What’s The Cost Of A Writer Silencing Their Own Voice? – Bruce Ferber



writers have to write whether they want to or not whatever is lurking deep within their souls has a mind of its own spewing out words that delight us or make us cringe in horror you said something about this at the Bombeck Writers Workshop keynote you didn't 2014 correct you talked about that why do writers have to write I guess it's in you and somebody made this comment to me the other day they said we were you know because I've been doing novels and now this new book and they said you know we really admire that you're still doing this and I said well I just do it I do it because it's what I do and and but I've always been the kind of person and one of the reasons that in a way I was happy to get away from sitcom is that I think when I feel like I don't have anything more to say I'll probably stop writing but as long as you have some idea in you that you feel is worthy then you want to do it and in this particular book I have one essay in this place I'll hold it up one more time the way we the way we work and in this book this book has 41 contributors talking about their Hollywood experiences so my contribution I wrote one essay out of the 41 and there are many people in this book who are far more famous than I am but my essay is about working in sitcoms and having to basically kind of like put your writers voice on hold because when you work on somebody else's show like home improvement that is the creator's voice and Tim Allen's voice it's not you so you become sort of an imitator a mimic you got to write this show kind of the best way it can be written like in a way like it's been written before put your own little spin on it but it's not you so I'm at the point in life being writer where I get to write what I want to write and and I won't I don't think I want to write if I don't feel I have anything worth writing about you had a long career in television then you write two novels that are about sort of anti-heroes that are questioning right the American dream correct why why write about that um I guess well first of all when I wrote the first one I didn't really know whether I was capable of writing a novel and I just came up with this character who was about the same age as I was um guess who's early 50s or 50 and he's questioning his life and he does not want his life to go out the way it's been going so far he's kind of been sort of a loser for the two first two acts of his life and he wants the third act to be something you know that's worthy that he could be proud of so I I didn't really know this at the time but I mean I knew that I was looking to do something new my life had been my working life had been successful but like the main character I wanted my next act to be something different I didn't quite know what it was so as I wrote this character you know the character started off as a loser and his problems were different than my problems but as I got through the plot of the the book the character and I shared a lot of similar things so it was really an amazing writing experience from that point of view and then with cascade falls you have it where the characters sort of up against the the shadow of his successful father absolutely right so that dream also starts in Hollywood that bet it's about I was really curious about this what happens to those people who have a Hollywood dream and then get involved you know they have a relationship because they want to have somebody get married and then they have kids but that dream doesn't work out so what happens to their life when they have to go to plan B and what happens when they go to plan B and they're not happy with Plan B and Plan B has made makes them miserable but yet they've already taken this step into marriage and parenting how do they how do they deal with that so you know I saw people around me who you know they were they thought they were gonna be really really successful and they weren't and they were and now they were married now they had kids and what were their lives like and how do you make those lives good and and how do you be happy with who you are so there were so many interesting questions to explore there what do you think it is that the people because I've seen people that seem out really very successful they don't think they are I know two different people I heard say oh yeah well we had to take our kids out of private school and it was like this dreadful thing it was like they had failed in life when most people it's not even a matter of being able to put them in private school what do you think people see their lives as failures because they're not on the cover of variety well thank you la you're always I mean I mean it's so obvious and the way the world is becoming the the gap between the haves and the have-nots is getting bigger and bigger and you know in a city like LA which does have a lot of problems with its public schools and people see their friends being able to put their kids in private schools and they they want to do that as well and then it becomes kind of a thing that well now I can't do that anymore so I must be a failure and they're not failures they're just they're just breaking people is it okay to be you I mean did you get to a point where you said I want to be doing fun stuff I want to be doing stuff that fulfills me and whether now I can walk into a room and people are gonna really want to perk up and hear what I do versus me feeling fulfilled and maybe no one's heard of it it's more important to me did you get to a point in your life where some of that didn't matter anymore of people of people sort of the the outward Hollywood success did you get to a point oh yeah definitely it made more sense for Bruce to be happy no absolutely and I was forced into that situation well first of all you know I had done well and then my first wife passed away so I had I had to take care of my children so that kind of eye-opener you know that changes things in a hurry and you get your priorities straight in a hurry and as I was working through that you know I had to think about what's the next step of my ever am I gonna go back and write and I took time off and then when I was ready to write again I didn't want to write sitcoms anymore I mean I did a couple of things a couple of pilots and I was just he was not a fun experience and that's when I got into the novel ready and why did you want to do this book because it's not a novel it's more of a Q&A this book I want to do because I got sick of sitting alone in a room and I was alone in the room when I did this too but the difference was I had to work with other people I had to get other people to agree to be in this thing and then I had to do the work of editing their work and it was really fun it was really fun to do to do something different that it wasn't all about me you know there are a lot of people who work in Hollywood I mean people similar to to my level who write their own memoir for me I would never do that because I mean my I've had some interesting things happen in my life especially you know with my wife and all that stuff but I just I'm not the kind of person who would feel comfortable writing a 300 page memoir about me it's not not my thing so it was really wonderful to be able to do all these little mini memoirs of people who also like meet me maybe they don't feel like they want to write a whole memoir about them they don't have a whole memoirs worth of stories but everybody has a story to tell and it was great to be able to include these people especially the below-the-line people who never get to talk about what they do I have a hair stylist and makeup artist I have an animal trainer talking about her job and it was wonderful because these people never get their voices heard so he was a great project from that point of view so he got out of being alone in the room for a while to interviews people did you learn anything about yourself not just like so-and-so work with this star and this person and but I mean in terms of did you see similarity with all the writers and yourself yeah I mean a lot of the writers and I kind of knew this that all the writers have been through certain struggles with their shows and but you know you hear everybody else's point of view and everybody else is individual story and it just it resonates for you it's not yours necessarily but you relate to it in a way that you go ah yeah I can see that so it was wonderful to hear other people's points of view you

