Member—Writers Guild of America, West
Gary T. McDonald is a fifth generation Texan from Dallas.
While studying at Southern Methodist University, his first play won the John Rosenfield Playwriting Contest which provided a scholarship for his graduate work there.
His first film, OM-E, OM-I, was a finalist for the Student Film Oscar Nomination.
On the basis of his work, he was selected to participate in a special summer-long intensive Method acting training program conducted by film director and star Dennis Hopper at his ranch in New Mexico.
After graduating, he worked in television news for five years, then directed and produced award-winning documentary programs for PBS in association with the Criminal Justice Institute in Huntsville, Texas.
In 1983 he wrote and directed his first feature-length film, RAPE/CRISIS. This film won the Grand Prix at the Mostra du Film d'Epernay in France and the Golden Athena (First Prize) at the Athens International Film Festival.
The following year, he was selected as one of four young directors to participate in the American Film Institute's annual Director Internship Program. He was mentored in Hollywood filmmaking by Ron Howard on COCOON, a Zanuck-Brown Production for Twentieth Century-Fox.
He then returned to Huntsville, Texas to serve as a producer on a documentary directed by Errol Morris for PBS -- THE THIN BLUE LINE.
Using his prison filmmaking and criminal justice background, he next wrote TOMMY BOYS, a screenplay about John Dillinger. He sold it to Twentieth Century-Fox.
After joining Writers Guild of America, West, he was hired to write THE DUKE OF LAREDO for producer Martin Ransohoff. Many other writing assignments followed.
In 1997 he wrote and directed an adaptation of Jack London's THE SEA WOLF for producer Roger Corman starring Stacy Keach.
In 2013 he wrote and directed The Fourth Noble Truth starring Harry Hamlin and Kristen Kerr. The film won the Audience Award at the Sonoma International Film Festival in 2014.
Unique traits: As a screenwriter, McDonald is known as "fast, but good." He has been hired to rewrite scripts days before production starts. His first drafts are often last drafts and require little polishing. As a director, he is known for getting excellent performances from seasoned pros and non-actors alike. It is on the strength of those performances and his writing that his films have won festivals awards.
The Fourth Noble Truth
The Sea Wolf
Film by Cocorde Pictures Screenwriter/Director
Audience Award, Sonoma International Film Festival
Grand Prix, Mostra du Film d'Epernay
Golden Athena, Athens International Film Festival