As anyone who has worked as extra will attest, the main thrust of the job is waiting. In the couple of months I have worked on a handful of TV shows – and even spotted myself once for a blistering one and one-half second on broadcast television – I have carried a notebook around with me, sketching various ideas and concepts. Since about my tenth go-around wearing scrubs, police uniform or just my standard blazer-and-jeans combo for which I am famous in real life, I’ve given up the notebook and instead have engaged with the varied folks with whom I share the waiting process.
This guy today was amazing. Seriously amazing. If anyone said anything, he would chime in on what he’s done in show business over the last forty years. It was incredible.
Someone: I love the older movies, like the original of The Poseidon Adventure.
Guy: I was a stunt double for Ernest Borgnine. Ernie was a great guy. His wife sold cosmetics. They earned $16 million in the first year. That was more than Ernie earned in his first twenty years in show biz.
Someone: This is fun.
Guy: I had fun when I was on Chicago Hope, which was cancelled. I got killed a lot. Cut throat, naked in the shower.
Someone: I wonder if I could really break into the biz by being an extra.
Guy: I keep getting offers to be in porn. Of course, I had open heart surgery a few years ago, so I don’t think I could. But they always send me pictures of the girls.
Someone: How long have we been waiting?
Guy: I once waited for sixteen hours to be an extra on The Untouchables. Kevin Costner. Great guy.
Someone: Christmas is coming up. I love carols.
Guy: I worked with Carroll O’Connor once. Great guy. It was before All In The Family. Great actor. He died. I had open heart surgery.
Someone: I don’t know anyone in this show. But I’ve never watched it. I’m a little green.
Guy: Loren Greene was a great guy. Did Alpo ads.
Someone: This work takes a lot of passion.
Guy: I had heart surgery.