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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.

What listeners say about The Actor's Life

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Average - gets lost in itself

It started off well and was on a downward sliding scale from there. Some of the day to day details of being an actor are interesting and the book pulls the curtain a little bit on the life experiences of an actor. It doesn’t go into enough detail of the actors life unfortunately.

There’s no doubt a struggling working actor would be a tough life. Fisher covers this well. The day in day out grind of rejection would be tough and the need for persistence is well discussed. I found some of the technical aspects of an actors daily routine on set interesting too.

There’s a series of oddly placed interviews in the last few chapters. I didn’t enjoy these at all. The narration is good at times but the ‘doe eyed’ girl voice grows a bit tiresome after a while.

I wouldn’t recommend the book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sam
  • 29-03-2018

Actor's coach and Survival Guide

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

Yes, absolutely. Anyone even looking to embark on an career on the boards or in front of the camera should listen to this book. Practical advice framed in positive tone is so valuable.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I actually found the admissions of Jenna's missteps to be really endearing

1 person found this helpful

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Every speaker must read this.

I am Speaker Agent. This book is the equivalent of Jerry McGuire only better. Jenna has written a book which is full of her and Pam. I have now heard it 5 times snd get more out of it on every listening. Thanks Jenna

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loved this book

I've just started acting, after changing careers, and found this both really entertaining and very helpful. It's my favorite acting book that I've read so far, as it is enjoyable to read (and listen to) (some books others have recommended are just really boring). I loved listening to Jenna tell her story too.

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One for aspiring actors

I am a massive Office fan and downloaded this book in the hope it was more memoir then guide but it really is an actors guide. A few cool tid bits about the show here and there. Even though I have no interest in becoming an actor, I actually really enjoyed the book.

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This is a must-have for any aspiring actor

I selected this book because I am a fan of The Office (US) and I have heard Jenna talking on a podcast about writing this book. I chose the audible version so I can listen in the car or out walking and as this is my first audible book, I made the right choice. This book is amazing and should be a bible for all aspiring actors. I am not an aspiring actor in anyway but I am the type of person who will buy a movie on blu-ray and watch the behind-the-scene production documentaries (sometimes before the movie). So hearing how an actor starts from nothing and struggles to get somewhere, and ends up on our screens is an amazing story, and Jenna's own accounts of the highs and lows of how she made it makes this book authentic and funny too. Don't get this book thinking it's going to be about her time on The Office. Sure, there are stories from that series but there is so much more, and Jenna gives some valuable advice throughout the whole book to explain in great detail the steps, and expectations when becoming an actor. I also think that listening to Jenna read her book gives it that personal touch, because these are her stories, her explanations, and her advice. Oh, and even the forward as read by Rainn Wilson had me laughing! I loved this book.

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Worth while!

Jenna Fischer’s insight, breakdown and honest advice is exceptional and a very real opinion on the in and outs of the entertainment industry!

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  • Dan
  • 03-11-2019

Great insights into acting

Jenna is a magnificent voice actor. The stories she tells in this book are exciting. Her writing style makes it relatable to the reader. Great book, that is me saying this without having ever tapped into acting myself.

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Lovely, warm but realistic.

love it. as a budding actor myself I loved the way this was presented comical but real in terms of what to expect.

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A must read for Actors

Such practical, specific and applicable advice from someone who’s been there. It really is a survival guide. Do yourself a favour, and read the whole thing, then read it again! Thanks Jenna Fischer!

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  • Alizée Gaillard
  • 26-02-2018

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

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  • Caitlin
  • 26-03-2018

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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Simone
  • 16-03-2018

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.

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  • Katelyn
  • 22-12-2017

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 people found this helpful

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  • Dale
  • 04-02-2018

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 people found this helpful

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  • Nicole B
  • 27-11-2018

Great even if you aren’t an aspiring actor

I’m a huge fan of The Office, which is why I decided to purchase and listen to this book. I love Jenna Fischer in general. I am a writer, not an actor, but a lot of the advice in this book translates to the other arts. It’s a very sweet book with a lot of encouragement. I think that if you are an aspiring actor you are going to get a lot out of it. Even if you are not in the arts and just like Jenna Fischer, you can get something out of this book. There are interviews with other actors, which give different perspectives on the craft. Overall, It’s a good listen.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Joe Strummer
  • 06-08-2018

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 people found this helpful

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  • Nicolas Kiselewski
  • 29-01-2018

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 people found this helpful

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  • natalia rodriguez
  • 09-01-2018

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 people found this helpful

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  • Cameron L
  • 04-03-2018

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 people found this helpful

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  • Peter Bosen
  • 26-08-2019

Life changing

I loved every second of this, and frankly was the right book that I needed at the very right time. It's hard to find people in this business that'll take a moments pause to give you a helping hand, so when big things like this come my way...... Thank you, Jenna - thank you.

1 person found this helpful

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  • pixie225
  • 12-05-2019

Unashamedly positive - not just for actors!

