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The Actor's Life

A Survival Guide
Written by: Jenna Fischer
Narrated by: Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson
Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Jenna Fischer's Hollywood journey began at the age of 22 when she moved to Los Angeles from her hometown of St. Louis. With a theater degree in hand, she was determined, she was confident, she was ready to work hard. So, what could go wrong?

Uh, basically everything. The path to being a professional actor was so much more vast and competitive than she’d imagined. It would be eight long years before she landed her iconic role on The Office, nearly a decade of frustration, struggle, rejection, and doubt.

If only she’d had a handbook for the aspiring actor. Or, better yet, someone to show her the way—an established actor who could educate her about the business, manage her expectations, and reassure her in those moments of despair.

Jenna wants to be that person for you.   

With amusing candor and wit, Fischer spells out the nuts and bolts of getting established in the profession, based on her own memorable and hilarious experiences. She tells you how to get the right headshot, what to look for in representation, and the importance of joining forces with other like-minded artists and creating your own work—invaluable advice personally acquired from her many years of struggle. She provides helpful hints on how to be gutsy and take risks, the tricks to good auditioning and callbacks, and how not to fall for certain scams (auditions in a guy’s apartment are probably not legit—or at least not for the kind of part you’re looking for!).

Her inspiring, helpful guidance feels like a trusted friend who’s made the journey, and has now returned to walk beside you, pointing out the pitfalls as you blaze your own path towards the life of a professional actor.  

This title is narrated by a full cast. Narrators include: Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, Natalie Zea, Sean Gunn, Derek Waters, Reed Birney, and Mark Proksch.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Andycat Productions Inc. (P)2017 Novel Audio Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen for aspiring actors.

This audiobook was very easy to finish, because it was so interesting. Jenna Fischer gives amazing advice, and covers EVERYTHING an aspiring actor would want to know when making the move to LA or NY. And I mean EVERYTHING, even things like what to do when you get fired, which I'm sure most aren't even thinking about

Along the way, she includes lots and lots of anecdotes to personalize the advice she gives. This makes the audiobook very fun to listen to. The biggest thing is that you're listening to an audiobook by PAM! It feels unreal.

I finished the AB in about a week or 2, and I listened to it while in the car doing Uber Eats deliveries, or while on the train going from one place to another.

Seriously recommend. Even if you don't have any plans to be an actor, this book will still be amazing.

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Wish I Had it 10 Years Ago

I remember the biggest shock out of acting school for me what not how hard auditioning was, but how hard GETTING an audition was. No one ever talked about that, and it doesn’t matter how good you are if you can’t get in the right rooms. This book was so refreshing because it spoke to all of that and more!! As a struggling actor, it really spoke to my own adversities in a way that no other book or teacher has. I love how Jenna talks about all the nitty gritty little details that get in the way but no one ever talks about. I also love hearing the stories of perseverance from all the actors. Acting is hard, and it was so great to know I’m not alone in this. I truly love Jenna Fischer. I mean I loved her so much as Pam on the office, but after this book she is one of my idols. This should be required reading at theatre schools everywhere. Also for anyone who wants to understand the life of an actor better.

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Great advice for actors!

I’m a Canadian actor and her advice is what I needed. There is a lot of great content in this book that every actor should learn from. She even explains how the audition process works, how it’s like to work on set and be a guest star or a series regular. Jenna also tells you straight up how it’s like and doesn’t sugar coat it for you. It’s a tough journey for everyone.

This is a marathon and hearing about her journey is inspiring and it had a lot of funny moments in between.

Don’t give up!

Thank you Jenna for motivating me ❤️

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book for all aspiring and working actors!

Loved it! A wonderful and practically guide to what acting life really is. Jenna is honest and full of great advice!

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  • Gaillard Alizée
  • 2018-02-26

Best actor’s survival book!!!!!

This book is the best book on how to survive this industry as an actor!!! Every second of my day I could listen to it, I did! Getting ready in the morning, driving to audition and work in my car, eating a meal by myself, before going to bed, etc... I just couldn’t stop listening and finished the book in 3 days!

It’s not a book about acting techniques, which we can find a million out there, but a book that will help you navigate the industry. Even more valuable to me! Never “read” anything like it before! True practical advices and insight about what to expect (or not) while choosing the journey of becoming a working actor. What I love the most about Jenna Fischer’s book is that actors can actually really relate to it. It talks about the struggles, the ups & downs, doubts that we all go through. Which most successful actors won’t really talk about in depth once they made it. It also talks about how to keep the right mindset, stay positive, and find the motivation to create your own content as an actor. Jenna says something like: “Create your own stuff. Something awful is better than something incomplete.” So true! How many times do we start a project without finishing it because we think it’s not good enough or won’t add value to what’s already out there?... Big Aha moment for me! 🙌🏼

I also really love the guests she interviews at the end. Because every actor has a different trajectory and there is not one right way to go about it, but we each have to find our own recipe for success. I got such valuable lessons in this book!!!

