Not many people would enjoy a job that requires that you be up well-before the crack of dawn and that you go to bed long after the cows have come home. Then again, most people are not Ben Stranahan, the film producer, musician, and star of Better Than Yourself. Ben freely admits that he’s a bit different. “I can get by on four or five hours a sleep each night,” he says. “I learned to do that back in college, especially when I was at Berklee College of Music. You know how it is. You’re in your teens or early twenties, you’re a bit crazy, and you think nothing of staying up until midnight doing whatever. I’m actually glad that I did because now as a film producer, my work hours don’t bother me.”

That stamina is coming in handy as Ben takes on new roles and expands into different genres. The genre that he is best known for is hard to pin down, which is exactly how he likes it. “I don’t want to get typecast,” he confirms. “That’s why I keep branching out to different types of films. I just produced and played the lead in Better Than Yourself, and I loved being in a mystery. It was just so much fun to focus each scene on building the suspense, knowing that the audience will wonder what’s around the corner, plot-wise.” 

As Case Marsel, Ben worked alongside cast members Krystal M. Harris, Anita Kalathara, Noah Baron, Rob McGillivray, and Robert Santi. “I don’t know if I have ever gotten along so well with anyone,” says Ben. “We got pretty tight as the film progressed, and I think everyone was sorry to see the production wrap up. Good times!”

He’s also getting a kick out of helping to produce The Inventor, an animation about the life of Leonardo da Vinci, with Jim Capabianco as well as voice one of its characters. “I think deep down inside, I’ve got a big kid in me,” says Ben. “I’ve been having a great time working on this because it’s got such a wonderful plot. Flying contraptions, war machines, cadavers, a French princess – who wouldn’t want to be on board? Besides, Daisy Ridley and Stephen Fry are a blast to be around.”

One of the most fun roles he has had was on “Exodite” from Games Workshop. “It’s set in the futuristic world of Warhammer 40,000, where warfare erupts,” Ben explains. “The people behind it are highly imaginative, and it was the first time that I had placed myself mentally as an actor in such a dark environment. In fact, it was one of the reasons I took the part: I am always trying to push myself with new genres so that I continue to evolve into a more versatile actor.”

As Ben’s resume grows, so does his reputation. Known around Tinseltown as the guy who is first on the set in the morning and the last to leave at night, he works hard and will do anything that is asked of him. “I think that comes from my parents, who modeled to me the importance of never being above doing something,” Ben recalls. “My dad in particular was a man who believed in service, so I try to do the same for my peers. Hollywood, as you can imagine, can be a pretty stressful place, so I try to convey to whoever I am working with that I am someone they can count on.”

One place he spends a lot of time is at Tip-Top Productions, where he is the producer. “Working there is a dream come true for me,” he confirms. “I am really fortunate to collaborate with Rob on some really incredible movies and to be able to bring them from conception to the big screen. One project was Monstrous, a thriller with Christina Ricci that will soon hit theaters. I am really proud of the work she and her costars did in that movie, and I think audiences are going to be impressed.”

As busy as he is, Ben still finds time to kick back at his beloved piano with his cat, Moose. “I am still a musician at heart,” he reveals. “Jazz especially grabs my heart, and I could sit for hours, improvising on some chord while Moose hangs out and listens. Thankfully, when I screw up, he’s a kind critic.”

Moose, incidentally, is the only critic that Ben pays attention to. “Look, I like compliments and good reviews as much as anyone else does,” he says. “Of course! However, Hollywood is such a fickle industry that you’ll drive yourself crazy if you pay attention to what other people say. I’m a big believer that I need to keep my head down, do my job, work hard, and give every role I play and every movie I produce my 100% effort. I’m in the game for the long haul, so as long as I do that, I know that in the end, I’ll get to where I want to be: able to make movies and enjoy what has got to be the most fun job in the world.”