Hi. I'm Dr Ben.
I've always found writing about one's self in the third person to be a bit laborious. Instead, here goes the start of our internet conversation.
I grew up in Atlantic Canada, painfully shy, but dying to perform. My first memory of performing was when my family got a home camcorder; I think I was 8 years old. Naturally, my mother and I decided that a nostril-flaring contest was in order and proceeded to see just how far up our noses we could see with our new device. Family movies we not something to be shared outside of our household, as a result.
I was raised on a healthy diet of The Price is Right, Care Bears, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I would later realize there was a place for me on the screen when Jim Carry arrived in Ace Ventura. I did a couple of little stage performances at my church. I appeared in a local ice cream shop commercial.
I started making my own movies once it became possible for me to buy my own camcorder with my savings from my job at McDonalds.
During highschool, my best friend and I spent all day every day playing with our video cameras. We became so infamous among our peers for our guerilla filmmaking, that we once forced a class-wide vote to allow us to make movies instead of writing essays or doing homework. We were no-budget, indie filmmakers in the truest sense. When I was 13, I even managed to get a meeting with the Mayor to allow us to rollerblade (and film it) on the stairs in front of City Hall. We eventually turned Hamlet into Street Hockey, Stone Angel into a tech thriller, and wrote our own "scripts" to include stunts.
Nearing the end of high-school, I wanted nothing more than to be involved in film for the rest of my life, something no one from the Atlantic Provinces would ever dream of at the time. I applied to a university digital arts and film program, got accepted, and then unwittingly become the biggest chicken you've ever met. My father hinted at paltry career prospects. My mother lovingly reminded me of the speech impediment I'd had as a kid (by that time long gone). My nerves and my environment ended up getting the best of me. I back-pedaled on my gut-feel, decided to go the "safe route" in taking a degree in science, and proceeded to feel lost for years. This marked a fork in the road between my creative and my intellectual life, two paths that would diverge and then re-convene over a decade later.
Fast forward to recent times (15+ years later), and I've realized that the creator in me never really disappeared. It simply thrashed around inside of me, finding alternative routes to expression.
Hindsight -- a small family, 17 countries, 26 broken bones, 2 university degrees, and 3 businesses later -- proved to me that this path, the creator's path, was always my only option.
My brain may have sprinted down the path to being a professional intellect, but my heart was still wandering in the woods of creativity, in search of real humanity. I "accidentally" found my way on stage or front of people over and over and over again. My patients? I made them laugh. My students? I'd embellish and monologue at every chance. I posed on stage as a bodybuilder, emoted in a crowd as a public speaker, and entertained in the spotlight in the name of education.
I have always been more comfortable in the spotlight than at a party. Whereas most peoples' worst fear is public speaking, mine is never giving myself the chance to make people feel, to touch people, to change people...and in the process feel fully like myself.
So, where to now? In. That's where. I can't stand being on the outside anymore, watching others living that life. I must go to my people.
At my very first acting class, my teacher asked me outright, "Why are you here?"...to which I responded,
"I can't not do this anymore. Every day I spend not doing this a horrible day. I know I've never done this before, but coming here feels like coming home."
Saying it aloud felt like a new chapter...and I haven't stopped smiling since.
Outside of work, Dr Ben spends his time on:
- Family Adventure (when there's no pandemic, that is)
- Snowboarding (everything from helicopter-based to the bunny hill with his munchkin)
- Weightlifting (he's a master of picking things up and putting them back down)
- Camping (the harder to get there, the better)
- Drinking all the coffee (unless he's sleeping)
- Eating all the food, specifically icecream or BBQ or sushi as much as possible!
- Singing to himself and anyone else within a 5-mile radius
- Dancing as weirdly as possible with his daughter while his wife lovingly rolls her eyes
Other Random Facts
- likes all music except for country...which feels like nails on a chalkboard to him
- has nearly died a few times...amazing what infection of the brain lining will do to a guy
- enjoys being a dad more than any other job he's ever had
- married his highschool sweetheart
- has taken over 700 tests in his academic life
- drove nothing but a motorcycle until he was 24 years old.
- has broken more bones than most entire families (cousins included)
- only writes in third person when in list form
- doesn't drink alcohol and never has
- built this website himself...can you tell?