Thank you Jenna for your time, dedication and sharing with us your knowledge about the entertainment industry. I’m literally telling all my actors friends to read your book! 😜 It’s THAT good!

Alizée

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Caitlin
  • 2018-03-26

Not an acting student, still loved this book

I will be honest and say that I am not at all an acting student or aspiring actor. I am however, a big Jenna Fischer fan, so I decided to try this book. I absolutely loved it-it was real, funny, and I developed a new found appreciation for actors and acting students. I also really liked that Jenna is the reader, as it makes it so much more authentic.
A lot of the advice Jenna and her colleagues give is applicable to other careers, and is written in a way that is easy to grasp and is motivational. I would absolutely recommend this e-book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Katelyn
  • 2017-12-22

OMG THE INTRO! lol

HAhahahaHA
I've only listened to the first few chapters so far but I wanted to write my review now because I don't think I've ever enjoyed an audiobook's introduction this much before! Rainn Wilson reads it, but it was written by Steve Carell and hilarity ensues. I won't spoil it, but it's soooo funny.
So far, Jenna's chapters are really great, too! I can see how this would be helpful for people who want to become actors, but I am still enjoying it as someone who does not. It's a little bit memoir-y because she shares a lot of personal anecdotes. Her narration is great, too! As a fan of The Office, it's fun to hear things from her perspective as a real life person, not as the character that I think a lot of people still see her as (Pam). That being said, she does seem to share some similarities with her famous character and that is just so super endearing.
She honestly seems so sweet and listening to this really makes me love her even more! I'll finish this one quickly because it is (so far) a great listen.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Simone
  • 2018-03-16

A great how-to guide for something I don’t need.

She wrote it as a helpful tool for struggling, up-and-coming actors. I read it because I wanted “Office” scoops! I didn’t get many, but I enjoyed the book anyway.

Despite the fact that I am obviously not the target audience, I still found it very interesting.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Dale
  • 2018-02-04

So helpful and encouraging!

Would you listen to The Actor's Life again? Why?

Yes. In addition to the TON of practical advice, there is an encouraging tone to the words that are spoken. It feels like having a personal coach there with you, reminding you that "Yes, you are enough. And that life is more important than just nailing that audition, and getting that role." You can really hear the sincerity in the author's voice, and because it's her voice, and not my own self-critical voice saying the words (which would be the case if I were reading the book), I feel that the book packs more of an encouraging and affirming punch, so to speak.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Actor's Life?

Rainn Wilson reading the forward is worth the price of the book alone - it's so funny. Apparently he ad-libbed some of what was said? It had me laughing out loud.

Which scene was your favorite?

The interviews at the end of the book are super insightful. It's nice to hear the other actor's echo some of what has been said earlier in the book. Hearing the story of the broadway actor (I'm sorry I can't remember his name) and the dedication he's had pursuing his craft was really inspiring.

Any additional comments?

Give it to every actor you know. This book, though specifically written for actors, can be applied to any one's pursuit of their art. I think it should be required reading for anyone choosing to pursue a career in the performing arts (actors, musicians, comedians, directors, writers etc...)! Big thanks to the author for taking the time and effort, and having the willingness to share her journey with all of us who have wondered what it takes to make it as an actor, or what it is like to live the life of a working artist. Indeed, it IS a noble pursuit!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe Strummer
  • 2018-08-06

Great listen Jenna a great narrator

I saw the reviews for this book, and was also a fan of Jenna on the Office, so I figured I'd try it out. I thought it was going to be a biography. To my surprise it was a book about getting into the acting business.

At first I was disappointed but figured I'd give it a chance anyway. This is a GREAT book!! So informative and interesting whether you want to become on actor or not. Just great to listen to...Jenna is great at narration!! I would listen to any other book she read.

Get this book, you will NOT be disappointed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicolas Kiselewski
  • 2018-01-29

loved every second

I dont care what industry you're in, Jenna tells it like it is and if you have an interest in becoming successful and laughing at her amazing stories, then go buy the book. TODAY!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • natalia rodriguez
  • 2018-01-09

Loved this book! lots of great advise

Definitely listen to this if you are a struggling actor and need some advise or just reassurance that you are doing the right thing in following your dreams. never give up!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Cameron L
  • 2018-03-04

imteresting and compelling

as a fan of the office I felt like this was a must-read and while I enjoyed it more than I ever thought I would at first I wasn't sure what I got myself into. This book reads more like a how to guide rather than about Jenna's life but I really like it you do get to hear a lot about Jenna's life but it's more about her life as an actor. I like how if I wanted to now that I read this book I can now go out and be an actor and at least have some idea as to what's going on I think her goal in providing a mentor for people that want to go out and be an actor was met cuz you could totally use this as a guide to acting. I love listening to her and I loved all that kind of Insider info as to how to be an actor casting calls auditions and all that juicy stuff I really liked it!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Brent C.
  • 2018-02-16

Better than expected

I really respect Jenna for her candidness, honesty and care towards other actors like myself

2 of 2 people found this review helpful