By Maddie Orton
Drivers East High Performance Driving School was created out of necessity. While there were stunt driving classes on the West Coast and in Florida, no one was serving the TV and film hub that is the Northeast. Enter Mike Burke and Roy Farfel.
“If you don’t know what you’re doing and you show up on set and you’re guessing at what you’re doing, you’re liable to hurt yourself, a cameraman, crew, an actor,” says Drivers East Co-Founder Roy Farfel. “Sometimes you have to slide right up to an actor.”
Farfel and Burke know how the stunt world operates firsthand. They’ve worked on hundreds of film, TV and commercial projects, making cars slide and flip on cue. In fact, all Drivers East instructors are working professionals with substantial resumes.
“Consistency is real important because you have focal lengths too, and we need to come in within inches, sometimes, of a mark,” Farfel explains. “So you have to be trained to hit that mark consistently over and over and over.”
Instructors prepare students to work with all kinds of cars, in all kinds of weather. They review on-set safety procedures and etiquette.
Show biz professionals aren’t the only ones who get behind the wheel. The company also trains thrill-seekers like me. Burke gave me a lesson and let me tag along for a spin around the course:
Burke and Farfel remind students that safety is key. One lesson in anything won’t make you a master — and stunt driving is no exception.
Of course, a career in stunt performance isn’t for everyone. I think I’ll stick to watching my chase scenes on screen.