Like I was going to let an opportunity like this slip away! Fortunately it was the summer and I didn’t have a summer job. Instead I chose to leave my summer open for any auditions that might have come along. Fortunately for me I did! But even if I had a job, I would’ve called in sick for the chance to meet Jackie Chan!
“Of course!” I quickly responded.
We stepped into his office and spoke a little more about the stunt industry, the work Master Chang had done before, which was quite extensive, and he gave me the address.
“Show up early, don’t be late.”
I drove home that day in a state of utter bliss. This was IT! This was MY CHANCE! I recounted all that had happened to my family who listened eagerly. I barely slept that night cause I was so excited. Finally, the alarm went off and went to the address Master Chang had given me.
The place was in a studio space near the Docks night club in Toronto, so I was familiar with the area. When I got there, there was a black guy outside sitting on the step. He introduced himself as Curtis. I later found out that this was none other than Curtis Hibbert former Olympic Gymnast! I found out he owned his own gymnastics gym and had been getting into stunts within the last several years. At any rate the door was locked and nobody was there yet. Apparently we had shown up a little early!
After about fifteen minutes somebody came who greeted Curtis cordially, I assumed they knew each other from before. He opened up, and we headed in. The studio was AWESOME. There was a sitting area at one end of the studio with couches, tables, and a small kitchen! At the other end was a huge white wall that ran to the ceiling which must’ve been at least twenty feet high! Master Chang came in a few minutes later after that and brought with him his other student JJ (the martial artist whose kicks were better than mine). We warmed up for a bit and immediately I could tell that his kicks were much nicer than my own…
I was nervous and excited; after all, this was my first time in a studio like this! It was HUGE and the wire set up looked intense. I was introduced to everyone there including the riggers, AD’s, and the stunt co-ordinator for Tuxedo, Bronco Racci – one of top stunt co-ordinators in Toronto. It wasn’t long before I was to put into a harness and put on the wire. It took a little while for me to get used to doing kicks with wires because it goes against every natural instinct you have when you kick. On a wire you don’t have to actually jump very hard cause the wire does all the work for you. Instead you want let the pullers lift you while you focus on adjusting your body for the kick! The harness itself fit quite snugly around the body limiting my range of motion a little – especially the parts that went around the groin! Tight fit! The hardest part about the wires was that it was a co-operative effort between the pullers and the performer. It took several tries before I got used to their pulls and they got used to my timing.
We rehearsed for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon until we were happy with what we had. JJ and I had rehearsed some kicks on the wires while Curtis had done a few things acrobatically like walking up the wall into an assisted back flip with the wires.
Bronco called us all in and said, “Okay, so meet back here tomorrow morning, same time and we’ll do this stuff for Jackie and his people.”
“…for Jackie and his people.” The words rang in my head for the entire drive home. HOLY CRAP!! I was not only going to be in the same room as Jackie Chan but doing some wire stuff for him too!! Holy smokes!! I could barely drive straight I was so excited!
The rest of the day passed slowly, I couldn’t wait until tomorrow. I went to bed and literally waited for my alarm to go off. I finally fell asleep and jumped out of bed just as the first beep of the alarm went off! Today was the day! A million thoughts were running through my head, but the one and only thought that pushed its way to the surface was, “I’m going to meet Jackie Chan!!”
Read on! Chapter 2: Meeting a Living Legend
For those of you interested in seeing my first ever professional gig here it is! I appear for like half a second in the fight scene round 1:35! Can you spot me? Enjoy!