There are three things that up-and-coming film producer Ben Stranahan really loves: movies, music, and his cat, Moose. Ben has been working in Hollywood for over ten years now in a number of roles – actor, producer, musician – but he considers himself to be a storyteller at heart. Now a producer/partner with Tip Top Productions, which has seen a number of well-received releases in recent years, it seems that Ben’s years of hard work in the industry are finally beginning to pay off.
As Ben steadily climbs the Hollywood ladder to fame, he remains a charming, personable, down-to-earth guy, brimming with a warm, grounded optimism. Despite the endless stress and uncertainty of working in the entertainment industry, Ben is committed to keeping his chin up and his head in the game. Ben attributes his hard-fought Hollywood success to his persistence, determination, and his appreciation for every opportunity given to him. Ben knows that, especially in the City of Dreams, you should never waste an opportunity.
Ben’s long road to Hollywood runs all the way back to his middle school years in Aspen, Colorado. Ben remembers his first stage appearance as “exhilarating,” a moment that sparked his passion for storytelling and inspired him to pursue his dreams of working in film. “It was a wonderful experience; a defining moment in my childhood,” Ben recalls.
Upon realizing his life’s true purpose, Ben began to experiment with different modes of artistic expression. In high school, he continued his study of stage theatre and began to produce his first short films. “There’s nothing like experience to teach you how to do something,” he explains. He joined a band, for which he played drums and piano for five years until the end of high school forced him to separate from his friends; as they were preparing to leave for college, Ben was preparing to leave the security of home for the mean streets of Los Angeles, where he could carve out a name for himself as an artist.
After spending a couple of summers studying music at Berklee College in Boston, he was accepted into the revered American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, where his Hollywood dream began to take shape. Ben spent the next three years learning everything he could about the industry. He enjoyed analyzing characters, learned to speak in several accents, including Southern, Standard RP, New England, and Irish, and excelled at both armed and unarmed stage combat. Upon finishing school, Ben began building his career as an actor, producer, and musician.
One of his proudest moments as a producer came in 2016 when Mean Dreams, a drama/thriller starring Bill Paxton, premiered at the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival and as a Special Presentation at TIFF. The film has since been released theatrically in over ten countries and sold in over fifty. Ben also produced the acclaimed thriller Calibre, released on Netflix in 2018. The film went on to be nominated for four BAFTAs, with star Jack Lowden taking home the award for Best Actor.
As Ben thinks back on his Hollywood journey, he comes to the realization that, despite the difficulty, filmmaking was really the only path for him. As he explains, “It’s like Richard Linklater once said: ‘Painters paint, filmmakers make films.’ It was not only something I loved but something I needed to do.” There are many paths to success, some easier or more direct than others, but Ben believes he was bound for Hollywood from the moment he was born – and he doesn’t regret a moment of the journey.