But What I Really Want To Do is Direct Book Cover

A new book from film and television director
Ken Kwapis


Lessons From a Life Behind the Camera

“Ken Kwapis always brought out the best in the actors on The Office. Whenever Ken was directing, I always felt safe to go out on a limb and take chances, knowing he had my back. Every aspiring director should read this book. (I can think of several ‘professional’ directors that should read it too!)” -Jenna Fischer

Ken Kwapis, Author, Television & Film Director

For over three decades, director Ken Kwapis has charted a career full of exceptional movies and television, from seminal shows like The Office to beloved films like He’s Just Not That Into You.

He is among the most respected directors in show business, but getting there wasn’t easy. He struggled just like everyone else. With each triumph came the occasional faceplant. Using his background and inside knowledge, But What I Really Want To Do is Direct tackles Hollywood myths through Ken’s highly entertaining experiences. It’s a rollercoaster ride fueled by brawls with the top brass, clashes over budgets, and the passion that makes it all worthwhile.

This humorous and refreshingly personal memoir is filled with inspiring instruction, behind-the-scenes hilarity, and unabashed joy. It’s a celebration of the director’s craft, and what it takes to succeed in show business on your own terms.


  • Author: Ken Kwapis
  • Published by St. Martin’s Griffin
  • On sale: October 6, 2020
  • Price: $19.99
  • ebook price: $9.99

Praise for But What I Really Want To Do is Direct


Book Launch with Left Bank Books

Tuesday, October 6th; 7pm CT/5pm PT

Virtual In Conversation with Cliff Froehlich, Executive Director of Cinema St. Louis

Via Facebook Live

Pre-order the book here and join the event here.

The Book Stall

Wednesday, October 14th, 6:30pm CT/4:30pm PT

Virtual in conversation with WGN Radio Host John Williams

Via Crowdcast

Register for the event here.


Porter Square Books

Friday, October 16th, 7pm ET/4pm PT

Virtual in conversation with Amber Tamblyn

Via Crowdcast


The Hopkins Center for Performing Arts 

In connection with Dartmouth College
Tuesday, October 20th; 7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT

Virtual Master Class Presentation


Ernest and Hadley Booksellers

Thursday, October 29th; 5pm CT/ 3pm PT

Virtual In Conversation with Jeremy Butler, Professor Emeritus of TV and Film Studies at the University of Alabama

Store information here; register for the event here.

St. Louis International Film Festival

Saturday, November 14th; 1-3pm CT/ 11am-1pm PT

Virtual Master Class


Glencoe Public Library

Wednesday, November 18th; 7pm CT/5pm PT

In conversation with journalist Donald Liebenson


Chevalier’s Books 

Friday, December 4th; 7pm PT

In conversation with Jim Hemphill 


Sundance Collab Masterclass

Lessons from a Life Behind the Camera with Ken Kwapis 


University Speaking Engagements:

*These events are not open to the public.*

Indiana University

Monday, September 28th


USC School of Cinematic Arts

Wednesday, October 7th & Tuesday, October 13


Bay Area Filmmaking Collective

Monday, October 19th


Dartmouth College

Tuesday, October 20th


Columbia University

Tuesday, November 10th


Boise State University

Monday, January 25th


Columbia College

Tuesday, March 2nd


University of Alabama –
Blount Program Convocation

Monday, October 26th


Loyola Marymount University

Monday, October 26th


Chapman University

Tuesday, October 27th

Old Dominion University

Friday, November 6th


Hofstra University

Monday, November 9th


Vancouver Film School 

Wednesday, August 25th


Tufts University

Thursday, September 30th


University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thursday, November 11th


University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Tuesday, November 30th


American Film Institute 

Tuesday, December 7th

Otis College of Art and Design 

Friday, February 11th


Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana Mexico City

Wednesday, April 6th


Lane Community College

Eugene, Oregon

Friday, April 15th

For all appearance inquiries please contact:

Sarah Bonamino
St. Martin’s Press
(646) 307-5566