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Risky Jobs

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risky jobs, stuntsRisky Jobs are activities that provide you with the opportunity to discuss what jobs are considered risky and why do people choose to do these kinds of jobs. This lesson is centred around the theme of Work and Education from the B2 First curriculum which explores how different societies create roles and opportunities for people to develop their skills and knowledge.

Exercise 1Exercise 2Exercise 3Word ListExtension
Monique Ganderton has been fighting and falling in films and TV for the past 15 years as a stunt performer. She was most recently a stunt double for Charlize Theron and named as Marvel’s first female stunt coordinator. Ganderton tells us how the action comes to life in movies. Watch the video and fill in the missing words. What four famous actors does she mention?

Click here to view transcript and answers

1. Tom Cruises
2. Angelina Jolies
3. Charlize Theron
4. Keanu Reeves


I’ve been working for, you know, 15 years as a stunt performer on a variety of sets all over the world. Majority of the day is you’re fighting and falling. “Atomic Blonde”… I am so proud of that movie. So, we had this stairwell scene, this fight, that in the script was, she shoots two guys. But, you know, we were talking to Dave and we were like, “Hey, you know, what if we do this epic fight scene?”

We actually went to the stairwell and we shot it how we would shoot it on set. So, we call this a previs, a stunt previs, and then we have Charlize go in and shoot the first section until it was good, sometimes 15 to 20 takes for each section because it had to be perfect. They put me in when it was the – you know, throwing – getting thrown down the stairs, and getting thrown into the wall, and then back to Charlize’s section.

I’m so proud of that sequence. I think we really accomplished something incredible. She’s beautiful, but she is tough. She wants to be good. She wants to do everything. And she was there, all the time, in the gym with us, and you know, the Tom Cruises and the Angelina Jolies and Charlize and Keanu, like, they’re all very athletic and very talented. The problem is they can’t do all their own stunts because of liability, and, you know, you can’t – just can’t do that. I get excited, but I’m not nervous, I don’t fear the stunt. And I just go through the stunt in my mind. I make sure everything – all the rigging looks good. And then you just go, “Okay, cool, call action.” Like, “I’m ready, let’s do this.”

So, I probably worked for 10 years without my family really knowing what I was doing. Now my mom works in film, though, so she sees everything. She once brought me my grenade launcher. That was pretty hilarious. Like, “Mom, I need my grenade launcher!” My story is I was modelling, and so, all the models were taking acting classes, and they were, you know, being extras on set to make extra money. And I saw this girl roll down some stairs, and shoot some guns, and beat up some dudes, and I was like, “I want to do that.”

You know, most of my training was in the park by myself, running and falling over and over and over again until it felt natural. I have probably fallen thousands of times. Sometimes I am the only woman in the room. There’s definitely a lack of female leadership in our stunt industry. So, you know, you’re falling, but you’re falling in a skirt all the time. You know, I go into the costumes, and I go, “No skirts. We’re going to do pants now.” But I think it’s changing, and I was the first female stunt coordinator that Marvel has hired.

As a stunt coordinator, you’re taking on the responsibility of designing all the action, the stunt action, making sure it’s as safe as possible, and then coming up with some really creative way to tell the story through action. The riskiest stunt, I think, that I’ve done is in – we were shooting in Bulgaria, and I was driving a two horse chariot at a full gallop. I had to jump from the chariot to the horse and it was just me in the chariot. That one got me going like, “Whew, okay.” As soon as they call action, you just, you have to commit.

You will hear a reporter taking to a family of stuntmen.

Click here to view transcript

The Scott brothers – Walter, John-Clay and Ben – are part of a highly successful stunt family. And they owe their success, so they say, to the oldest brother in the family, Walter. Walter was the one who did it all first, after moving to California to become an actor around 1960.

In those days, they were making a lot of Westerns and Walter knew that he could act in these films because he was a real cowboy and had a lot of experience working with horses – he had been raised on a ranch. He started out working as an extra. His size was a big help – he’s six foot three – because a lot of actors, like Clint Eastwood, were very tall, so he was often asked to be their ‘double’.

After three years, he had made some industry contacts, and it was because of them that his career really began to take off. He started being offered lots of work. He went on to do a lot of TV work – not just westerns but all kinds of shows, including a police series that was popular at the time. You name it and he probably worked on it.

