For millions of male white collar workers it's the stuff of daydreams.
Simon Aldis, stuntman trainer, sums up the appeal of his job. "If you're asked, 'how was your day at the office?' how many people can say, 'I drove James Bond's car off a cliff, then I was set on fire?"
Mr Aldis, from Bromsgrove, is an instructor for the London Stunt School, running courses on falls, stage and film combat, body burns and car crashes, for up to 150 people per year.
Such is the appeal, Mr Aldis is regularly running stunt workshops in the West Midlands, giving bored businessmen, stuck in bland, stuffy offices, the chance to live their boyhood fantasies. And so popular have the courses proved, he could soon be opening a permanent stunt school in the region.
Although actors make up the bulk of the course attendees, corporate stunt days, where businessmen learn up to three basic stunts, are one of the School's most popular courses.
Mr Aldis, aged 35, started out as a fencing instructor and eight years ago was asked to choreograph a fight for a theatre company. He decided he liked it so much he undertook courses in stunt work at the London school and was asked to stay on and work as regional instructor and a fight director, specialising in sword fights and punch ups.
"It's hard physical graft, but it pays dividends in thrills and excitement," he said. "You need to be physically mobile and have the correct attitude - you have to be totally safe and willing to put the work in. "Any stunt takes a long time to work out. For a body burn for example you are looking at four to five hours for 10-15 seconds of screen time."
The London Stunt School has provided stunt men - and women - for Pirates of the Caribbean, Batman Begins, several Bond films as well as supplying Pinewood Studios with their alumni.
To have your name on the stunt register - the equivalent to being in Equity - the stunt-man needs a diverse range of competencies. He or she is required to have experience of rock climbing, martial arts and increasingly, scuba diving.
But the pay can be very good.
"You are looking at about £200 per day or up to £900 per day as a stunt director," said Mr Aldis. "You can be working for eight weeks, so the pay is amazing."
He insists that the good pay does not constitute 'danger money'.
"There are horror stories. Five or six years ago a guy jumped out of an aeroplane and the parachute didn't open. It was a mile and a half to the ground and he survived because trees broke his fall. I'm always covered in bruises but modern films are extremely safe.
"The final decision as to whether he or she is happy to do the stunt as the choreographer wants it done is up to them."
Mr Aldos is running courses in falls, stage and film fights and body burns in the Midlands and plans are in the pipeline to open a Midland branch of the London Stunt School.
"I wouldn't do anything else," he said. "I can't think of many other jobs with the thrills and excitement of being a stuntman."
Anyone interested in any of Mr Aldis's courses email firstname.lastname@example.org
Secrets of the trade
The standard 12-metre fall - the highest fall a stunt-man does - is about spatial awareness. "You have a certain amount of time to be able to judge how long before you get to the crash mat and how long you have to act, waving your arms around or doing a turn, before getting into the right position to roll into your landing," revealed Mr Aldis.
The body is kept cool and protected from the fire. "This involves the use of a flame resistant body suit soaked in an endothermic solution which means it is always cold," said Mr Aldis. "On top is clothing with a flammable solution, which is set on fire."
These are more expensive to film and learn as the company has to buy a car to crash. "They are fitted with roll cages - welded metal hoops so the car does not collapse," said Mr Aldis.
Stage and film fighting
Facial expressions and timing is the key.
"When you are throwing a punch, you are not hitting, you are 30-40 cm away from their face or
body when you throw it. You have to allow the audience to see the action, and the reaction of your opponent," said Mr Aldis. "When Jackie Chan started being shown 15 years ago in the Western world, the moves were just too fast. In a James Bond film now you will deliver a punch, then a pause; punch, then pause."
The fight is also tailored to suit the characters of the participants. "In the fight in Bridget Jones, for example, they are inexperienced - they don't want to punch each other, it is more slapping.
"You try to tell a story through the fight."