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:


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:

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

The Bruce Ferber Business

Back in the day, when studios or networks wanted to lure someone they perceived to be a “hot” television writer, they’d look at you with a straight face and say things like “We want to be in the Bruce Ferber business.” Once, when a deal I had was about to be renewed, my agent called to proudly inform me: “They’re already in bed with you. Now they want to get you pregnant.”

Is it any wonder I turned to writing books? After twenty-plus years writing and producing television comedy (most of them positive), I branched out into fiction, penning the novels “Elevating Overman” and “Cascade Falls.” They’re not detective stories. They’re not Victorian romances. They’re about real people trying to negotiate a world capable of producing someone like Ted Cruz. Relax. He’s not in these books. Just code for all that we’re up against.

My forthcoming book represents an affectionate return to where I started. As editor of the non-fiction anthology, “The Way We Work: On The Job in Hollywood,” I’ve culled 41 contributors from all aspects of the entertainment business to recount their individual tales from the job site. These unique mini-memoirs make for reading that is alternately hilarious, sobering, and downright inspiring. Coming July 2019 from Rare Bird Books.

And for those following with a scorecard… I never did get pregnant.

To keep up with my current reproductive status, as well as news about the book’s release date, please join my email list at


Excited to announce that my non-fiction anthology, THE WAY WE WORK: ON THE JOB IN HOLLYWOOD, will be published by Rare Bird Books, July 2019. Tales from above and below the line by JJ Abrams, Robert Towne, and many, many more. Culling these fantastic stories was a true labor of love, and I look forward to sharing the adventure with all of you. Will update with details as it all unfolds…