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The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  5,495 ratings  ·  795 reviews
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 certain everything would fall easily into place. Never mind that she didn’t know a single person in the entertainment industry. She was determined, she was confident, she was ready to work hard. So, what could go wron ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published November 14th 2017 by BenBella Books
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Jessica Absolutely. This is a disheartening industry. Ms. Fischer describes what to expect in a kind but realistic way. Alot of the information found on the i…moreAbsolutely. This is a disheartening industry. Ms. Fischer describes what to expect in a kind but realistic way. Alot of the information found on the internet about acting can be confusing and contradictory (like most things on the internet) so it's nice to have the perspective of a real, working actor to light the way. I think it should be on all aspiring actors reading list.(less)

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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  5,495 ratings  ·  795 reviews

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Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: acting-related
This book is basically an actors textbook. Please, please, please know this. It was perfect for me cause, hey, I'm an actor. Jenna has been giving out amazing information like this for years, via blog posts and podcasts, and I have been waiting for her to publish it.

But if you aren't an actor and/or have no interest in being an actor and/or have no interest in the art/business/mechanics of's not gonna be for you. This is not about the celebrity aspect of acting. Or even Jenna's biog
John Lamb
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Being an actor is not something I ever wanted to pursue, so I am not the intended audience for this book, but I still loved learning about the behind-the-scenes details of trying to make a profession out of acting.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have to start this by saying I have literally NO plan on becoming an actress and I´m not really that interesting in the field.

However what I do have interest in is celebrity biographies etc. I find it relaxing to read or listen to a celebrity telling me something about their life that´s not gossip.
If I had plans on becoming an actress this book would have been really useful. Its informative, well written and has a lot of useful examples. Its motivating as well, knowing that everyone doesn´t
Miranda Reads
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it

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Onwards to the written review!

When Pam came along, my particular set of attributes and talents aligned perfectly for the character. I was the right person at the right time for the right job.
Jenna Fischer began her Hollywood career eight years before finally found success as Pam on The Office.

When she first moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream, she didn't expect a golden-paved road to suc
Valerity (Val)
This is written by Jenna Fischer who played on the hit show "Office" for years. I was hooked on that show for a long time which gave me an interest in reading her book. It's written mainly as a guide for those who are bitten by the acting bug and really as a way to help them with tips and ideas on how to get started and keep going in a career in acting. It seems like it would really be helpful for someone with that seriously in mind for their life too if they really have the drive and ambition t ...more
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
New favorite book! No joke. Jenna Fischer is my biggest inspiration. (And you mom, she’s on here and I don’t want to hurt her feelings) She made it so she didn’t sugarcoat everything about being an actor. She talked about struggle and heartbreak. It took her so long to jumpstart her career! And I love how honest she was. I may or may not have shed a tear. It was just so inspiring! If I could give it 100 stars, I would.
I'm between 3 and 4 stars but rounding up because I read it as a Jenna Fischer fan and not an aspiring actor--the audience it is intended for.

I adore Jenna Fischer and I knew going in it was mainly a book about career advice for beginning actors. I loved her stories about her start, missteps, The Office, etc. and didn't mind the advice pieces for the most part.

I actually listened to the audio book and since it was Jenna narrating, it was as charming and funny as she is.🤗I'm going to need to fi
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An incredible book for anyone who wants to get into, or is already into, acting. Particularly recommend to actors in Los Angeles as some of the advice is quite location specific.

Note: this book is no way an autobiography, but an actor's manual.
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is up there with Tina Fey's Bossypants. What I appreciate about Jenna Fischer is the way she looks out for those up and comers who don't have "connections" in NY, LA or Chicago. This is a great read for aspiring actors but also for those who love television, film and pop culture. I love reading about the ins and outs of the entertainment industry. Bottom line: Jenna says you can make it with lots of hard work, patience, and determination as long as you stay teachable and be sure to cre ...more
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: performance-arts
A great book for anyone who is, or plans to get in the brutal world of the entertainment industry. Very eye-opening, raw, and insightful.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-5-stars
Jenna Fischer's The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide provides wonderful insight into a world that many aspire to be part of, but few have the drive, determination, and luck to make it in.

It took Jenna eight grueling years before she landed her polarizing role of Pam Beasley. The thing that most successful actors all share in common is luck! What is luck and how do you attain it?

If you want to be a professional actor, it is important that you live in LA or New York. About 20% of SAG actors' annual
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was initially a little hesitant to pick up this book because I am not an actor, but I'm so glad that I did! I'm a fan of Jenna Fischer from her role as Pam Beesly in The Office, and Jenna shows the frustrating, funny and often discouraging journey it took to land her breakout role and become a successful working actress. The Actor's Life is full of anecdotes of what mistakes Jenna made when she got to Hollywood. The advice she gives on everything from acquiring an agent to finding a collaborat ...more
This was so interesting. I don't want to be an actor, but if I did, I would certainly use this as a guide for getting started and moral support. Jenna gives a plethora of information on everything a fledgling actor needs to know. She's also a cheerleader for keeping one's spirits up despite being rejected over and over. Along the way, she tells stories and gives examples from her own career trajectory. It takes a lot of passion, self confidence and persistence to live the life of an artist and J ...more
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
This was a surprise! I’m not an actor. I don’t really know any actors. I would actively discourage anyone I knew from becoming an actor. And yet, I really enjoyed this.

