The Scariest Job in the World: a ghost Extra in a National Geographic Documentary

Sometime last year, I would be more precise but that would involve deep reflection and arithmetic, two things which I am adamantly opposed to, I took on the scariest job in the world, sort of, as an Extra in a National Geographic documentary about paranormal encounters in Southeast Asia. Extras, in case you are not into movies/films/cinema (fucking weirdo) are those people who are in the background as stand in actors to fill out the rest of the scene, or as Wikipedia puts it, “people with aspirations to make it into the film industry and take minor roles to pave their road to future stardom in lieu of sleeping with the director”. That actually isn’t a Wikipedia entry, but it could be, as anyone can write anything there. Get on that and become a famous online film illuminati. You’re welcome.

I actually haven’t seen the movie, but the classic film Spartacus, which apparently has like ten thousand Extras in it as slaves, has a bunch of them wearing wrist watches – which is funny. Or probably not funny if you don’t know that Spartacus takes place during the Roman Empire era. Also, probably not funny unless you are into dad jokes or find movie trivia funny. But I needed an example of what an Extra is and that was the first thing that came to me. And I also like dad jokes.


spartacus extras


Anyway, I took the job because – well I take every job – but also because as soon as I heard “National Geographic”, I envisioned myself scaling K2 with IMAX-like camera capturing me dangling one armed from a 90-degree cliff face like Tom Cruise. I later found out I would be a US soldier ghost from WWII who haunts a hospital in the Philippines. Which, as it happens, is equally appealing as playing both a soldier and a ghost are just as far away from reality for me as being a cliffhanger adventurer.

What I think I would look like

What I think I would look like . Notice weak sauce Tom using two hands. What-a-Puss-y.


I ended up getting paid a cool 1,000 baht ($33) for my time and the use of my mug as a filler for the ghost, which is in Thailand terms is like 15 Pad Thai’s, 4 spring rolls, 6 Leo beers or a lady boy for a romantic evening – however you roll. Me? I settled on 2 Pad Thai’s, a questionable bucket of eye blinding grade vodka red bull and a shady tuk tuk ride with the aforemention bucked to celebrate my big break into the film industry. That my friends, is the price of celebrity.

The final version for the paranormal documentary series is below. As you will see, you can’t really tell it is me, as the person’s face, voice, feet, beer belly – pretty much everything was edited out. Story of my life. I did however learn to smoke a pack of cigarettes on demand though, so I got that going for me.

If you want an autograph you can send a handwritten request to my publicist and roommate (my mom).

famous guy

famous guy

Turner barr

Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

  • Catherine
    Posted at 14:49h, 03 March

    Haha, sounds a little surreal, but glad you’re making the most of your superstar status now you’re an actor! But seriously, how do you get all these insane jobs?

    • Turner
      Posted at 15:09h, 04 March

      Just talking to people…and follow the white rabbit.

  • Raymond @ Man On The Lam
    Posted at 15:37h, 03 March

    At least now you can add “As Seen in NatGeo” on your bio. See how many ladyboys THAT gets you.

  • Turner
    Posted at 15:12h, 04 March

    My dream has come true…

  • ben
    Posted at 08:02h, 17 March

    Famous guy! Hahah LOL

  • Elaine
    Posted at 18:04h, 23 March

    At least you can tell your kids that you starred in a TV documentary…!

  • Stacey
    Posted at 23:51h, 29 March

    A smoking ghoast! That’s so awesome!

    I love the concept of this blog, and love your attitude, you seem pretty much up for anything! Good on you! 🙂