Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Media Arts
Year of graduation: 1982
People in the media business often hear the refrain, “it’s all been done before.” Don’t believe it, says Wendy Hopkins, award-winning writer, director, producer and performer. “Tell your stories. Any good TV, film or web series is good because someone told their story.”
Wendy has been doing just that with great success since graduating from the Media Arts program over three decades ago. As a TV director, Wendy has helmed the CBC hit series Corner Gas (International Emmy, Gemini) and G-SPOT. She has also created, wrote and directed several TV pilots, including Fancy for the CBC, as well as the documentaries Waitress and Behind the Wheel. The Tournament, a Gemini award-winning series she co-created, aired here in Canada and on the BBC. Wendy’s web credits include, among others, Life of Mom, a series of short films on Yahoo! With several newer projects in the works, including her first feature film, Freaks on Ice, Wendy shows no signs of slowing down.
Over the years, Wendy has racked up a long list of stage appearances at venues around the world including the Melbourne Comedy Festival where she took her one-woman show in 1997. She also spent three years with The Second City in Toronto where she also taught aspiring writers and performers.
Inspiration is the key to keeping her work fresh and it can come from anywhere, says Wendy. “A line in a book or a song, a conversation I overhear or even just a moment I see between two strangers on the subway; they all make their way into my writing.”
Despite the varied sources out there to fuel the creative process, it is easy to become jaded in what is a tough and competitive industry, maintains Wendy. “I’ve had three TV pilots land in the dumpster because the executives shepherding the project were fired.”
“The trick is to not stay bitter,” adds Wendy. If I am feeling resentful for more than a few days, I ‘shake it up’: I see a play or sign up for a class. Often, I find bitterness is caused by a rut or lack of inspiration.”
Wendy has this simple lesson for today’s arts graduate looking to succeed in the wild world of entertainment: “Be kind, work hard and have fun. Directors and show-runners want to have a good day, too. Sometimes the most experienced person will be overlooked for the person who is simply easier to get along with.”
Learn more about Sheridan’s Media Arts program.