti’s of this world, this fear factor, and the need to face it…perhaps not.

All I know, is that when the paramedics are rushing me to the hospital after yet another near-death encounter, and are shaking their heads saying, “Why in the world would anyone do such crazy work!” I smile to myself, because I know the answer to that question.

Call me crazy if you want, but I have learned to fight fear, with fear. Instead of cowing away from the challenges and trials of life, I meet them head on, or upside down, or in front of a car. I now know that the only thing worse than failure is being too afraid to even try. Now, when someone asks me to jump, I say, “how high?”

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Imagine yourself walking on a very high tight-wire with your packed suitcase in one hand, and a martini in the other. A Stuntwoman’s perspective.


“FACING FEAR WITH FEAR!”

an excerpt from Dana’s life as a Stuntwoman in Hollywood…

“I can’t believe I’m about to do this!” This thought flashes through my brain as I lean forward to place tension on the thin cable attached to the jerk vest hidden beneath my baggy clothing. I slow my breathing down. The tension mounts around me, and the acrid stench of the torches burns into my throat. I can almost feel the simulated, nighttime darkness envelope me in its shroud.

You see, I am a stunt double for an actress; and I’m about to be shot with a flamethrower device and knocked backwards through the air, and down into a gully, as several bombs explode. I see everyone scurrying around me, and I feel like the calm in the center of a storm. The special effects guy double checks the fire squib he has placed on my stomach. My ratchet man is talking with me about my starting mark and my arm placement. The hair lady makes a final adjustment to my hair, as the bomb ‘squad,’ adjusts the propane bombs and debris cones that are on both sides to the front of me.

My boss asks if I am ready. I give a nod and a thumbs up sign. All of a sudden everybody scatters and disappears into the darkness. All is quiet. I keep the tension on the line and close my eyes as I hear the effects team say, “The bombs are going hot!” From my cocoon of darkness I hear the shout on the megaphone, “Cameras Rolling!” “Speed!” “And on three. One….two….THREE!” Simultaneously I feel the blast of heat, and I am jerked backwards and up.

My eyes open and I see smoke, then darkness. I feel like I am swimming in the air. I fly backwards, 10ft…. 20ft… Hmmm, I seem to be traveling further than I did in the rehearsals. I should be free falling backward to the pads by now! Then I drop. And just as the thought dawns on me that I’m going to miss the pads, I feel a mighty “THWACK” to my head, and all goes black.

Ahhh….the life of a Hollywood stuntwoman! Ok, call me crazy, but I’m perfectly happy to be flying through the air, jumping through burning windows and slamming myself into walls. Well…maybe I’m a little happier when there is no pain or headache involved, but still, I’m definitely hooked on this wild roller coaster of a career!

Now, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Why in the world would anyone choose such a hazardous career?” Well, have you ever wanted something so badly that you didn’t even try to accomplish it, because you were afraid you would find you couldn’t do it? I call it a fear of failure.

That was the story of my life; that is, until I learned to defeat my fears by facing up to the challenges of my mind. I came from a background of sexual abuse, abandonment, and the ravages created by suicidal, and alcoholic parents and relatives.

I had no self-confidence or self-esteem. What I did have, was a bad habit of thinking, “I can’t,” along with a petrifying fear of disappointment, anger, hurt, and humiliation. As a result, I would typically run from any challenge of the mind, body, or soul. I was my own worst enemy when it came to succeeding with something, and I was sick of it!

So when that first call came for me to double the villainess on the film Under Cover Blues down in Lafayette, Louisiana. I jumped at the chance. When the fear of those first few stunts started to get in the way, I pushed them ruthlessly aside and did what I had to do.

Afterwards, when I realized that I had completed the stunt successfully – even though my brain had been saying I couldn’t – I was enveloped in a euphoric, “walking on clouds” feeling of accomplishment.

At last, I had discovered a good battleground where I could focus on conquering my fears, and I was determined to win! So off I went to Hollywood.

Leaving behind my nine to five job in accounting, the Friday night parties, and Monday night football on the couch with my man, life, I jumped into my new career, and learned to face my fears on a daily basis.

As my experience and skills expanded, the jobs kept coming….Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Demolition Man, Lethal Weapon 4, Charlie’s Angels, Swordfish, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Independence Day, plus an ongoing list of television shows like Star Trek Voyager, The Pretender, VIP, and the X-Files.

Never would I have dreamed of being able to do the stunts I did with helicopters, jeep chases, jet ski-boat transfers, stair falls, saddle falls, jumps from buildings-through glass-over fences, hydraulic ratchets into walls – the ground- into other people. I would have never dared to be hit by a car wearing nothing but a sundress and sandals (Bella Mafia).

As one film led to another, I was swept up into a whirlwind of movie stars, travel, money, and extraordinary adventure. I spent weeks working with actors like Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, and Mel Gibson. I hung out on the set with George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone, Charlie Sheen and Gwynneth Paltrow.

The productions flew me first class around the world to exotic locations to film. I galloped a horse in the sunset along the ancient cliffs and temples of Petra, Jordan (same local as Raiders of the Lost Ark). I fought in a hurricane in Wales, and then floated in a rickety boat down a mystical river in the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, Thailand (Mortal Kombat Annihilation).

There were side trips for shopping in London, museums in Paris, lounging on exotic beaches. And now, after a brief sojourn in Rome working with Cameron Diaz on Gangs of New York, I am on contract with a great new TV series called Alias. Although the glamour of this business can be fun, it can also be overwhelming.

