Book Review

The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide by Jenna Fischer


This book was not for me. What I mean is, I wasn’t its intended audience.

It was right there in the title, The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide and that is exactly who Jenna Fischer geared her book towards. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the book, though I feel that had I been an aspiring actor I would have found it more beneficial and would have probably related to it more. The upside is that I adore Jenna Fischer and I enjoyed listening to her audio book about her experiences as an aspiring actor. I just won’t be using any of her advice for myself, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be useful for someone else. Someone who you know…actually wants to be an actor.

I kind of felt like an impostor.

GOOD POINT: I have found recently that I enjoy the “rags to riches” story of my favorite celebrities and Jenna’s story was no exception. It’s fascinating to hear other’s trials and tribulations. It’s especially gratifying when you know that they end up okay in the end. I will not, nor would I ever claim to share the same story with any of the ones I have read/listened to, but it does provide a comfort that my own story just might end up the same. I appreciate that.

In her book Jenna explains in humorous details the life of an aspiring actor. She begins with moving to an appropriate city (yes, this does matter). There aren’t many options and it really does depend on what you are striving to achieve in your career. Movies and television, you’ll probably want Los Angeles, Stage (drama or musical) you’ll want to go in the opposite direction and set roots in New York. Comedians also have an avenue and are most likely to be found bound for Chicago.

These insights were interesting, but again, I’m not an actor. I don’t find myself dreaming about being in front of a camera or up on stage (the very thought makes my stomach churn). However, if you are one of those people I actually would highly encourage you to pick up Jenna’s book.

While not an expansive, solves all guide, I think if I were an aspiring actor I would get much benefit from it. She walks you through the ups and downs of finding an agent, then maybe a manager, firing that first agent to get with a second one. There are lots of steps I wasn’t aware of. She also points out the things you should be weary of which I think I found the most insightful.

GOOD POINT: Even though I am not an aspiring actor, I am an aspiring author. These things are vastly different, but what I have come to understand that no matter what artistic profession you choose, there is no finish line. You have to actively continue to pursue your passion if you are going to succeed. A landed television show doesn’t mean you’ll get another when that one finishes. Just because you publish one book doesn’t mean you’ll publish a second, and so on. Now this I could relate to.

The writing is good, better than I would have expected, but my hopes in this regard are usually set fairly low. I get that they are artistic people, but they aren’t writers unless they strive to be. Regardless, I was impressed at how easily the book flowed and I found the interviews with fellow actors at the end very clever. It was a way to highlight that the experiences Jenna had just spent expressing for the last six and half hours were valid and not solely listed under her experiences.

It was also good to see that everyone moves at their own pace and that can be a good or bad thing depending on how much you want it. I liked the variety, it makes the experiences more relatable to other aspiring actors that would be reading this.

So while I wish this had been more of a book of analogies of her time on the Office, I wasn’t disappointed in what it was. I hope that Jenna gets to do a lot more things and continues to fight and work hard for her passion.

BAD POINT: How hasn’t John Krasinski written a book?

4 Out Of 5 Stars

You should also read:

Book Review: The Living (Warm Bodies #3) by Issac Marion

Book Review: The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Book Review: The Shadow Kingdom by J.C. Inkson

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