Herbie J Pilato is High-Stepping Along the Writing Path

We’re always happy to bring you articles by TVWriter™ Contributing Editor Emeritus Herbie J Pilato, but now we’re even happier to present the latest article (that we’ve seen) about him.


A Media Path Through the Life of Mary Tyler Moore and the Necessity of Imparting an Honest Narrative
via Media Path

“I love classic TV,” says Herbie J. Pilato. His passion for television history is unmistakable. In writing his book, Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Story, he approached the life and legacy of an icon with deep respect, compassion and attentiveness. When he discusses the book, there’s such a genuine understanding of the significance fans and admirers would attribute to the task of creating the record of a life story as stunning as Mary’s.

Herbie is a historian above everything, therefore he spares no effort when it comes to chronicling the details of Mary’s life and work, his knowledge coming through clearly as he tells us about the development and trajectory of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. He’s an ardent supporter of Mary who is keenly insightful as to her desires, her insecurities, her hopes and disappointments, and when he speaks about these things one gets the sense that he’s extraordinarily well-suited to be her surrogate and her voice.

He tells us he wanted the book to be truth-telling but not salacious. This is the undeniable truth of the biography. Even when the discussion turns to her addictions like surgery and alcohol, her feelings of being a failure as a mother, it never feels indelicate. Instead, there’s an empathy and regard for Mary, a belief that is likely to be widely shared that this is the story SHE would want to be told.

There’s an easy nostalgia to the way Herbie talks about Mary’s life and career, not a commitment to re-living the past but more to comprehending it fully. There’s the anecdotes about the horrified-looking woman in the background of the part of the title sequence where Mary throws her hat, the significance of her deep association with Dick Van Dyke that spilled over into the premise of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Then there’s the subtler ways the past is put into perspective, like when Herbie talks about the fact that Valerie Harper and Mary didn’t always get along but that in those days, they could be more discreet about it, thereby being able to successfully pursue an impulse to protect their fans from this harsh reality.

Mary’s imperfection and humanity are important for Herbie to portray because they’re necessary to tell the whole story. “I wanted to make this the best book I ever wrote,” he says when he explains his commitment to objectivity. But beyond that, he has an even larger goal. The disservice of not providing readers with the full story is one that has an impact on every single one of us, because Herbie wants us to know that we all have issues and problems in our lives, and portraying Marry as relatable and real can help us see how we’re all connected….

Read it all at mediapathpodcast.com

NOTE from mediapathpodcast:

Herbie J. Pilato’s book is now available on Amazon, and you can check out his complete author page with all of his work on media and pop culture here.

When you watch Media Path on YouTube, you’ll get to experience curated visuals for every episode, and if you prefer just the audio you can hear us wherever podcasts are available.

Media Path on Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3jbx5qv
Media Path on Spotify Podcasts: https://spoti.fi/3b43oEe

Herbie J. Pilato’s book is now available on Amazon, and you can check out his complete author page with all of his work on media and pop culture here.

Writer/producer Herbie J Pilato is the host of the TV talk show THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, now streaming on Amazon Prime and the author of several pop-culture/media tie-in books. He has been part of TVWriter™ for over 20 years and is Contributing Editor Emeritus. Learn more about Herbie J HERE

That Time Herbie J Pilato Drove Down Ventura Blvd. with “Kung Fu” Star David Carradine

by Herbie J Pilato

It was 2004, and I was working as one of the producers on Bravo’s hit five-part series, The 100 Greatest TV Characters.

As the author of The Kung Fu Book of Caine and The Kung Fu Book of Wisdom, companion books to the 1972–75 ABC-TV series. This legendary “Eastern-Western” starred David Carradine as fugitive Asian-American-Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine, a.k.a. “Grasshopper,” who I suggested be included in the Bravo series.

My colleagues agreed, we contacted Carradine’s camp and within a few days, I found myself at the actor’s doorstep one afternoon, somewhere in the San Fernando Valley.

While I had interviewed him several times for The Kung Fu Book of Caine (for which he penned the Foreword), we had never met in person.

But that all changed after I knocked on his front door.

David was told that a driver would be arriving to take him to the studio for the interview, but he had no idea it would be me. Usually, a producer’s assistant, or production assistant serves as “limo-driver” in such circumstances. But I requested this particular assignment….