Walter’s brothers, John-Clay and Ben, idolised him. They were sixteen and eighteen years younger than Walter and all they wanted was to be like him. One year, when he came home for Christmas, Walter gave Ben some of the stunt equipment from a recent action movie Walter had worked on. After that, John-Clay and Ben decided
that they wanted to follow in their big brother’s footsteps, and they both became pretty enthusiastic about being stuntmen.

They both wanted to go to Hollywood, but Walter knew that life was very difficult there. He told them not to go anywhere near the place, but they wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Eventually, in 1978, he decided to let them come and try their luck. But he made them do all kinds of jobs that required hard labour, like roofing houses and building work, before he agreed to help them become stuntmen. He wanted them to have a little bit of a tough time like he’d had. The younger brothers worked as extras for five years before breaking into stunts. But it helped them learn what the business was all about.

Nowadays, Walter prefers western work, while Ben does a bit of everything. John-Clay jokes that he is known as ‘the car guy’ because he does so many car stunts. They do compete with each other for jobs, but if one gets a job and the other doesn’t, that’s fine by them. They’re just happy to think that the job is still in the family. Not all the brothers’ challenges have been physical, however. In the eighties, when the younger men were hired to work on a TV programme together, their parts turned out to be French-Canadian brother assassins. When they showed up, they were told, ‘You’ve got a little dialogue,’ and they were handed a tape of French- Canadian language. They had to study the tape that night to do the dialogue. Then John-Clay had to jump from roof to roof on ten-storey buildings.’

Although Walter didn’t want any of his own children going into the stunt business, he ended up helping two of his daughters and his son Wes to get started. But Walter always reminds his children it’s a tough business. He always tells them to get behind the camera – become a director or an assistant director or something – because there’s no future in being a stuntman. He keeps telling them to find another way to make a living.

Read the text about a job with risks.

Here are keywords and phrases covered in these activities about risky jobs:

  • approval
  • complicated
  • double
  • female leadership
  • gymnastics
  • industry contacts
  • liability
  • physical challenges
  • pretty hilarious
  • real performances
  • rigging
  • risky jobs
  • sequence
  • stunt coordinator
  • stunt performer
  • stunt previs
Write an essay in 140-190 words in an appropriate style. In your English class, you have been talking about risky jobs. Now your teacher has asked you to write an essay for homework. Use all your notes and give reasons for your point of views.

People sometimes take on risky jobs for money. Do you think this is a good or bad thing?

Notes – Write about:

  • type of job
  • the dangers
  •  ……… (your own ideas)

Self-assessment checklist

  • Have you answered all the parts of the question?
  • Have you included everything from your writing plan, including your own idea?
  • Have you used linkers?
  • Have you made any grammar mistakes?
  • Are there any mistakes in spelling and punctuation?
  • Have you checked the word count?

Especially helpful are exercises that are focussed on a theme or topic as these provide word retention practice so you can be confident to read, write, speak and listen successfully.

Customs and Traditions explores how we celebrate our cultural identity across the globe.

Entertainment and Leisure explores how we spent our free time.

Environment and Nature explores the way humans and animals live, adapt and change on our planet.

Exploring how different societies create roles for people to develop their skills and knowledge.

Exploring how we learn and adjust to the world around us. .

Exploring how we experience the world through our life journeys

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. Our word games and puzzles are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings in your mind.

We add reading and writing exercises on a regular basis. Why not bookmark our site, so you can come back to practice anywhere or at any time of the day?

For this part, you practice how to understand the details of a text, including opinions and attitudes.

For this part, you practice how to understand the structure and follow the development of a text.

For this part, you practice how to find specific information in a text or texts.

In addition, we add listening and speaking exercises in order to practise for this part of the B2 First Exam.

In this part you talk to the examiner about yourself and your life, e.g. your name, school, interests and future plans.

In this part, you talk about two photos on your own which you have to compare for about 1 minute. After you have finished, your partner will be asked a short question about your photo. When your partner has spoken about their photos for about 1 minute, you will be asked a question about their photos.

In this part you express ideas with your partner by looking at a discussion point that the examiner gives you.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you focus on general aspects of a topic with the examiner or you may involve your partner.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you will hear people talking in eight different situations.

In this part, you will hear someone being interviewed.

In this part, you will hear five people talking about different things.

In this part, you will hear an interview.

Cambridge English Examinations:

Cambridge English exams are designed for learners at all levels from the pre-intermediate level Cambridge English: Key (KET) to the very advanced level Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE). These exams give candidates proof of their ability to use English in a wide variety of contexts, relevant to work, study and leisure activities.

A2 Key | B1 Preliminary | B2 First

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