19 thoughts on “What’s The Cost Of A Writer Silencing Their Own Voice? – Bruce Ferber

  1. Should be interesting to add to "Show Me the Funny!: At the Writers' Table with Hollywood's Top Comedy Writers by Peter Desberg and Jeffrey Davis" 🙂

  2. I've learned of myself, you always want what you dont have. I think this is why some people seem to have it all, the dream, the success, the money, the hot companion, but theyre still searching.

  3. Interesting Video always lots to think about . Am I proud of my Creative Life ? hmm not yet But I think as a creative you'll never be quite satisfied you're always chasing the next idea or project (I'm just getting started Really )

  4. I just wrote something similar to this and just so happened to stumble onto this . Check it out on ig FromTheWritersBlock

  5. I used to write, self published a book with a friend. Had a bunch more stories to make.

    But i stopped because i have no way to get more people to buy the book. I figured whats the point of writing more when i can't evem keep a job and there's no sales of books?

    I had a drive to write but it died because being abused verbally by my wife and my inability to get a job that pays a living wage.

    I don't know if i can write again. I want to, but i don't see the point of sinking so much energy with nothing in return.

  6. Is there silent truth that writers have to follow the liberal Hollywood narrative in order to sell a script?
    I had listened to Mike Medavoy’s book, and he speaks to the risk he took to producing “Apocalypse Now” while the Vietnam war was still raging.

  7. Never give up on your dreams. Keep going until you make it. Failure isn’t a reality unless you internalize it and make it one.

  8. I'm more proud of my creative life than ever before because 1) I have more time to do the creative things that I love and 2) I do mt best to make every part of my life creative as possible. There was a time where I couldn't do all the creative things I'd dreamt of doing because of various aspects, but now I have that ability and it feels amazing. Plus, even with me having goals for the future, I just enjoy creating in a general sense.

  9. Very much agree. Gap between the Haves and the Have-Nots is only getting wider. I belong to the larger group, the failures, the have nots. Sad but true.

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