The first time I worked as an Extra or as a Stand-In was in 1986 when I spent about a year at the Atmosphere Agency on shows like Moonlighting, Hunter, and Cagney & Lacey. On average, my paycheck was about $130 per day and I worked 3-4 days each week for most of the year. My recurring gig was Moonlighting.
Even though I was just an Extra or a Stand-In, I still got to meet all the principal actors in the shows I worked on. Of those I spent most time with on set was by far Bruce Willis on Moonlighting (season 3). On one occasion, I spent the better part of an afternoon working closely with Chaka Khan while shooting an elaborate nightclub scene in the San Fernando Valley that took about 20 takes before wrapping. I was a fan of her music, so getting to talk with her was a thrill. I also appeared as an Extra on a couple of TV commercials for local L.A. brands, one of which I think was either the radio station KROQ or KRLA.
So when I was approached by a production company in Malmö early this year to work as an Extra on a new cop/detective show, I took the opportunity to see what it would be like so many years later – and with a Swedish film crew.
The production company apparently appreciated my contribution as a senior police officer Extra and booked me for a few additional film dates during the summer. But as I never received payment for that very first day, not even after 2 months had passed, I decided to cancel our contract.
The show has gotten some really great reviews and I’m totally happy for the actors and film crew. Sure, I would have enjoyed working on Sanningen, if only I had been paid what I had been promised (which was ridiculously low compensation to begin with).