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"ACTING...It's Not For Sissies": 6" x 9" Paperback – April 20, 2015
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From the Back Cover
RECOMMENDATIONS:"Nicole has a keen insight into what drives this industry. She has impeccable taste in not only the craft of acting, but also has a knowledgeable business sense and actors who wish to call themselves PROFESSIONAL actors need to understand both sides of this equation. Every actor entering the business could definitely benefit from Nicole's expertise". --Scott Faucett, Talent Manager, Hg5 Entertainment
"Nicole is an inspiration. She's vivacious, encouraging and has a wonderful sense of humor; Never a dull moment. She works really hard and has tremendous insight into people, which reflects in the work she does". -Demian Slade, Actor and Coaching Client
"Nicole Comer's book is incredibly helpful, and insightful. Every actor should read!"--Liam Fountain , Actor and coaching client
"Nicole has an incredible compassion for actors and has blended that with her extensive knowledge of the industry to help guide many towards a successful career as a working actor. I have been fortunate enough to have Nicole as a mentor and she has empowered me through her infectious optimism and constant wisdom. She is very intuitive in the way she approaches the industry and helped me simplify the at-times, complicated business side of acting". --Natasha Sattler, actress and coaching client
"Nicole is an amazing worker. When she puts her mind into something she does it with full force never sacrificing any small detail. She is thorough, intelligent, and she has a great sense of humor. She believes in her clients and has strong convictions that enable her to get the best out of everyone. She is a fearless coach, one I would be happy to work with again". ---Carolyn Crotty, actress and coaching client
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Top Customer Reviews
It is the business of acting that Nicole Comer addresses in this well written, humorous, and straight forward book. Her advice on dress, head shots, auditions, and agents is worth the price of the book. But what I found most interesting was the section on knowing yourself.
To truly understand who you are, what you want, and how you are perceived is something all of us could benefit from, but few take the time to really discover. Anyone, in any profession, could benefit from the advice Comer gives, more so for anyone pursuing an acting career. As Polonius said in Hamlet, “This above all: to thine own self be true”. To do that one needs to know oneself. Comer provides the tools for anyone to do just that.
This is a four star book with worthwhile advice. I held back one star as it is weighted heavily to acting in Los Angeles, although there is plenty for anyone thinking about acting anywhere.
Nicole Comer's witty and hilarious "Acting...It's Not For Sissies" is one of the funniest books I've read in dog years. It's not a manual on how to act. It's also not a step-by-step playbook on how to method act. Instead, Comer's book is a easy-to-read piece on what showbiz is really all about, all the while throwing in tidbits of advice that Comer herself has learned along the way.
Comer uses personal stories to present an insider's view on the climb to fame and a true love for the difficult art of being an actor. She doesn't sugar coat things either. It's a really, really difficult industry to break into, and once you've made the incredibly fortunate foray into the world of Hollywood glamour, there is no guarantee that is where you'll stay (sorry, Renee Zellweger). The book seems to be written for those who are truly devoted to being a successful actor, despite all of the obvious pitfalls that are rolled up into that archetype. It's a clever expose for those who may have an idealized version of Hollywood and the incorrect perception that it's an easy egg to break.
What makes Comer's book so relevant is that she's lived through every single anecdote she writes so astutely about. She's worn many hats, from actor to coach. Her words are real and true, giving the more lighthearted components of the book a deeper resonance.
Having graduated from film school myself (albeit not in a performing capacity but a critical one), I appreciate Comer's words on a different level. I can contextualize her commentaries on acting styles and going outside of one's comfort zone into films that have been deemed edgy or controversial, not necessarily for the subject matter, but for an actor's portrayal of a certain role.
Comer is wise and accessible. She carefully walks the line of being informative and inspirational without being preachy or overbearing. It's clear from the very first word that Comer just wants to share her experience in the world of glass houses, and should an aspiring actor decide to pick up a rock to throw now and then, they have to be ready to able to deal with the aftermath that may be involved.
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And yet, for those that love their art and can't imagine doing anything else, "working actor" is a proud, realistic, and honorable badge. Nicole Comer's delightful book is aimed at that population, and those who would join it. You'll have to get your starshine fix somewhere else.
Comer has been in the trenches for a good while, as a performer, coach, staffing agent, and, inevitably, odd-jobber. Along the way, she has developed a keen sense of how acting works as a business, especially in Los Angeles (and it could fairly be said that this guide is L.A.-centric). She has gathered her insights, anecdotes, scar tissue, and sass into this short, non-nonsense book that bypasses discussion of acting technique (she assumes you have other sources for that) for a penetrating look at how to optimize your chances for survival in a difficult industry.
Is the book just for aspiring actors, then? Far from it, actually. I think that anyone is who is trying to freelance or build a solo service business in any field would benefit strongly from what Comer shares here. The book takes less than two hours to read and is a heck of a lot of fun besides, so it is an excellent investment.
As it happens, beyond being a film critic myself since my college days - I made part of my living at it in my 20s, imagine - I have other connections to the Los Angeles film and television scene. A college friend has worked as an entertainment reporter there, and my sister, who has a bachelor's degree in drama and a master's degree in television, has spent many years in casting and production. Through them and their connections I have heard a lot about the ups and downs of the business. And Nicole Comer is exactly right, it is not for the faint-hearted.
Comer has solid brass-tacks advice on such issues as finding your acting niche (you can't expand BEYOND your niche until you HAVE one), having headshots done (a very thorough chapter), joining the Screen Actor's Guild, working with agents and talent managers, attending workshops (an extremely valuable activity), keeping up with the TV world (viewing every series becomes part of your work), and navigating "pilot season." Just about everything she says chimes with discussions I have had with my sister, and both have wickedly funny stories about the jerks one encounters in the industry (along with surprisingly many solid, grounded individuals).
I think the only bone of contention between their points of view would involve Los Angeles theater, specifically non-Equity productions. Comer is kind of down on the idea of involving oneself too heavily in this world, suggesting that daytime theater rehearsals impair an actor's ability to take auditions for film, television, and commercials, and that industry types don't much attend non-Equity shows, so the chances of being seen and appreciated are few.
My sister, who has worked extensively as a stage manager on non-Equity shows, would demur. She tells me that she can almost always re-arrange rehearsal work around an actor's audition needs, and that industry types indeed show up at the performances with great frequency, in part because there are usually at least a couple of experienced television actors in the cast of any given show. She has been surprised by who she has seen in audiences.
Well, great minds don't always agree. But Nicole Comer is never doctrinaire about any of the opinions she expresses; she is explicit about the fact that she is coaching from the perspective of what she has seen and experienced herself, and Your Mileage May Vary. You actors out there would do well to avail yourselves of what she has to offer. As a freelance writer, I learned from it too.