Read it all at medium.com


Writer/producer Herbie J Pilato is the host of the TV talk show THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, now streaming on Amazon Prime and the author of several pop-culture/media tie-in books. He has been part of TVWriter™ for over 20 years and is Contributing Editor Emeritus. Learn more about Herbie J HERE

“We Love Lucy” Says New 2-Hour TV Doc on Reelz — And They Mean It

by Herbie J Pilato

A Shining New Documentary about the Legendary Lucille Ball Hits All The Right Marks

There is an elegance in the story-telling of Lucille Ball: We Love Lucy, which premiers on the Reelz Channel Saturday night, September 12th.

Had there not been a Lucille Ball, there most likely would not have been a Mary Tyler Moore, Marlo Thomas, Betty White, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lily Tomlin, Debra Messing, or even Carol Burnett, one of her dearest friends and frequent co-stars. There is no doubt Ball and her flaming red-hair and superior talent left an indelible mark on Hollywood and countless fans, whether they were far and away, via the TV box in their living rooms, or up close and personal within her inner circle of confidants, family, and colleagues.

Regardless, Ball paved the way for several female TV icons to follow, inspired generations of television viewers to laugh, and revolutionized a medium in the process….

Read it all at medium.com


Writer/producer Herbie J Pilato is the host of the TV talk show THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, now streaming on Amazon Prime and the author of several pop-culture/media tie-in books. He has been part of TVWriter™ for over 20 years and is Contributing Editor Emeritus. Learn more about Herbie J HERE

How the pandemic will make movies and TV shows look like nothing we’ve seen before

And now, in the showbiz spirit of”You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet,” we bring you this look into the future that has, for all practical purposes, is as good – or bad -as already here.

by Steven Zeitchik

Over five popular seasons, the story lines of “Better Call Saul” have unfolded across nail salons, fried-chicken joints and other strip-mall staples of American life.

When new episodes begin premiering next year, though, the locations that give the “Breaking Bad” spinoff its texture could be reined in or done away with altogether. The culprit? The novel coronavirus, which is limiting where the New Mexico-set AMC show can film, potentially altering both its style and substance.

“Like a lot of other people, we’re going to have to be very creative in where and how we shoot,” said Mark Johnson, the veteran producer who oversees the Vince Gilligan hit, whose writers just began collaborating on the series’s sixth season. “A lot of places just won’t let you in.”

Across the entertainment industry, casts and crew are beginning to return to work after a five-month hiatus. In states with loosened restrictions, such as Georgia and New York, production is starting to crank up under tight controls that alter how sets operate. Instead of crew members freely mingling, they’re being divided into “pods” that limit how production departments such as wardrobe or lighting can associate. Covid-19 officers monitor the health of the cast and crew to determine who is allowed on set. “Zones” dictate where those cast and crew can go.

These changes might seem technical, but they hint at the far-reaching effects the virus will have on final screen products. Interviews with 12 executives, writers, agents and producers across the Hollywood spectrum suggest a dramatically transformed world of entertainment. Until a vaccine comes along, they say, covid-19 will change what Americans watch as dramatically as it has where they work, shop and learn. Forget the new normal — movies and TV are about to encounter the new austerity….

Read it all at washingtonpost.com

5 Most Common Teleplay & Screenplay Notes & What They Really Mean

Listen up, gang. The ability to understand the thoughts behind notes you get from producers and agents is critical for TV and film writing success. In this article, Lucy V Hay helps you – us, actually – how to navigate through this most dangerous swamp.


by Lucy V Hay

Screenplay Notes

Screenplay notes … Love them or hate ’em, we need ‘em! It’s a fact that rewriting your screenplay or television pilot is an absolutely essential part of the successful process of perfecting story, character, structure, tone and theme.

Since every script’s problems will be different, some of these standard notes may not apply and writers will need more specific observations to help fix its problems. The following are the most common notes given and how to tackle them …

1) Please clarify

Simply put, something doesn’t make sense. Whatever it is, it’s taken us out of the flow of the read and we’re confused. Confusion might make us put the script down. Asking for clarification just means, ‘help!’

2) This is contrived

AKA ‘We have seen this in many scripts and movies before and you need to get creative and find a new way for this to be relayed on the page.’

An example might be the protagonist needing money to save a dying son/daughter/wife/husband and doing something out of their wheelhouse to obtain that money. Sure, it works, but we’ve seen it before.

Turn ideas on their heads. Make the bad guy a good guy or instead of the happy ending, make it end badly. That’s life. Don’t be afraid to surprise us … It’s what everyone wants….

Read it all at bang2write.com