robert gately screenwriter
robert gately’s bio
robert gately is an adjunct professor, published author and screenwriter.
I was born in 1946 in Lynn, Massachusetts and my father moved our family to Levittown, Long Island, New York in 1951 to get a fresh start. That was where I began my training on a hybrid New England and NY accent. Although I love New York, and all the friends I made during the early years, I was a Red Sox fan who had to compete and live with New York Giants, Dodgers and Yankee fans during Boston’s most dry years. It was a character-building experience.
I went to Catholic grammar school, graduated from Chaminade High School in 1964. And in ’65 I entered the United States Navy. I received an education in electronics, graduated from Cleveland Institute of Electronics, got my First Class FCC license, successfully completed a Famous Writer’s School home course, married and fathered a beautiful daughter, all before leaving the service.
Once out of the Navy, I worked as an engineer at a radio station for a couple of years. Then I found a home with AT&T where I spent the next 27 years, most of which as a white-collar staff worker. Somewhere between 1971 and 1973, I became a father of two more wonderful daughters and spent the next ten years going to Suffolk Community College, Stony Brook University, New York Institute of Technology and, finally, Fairleigh Dickinson University where I graduated in 1982. It took 176 credits to accomplish this task mainly because I loved academia and had little focus on getting a degree. I completed four semesters of Calculus, took physics, computers and electronics, and I loved my earth science and philosophy classes. I finally settled in with an English degree. Go figure.
Writing has always been my greatest occupational passion, and in the late ‘70’s I published a novel based on the telephone company exploits of two employees gone mad. I published this work through a vanity press,and Bertha Klausner became my agent. During this time I wrote feature articles for a local newspaper in New Jersey, and a plethora of short stories. I finished my first screenplay in the early ‘80’s, but put my pen down and spent the next ten years seeking balance in my life.
During the nineties, I regained my writing momentum, but it wasn’t until I was offered an early retirement from AT&T in 1998 that I became the serious writer I always wanted to be. I took a Michael Hauge seminar, and also enrolled in a dozen acting courses to help me better understand stage and screenwriting structures, formats, and the general particulars required for story and character development.
Since 1998, I have written ten screenplays, three stage plays (one with Drew Keil, a Long Island friend, a dramaturg of exceptional talent, who graduated with me at Chaminade. For that matter, one of my screenplays was the life-story of Ed Dennehy – brother of actor Brian – who also graduated with Drew and I). I wrote two more novels, one of which was published in the August of 2005 by Sun Rising Press, which went bankrupt shortly after signing me – hopefully I didn’t have anything to do with their demise. My more recent endeavor was a non-fiction (bio)about an overseas freedom fighter of sorts. Taken as a group, since 2000 these works have been recognized in close to 200 festival, theatre, novel and screenplay competitions around the world. I am humbled as these projects finished as finalists or better in close to one hundred of these competitions which include novel successes in Faulkner/Wisdom Creative Writing contest, Norumbego Fiction Award, Chesterfield, Writer’s Network, Dana Awards, Frontiers in Writing, SFWP (Santa Fe), etc. The screenplays alone have won 15 competitions and finished 2nd place in 13 others. I say I was ‘humbled’ before because of the subjective nature of judging, and because my work has been nixed right from the get-go by many more ‘readers’ than those giving their ‘thumbs up’, which adds a new interpretation to an old adage that “… one can fool some of the people some of the time …”.
As side note: my acting career since 1998 has me boasting about appearing in 15 feature length films, and a notable lead in a independent student film titled, FRAME, which won the Platinum award for ‘Best Dramatic Short’ at the Houston Worldfest in 2002. Mostly, though, the roles where short, walk-on appearances. If you ever look for me don’t blink … you might miss my elbow or foot. But I loved the process working with actors such as Meryl Streep (Manchurian Candidate), Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa) and Mark Walberg (Invincible) to name a few. The movie-making bug is in my marrow and I simple love the process.
Since 2007, I have worked as adjunct teacher off-and-on for a screenwriting 101 course at a community college (adult education), and I’m honored to be a screenwriting judge for the Temple University’s Derek Freese/Senior Project Scripts Award. I feel blessed and honored to have met an unusual hero in South Asia, the subject of my recent non-fiction work, and, if I’m lucky, I might be able to do him justice. More on this when it is published. I currently live in Bethlehem with my wife, Lois, who is also my editor and is affectionately known as ‘Jellybean’. We have a cat who sometimes answers to the name ‘Hootie’, otherwise he answers to no one unless he feels like it.