Behind the Brilliance 106: Ben Watkins


This week’s guest is the smart and talented Ben Watkins. He’s an actor turned writer/producer who is the creator of the Amazon series, Hand of God. This is one of my favorite episodes ever. Ben was transparent about his journey which made for a great episode.



Ben Watkins | Creator, Hand of God – Amazon

Ben Watkins moved 14 times by the time he graduated high school. As a kid, his experiences ran the gamut from living in a fancy, gated community, to being homeless and sleeping in a 1976 Ford Monarch. He was married and had a family by the time he graduated college.

Before he turned to writing, Ben had worked more than 30 jobs ranging from plastics salesman to paralegal to soap opera stud. With such an eclectic background, it’s no wonder he has emerged as one of the most original storytellers in television.

Watkins began the transition to writing with the award winning Sundance short film Quest to Ref, which he wrote, co-directed and starred in. Soon after adapting that project into a feature screenplay for Universal, Watkins joined USA Network’s Burn Notice. He rose from staff writer to executive producer, before moving on to create the provocative Amazon Originals series, Hand of God. Watkins recently completed production on season one of Hand of God, which premiered this month.

Ben resides in El Segundo, California, with his wife and four sons.

TOPICS COVERED (partial list)

-how Ben got his start in Hollywood

-Ben’s perspective on “survival” jobs (this is a must hear from anybody aspiring to do anything)

-how Ben went from actor to writer to showrunner

-Ben’s thoughts on leadership, creativity, and tough days

-Why Ben created a show about zealotry

-and much more!

STUFF MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE (clickable links below)

Hand of God on Amazon

Ben on Twitter

The Ways of White Folks

A Red Record

Things Fall Apart

The Black Jacobins