As part of the Career Journey series, students were invited to join award-winning writer, director and producer Brad Falchuk ’93, L.H.D. ’14 as he shared insights on careers in media and television, and discussed his personal journey from Upstate N.Y. to Los Angeles. The conversation took place via Zoom on Tuesday, March 24 and was facilitated by Director of the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education Brandi Ferrara.
Falchuk is the co-creator of the groundbreaking dramas Pose and American Horror Story. His most recent projects include The Politician and 9-1-1. Falchuk is the co-creator of acclaimed television series including Glee, Scream Queens and American Crime Story. He is a two-time recipient of Golden Globe Awards, and has earned nine Emmy nominations, including his 2016 win for the first season of American Crime Story which follows the trial of OJ Simpson.
Gianna Gonzalez ’20, one of the more than 50 students who participated in the event, calls Falchuk’s advice inspiring and has committed herself to do as he instructed and write every day. “He suggested that if you’re writing about something that you don’t believe in- stop. Write about what you believe in, but he also mentioned writing constantly. He noted that in this crazy time of staying inside and isolated, there are no better writing conditions. We must keep writing script after script until we finally write the meaningful story that is in fact a good script,” she says.
Keyondre Betaudier ’22 enjoyed learning about Falchuk’s creative writing process. “The thing that stood out to me the most from his talk about the writing team was that everybody has 1,000 ideas and that they need to voice them,” Betaudier says “Even if an idea is bad, it can lead to someone else having the perfect idea. This concept helped me to realize that it is almost impossible to get it right on the first try, and that trial and error is necessary.”
Associate Professor of Media and Society Leah Shafer, who participated in the event, says she was moved by Falchuk’s generosity in sharing his time and expertise with students. “He gave them an honest and inspirational look into the path he followed from Hobart to Hollywood. He patiently and articulately answered a range of student questions: from how do I brainstorm a writing project to what advice did you get from faculty at the Colleges that stuck with you. His insistence on hard work as the cornerstone of success was refreshing. It was also very moving to see the virtual faces of our students intently following his every word,” Shafer reflects.
At HWS, Falchuk was an English major with a concentration in theater. During an independent study with Associate Professor Emeritus of English Elisabeth Lyon, Falchuk began writing the script that helped him secure admission to graduate school at the American Film Institute. After earning a degree in screenwriting from AFI, Falchuk began writing for TV shows and was later hired to work on the first season of Nip/Tuck.
He is a founding member and an advisor to the Young Storytellers Foundation.
This is the first in a series of sessions facilitated by the Salisbury Center. The career information sessions and professional development workshops will be held virtually throughout the semester. In March and in April, Ferrara will also host “drop-in” sessions in which students may ask questions about career options, the job search process, refining their resume and more.
The next Career Journey will feature founder of One-Bead Sara Wroblowski ’11. The first winner of the HWS Pitch Contest, Wroblowski has grown her organization to provide scholarship funds and leadership training to youth in Boston, Mass.