Earlier this week, the Fox series “Glee” won a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Series, Comedy or Musical. While Executive Producer Ryan Murphy accepted the award, Hobart alum Brad Falchuk ’93 stood next to him on stage as co-creator, executive producer and director of the series. Falchuk and Murphy also worked together on the series “Nip/Tuck,” which is airing its final episodes this spring and won a Golden Globe in 2005 for Best Television Series – Drama.
Falchuk was hired as a writer on “Nip/Tuck” back in 2003 when the show first started. For a period of about six months last year, Falchuk was writing for both shows at the same time. While the content of “Nip/Tuck” was often seen as daring, “Glee” surprised many for simply being brave enough to present a musical on prime-time television.
“I have always thought that what works about Glee is that the music comes second. Our first responsibility is to create interesting characters and storylines. The music works because you care about the people who are singing,” Falchuk says.
It took some amount of bravery and a small series of bold moves to get Falchuk where he is today. He says that it wasn’t until college that he was able to admit he wanted to be involved in film and theatre. He “decided to take a chance” in his spring semester of his first year by enrolling in the introduction to acting course taught by Robert Gross, professor of theatre. While the course was full, Falchuk continued taking chances and met with Gross. He was told to show up the first day and, if someone who was enrolled didn’t show, Falchuk would be the first on the waiting list.
“I went to class, nervously watching the door as students filed in, counting each one, hoping,” he says. “About five minutes into class, Professor Gross took attendance. It was endless — but there was one kid missing. I was in.”
Having persevered in getting into his first theatre class, Falchuk continued on to Gross’ course on writing for theatre, “where I wrote my first play which led to a career in writing.” In fact, he produced that play at Hobart and then turned it into a film as an independent study in his senior year. “That film,” he says, “got me into film school at the American Film Institute.”
In accepting the award for “Glee,” Murphy publicly thanked executives who “actually thought a musical would work on prime-time television.” When asked much more privately who made a significant impact on who he’s become, Falchuk credits a number of Colleges faculty for inspiring and encouraging his successful career path.
“Professor [Robert] Gross was always an inspiration and a mentor. Robert Maney, a creative writing professor, was the first teacher I ever had who really encouraged me to become a writer. Also, Professor [Elisabeth] Lyon taught me everything I’ll ever need to know about film analysis. I use what I learned in her classes every day of my career,” he says.
Just a week before winning the Golden Globe, Falchuk was among a number of Los Angeles-based alums who met with students as part of the Salisbury Center for Career Services’ Los Angeles winter break trip. Falchuk spoke with the group and provided the opportunity for them to watch the filming of part of an episode.
Footage of the Golden Globe Award being presented to the cast of “Glee,” including Murphy’s acceptance speech (Falchuk is on his immediate left), is available online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UOEkcERqgY