Looking forward to revisiting the Dayton Riviera for the 2020 spring workshop, April 2-4. Hope to see you there!

2020 Bombeck Workshop Faculty – Bruce Ferber

Bruce Ferber is an Emmy-nominated comedy writer and producer whose credits include Bosom Buddies, Growing Pains, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Coach, Dan Vs. and Home Improvement, where he served as executive producer and showrunner. In addition to being recognized by the television academy, his work has received The People’s Choice, Kid’s Choice and Environmental Media Awards.

He is the editor of the anthology The Way We Work: On the Job in Hollywood and has written two novels, Elevating Overman and Cascade Falls. Elevating Overman, a tragicomic mid-life awakening story, attracted the attention of Jason Alexander, who voiced the audiobook and is currently in discussions for a potential television series. Cascade Falls won the Foreword Indie Book of the Year Gold Prize for Humor Fiction and Bronze Prize for General Fiction.

This is Bruce’s second appearance at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. He served as a keynoter in 2014.



My greatest pleasure in putting together The Way We Work: On the Job in Hollywood was getting to work with so many talented artists, among them the brilliant John McNaughton, director of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Here he is on the set of his second film, The Borrower. Read his essay about the highs and lows of getting to work with a bigger budget. Available at your favorite bookstore or online!


It is said that “clothes make the man,” but before you go out and shop for your Writer Dad, study the threads worn by the writers of the best TV show ever made.

The writers room of Breaking Bad.

Clearly, the $200 Prada tie isn’t going to help Dad write a great show. Consider shelving the whole haberdashery idea in favor of the tools for success seen in this photo:

  1. Generic hand sanitizer
  2. Plain white index cards
  3. Tissues, square box only
  4. Comfortable shoes for resting on table
  5. Staring contest, where Dad is not allowed to smile for the entire day. (Top pick! Huge development deal ahead!)

Happy Father’s Day from THE WAY WE WORK!

Show Dad you care after all. Pre-orders are now available:

COMING TO A BOOKSTORE (and the finest of Internet sites) NEAR YOU!

It is my pleasure to present the cover of my long-in-the-works anthology, THE WAY WE WORK: ON THE JOB IN HOLLYWOOD, to be published July 9 by Rare Bird Books. The collection is an often humorous, sometimes horrifying, testament to the talent and grit required of those who choose a career in entertainment. As the “producer” of this endeavor, my mandate was to assemble a top-notch crew of contributors who, through their individual mini-memoirs, would adeptly represent the myriad facets of the business.

Contributors include Gabrielle Union, JJ Abrams, Robert Towne, and many more.

THE WAY WE WORK is broken down into nine different sections, each one focusing on a particular aspect of working in Hollywood. Here are the chapters, and the folks you’ll be meeting within…

THE STORY: Robert Towne, Seth Freeman, JJ Abrams, David Kukoff

THE ICON: Nancy Nigrosh, Billy Van Zandt, Stu Goldman

THE SUIT: David Neuman, Charles Freericks, Steve Gordon

THE SANDBOX: Deborah Barylski, Chris Rock, Gabrielle Union, James Morrison, Bernie Kopell, Rena Strober

THE SHOOT: Herb Adelman, John McNaughton, Rocky Lang, Maria Berry

THE PICTURE: Steven Fierberg, Steven Cohen, Michael Polcino

THE SOUND: Dan Foliart, Dylan Berry, Kenn Fuller, Matt Knudsen, Steve Mann

THE SUPPORT: Catherine Cobb, Glenda Rovello, Katie Sparks, Cathy Pittman, Rob Zylowski, Nadyne T. Hicks, Roxanne Baker-Sarver, Christy Jacobs

THE STRUGGLE: Roberto Loiederman, Elliot Shoenman, Roy Teicher, Lloyd Garver, Bruce Ferber

They’ve done great work, both in their careers and in the pages of this book. PRE-ORDER NOW AT…


The smartest Hollywood aspirants know that they stand on the shoulders of giants: the innovators, the game-changers, and the visionaries who, by thinking outside the box, managed to turn industry into art.

