Erik Stolhanske is best known for his work in “Super Troopers,” “Beerfest,” “The Slammin’ Salmon” and as a member of the Broken Lizard comedy group. What many people don’t know is that Erik has been touring the country giving motivational speeches to colleges and businesses.
Erik was born without a fibula and is encouraging others to get over their obstacles. He is telling the story of how a kid with a wooden leg went on to make “Super Troopers.”
“It taught me good habits about not giving up and working hard,” said Stolhanske. “Having to fight through the rejection and getting up after falling down has carried on through life. We all have a wooden leg—that thing we need to get over.”
For those new to the film and television industry, the wooden leg may be trying to break into the scene.
“Movies equal business; to have longevity is all about the bottom line,” added Stolhanske. “Jay (fellow Broken Lizard member) and I both started out as PAs, worked on Japanese TV, drove vans, got ham sandwiches, basically genuine pigs for the people… but it shows you the industry and gives you the guts.”
The movie “Super Troopers” is a shining example of what it takes to make it in film. Erik and his buddies would write the scripts, raise money, build sets and act in them.
“That’s the dedication it takes to be a film maker,” he said. “It’s a little bit easier today, but the advice is to go out and make product. You have to show people it’s profitable; then people have trust. No financier wanted to finance “Super Troopers” if we starred in it, so we needed to go raise the money ourselves for us to act in it.”
Distribution is also one of the hardest challenges today. Aside from film festivals, the new digital age can help aspiring film and television makers.
“There are different brands of distribution. It’s like online dating. At first it has this stigma to it, but now it is completely acceptable (i.e. Hulu, Netflix).”
Erik is currently writing a comedy script with Broken Lizard member Paul Soter and Minnesota Viking’s defensive lineman Jared Allen.
For more information or to connect with Erik, check out his website.