In one of her first headshots, Jenna Fischer looks like a chipper teenager in overalls.
When she found a photographer who could convey that image, it helped lead to her first big job: nice receptionist Pam Beesly in “The Office,” Fischer writes in “The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide.”
The missteps are probably the most fun for the average reader who wouldn’t dream of running off to Los Angeles and living in a hovel while eating “Actor’s pizza”.
Fischer says her book really is for aspiring actors and is not a memoir.
“It’s the guidebook I wish I’d had when I started down the path of being an actor,” she says.
Some of the messages are also appropriate to other artistic pursuits, she says, or anyone “Striving for a particular goal. There’s a lot of general encouragement in the book about not giving up.” It also should be of interest to parents of creative kids who may have their own tough climb or to people just generally curious about actors’ lives.
What students often asked was “How do I get an agent?” and “How do I persevere through rejection?” So Fischer goes into those things, including telling them that most new actors aren’t ready to get an agent.
That’s lucky for St. Louisans because much of the introduction and Chapter 1 is about how she did not grow up in a showbiz family: “My parents weren’t actors or musicians or writers. My father was a plastics engineer and my mother was a school teacher. Both are now retired, but they both loved what they did.”
“I got a great education, and I didn’t leave school with a giant debt.” She still recommends getting a good education but not acquiring a a huge student loan before trying to make it as an actor.