My Book World
I’m not an actor, but I imitated one in my youth, playing a duke in third grade, singing in a high school production of Damn Yankees, and marching down the aisle in college as part of the forest ranger chorus in Little Mary Sunshine. I loved Fischer's book because during the time it took me to read it, I realized I probably didn’t have what it would have taken to become an actor. At the same time, if I had attempted such a thing, I would so have used a book like this one as a guide.
Fischer addresses all the nuts and bolts of starting out: getting head shots done (professional ones, not phone pics), building a resumé, auditioning, even the machinations of how things work on a television or film set. Most of all, Fischer lets readers in on a little secret. Although the money can be great, the real joy of an actor’s life is ACTING. Becoming a person other than yourself. Developing a feel for all of humanity by taking on various roles. I would add that acting may be the most difficult of all the fine arts: memorizing lines (sometimes in a very short timeframe), bringing those lines to life in conjunction with a script and the ensemble, becoming (insofar as possible) that other person, taking direction, leaving your ego at the door, learning ancillary skills like singing, dancing, or fencing. If you wouldn’t do it for free (and millions of actors do), then you probably wouldn’t do it well in order to make a living.
Fisher doesn’t rely on her experiences alone; she peppers the pages with sidebars of advice from other actors: “I vowed I would never do a commercial, nor would I do a soap opera—both of which I did as soon as I left the Acting Company and was starving” (52).—Kevin Kline. And in the last section of the book, Fischer cites her interviews with four working actors, and they give, at length, their take on the profession by way of sharing with readers many more good tips. A must-read for aspiring actors and people who love Jenna Fischer (and I do) alike!
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