Occasionally, through perseverance and a little bit of luck, a newbie can find him or herself working alongside a Hollywood icon. One day you’re glued to the TV in your parents’ living room watching I Love Lucy, the next, Lucille Ball is complimenting you on your comic instincts. Martin Scorsese was your film school’s most celebrated alumnus, now he’s dissecting classic cinema for you between takes.

These were the extraordinary experiences of future writer-producer, Billy Van Zandt, and future literary agent, Nancy Nigrosh. The essays “I Stalk Lucy,” and “Master Class on Mulberry Street” document not only their hunger to learn from the greats, but the greats’ generosity in mentoring them. Discover how lives were forever changed in THE WAY WE WORK: ON THE JOB IN HOLLYWOOD.

Pre-orders now available:


When a production team is assembled, two of the director’s key supporting players are the cinematographer and the editor. They are artists who help shape the look and tone of the entire film.

Cinematographer Steven Fierberg sees his profession as an ongoing quest to create art and beauty. Before shooting frame one, he reads the script several times and records whatever visual ideas are triggered by the material. He then searches through images of paintings, photographs, fashion photos, or films he’s seen and presents his images and ideas to the director so they can move toward a unified vision of the film.

Editor Steven Cohen describes his job as taking the thousands of shots created by the director, actors, and crew, and shaping them into a coherent whole that reveals character and tells a story with rhythm and feeling. Like the cinematographer, the editor steeps himself in the script in order to understand each scene, character and the relationships between them.

Read all about their paths to success in the upcoming anthology, THE WAY WE WORK: ON THE JOB IN HOLLYWOOD. This July, from Rare Bird Books.

Pre-orders now available:


Whether striving to create suspense, laughter, or tears, there is no film or television without a narrative that successfully engages an audience. But how does one go about unearthing and crafting a story that resonates? Academy Award–Winner Robert Towne explores the challenges inherent in making that crucial connection. Mega-hyphenate J. J. Abrams recounts his journey from geeky kid doing magic tricks to serious storyteller. Coming this July, The Way We Work: On the Job in Hollywood. From Rare Bird Books.

Pre-orders now available:


From left to right: Catherine Cobb, Roxanne-Baker Sarver, and Cathy Pittman

Hairstylist Roxanne-Baker Sarver tells us that “People outside this business have no idea what my day consists of, no matter how many times I explain the hours or my schedule or how unglamorous it all is. “What do you mean you have to work on Tuesday? Don’t they know it’s Passover?” “What on earth could you be doing till 11:00 at night?”

Script Supervisor Catherine Cobb recounts her work on a horror film that involved shooting for seven straight days in the snow. “I’ve never been so cold and tired in my life.”

Part of Animal Trainer Cathy Pittman’s job was to release flies on James Woods while he was sitting on the toilet.

Talk about needing a nap…

Read all about the sleep-deprived lives of Hollywood professionals in the new anthology, THE WAY WE WORK: ON THE JOB IN HOLLYWOOD

COMING JULY 9 from Rare Bird Books!

COMING SOON! The Way We Work: On The Job In Hollywood

Despite increasing corporate mergers and bottom-line thinking, the entertainment business will never function like a bank or an insurance company because it is an industry rooted in imagination. Rules are meant to be broken. The best work is often produced in an environment where plans change by the minute and nothing seems to make sense. To wit, those who choose this profession must alter preconceived notions of work itself, sometimes discovering that fantasy and horror describe both movie genres and life on the job. The phenomenon crosses class lines: From the writers, directors, and producers to the lawyers, agents, studio executives, and crew and right down to the porta-potty suppliers.

The Way We Work: On the Job in Hollywood provides a window into the skill sets and the insanity that make movies and television tick. Essays by award-winning writers, directors, and producers chronicle the process and the obstacles facing those at the top of the creative food chain. Oral histories from executives to “below-the-line” workers describe life in the trenches, which often present as Stud’s Terkel’s Working–on acid.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be profiling our talented contributors, keeping you posted on the pub date (tentatively, July 9), and giving you the scoop on the exciting book events we have planned.

Till next time… Bruce