We had the good fortune of connecting with Richard Hempton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Richard, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I am a self-professed workaholic, but there are conditions attached to that. Before I started working for myself II held a lot of different jobs and though I held the same work ethic I was never a workaholic. Meaning I left the job at the place of employment. I never took my work home with me as a bartender or a publishing assistant but now, it happens. I think it happens because I absolutely love what I do. I would pour coffee on a film or television set before going back to a 9 to 5 office job or service job. Some people really like that work and I enjoyed it when I did it but I never really loved the work. Now, not only do I love what I do I also work for myself. All of my hard work directly benefits me and my family. But burn out happens even in work that you love. If 2020 taught me one thing, it’s that it’s ok to not be busy all the time. I can still love what I do and have other activities and interests. With no choice but to slow down in 2020, I found a place for leisure in my life. I think moving forward, as I get back to work, I will make more time for doing things outside of my profession. I think the “balance” is different for everyone but finding it is improtant. Being away from my work made me love it even more.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
If this industry were easy, everyone would do it. You must love it in order to stay in it and succeed. I have put in an enormous amount of very hard work to be where I am, so has anyone with a modicum of success here. I’d say that over half of my success is due to not fearing the word “No” and not taking rejection personally. I also embrace “I don’t know.” because without that phrase and the ability to learn I would have missed many of the opportunities that came my way. I’ve been involved in the industry for over 35 years, having trained at New York Conservatories AMDA and The New School. I teach a wide range of acting techniques including my own unique method, specializing in those that bring the actor to a greater awareness of their psycho-physical connection. I try to guide actors to a natural, moment to moment, character reactive state. I made my home in Georgia and am dedicated to growing our local market with trained and skilled craftspeople in front of and behind the camera.I founded In Our Image in 2003 as a vessel to produce original content from local filmmakers as well as to train, advise and supply productions with knowledgeable, experienced actors and crew. In addition to classes and individual training, In Our Image offers help with Grip and Electrical, Set Supplies, Wardrobe, and Prop Rentals. In 2020, being faced with a sharp drop in production work due to the pandemic, I launched a new training website (www.inourimg.com) for actors, crew, and business professionals to take private lessons, classes, and seminars online to continue furthering their skillset in their chosen fields.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have been fortunate enough to have a lot of very skilled people on my path. As a kid, I had acting instructors, teachers, and directors who were very patient and kind. Two that stand out the most are Rabbi David Nesenoff who was kind enough to introduce me to the production side of filmmaking and the late Inga Zayti at the Marquis Theatre who was a skilled leader and mentor. Later there was Randolph Pearson who not only was a profound acting teacher but a man who taught me to live openly at a time when I needed that example the most. Here in Georgia, many people in the industry owe a debt of gratitude to the wonderful women who run Film Impact Georgia. Everyone involved with that organization is a working professional who has made it a priority to help local creators. We share a similar idea, that this is our market, we should take the things happening here personally and seek to improve conditions. To support locals in creating content from top to bottom is important for a lasting industry home. It is also up to us to police our own market to make sure safety and consideration are priorities. Molly Coffee has helped reinforce the idea that we must strive to be our own best advocates.
2nd photo By Joran Blair Brown