To keep my sanity, I try to balance my perspective of what is important, and what is real. (Imagine yourself walking on a very high tight-wire with your packed suitcase in one hand, and a martini in the other, and you’ll get an idea of how difficult this can be.)

Beneath the glitz and the glamour, I have found the real counter-balance in this rocky career is the underlying magnet of satisfaction and self-accomplishment.

After a lifetime of dealing with issues from my extremely difficult childhood, I welcome the challenges of this career. They have helped me balance and conquer those old feelings of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and my fear of failure. (Not that I would recommend all people suffering from childhood trauma jump from buildings or launch themselves 20 feet through the air by stepping on a seriously dangerous mechanical device called an air ram)!

And now, after ten years, thousands of stunts, hundreds of movies, over 2,520 days of pain (excluding the five hospital trips and numerous doctor visits for burns, stitches, pulls, breaks, and concussions), I can honestly say that I still enjoy the challenges of my work.

Sure there are times when I long for that nine to five, football night, bruise-free life. But when I’m sixty feet up on a huge 360 degree rotating shipping crane, about to start a big fight on a contraption consisting of a forklift, a motorcycle, and a car sandwiched together (Barbwire), I realize that, once again, I am conquering that debilitating fear I felt growing up
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You see I know that the only thing worse than failing is to let fear keep you from succeeding at what you want to do.

Hey, call me crazy if you want, but now, instead of running from a challenge, when I’m asked to jump, I say, “how high?”

copyright dana hee August 2001

http://www.GreatThingsArePossible.com

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USING THE POWER WITHIN TO GET WHAT YOU WANT!


USING THE POWER WITHIN
Part One

DEVELOP THE POWER OF YOUR MIND TO CREATE THAT WHICH YOU DESIRE!

The power of the mind is incredible! Just imagine what you can do if you learn to strengthen it! You CAN!

I believe that we all possess an internal energy force…or ‘chi,’ And it’s been my experience many, many times, that I can use that internal power to create an external, or physical manifestation of what I desire. What you truly believe…is what you get!

My first discovery of this was my Olympic gold medal win. I ‘believed’ I was good enough, strong enough, fast enough. I believed I was the better fighter! Since then I have used it over and over again. Let me explain…

For example, when I worked full-time in the film business in Los Angeles, I used it all the time. When we work, doing stunts on films, it requires a tremendous amount of energy. There are often long hours, little sleep, physical and mental demands. And of course the job requires constant awareness of what is going on around you.

When I work, I want to make sure that my actress is safe. I want to help my boss and comrades with whatever needs to be done, without being told. I’m constantly watching everything going on to ensure that I’m not needed in some capacity, and to ensure others safety.

The bottom line, is that you end up giving 100% energy 24/7! It’s like being on a constant adrenaline high. Sometimes we work for a day, a week, three weeks, and I’ve worked films that were 3, 4, and 6 months long! So when I come off of a film, I have discovered that there are often times where my energy level crashes after that constant adrenaline charge.

At first I used to fret about this, but I finally figured out, that it’s OK to let myself unwind…sleep… ‘veg out’…and do what I have to do to recharge my internal energy force.

Now the tricky thing about our business is that there are always 10 people and more waiting in line to take YOUR job. There’s a lot of talent…and often, not enough work to go around. And we get hired, generally through a simple phone call, asking if we are ‘available.’ If we miss that call, if we don’t return the call immediately, our boss moves on to the next person in line and calls them. You LOSE!

And the thing is…if you get calls, and start turning down the work, you are often crossed off their list, since it appears that you don’t want the job bad enough…when there are others starving for work! And if you turn down work for ‘them’…they will often discourage their buddies from calling you also!

And the more you DO work, the more you are show-casing your skills and professionalism, and the more you are in the fore-front of people’s minds. “Hey…you need a tall, thin blond? I just worked with Dana on XYZ. Why don’t you call her!”

Needless to say, in the film business, we become seriously attached to our phones and we become neurotic about NOT TURNING DOWN A JOB!

Only…we all need a break from time to time, to recharge our energy. What do you do? In my case, I learned to use the power of my mind, my internal energy, to create an external manifestation of what I wanted.

I discovered, that when I set my mind to the thinking of “Time-out!” “I need a break!” that phone would stop ringing. And when I switched my thoughts to “Ok…I’m ready to go!” “I’m going to get a phone call!” That phone would start ringing again.

This was not something ‘random.’ Once I got it down, it worked for me the entire time I was doing stunts full-time, for over 12 years! And I could go ‘play’ up in the mountain at my cabin for THREE WEEKS, and the day or so that I switched that power switch to the ‘ON’ position…I would get that next phone call! Bizarre? I don’t think so.

Yet the trick to this that I discovered through trial and error is, (#1) That you need to build up the power of your mind through training, just like an athlete does to prepare for a competition. And (#2), you have to truly BELIEVE in what you want to happen. When I ‘want’ something, but don’t believe it 100%, it doesn’t happen!

Imagine this…that the universe is made up of trillions of ‘molecules’ of energy. Everything you could possibly imagine exists within those cells of energy. Now…what if you could just reach out, grab that energy, and use it to create whatever you desired? Wouldn’t we all be richer, stronger, and happier? You can. I proved it to myself, and I’d like for YOU to prove it to yourself. To get started, you can learn to develop and strengthen the power of your mind through meditation and visualization. In a little while, I’ll talk you through this and show you how!

Dana’s short video of car hits, and such on Block-Buster films! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4OtAPYAL3A

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