CONVERSATIONS WITH BEN TOLPIN
WHY DO YOU TEACH, BEN?
I think it’s in my blood. Much of my family did some sort of teaching in their careers. As I was learning how to act, I did so much studying, contemplating, and banging my head against the wall because of challenges I faced in my process. When I finally had breakthroughs with results, I realized that I could communicate what I learned and help others do the same. I was also helped along the way by people like Heidi, so I feel that it’s important to pass it forward. Class is one of the few places you can make mistakes without consequences, and I love that freedom. Lastly, I was being asked by my actor friends how to book consistently, and I realized I could deconstruct it for them and help.
THE CRAZIEST SHOOT YOU EVER HAD?
Maybe when I shot a commercial inside a 14,000-square-foot coliseum built in an airplane hangar and was chased by a dozen gladiators and a chariot pulled by two horses—while a real, oversized 700 lb. tiger (the same one that jumped on Russell Crowe in the film Gladiator) lurked in a cage nearby.
Or maybe when I was on the film The Island and watched director Michael Bay attempt what he thought would be a funny prank on his 1st unit crew by telling a 2nd AD to radio to the rest of the crew that he’d fallen off a bicycle and was on the ground bleeding. A stampede of crew members ran to his aid from across the stage only for him to reveal that he was joking, as he casually jumped up grinning and a smattering of people forced uncomfortable laughter.
Also, there was that scripted scene in Showtime’s Weeds where I was asked to smoke a “joint,” and blow the smoke at a real caged raccoon while handing the raccoon Cheetos and keeping count to prove my weed was superior to Silas’s, since he was doing the same with his caged raccoon across the table. There was a representative from PETA who assured us that the raccoons were fine with it.
Oh yeah—and there was an episode of this sitcom I was a regular on, The Mullets, when me and the boys were watching a live police chase on TV, only to have that car really crash through the wall of the house we were in.
Another one: it was crazy for me on a Bud Light commercial shoot in Miami when the scene consisted of me snaking across a party cruise ship naked with a beach ball in front of my “xx.” I was really wearing a flesh-colored G-string. Wish I could say that was the first or last time I had to wear that in a commercial. It wasn’t. (And it’s exactly as humbling and uncomfortable as you’d imagine it to be.)
I could just go on and on….
ABOUT BEN TOLPIN
Ben Tolpin has worked as an actor for over 22 years and has appeared in more than 90 national commercials, including various Super Bowl commercials (Anheuser-Busch, Fedex, Motorola, and Samsung). He was the spokesperson for TGI Fridays in 2009, which, besides doing commercials, involved making appearances around the country.
In addition to shooting commercial spots for nearly everything, he’s worked with such notable film directors as Doug Liman, Michael Bay, Bobby Farrelly, Tony Kaye, Phil Morrison, and Errol Morris.
Television credits include Weeds, The Loop, NCIS, Off Centre, Wilfred, and The Mullets (series regular).
In theatre, he is most proud to have played Roy Selridge in Biloxi Blues for Neil Simon himself at the Pasadena Playhouse.
On top of having years of teaching experience, he is an alumnus of many acting programs in NYC/ LA, and has an BFA in acting from Marymount Manhattan College. Ben is a member of SAG and AEA.
See Ben’s commercials here: https://youtu.be/9bvXT4OvAbI
WHO IS THIS CLASS GOOD FOR?
This workshop is for both new actors and seasoned veterans. You don’t have to be a professional actor to book a commercial, but also, just because you’re a seasoned pro with a long TV/ film resume, doesn’t mean you won’t struggle booking them either.
Wherever you are at is great.
WHAT YOU GET
- 2 Days, 8 Hours Each Day
- Intimate and Non-Competitive Class: only 10 students max
- Individualized Coaching in each class
- Filmed scenes when you’re working
- Downloadable files of your Camera Class Work for personal review
- Experienced Acting Teacher and Working Actor insights & stories
- Tools & Exercises
- Sample material for in-class exercises
The Commercial Game is a process that frees and elevates your audition impact. I’ll accelerate your audition effectiveness, eliminate what keeps you from booking, and ready you for any type of commercial audition. The goal is to get you booking consistently and reveal things that even most experienced bookers don’t know.
You’ll begin by briefly preparing specific commercial copy (aka, a script) that you receive upon arrival. Then, we’ll springboard into the steps of identifying and learning a process to powerfully deal with all elements of commercial auditioning. You’ll learn a variety of ways to stand out, and you’ll have plenty of on-camera practice, critique, and partner work.
We’ll continue building and putting together the elements of The Commercial Game. We also have the “callback class.” This is the class that even the most experienced actors will benefit from. Learn how to navigate potential obstacles and command the callback room to maximize your chances of booking.
One only needs to bring water, snacks, and something to take notes.
See you soon!
Oh YES! Watch this! (AND LAUGH)
Steve Martin found his uniqueness big time. He just didn’t hold back on his style. And that style led him to becoming a working comedian and actor. A person known for his craft and his personality style. This is the gold that you can unlock and bring into every acting that you do, and why not play with your style in commercials? Unlock your uniqueness!
Enjoy watching the earliest days of Steve Martin unlocking his quirk…
“Ben’s coaching has been invaluable in my career. Not only is he great at communicating what’s missing in my acting process, but what’s most important is that Ben makes it fun. The work remains truthful while allowing me to really just play.”
- JB Tadena (Hawaii 5.0, NCIS:LA)
“Ben has helped me for many years with more auditions and jobs than anyone else. His coaching has always been spot on. Combined with many years and great successes as an actor himself, Ben is able to simplify the truth in every scene. Maybe his greatest asset though is his very charming, comically dry, yet calm and endearing approach in his direction. He truly enjoys being of service. This allows space and ease for the actor to play and build the character to its greatest emotional life.”
- Todd Cahoon (Rebel, CSI, Surrogates) www.cahoontodd.com
“Ben is a force for good in the world of acting, teaching and coaching. His intuitive, wise and practical approach is grounded in years of experience as well as in his caring and compassionate nature. He’s the winning combination.”
- Robyn Cohen (The Life Aquatic, NCIS, NCIS:LA)
“I’ve been watching Ben Tolpin book TV shows and national commercials since the day he graduated college — yet he never stopped taking classes, never stopped fine-tuning his craft, never stopped finding new ways to succeed in such a difficult business — which, of course, now makes him the perfect teacher. Ben helped get my career off the ground; with his rare combination of on-set experience and joy for teaching, I guarantee he can do the same for you.”
- Brian Avers (Elementary, Unforgettable, NCIS: LA, Julie & Julia) https://www.brianavers.com
“Great class. Experienced working professional broke down what we needed to know, not what he thought he should say and demystified it as much as is possible. Would recommend. Thanks for the heads up and the quality.”
- Dan Truman www.DanTruman.com
“Heidi if it wasn’t for you and your guidance and taking Bens class I wouldn’t have had the confidence and comfort to have succeeded. I thank you with all my heart.”
- Sarita Colon