Friday, March 28, 2008

Return to Greenleaf Meadows

Come May 1st, I will be moving back to Greenleaf Meadows, where I lived, off and on, from when I was 17 to 38-years-old. And here's why I'm moving back...

My Mom, who used to live close by, has now moved to an assisted living facility - and there simply is no reason to stay where I am.

Meanwhile, Greenleaf almost equals the distance of where I am now to my Mom's new apartment. Greenleaf is prepping an all-new apartment for me - with mini-blinds and a storage room downstairs. So, I don't have to buy new window treatments and I don't have to have all my excess stuff laying around the apartment like I do now.

What's more, Greenleaf is a happy, nostalgic, peaceful place for me, close to the beach, where I can resume my daily walks - which I was doing anyway last summer. But instead of me DRIVING to the pier from where I am now, and then doing my daily walk, I can now just walk from Greenleaf.

Also, I can now at least start hanging around a younger crowd at, for example, Greenleaf's gym - which has just been fitted with new equipment. Again. Not to mention that this gym and the walking in the FRESH air - will help me to get back in shape.

What's even more...the rent at Greenleaf is very reasonable - and less than what I've been paying.

Either way, this move isn't forever. I'm only signing a ten-month lease - and I'm simply looking at it this way:

I'll be spending the Spring, Summer and Fall in a vacation spot that will allow me to chill out a little bit after all the challenges that I've been through over these last nine years (and specificallay these last three). And then, God=Love-willing, by the time the ten-month lease is up, I will have my finances together to actually purchase a home or condo. If not, I will remain in a happy, clean, busy and yet peaceful and welcoming atmosphere of one of my childhood homes - for a little bit longer - or until something better comes.

In the meantime, who says you can't go home again?

A link to Greenleaf Meadows...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Frances M, Mom of Herbie J

Frances Pilato, my Mom (who has been diagnosed with dementia), is featured in a newspaper article of today's Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Below is a video link edition of the article, which appears in the special "Your Health" supplement, and which centers around caregiving and the sandwich generation.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

An Entertainment "Industry-al" Revolution

It's not working, Gang.

The entertainment industry is failing itself, its audience and the world. TV shows (scripted and unscripted) and feature films are becoming more mean-spirited, violent and vulgar. Faith-based material is attempting to make its comeback. The Hallmark Channel, the i network, ABC Family, and a chosen fewsw other cable and broadcast networks and movie studios and production companies are attempting to create positive product. But the Simon Cowell/Jerry Bruckheimer school of producing is winning over too many students - and viewers.

There are a few pearls are among the swine (Women's Murder Club, the Hallmark Hall of Fame TV-movies for CBS), and big-screen gems like Little Miss Sunshine - way from 2006). But the majority of product out there is damaging and destructive - to all parties concerned.

Who takes responsibility? The industry or the audience?

Most likely, both are to blame. Though much of this inferior product is created by not-so-nice people, an equal amount of what might be considered fluff-and-family programming and movies are also sometimes created by those with less integrity.

I have watched and enjoyed many wonderful family TV shows and films that, ironically, were created, produced and performed by what might even be considered undesirbales. And that's been a quandry for me for years - on many levels.

It's like the swearing right after you leave church thing...what good is going to church and praying if, in the next moment, you start disrespecting yourself and others with common words and street language well beneath your intelligence level?

Also, too, I would watch many TV shows or feature films about some smalltown soul who makes it big in the big city, and then returns to his or her smalltown life, because he or she finally realizes the beauty and contentment of simple treasures.

I then realized that instead of watching those beautiful TV shows and movies for one or two hours, I woud prefer to live the scripts of life than watch them, much less actually write them. I would rather experience first hand in real life - in every moment - of every day what those fantasy characters were experiencing in reel life for only 60-120 minutes.

Basically, my general observation is this:

The kind of love for life and work that I have does not seem to fit the present state of the industry.

If I may one more time address the issue of my experience in being involved with the Bewitched feature film:

No one, no where, no way, no how, knew more than I of what that Bewitched motion picture should have become. But my kind of affection, dedication and knowledge was not substantial enough for the powers that were. Conversely, a young person just out of graduate school, who may have worked briefly as a receptionist for the Bewitched feature production company had a better shot than I at becoming one of the movie's producers, or main screenwriter. Apparently, my 20+ years of Bewitched experience (as the author of two Bewitched books, numerous magazine, newspaper and website articles, and consultant on three Bewitched TV specials, etc.) paled in comparison to that receptionist's two month pre-production period.

in the midst of the Bewitched feature film, I was also working with a production company and a writer on a behind-the-scenes TV movie based on my Bewitched books. Those parties involved here also failed to properly incorporate my talents into their product. But unlike the Bewitched feature film, the TV-movie never saw the light of day. It still may - and I still may also one day rescue and resurrect the Bewitched feature film franchise. But until then, again, my brand of affection, wisdom, and know-how of the ins-and-outs of Bewitched mythology, charactgerization, storyline, was not enough for those who would have been smart enough to hire me.

