February 28, 2010
Thanks for checking out my blog! For anyone that followed me before I switched over to blogger, thanks for rejoining. For anyone brand new, I'd love for you to see the other stuff, but my old service doesn't like to do things like export to another site. For shame! For SHAME!!!
But this gives me a lovely chance to start again. I feel a little bit like I've stepped back in time. That's not a completely comfortable sensation. I've learned a lot over the course of the last couple of years. Enough to know that I am now, and will forevermore be, a dork.
So, who am I and what am I doing? My name's Ben Hopkin. I'm a husband, a dad, an actor, a teacher, a producer, a director and a writer. Oh, and I edit. And iron shirts. And occasionally wash windows. Okay, not so much with that last one. But I do wash dishes.
My acting journey began when I was about seven years old. My dad teaches classical voice and directs opera, and my first stage experience was in a production he directed. It was Gianni Schicchi and I still remember my lines. I fell in love then, and it hasn't changed since.
I did have a short stint where I decided I would do something "sane" and "logical" (read "safe"). My freshman year of college, I started off as an aerospace engineering major. I continued to act on the side, which quickly became not-so-much-on-the-side, and I was in danger of losing my scholarship. After one of the worst years of my life, I enrolled in another university as a theatre major.
I graduated from undergrad and auditioned for (and was accepted to) my first pick grad program: The Old Globe Theatre/USD MFA program. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned to really be present in my body during performances there at the Globe. I worked with amazing directors, actors, mentors. I trained like I've never trained before. I loved it! Oh, and I did it all while working three jobs to support my family. I went into grad school married with one child, and ended married (to the same person, no less) with two kids.
We moved to LA, where I began to work in the industry, teaching and coaching acting, voice and dialects. I eventually ended up running the Acting for Film program at the New York Film Academy at Universal Studios for about five years, before leaving to co-found a production company, Off Our Meds MultiMedia.
During my decade as a teacher, I developed an approach to acting that incorporates a well-defined technique, but adds to it an element that I feel is sorely lacking in most approaches to acting: magic! It's the magic of connection, which is one of what I call the three C's of acting. Connection, Communication and Commitment.
That is my journey so far in a tiny, tiny little nutshell. I hope you will join me on this journey and keep checking my blog. There will be podcasts posted here eventually, as well.