Extras on Hawaii Five-0 set get their fair share of fame

Heather McGaffin
Heather McGaffin
Robert Hanson
Robert Hanson

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewNow) - Twenty-five year-old Heather McGaffin is ready for her close-up.

"You're just sitting around waiting and they're telling you where to go," said McGaffin.

The kindergarten teacher from Ewa spent the summer as an extra on Hawaii Five-0. She enjoys seeing herself on-screen even if it's in the background.

"It's cool. It's kind of like a memory or something, a virtual memory. I don't know, if you have grandkids someday, you can be like, 'Oh, look at your grandma!' Oh, she was down!" she said.

The days are long. The pay can be minimal. Extras have to keep their schedules open, and in the end, there's a chance their scene could be cut.

One extra said, "It's crazy how we can sit here and do absolutely nothing."

During one shoot on the North Shore, a scene called for 200 extras. Most were paid about $85 for the day, plus a meal. Not a lot, but hopes of getting a foot in Hollywood's door keep them coming back.

Extras sometimes go through their fair share of casting calls. Some, even joining the actors' union. Many here say they like networking and the camaraderie and value the behind-the-scenes experience.

"It's really interesting to see how the whole camera crew communicates and how the director interacts with the people," said Robert Hanson.

To pass the hours of downtime, Robert Hanson draws. Others do what they can to keep busy. And although background work can be thankless, fame and fortune carry them through even if it's only in their dreams.

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