After decades of travel, Bob Melton, Tennessee native and longtime resident of Florida and California, has found a home in Georgia’s movie business.
A veteran stand-in and movie extra, Bob’s resume includes “The Hate U Give,” a crime drama filmed in Georgia that opens in limited release this week and nationwide later this month.
“I did double duty for a high-school graduation scene — first as a stand-in for the principal as the shot was set up, and then in the audience as an extra for the ceremony,” Bob says. “It was an early call and a long day for all of us.”
Bob’s days are often long. He’s been in more than 100 productions as an extra or stand-in, including many of the major films produced in Georgia like “Game Night, “Hidden Figures,” “Avengers: Affinity War,” as well as “The Hate U Give.” Currently he is a regular extra on “Walking Dead” and “Lodge 49.”
His movie career began on a ladder putting letters up on the marquee of the Glendale Center Theatre in California. His first acting job was in the same theater playing the role of a clumsy cowboy vying for the affections of the leading lady.
He never got the girl in that play, but he did catch the theatrical bug. And now, 50 years later, he is again chasing the dream of prominent roles.
As a teenager he was an accomplished guitarist in rock bands, one of which won the Florida Battle of the Bands in 1967. The next year he went west seeking fame and fortune. He found neither but did get an apartment behind the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre for $80 a month while working for Thomas Edison Light Show Company doing special effects for concerts and on “Mission Impossible,” “The Partridge Family” and television commercials.
All the while he kept finding jobs in music, including time with Gary Stewart, whose biggest hit was “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles).” After many years moving around the country, he remarried and moved back to Georgia.
His break came in Georgia when got his first appearance as an extra in “Game of Silence,” a one-season series on NBC. “I saw how easy it was to get hired on, so I started working with casting companies and directors. I got lots of work because I was punctual, listened to the director and never caused a disturbance.”
Bob now has an agent and has reduced his busy schedule as an extra in search of speaking roles and a bigger career because he sees a bright future for television and movie production in Georgia.
“Things are possible now that have never been before,” Bob says. “I’ve been amazed how far people come to work here hoping to break into the business.”