Book Review: The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide


the actor's life

Book Review: The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide

I love Jenna Fischer, and that is why I selected her book, The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide. I fell in love with Fischer’s portrayal of Pam Beesly / Halpert in The Office, and I later loved Fischer’s performance in The Giant Mechanical Man.

If I had read any of the Goodreads reviews prior to my purchase, I would have had some awareness that this book is more of a helpful handbook at breaking into the business than it is a memoir. Though Jenna Fischer does share some insight into her triumphs and setbacks, this book was essentially wasted on me. I did not dislike it, however, for me, it was boring minutiae as I am not an actor and have no desire to be an actor. If anything, because acting is not my lifelong dream or passion, it made me think that becoming an actor is just too much of a PITA to even attempt. My hat’s off to those who pursue this profession; Fischer has opened my eyes to the realization that acting is a much more difficult pursuit than I imagined . . . EVER.

The insights provided by Fischer’s book include but are not limited to: the process by which one earns entry into SAG-AFTRA, the auditioning system, and measures one should take to maintain an up to date résumé and acting reel. Of particular interest for budding actors is Fischer’s explanation of what a good head shot is versus a bad head shot and how they can be an essential component of booking or not booking a job. Each of the aforementioned topics were completely unfamiliar to me.

With that being said, I do admit that The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide is an excellent resource for those who want to be on TV, in films, or even on the stage. If you have no interest in any of the above, I would not invest your time or money into this book . . . unless of course you are just a lover of Jenna Fischer. I have given Fischer’s book a three star rating; despite the text not being applicable to my life or career pursuit(s), I still enjoyed it.