On April 16, 2016, The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute was graced with inspired insights from Broadway producer Eric Falkenstein. Falkenstein began with his own story and how working as a lawyer on pro bono cases served as a turning point in his career. Working on these cases, he became inspired to use the creative field to help raise consciousness of these stories. Now a Tony Award-winning producer, Falkenstein explained the importance of identifying the idea and the issue being explored in theatre.
From there, Falkenstein walked our students through the detailed process of being a lead producer. He explained the role of the producer, the importance of being straight forward with your investors, how to lay out the pros and cons of a production without underplaying either side, when and why you need to be assertive and, finally, how being a diplomat will save you. While budgeting is a major part of the process, there is so much more that a producer contributes. The role is an intense one, Falkenstein admitted, sharing that he often puts in anywhere from 50 to 80 hours a week.
Breaking Into Theatre as an Actor
Falkenstein shared many insightful anecdotes from his years spent working on Broadway and in the theatre world. To him, the rehearsal and workshopping phase is vital – a helpful and beautiful process that is specific to theatre. From his perspective as a producer, Falkenstein offered his advice to the actors in the room. He encouraged any actor who feels they’re not getting the parts they want to seek out scripts and produce works for themselves. It always starts with the script, he explained, then reaching out to people you know who can help fund the project. As an actor, your network is one of your greatest strengths. We all have people around us who can help. Falkenstein was sure to highlight the importance of listening to those around you, and making sure you are right for the roles you cast yourself in. As helpful as producing your own work can be, it can also be destructive if you are not in it for the right reasons.
“If people find themselves thinking about the glamour – rather than the hard work, the triumphs and the losses, and missed opportunities – then they can set themselves up to be disappointed. It’s about the inner drive.”-Eric Falkenstein
For more insights from acclaimed Method Actors and notable industry guests like Eric Falkenstein, explore our past StrasbergTALKS.