Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Robert Gately

An interview with screenwriter Robert Gately regarding the Split-Screenplay Writing Competition.

Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?

A: HAT TRICK. And the logline reads: two cranky old men help their friend atone for a fumble made a long time ago during the NFL championship game by performing the Full Monty forty years later on the football field during the Super Bowl game. But the story really is about solidarity among friends and that growing older is an exciting time of our lives not to be wished away.

Q: What made you enter this particular contest? Have you entered any other contests with this script? If so, how did you do?

A: I entered this competition for two reasons. First, it was judged by my peers and I respect my peers more than someone who has been handed two hundred scripts to read at $10 per read. Secondly, it was free. And yes, I've submitted HAT TRICK into a slew of contests. I feel fortunate in that it is the number one comedy on the winning list in which you can see by selecting the winningscripts icon on the home page. It has won a few.

Q: Were you satisfied with the adminstration of the contest? Did they meet their deadlines? Did you receive all the awards that were promised?

A: Yes. I'd be silly to comment negatively about how they ran it since I won. They said they were going to post the results on 4/26 and they had the results ready on 4/25. That's truly an oddity since you have to wait well past the notification date for most competitions. They methodically led me through the review process and wouldn't allow me to proceed until I finished my assigned task. They responded quickly when I had questions. In short, they were as professional as they come. I'll hold my final comments until next month when the $500 check is due. I'm sure they will come through - they have with everything else they promised.

Q: Were you given any feedback on your script? If so, did you find the feedback helpful?

A: I was just notified about the results, and my peers' feedback are due to me, so I haven't received comments yet. Having said that, the feedback per se is from the reviewers who are fellow screenwriters. Their feedback, good, bad or indifferent, will have little to due with the administrators of the competition.

Q: Has your success in this contest helped you market your script? Were you contacted by any agents, managers or producers?

A: Only time will tell. The Split-screen competition doesn't advertise about sending contest results all around town, but I plan on touting this win myself since advertising and marketing of my plays have always fallen on my own shoulders. I can't really sit back and expect anyone else to do it. We'll see though, how this contest plays out.

Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?

A: I left a lucrative job in 1998 to write full time. Since then, I have written a total of nine screenplays, two stage plays and one novel. All together, I have won, come in second, or placed in over 60 competitions. I'm currently negotiating a publishing contract for my novel and I have a handful of producers interested in HAT TRICK and other plays. No contract offers, though. I'm praying my ship will be docking soon.

Q: Do you live in Los Angeles? If not, do you have any plans to move there?

A: No. I live relatively close to New York City. But I'd move to LA in a flash if a producer required it as part of a production deal. If travelled this far, I'd be silly not to.

Q: What's next? Are you working on a new script?

A: Currently, I am writing a miniseries titled, The Ed Dennehy Story. Ed is my friend from High School who has been acting and directing in theatre for forty years. He has a wonderful, rich story to tell. Part One of this mini-series, by the way, is listed as a finalist in the Split-Screen competition. I was pleasantly surprised to see it do so well on its first competition entry. The Dennehy story is probably my best work. But I always say that about my current labor of love. I should be finished revising Part Two shortly and then I'm going to continue on my family history which is a casual writing project I fall back on in between my serious work.

Posted Monday, April 26, 2004