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Collision Course

3-day stunt-driving school puts students through the action-film paces at raceway.

October 06, 1998|KARIMA A. HAYNES | Times Staff Writer

PALMDALE — Stunt car driver Tony Brubaker gunned a sport coupe down the Los Angeles County Raceway.

He raced up a launch ramp, soared through a wooden goal post and landed on a huge cushion of cardboard boxes.

The practice stunt was executed under the watchful eye of Rick Seaman, a 30-year veteran of the Hollywood stunt scene.

Seaman has worked as a stunt coordinator and driver in numerous films, including all of the "Lethal Weapon" and "Robocop" movies, as well as "Live and Let Die," "The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3" and "Grand Theft Auto."

When he is not on the movie set, Seaman teaches stunt performers to execute spins, high-speed chases and simulated head-on collisions, among other maneuvers at his Motion Picture Driving and Safety Clinic, based at the raceway.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday October 7, 1998 Valley Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Zones Desk 2 inches; 49 words Type of Material: Correction
Film credits--An article Tuesday incorrectly identified Rick Seaman's role in the "Lethal Weapon" and "Robocop" movies. He was a stuntman in the films. The stunt coordinators were: Bobby Bass, "Lethal Weapon"; Mick Rodgers and Charlie Picerni, "Lethal Weapon 2" and "Lethal Weapon 3"; and Mick Rodgers and Conrad Palmisano, "Lethal Weapon 4."

"The stunt driver has to learn how to get the car out of control, so that it looks wild and crazy for the camera, but be able to regain control in a split second," Seaman said. "I try to use methods and approaches that have been successful for me."

Seaman and Bernie Longjohn, chief executive officer of the raceway, launched the stunt-driving school in December to give stunt performers the opportunity to learn stunt car driving techniques.

"We get stunt people who specialize in horses, gymnastics and martial arts but who haven't had a chance to do stunt car work," Seaman said.

Stunt car drivers earn a minimum rate of $576 per day and can earn up to $10,000 a day, depending on the stunt's degree of difficulty, he said.

Seaman's three-day session costs $1,675. Enrollment is limited to three students, who are mostly professional stunt performers, though previous stunt work is not required.

Seaman, his wife, Lori, and co-instructor Harry Wowchuk guide the students through skids, spins, chases and jumps.

"My work is based on total preparation, execution and safety," Seaman said. "Those three virtues are what we . . . teach at the driving school."

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