Delaware man finds extra work as extra
GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) — Allen Cramer is no longer camera shy.
Nor is he starstruck.
Those who know Mr. Cramer and are fans of Netflix or the Investigation Discovery TV network might have spotted the 40-year-old Georgetown resident on the tube — or even the silver screen.
A work-study paralegal student at Delaware Technical Community College, Mr. Cramer works part-time at the Veterans Affairs Sussex County Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Georgetown.
He also works extra — as an “extra.”
“On the side I do acting,” said Mr. Cramer.
As an “extra,” he has appeared on the REELZ, Investigation Discovery and TV One networks.
“These are true crime show networks; real stories. It’s voice-over so there are little speaking roles for the actors,” he said. “We might have — we call them five-and-under — five lines like, ‘How are you doing, sir?’ ‘You’re under arrest’ or ‘We’ll find your kid.’”
On Netflix, he’s appeared in:
- “House of Cards,” as a war protester;
- “Messiah,” as an FBI agent; and
- “La Reina del Sur” — the Spanish soap opera featuring Eric Roberts (brother of actress Julia Roberts) and Mark Moses, in which he played a Secret Service officer.
Investigation Discovery headquarters are based in Maryland. “All of my gigs have been in the Baltimore area and in D.C.,” said Mr. Cramer.
On the movie front, he appeared in the 2016 film, “Jackie,” as a mourner at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral, and in “What Is Life,” a Bollywood film, as a television reporter.
Currently, Mr. Cramer is dabbling as a script writer in “Blood Will Tell,” an independent film currently in production. In this film he plays Robbie, a henchman for a crime boss. “I have two scenes, one outside, one inside . . . we’re ghosts,” he said.
A 1998 graduate of Parkside High School in Salisbury, Maryland, Mr. Cramer served eight years in the Army National Guard. He was deployed three times, all stateside. He also worked in law enforcement in Crisfield, Maryland.
After an injury ended his stint in police work, and at life’s crossroads, Mr. Cramer went back to his old trade, welding. But he didn’t want to lose his military education opportunity.
“I needed to do something with my GI Bill. I have that until 2020,” said Mr. Cramer.
He enrolled at DelTech in August 2016 and balances that with his work at the veterans’ outpatient center. He plans to graduate in May.
“I see myself working with veterans in some capacity. My college is my priority Number One. Since I started college, I have had probably 10 to 15 bookings where I couldn’t go because of tests. When I start something, I want to finish it,” said Mr. Cramer. “I am not wasting my life or time on this degree. I want a degree. But I feel better working with veterans.”
Opportunity in the entertainment world knocked about three years ago. He answered, taking a long shot at a casting call for a movie being filmed in the Washington area.
“They were looking for extras. I filled it out. This was in 2015. I forgot all about it,” said Mr. Cramer. “In February 2016 I get a call, ‘Hey, there is a movie, for Bollywood.’ I thought it was scam. But I went. It turned out to be legit. I networked with some of the people, the cast members and it all started rolling in from there.”
Next came Investigation Discovery’s “House of Horrors” episode titled “Bus Stop,” where he played a Marine, followed by his funeral mourner role in “Jackie.”
“My gig with my part in Investigation Discovery Channel, I met one of the actors on there who has been in the business. He is also an ex-cop as well,” said Mr. Cramer. “He gave me some numbers and more contacts. Roles just started coming in.”
Of late, his acting career has taken a back seat to college. “I haven’t done too many this year because of classes,” Mr. Cramer said.
He doesn’t expect to get rich quick in his current acting gig. “I don’t really do it for the money,” he said.
Pay, he said, has run from $75 and $280 for “extra roles.”
“It all depends on camera time,” said Mr. Cramer. “If you have more than five lines you are going to get paid more. I am non-union. There are pros and cons to union and non-union. If you are union, you are going to get paid more, but you are not going to get as many roles, versus non-union, you are going to get paid a lot less, but you are going to get more roles.”
“True crime shows don’t really pay a lot, but you get a lot of roles. They know Allen; he’s that bald head, a white guy,” Mr. Cramer said. “I don’t really have to submit. I’m on the list.”
There are other perks.
On the set he has dined with Mr. Roberts, and is now Facebook friends with other notables, such as “House of Horrors” real victim, Jennifer Asbenson.
“And we eat good — roast beef, chicken,” said Mr. Cramer. “If you go home hungry, it’s your fault.”
Mr. Cramer, whose wife Heather is the principal at North Georgetown Elementary School, also volunteers in the community.
“I volunteer at the Milford Veterans Home, the SPCA here in Georgetown, Possum Point Players theater and at school events where my wife works,” he said. “My catering business, all tips and portions of profit go towards the Milford Veterans Home. At the SPCA, I help with adoption events. At the theater, I serve up your favorite beverages. The school, too many things to list, but I do it all. The kids at North Georgetown are great.”
Recently, he was in line for additional part-time work in radio.
If opportunity knocks, he someday wouldn’t mind moving up in the acting world.
“I used to go to movies a lot. I never thought I’d ever be on the other side,” said Mr. Cramer. “When I first started, I did not want to be in front of the camera with speaking roles. I was shy. After being in the military and a police officer, you learn how to deal with people and you’ve got to play the part. After doing about the first five, I thought, ‘This is not too bad.’ You don’t have to speak. I’m getting comfortable, now that I have been in 15 or 16 shows and movies. I am ready to take that step. I feel comfortable.”
Over winter break from college, he hopes to be back on the set.
“I am reaching out to my contacts in casting, ‘I’m all yours. You want me to be a dead guy, I’ll travel two hours and be a dead guy, a detective or SWAT,’” Mr. Cramer said. “I’m all yours.”
Information from: Delaware State News, http://delawarestatenews.net