Darron Ta is a man of many talents. With an interest in movement and physical performance, his background in fitness gave him a solid foundation for pursuing a career in stunts. After connecting with other local stunt performers and getting involved in the Edmonton film industry, he quickly developed a reputation as a skilled and versatile performer. Take a behind-the-scenes look at Darron’s journey of co-founding The Stunt Garage with his friends and his experiences as a professional stunt performer in a niche market.
Give us an elevator pitch on The Stunt Garage
The Stunt Garage (TSG) is a community hub for movement and film. We offer movement classes for all levels. You can be a beginner, fitness enthusiast, or a professional athlete. We take pride in creating a judgment-free, safe space with incredible instructors to guide you through the process of each movement. Whether you want to learn some martial arts, break dance, or acrobatics, we got you covered.
We also host film-related workshops for fighting, wire work, acting, action camera, lighting, and everything you need to know to produce that perfect action shot. Besides the business side of things, we wanted to create a place where we could consistently train and become better performers everyday. For more information, visit www.thestuntgarage.ca or contact [email protected].
What are some of the biggest hurdles that you had to overcome?
Learning about the film industry. I never had any formal training or relevant film-related experience before pursuing it in 2019. I doubted myself all the time, but luckily I have good friends who helped me get out of my head.
What was the first stunt that you had to do?
It all started in 2019 when we created a short film called “Battle for the Bill,” where a group of friends fought over the bill. We collaborated with a local production company, Alpacalypse Productions, who later on became our partners and co-owners of TSG. We were able to win “Best Martial Arts” at the Urban Action Showcase.
What made you fall in love with performing stunts and filmmaking?
I’ve always loved the old Hong Kong action films growing up and always did random fight scenes for fun with my little brother and friends. My love for filming thrived when my friends and I did video game re-creation videos for fun.
You went through a career transition from your university career. Could you shed some light on how your family and peers reacted to your decision to pursue a career in film/stunt production?
It was difficult to say the least. Family members were constantly wondering what I was doing after graduating. For those who don’t know, I graduated from the UofA Chemical Engineering program and NAIT’s business management program. I kept my goals to pursue stunts a secret from everyone. I would spend all my time and money training and learning different skills. At the time, all my family members were wondering why I was wasting my time learning these skills instead of looking for a professional job.
Nowadays, they are more than supportive of my career decision.
What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the film industry?
Go out and get experience
I’m still learning that myself, actually. My best advice would be to go out and get experience. This can be done by either working on local projects, meeting other creatives in the film industry (we have an amazing one here in Edmonton!), and keep getting better at your craft.
Do you think living in Edmonton has shaped you in any way?
I grew up taking part in various movement communities in Edmonton, which helped shape me into who I am today. The one thing they all had in common was their immense support while still being very competitive and driven for the same goals.
Now, let’s dive into the fun parts. What is your favorite film?
I’m not sure about my favorite, but the most influential one for me was “Who Am I?” (Jackie Chan). This was the movie that made me want to start training taekwondo.
What was the first project that made you feel like “you made it” or “you got this”?
I was working at my part-time phone sales job while trying to get booked for any stunt role. It was a mental challenge, and the feeling of burnout never felt more real. My friend Martin convinced me to leave my job and give my 100% on stunts. The thought of having zero income scared me, but I knew I was getting complacent.
At the beginning of November 2021, I resigned from my job to force myself to be desperate. With all the stress I had, I also decided to take a short trip to Vancouver for a weekend. As I was in line for airport security, I got a text asking for a selfie and availability for a show called “Kung Fu,” which was being filmed in Vancouver. I was able to work on that show for three episodes and it was the most amazing learning experience.
The next experience that made me believe that a career in film was possible was when I worked on The Last of Us in Calgary and surrounding areas. It proved to me that I don’t have to move to bigger cities like Vancouver, LA, Atlanta, etc., to be able to work on big projects. I’m very grateful for the opportunities I had.
What are you currently excited about? What can we expect in the next coming months?
I’m excited at all the potential that Alberta has to offer, such as the beautiful locations, having all four seasons year-round, the amazing crew and talent, the increase in film and tv tax credit, and so much more. If you lived here, you’d know.