‘The Perfect Match': My Time as an Extra in a Movie

by on September 24th, 2010
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In the summer of 1986 while living in Los Angeles I got to work as an extra in an independent film titled “The Perfect Match.” This came about from submitting my head shot, or an 8×10 photo from the head-up with an acting resume on the back, to an ad in a trade magazine. Unfortunately I was not signed with a talent agent or agency, so I had to get work on my own. One Friday afternoon out of the blue I received a phone call asking if I could come in the next morning for filming. I had to wear office attire since it was being filmed in an office building in Burbank.

When you work on student films or indies you have to provide your own wardrobe and makeup; at least that’s been my experience. Interestingly, this office building was across from where “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson was filmed. Luckily there was no filming with a studio audience going on that day since it was the weekend.

Carson used to make snide remarks about Burbank, saying “we’re filming in beautiful downtown Burbank.” Well, that’s what we were doing too. I arrived on location with only the basics of what we were to do. I had no idea what the film was about, who starred in it, or what we were to do. One thing you do a lot as an extra is stand around for hours on end. It’s music to one’s ear when they either call your name or ask for background to come on the set.

At first I was told to go to the copy room to make copies while filming a key scene. Unfortunately the copier was making too much noise over the dialogue. Eventually I ended up walking by some cubicles with a coffee mug in my hand. I remember doing the scene a number of times.

The key scene being filmed was with Marc McClure, who appeared in a number of “Superman” films with Christopher Reeve, and another actress. She was interviewing him for a job. Word on the set was the lead actress in this film was Jennifer Edwards, daughter of “The Pink Panther” director Blake Edwards. She was not in this scene.

Over a year later in 1987 I was living in Chicago. I had picked up the Chicago Reader, a free alternative newspaper still in existence, which featured a listing of all the films being shown at the Chicago International Film Festival. To my utter amazement “The Perfect Match” would be one of them.

A bunch of my friends and I went to the Biograph Theater to see it. It was bizarre seeing myself up on the big screen in that office scene, which lasted only for a few minutes overall. This romantic comedy is about a guy putting in a personal ad. Out of all the films I’ve been in, this is my proudest achievement.


The Perfect Match (1988), Yahoo! Movies.com

Marc McClure, Yahoo! Movies.com

Jennifer Edwards, Yahoo! Movies.com

1987 — 23rd Chicago International Film Festival, ChicagoFilmFestival.com

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