Arts, Culture & Media

An interview with Jenna Fischer

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She talks about dreaming of glamour growing up in St. Louis, and getting her big break -- the role of Pam -- by focusing all her ability on being un-glamorous.

Her hard-scrabble start in Los Angeles as an aspiring actress was spent in an apartment so dingy that it depressed even her cat.  "If I had an extra $800, it was going to go towards acting classes or new headshots.  I wasn't going to put it into rent.  So for me, it was all part of the sacrifice making it."

"One of the most frustrating things about being an actor is that if you are a painter, or a writer, or a musician, you can practice your art by yourself, and I think you can get some fullfilment out of that.  But, it is really not that much fun to just act in your apartment by yourself.  The need for an audience is so important."

On the subject of the number of "no" responses that actors and actresses get when auditioning for acting jobs, Fischer says, "I had a teacher who said something great.  That was, 'Go out and collect collect your nos.  Once you get fifty nos then you can start wondering when you can get a yes.'"

She continues, "He said, 'It is not your job to get the job; its your job to do a consistent body of work.  So, every time you go in there, just go in there and be consistent, and eventually it will get noticed and someone will hire you.'  And that is actually what happened with "The Office."  The casting director who cast "The Office" had been calling me for about five years on various projects.  Sometimes I would get one line on a TV show she was working on. 

"One time she called me in for a mini-series and I didn't get the job.  But she just would call me in once or twice a year.  And, because I think I had built up that consistent body of work with her, where I could show her that I could come in and do the job consistently, she felt confident enough to ask me to come audition for the producers of "The Office."  And that is the one that hit.  But you never know."

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The brainchild of host and producer Jesse Thorn, "The Sound of Young America" is an irreverent weekly arts and entertainment interview program, described by its creator as "a public radio show about things that are awesome."

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