This book offers fresh, accessible insights and exercises that are nothing short of game changing for actors and everyone.

Book: Actor for Life

This is what Connie de Veer came to me with: Thousands of fresh-faced college graduates flood into the entertainment business every day, but I see them five to ten years later, and they’ve hit a wall of discouragement and self-doubt. We give them advice in school about acting techniques and the business, but nobody is helping them learn to manage how they think, and that can make all the difference to an actor’s longevity in the business.

Connie wanted to write a book to help actors fight discouragement. She wanted a way to give her own students personal resources like resilience and confidence.

So where did I come in? She wanted it to have exercises in it.

Well, do I have exercises….

Actor for Life: How to have an amazing career without all the drama is the result of this collaboration. It is not the only result, though. I can count many hours of laughter, numerous learning curves, and a steady reminder of how intricate the written word can be.

Connie interviewed people who are still active in the theatre profession decades after leaving college. She wanted to know about their choices, attitudes, and strategies. Together we looked at the skills and attitudes these people have developed, things like courage, relationships, and a sense of service.

The Book is a non-textbook-like textbook. This was our recipe:

  • Take one acting professor: Connie de Veer.
  • Add artist, teacher, coach Jan Elfline.
  • Build on a shared vocabulary of coaching and self-leadership.
  • Utilize neuroscience that has revealed how our brains tend to work.
  • Find how age old wisdom has a 21st century reimagining.
  • Enhance with mental exercises and thought experiments.
  • Embellish with The Bard
  • Bake for three years.

Now that it is done, it speaks to working actors, acting teachers, and students of acting just as we had hoped it would. What we hear from others is that it is just as relevant for non-actors. These readers are people who act in their lives, and want to have amazing careers, preferably without all the drama!

See events and more details about the book on my co-author Connie de Veer’s website.

Jan Elfline

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