Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Administration and Sport Management (Minor in Theater Arts)
Writer, Producer, Director | The Knights Young Production Company | Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Chad Hopson laughs and says he first acted in middle school in a production of “The Lorax” based on the Dr. Seuss book.
To see how far Hopson has come since that acting debut, fast forward to last fall when he was named Best Leading Actor in a Feature Film at the Utah Film Awards—and he is continuing to draw attention.
Hopson is a partner in The Knights Young, a production company in Los Angeles he co-founded with childhood friend, Brian Flaccuss, from his hometown of Flagstaff, Ariz., and with actor Jeffrey Larson. The partners create media content, including writing, directing, and acting in feature and short films. One of their films, “How We Met,” in which Hopson and Flaccuss appear, was recently released on Amazon. Actor Ice-T of TV’s “Law & Order” fame narrated the film.
“We wrote the story and filmed it in a week, which was the longest seven days of my life,” Hopson recalls. “One of our editors had worked on ‘Law & Order’ and asked Ice-T if he would narrate the film. He came in the booth, did the narration, and then asked if we needed anything else. It was incredible!”
The Knights Young took the film on the festival circuit and it won Best Film at the independent film festival, Dances with Films, in Hollywood. It garnered similar honors at the Roxbury International Film Festival in Boston.
This is the latest of a number of successes Hopson has achieved since moving to California in 2011. He started the production company with Flaccus in 2012 and expected to live the typical starving artist life of an actor.
“I went to bartending school and thought I would have to bartend to make ends meet while I auditioned for roles,” says Hopson. “But forming our production company led me to do more writing and to really dig deeper into the art of acting.”
Hopson’s first major film role came after he auditioned for a role in the film “The Last Descent.” The film is based on a true story about the rescue attempt of a medical student who became trapped while exploring a cave in Utah. Despite the rescue efforts, the student died. Hopson describes how he did a cold read for the part of the student and channeled the emotion of the story, improvising as he went along. He got the role.
The critically-acclaimed film was released in 2016, showing at about 60 theaters across the country. Hopson received his Best Leading Actor Award for the role in 2017. While the first seed of his acting career may have been his middle school role in “The Lorax,” his interest was really nurtured at Daemen.
Hopson came to Daemen on a soccer scholarship, playing all four years at outside back. He earned bachelor’s degrees in business and sport management, but he notes it was a business professor and advisor, Bridget Niland, who convinced him to earn a minor in theater as well.
“She really changed my life, showing me how to continue with my business degree and explore my interest in acting at the same time,” Hopson recalls.