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Working Actor

Breaking in, Making a Living, and Making a Life in the Fabulous Trenches of Show Business
Narrated by: David Dean Bottrell
Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
4 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)
Regular price: $24.50
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Publisher's Summary

Veteran character actor David Dean Bottrell draws on his 35-plus tumultuous years of work in the entertainment industry to offer a guide to breaking in, making a living, and making a life in the fabulous trenches of show business.

Covers every facet of the business, including: 

  • Capturing the perfect headshot
  • Starting (and maintaining) your network
  • Picking an agent
  • Audition do’s and don’ts
  • Joining the union(s): SAG-AFTRA and Actors Equity Association (AEA)
  • On stage vs. on screen 
  • Paying the bills
  • Self-promotion
  • Late bloomers

When to get out David Dean Bottrell has worn many different hats during his decades in showbiz: television actor with appearances on Boston Legal, Modern Family, The Blacklist, Mad Men, True Blood, NCIS, and Days of Our Lives; screenwriter for Paramount and Disney; respected acting teacher at UCLA and AADA; and regular expert columnist for esteemed acting site Backstage. In Working Actor, Bottrell offers a how-to manual jammed with practical information and insider advice, essential reading for any artist (aspiring or established) in need of insight or inspiration. 

Mixing prescriptive advice ("Getting Started", "Learning Your Craft", "Finding an Agent") with wisdom drawn from Bottrell's own professional highs and lows and those of his acting compatriots, this book's humorous, tell-it-like-it-is tone is a must-have guide for anyone hoping to successfully navigate show business.

©2019 David Dean Bottrell (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"If you're looking for guidance, here it is. David is not some guru teaching something he hasn’t directly experienced himself. If you’re serious about learning about the reality of working in this business...read this book." (Brian Fagan, director of professional programs at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television)

“It’s like practical magic...a deeply personal, yet universal guided tour into the world of acting and the business of show. Loaded with lessons for the beginner and reminders for 'the vet'." (L. Scott Caldwell, series regular on ABC's Lost and Tony-Winner for August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone

“A witty and honest peek inside the world of show business, through the eyes of actor/comedian/storyteller, David Dean Botrell, as he recounts his three decades in the business. It’s a must read for anyone pursuing this crazy profession.” (Margo Martindale, Tony nominee, three-time Emmy winner, Justified and The Americans

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  • Andrea
  • HARRISONBURG, VA, United States
  • 03-10-19

Refreshing, grounded, solid advice

I downloaded this title after seeing a promotion from the publisher. It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to this kind of “career advice for actors” type book because so many of them are the same. This one though was like a breath of fresh air. I’m a full time actor myself and found myself nodding and saying “yes that’s so true!” as I listened. So much of the lore around how to “make it” as an actor has to do with the kind of magical thinking that doesn’t really help an actor take concrete actions toward specific goals. Bottrell’s message is as simple as it is stark: no two showbiz careers are alike, therefore nobody else can tell you what to do or whether you should even bother. The beauty of it (besides being true) is that it hands the reins back to the actor.

The author, in his engaging performance, tells aspiring actors how to pay attention to things that can make a difference, how to prepare, how to navigate the interpersonal landscape of fellow actors, agents, managers, casting directors etc. and most importantly how to know when it’s time to try something new, to recognize when things are shifting within a career and life, and how to embrace the unknown. The author has given his audience a practical, reassuring and honest guide to being a working actor. What a great listen!

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Why EVERYONE Needs to Read “Working Actor:”

I am on a road trip from St. Louis to Pompano Beach. (Made it as far as Macon, GA, tonight.) I listened to the audio book version of "Working Actor" from southern Illinois to northern Georgia. That may seem strange since I am not a professional actor. Nevertheless, since this book displays a fondness for enumerated lists, here are my Five Reasons Why EVERYONE Needs to Read “Working Actor:”

1) If you have ever thought about becoming a professional actor, this book will provide an excellent guide to what to expect, not just on the nuts and bolts, financial, and training levels, but on the psychological, emotional, and yes, even spiritual levels as well.
2) This book affirmed for me that I made exactly the right choice for myself by NOT becoming a professional actor.
3) David Dean Bottrell as a writer and narrator is warm, smart, hilarious, generous, and quite moving.
4) His observations on what it means for each of us to find out who we are meant to be in this world apply equally to any profession.
5) Indeed, he makes the case more persuasively than I ever have read elsewhere that a life in the arts is a not just a career, it is a vocation.
6) If you’ve got 500 miles and 8 hours on the road, you could not ask for a better audio traveling companion than DDB and “Working Actor.”