I hesitated in purchasing this book as I thought that it was aimed at actors, but it is a joyful piece of work. It charts her life from arriving in Hollywood, the mistakes Jenna made and the lessons she learned in the 10 years before she starred in The Office. Inspired me to pick up a copy of The Artist's Way.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-10-2018

Amazing

This is the first audiobook I've listened to and I couldn't have started better. Jenna is funny, inspiring and real. As a struggling actress, I relate so much to all her stories and, even though I'm in a different market (London), her insights are still useful and she actually helped me stay focused when I was getting lost. Thank you for sharing your story, Jenna.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous UK
  • 21-09-2018

Superb! Inspirational!

Loved this audio book. Once I pressed play I couldn't stop listening. Thank you so much for the lovely advices x

1 person found this helpful

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  • Helen W.
  • 14-07-2018

A must for any aspiring actor!!!

This book and it’s advice is essential for an actor starting out. The book is well written and incredibly well researched and thought out. The performance of the book by the awe inspiring Jenna Fischer makes the book feel as if a friend wanted to give you inspiring invaluable advice. A great listen!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Adam
  • 13-07-2018

1ST AUDIOBOOK

As my first audiobook it was amazing, insightful and very enjoyable, As an aspiring actor and fan of The Office this book has showed me a lot.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sean O'Neil
  • 07-09-2021

Jenna Fischer Cares

Jenna Fischer, Emmy-nominated star of the popular and beloved U.S. version of The Office, offers a survival guide for actors. What is apparent throughout is that Fischer really cares and wishes that someone had shared some of this information with her when she was first starting out. Note, it's a SURVIVAL guide, not a guide on how to become a SUCCESSFUL actor, something Fischer and her colleagues regularly point out - because they don't have all the answers. They really don't have any answers. As her friend and colleague, Derek Waters (creator of Drunk History) points out and shares in a really personal interview near the book's end, "It's different for everybody." Just as everybody's idea of success itself is different; Waters himself doesn't even consider himself a "working" actor because, to his mind, he's never succeeded at jobbing around for work - he's primarily only been cast in his OWN work. (I would say that qualifies as being a working actor though.)

Fischer herself, for all of her advice, experience, success and other genuine assertions that demonstrate how much she cares and wants to help, pretty much whittles it down to luck, with the anecdotes to prove it. One of the greatest ironies is that it was all the day jobs that Fischer worked in office after office after office that prepared her when her big break arrived - playing Pam in The Office. (She states emphatically, she knew who that character was because it was herself. But she also makes the greater point that she was PREPARED for it when the opportunity finally came her way.) Most of these ironies do not escape Fischer's attention though it is slightly disingenuous that when interviewing the actor Sean Gunn, in a useful section that ends the book where Fischer's intention is to "reveal the brush strokes" of how her friends and colleagues became working actors, primarily to demonstrate the time and effort required; but when interviewing Gunn about his career and applauding his achievement as a regular in the Guardians of The Galaxy franchise, neither of them ever mention that Sean Gunn is the brother of the director and producer of Guardians, James Gunn (who was also Fischer's husband for 8 years; James Gunn is also producer on other Marvel flicks and a writer/producer/director on several DC ones). Not only does this supersede (or at least expand) any notions of luck but also could've opened up insights on nepotism and networking, etc., that this book stays well clear of; though Fischer is at pains to detail how one should behave as a day player and later as a guest star on television sitcoms, lest anyone view this as a networking opportunity, with clear emphasis on the DOs and DON'Ts. Similarly, even though she's a three time Emmy nominee, Fischer doesn't share any details at all about awards shows, FYCs (For Your Consideration network promotion), or even submitting one's own work for Emmy consideration.

Is Fischer's guide going to make you a successful actor? No, of course not. Only you can do that. Is it going to change your career? Probably not, as everything it takes resides within the individual (with or without good familial connections). But is it going to make you feel better on a really crappy day when your acting career is going nowhere and you're on the verge of losing all hope in your own purpose and existence? DEFINITELY. And that seems to be the primary purpose of this guide. Fischer is a working actress with a not especially exciting career and, to her credit, avoids turning this guide into a personal memoir despite the presence of many relevant, personal anecdotes. Ultimately there is no special sauce other than train, work hard, develop meaningful relationships, don't give up (or do give up if you want), be creative, save money and don't give up. Do not give up. The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide is a warm, albeit temporary, comfort that details the mundanity, frustration and rewards of a real working actor's life.

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  • Preshul Shah
  • 31-05-2021

Jenna.....thank you.

Absolutely loved the Audiobook. Jenna was very truthful about her acting journey and makes it clear that it is no easy path to tread. Your story will make it easier for other aspiring actors to pursue their crazy yet beautiful path. I felt the end was bitter sweet as I didn't want the audiobook to end. It felt like Jenna reached out to me and told me everything was going to be okay. However all good things must come to an end and this audiobook was the butter to my toast. It is a must listen for aspiring actors or fans of Jenna Fischer.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-01-2021

if you are an actor/actress listen to this really

it made me laugh, made me think, motivated me.
truly amazing. Sometimes, as actor/actresses, we need books like this. I'm now considering to buy a hardcopy of this so I can look stuff up when I need to

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  • Sarah
  • 10-10-2020

Easy and Entertaining

I have no intention of acting, but Jenna was interesting and engaging throughout. Quickest audiobook I’ve listened to, was really fun.

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