Somehow, my enthusiasm and knowledge for a product with which I was quite familiar worked against me. Yes, I may have been overzealoust in applying for the job, but had I won the Samantha/Darrin big-screenwriting assignment, the results would have been nothing less than magical. Loyal, original and novice Bewitched fans would have welcomed my assignment, and been assured that their property was in the right hands. Instead, little ol' Herbie J, from little ol' Rochester, New York somehow intimidated big ol' Hollywood. It's almost like the dark forces of Hollywood see my light and turn away. Consequently, with regards to the Bewitched feature film, the results were devastating: that movie went down in history as one of the worst motion pictures ever to have hit the big screen. My good-guy mentality, enthusiasm and strong knowledge was resented instead of embraced.

In the meantime, former and present drug addicts and dealers, along with talentless friends of agentss and investors, continue to sell scripts, be cast, and produce both great and ghastly product for the large and little screens.

I say there is a win-win scenario waiting for us all. I say Hollywood can still be saved. I say there is a way to to create quality product in the reel world, free from violence and vulgarity; to still be a good person - in the real world - free from ignorance and lies that a self-absorbed, materialistic-seeking existence has the unfortunate power to sustain.

Are you with me, my fellow producers...actors...directors...singers...songwriters...make-up artists, costume designers, production assistants and receptionists?

Are you ready and up to the challenge of not only being able to create beauty on screen (which movies and TV shows have periodically accomplished over the years), but to also create a beautiful life off-screen as well?

I know you can do it. As a creative individual it is your birthright to bring joy. Whether you're a member of the industry or the audience, creativity is a powerful gift. And as Spider-Man's wise ol' Uncle Ben has been known to say, "With great power, comes great responsibility."

Allow me to expand on that thoght by saying, "With great power, comes great responsibility - and great potential for creating great product - and sound, happy and productive lives."

Monday, March 10, 2008

What The Heck Happened To My "TV Land"?

High School Reunion?

Feature films?

Just Shoot Me?


Where is the joyful nostalgic programming that was once my classic TV safe haven? Where is the cozy-comfy appeal that once drew me back to watching television (after ABC cancelled The Wonder Years)? What the heck has happened to my TV Land?

Where is the unique voice and confidence that was once a vast taste land with graced with the many likes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched, Petticoat Junction and The Andy Griffith Show? Andy is still around periodically, and than the Good Lord, so is I Love Lucy and Leave It To Beaver. But something's wrong with those shows, too - or at least the way they are aired. Now, too many episodes are screened in a row, and the variety airings are far and few between. Also, too, these wonderful perennials are littered by the weeds of dreadful contemporary programming such as the aforementioned High School Reunion or the mean-spirited Just Shoot Me.

Of course I understand TVL's need to join the reality fold. But with such Survivor-esque angles as presented on HSR? What may have started out as a wonderfully warm and nostalgic idea (to gather everyday former high-schoolers from a past-prime-time) has now turned into cut-throat.

Just Shoot Me is a very funny show - and all the movies that TV Land airs are equally entertaining for what they are. But they do not belong on TV Land. USA, and maybe Bravo and A&E. But not TV Land.

TV Land should be home only to Rob and Laura Petrie, Barney, Opie and Aunt Bee, Lucy and Ricky, George and Weezie Jefferson and 'natch, Samantha and Darrin.

I used to escape the stress and periodic cynicism of the real world, and run to TV Land - just like I did when I was a kid....just like I did when I first found Bewitched - in the midst of race rioting, the Vietnam War newscasts, and being picked on every day because I was a beautiful, sweet child.

Looking for comfort in the edgy wit of David Spade somehow just doesn't measure up to magic embrace of Elizabeth Montgomery.

That said, maybe one of Samantha's incantations might help to turn the situation around? We can at least try. So here we go:

TV Land come back to me...
Become the media mosaic...
That you used to be.

TV Land come set us free.


Did the spell work?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Herbie J Pilato Appears at The Legacy in Brighton, New York

I will be offering

An Entertaining Afternoon - with Herbie J Pilato

today at

The Legacy Senior Living Facility in Brighton.

This one-hour presentation commences at 3 PM, and is essentially an introduction to my Master Key Media Seminars (which are divided into three main categories: TV & Self-Esteem, Acting As Caregiver, and The Senior Media Arts Program - or S.M.A.R.T.).

The Legacy in Brighton is located at

100 McAuley Drive
Brighton, New York, 14610.

For more information about my Master Key Media Seminars, please feel free to contact me via