I read with great interest extras casting director Cravatt’s “rebuttal” to Gene Poe of the Screen Extras Guild (Outtakes, by Bill Steigerwald, Jan. 10). I have worked as both a union and non-union extra, and Cravatt is wrong on most points she made in her letter.
For the record, I also worked on “Memories of Me” and while director Henry Winkler was certainly not abusive, he expected a great deal from the people he paid $35 per day to, like dancing in an overheated restaurant all afternoon long, take after take after take.
Cravatt was also most incorrect regarding the payment scale for extras. $35 per day is most certainly not a livable wage. And many many extras work full-time for that amount of money. I’ve never once worked a set that was made up entirely of senior citizens making “extra” money. If we do not depend on extra work as permanent income, it is because we are forced not to do such.
The first extra job I ever had upon arriving in Hollywood one year ago was “Doin’ Time on Planet Earth,” cast through Creative Casting, for which I was paid the big-time sum of $30.
I’m with Gene Poe of SEG. Extras are treated in a reprehensible manner on a daily basis. All we want is to be paid a livable wage and do a professional job.