Fischer tells the story of of her own Hollywood journey while giving advice and behind-the-scenes information all the while. It was a great mix of personal info and general info. I loved hearing about the complex processes behind auditions, networking, and seeking management. Her advice is reasonable and she adorable. Like most a
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I love Jenna Fischer! I only picked this book up because I love her so much, so, obviously, none of the information pertained to me. However, she writes beautifully and conversationally without condescending to you. If you were an aspiring actor, this would be the book for you!
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The book is the gift that keeps on giving!!! If you are an actor this is the book for you. I listened to it as an audio and I’m going to buy it just so I can highlight and write in the margins. Much love!!!!
Rachel Holtzclaw
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
i have no plans (now or ever) to be an actor, but i love jenna fischer. she's great. i hold her and her advice in high regard. ...more
Jan 26, 2021 rated it did not like it
I really don’t know why I finished this book 🤷🏻‍♀️
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I underestimated the charm that is Jenna Fischer. To think that I had doubts when I bought the audiobook, the nerve that I had! I am known to love celebrity memoirs in audio form and I usually know IF I'm going to enjoy the book from a mile away because we can always assume that the book because of the reputation of the celebrity. But for some reason, only because she's not in any high-profile shows recently because that's how I USED TO wrongly judge actors (by their recent work) ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
Pam Beesly wrote a book, ya’ll! Well, that’s not entirely true; Jenna Fischer, actress extraordinaire, wrote a book and it is super informative for the novice actor and enlightening for the day dreamers like me.
How in the world do you get a start in Tinseltown? Lovable Jenna, right out of college with a theatre degree, hit the road and rented out a windowless apartment in Hollywood and expected the roles to roll right on in. Isn’t that how all actors expect their big breaks other than being dis
debbicat *made of stardust*
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable. Jenna is probably best known for her character on the hit tv series, The Office. I thought this interesting and informative. A light readand helpful to anyone who would like to pursue acting as a career. I requested this title on NG because I was listening to a podcast and Jenna was being interviewed about her new book. Jenna states that she wanted to write a book to help anyone else who is interested in making acting a career. She gave a lot of information about navigating the journe ...more
Connor Daley
*Note* this is not a fair rating.

You may wonder what I was doing listening to this audiobook when I have nothing to do with acting and I don’t aspire to be one. Truthfully, from the moment I started it I was wondering the same thing, but I rarely ever stop once I’ve started something.

I had just finished the Bassoon King and Paddle Your Own Canoe so I guess I thought maybe this would be more of an autobiography/self-help kind of book like Rainn Wilson and Nick Offerman’s. However, I wasn’t such
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, nonfiction
This was fascinating. As a non-actor it was really interesting to get a peek behind the curtain. Mostly because I don't actually have to follow all of this advice!

The first couple chapters are clunky and full of "I took myself so seriously, isn't that silly?!" But after that she settles into it and I couldn't stop reading.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Do I have any interest in becoming an actor? No.
Did I think this was going to be a memoir because I’m an idiot who didn’t read the blurb? Yes.
Did I learn tons of factoids about what the actor’s life is like? Heck yes.

No regrets at all about my mistake.
Jared Nipper
For anyone who aspires to be a working actor, this is a valuable resource. Advice like this is hard to come by since acting is a competitive field. She recounts her time on The Office, but also talks about her less successful periods. The latter parts were the most inspiring.
Hannah | Reading Under Covers
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
Holy wow. Even as a non-actor, I found this book so beyond inspiring.
It's Jess✨
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must read for any actor
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was great! I don’t want to be an actor but I am pretty fascinated by how people become one and I love the Office and Pam! So worth the read.
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographical
There are two main audiences for this book. One audience is aspiring actors looking for advice on how to achieve their dream. The other audience is those people leading more “normal” lives, but who are curious as to how an actress seemingly just as sweet, vulnerable and determined as the Pam Beesly character found success in Hollywood. I think author Jenna Fischer wrote for the first audience, while keeping an eye on the second, potentially much larger audience. (I fall into the second group.)

Dec 27, 2020 rated it liked it
So I didn't read the back of this book well enough and somehow missed that it is a book that provides advice on how to become an actor. I picked this book up because I love the office, and I really like Jenna Fischer. However, even though I'm not the target audience for this book, I really enjoyed it. She provides a lot of practical advice, but my favourite parts were the stories she shares about her career. There's a great mix of personal anecdotes of bad auditions, embarrassing moments, etc. Y ...more
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Former receptionist, Mom of two, coffee mug collector, loves to travel.

Jenna Fischer is best known for playing Pam Beesly on the acclaimed television show The Office for which she received an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress and two SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Comedy.
She's also starred in a variety of films, including 'Blades of Glory' and 'Walk Hard: The Dewey

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