In the Spotlight: Robert J Morgalo
Successful writing is built on discipline and motivation which is something Robert has in spades. This has led him to dedicate himself to the craft and become an incredibly prolific screenwriter. This is why I am excited to introduce you to him.
This is Robert J. Morgalo...
I am an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and published author. The proud grandson of renowned Cuban actor and poet, Jorge Raul Guerrero. I am the incredibly lucky husband of the most loving and supportive wife I could have ever wished for. Father of three wonderful young ladies and grandfather to one more beautiful little girl. I am a retired US Army combat medic and Iraq war veteran. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies from American Military University and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy from Norwich University.
I started this chapter of my life almost three years ago at the age of 52. Since then I have discovered that the end of one journey is only the beginning of another. That I have a hidden talent I did not know I had. That writing, creating and storytelling could be so much fun. That the journey ahead is full of unknowns and mystery. But worth the risk of taking. So far, I am loving what I see.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
I would say that it was a pleasant accident. I started acting at the age of 52 without any previous acting experience. Fast forward one year and sixteen film credits later, and I was at the Hoboken International Film Festival (May 2019). There I ran into Joyce DeWitt (Janet in Three’s Company sitcom). I asked for a picture, which she graciously accepted, and I joked about doing Three’s Company Two. We had a good laugh. The next day I wrote the script (my first) two weeks later I submitted it to the NYWinterfest Theater Festival, one week after that it was accepted and nine months later, in January 2020, it played Off-Broadway to sold-out audiences. Richard Kline, who played Larry Dallas in Three’s Company, came to my opening night and we’ve been friends ever since.
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
It was definitely not a planned journey. I guess you can say, I didn’t know any better. I never knew I had a knack for storytelling and creating new content. I started this journey as an actor, which I loved doing and it evolved into writing in an organic and natural way. An idea would pop into my head and I’d start writing.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
I would say my biggest supporter and mentor is Richard Kline. I was so honored to have him show up to my opening night of Three’s Company Two. He encouraged me to keep on writing and sent me a couple of writing books by Gene Perret. I took his advice and kept writing. Since then I have written more than a dozen short and feature scripts of which five shorts and one feature film have been produced. Talk about blessings.
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Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
It wasn’t until the end of 2020 that I realized that writing is what I want to do. Looking back, I realized just how much I have been able to accomplish as a writer, without any experience or representation, and during a worldwide pandemic. I love creating new worlds, characters, conflicts, and resolutions. I write shorts, features, comedy, action, drama, and fantasy. I just love it. And apparently, others like it too.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
I have acted in over thirty film projects, written, directed, and produced over fifteen of my original works. All in less than three years since I started this journey. But as much as I have accomplished in this short time, I cannot say I am successful. Yet. I don’t know how to define success. But I will certainly recognize it when it comes. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep doing what I love. Write, write, write.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life:
I don’t have a regular routine. In fact, I don’t care much for routine. Sometimes, I get up early. Sometimes, I sleep in late. Same thing at night. I could be up until three, four am or asleep by 9:00 pm. I don’t set an exact schedule for myself. I just go with the flow and what feels right at the time. I’m not much for going out to hang out. I like to stay at home with my family.
One thing that is always a constant with me is that every night around 10:00 pm I read at least one or two chapters of the Bible and give thanks for all my blessings. And I do this wholeheartedly. I look back to reflect and am just amazed at all of my life’s blessings and accomplishments. Not just since I started acting and writing. But throughout my entire life. What an amazing life I have lived. And to think there are still a few more chapters left ahead of me. For what’s behind and what’s ahead. I am truly grateful. And I take the time to meditate and give thanks.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
Observation is the most valuable skill I have developed. Life gives us all the inspiration we need to write and create compelling stories. I wrote the award-winning short, The Dispensable in 2020, based on a news interview I heard where someone said, “It is perfectly acceptable to lose a few hundred thousand lives in order to save the economy”. I wrote the script in one weekend. It went from script to screen in ninety days. It’s won several awards and nominated for a few more. I am currently starting production on Karma Latte the Lenin Gutierrez Story. You may have heard about the Starbucks barista who was shamed by a woman because he wouldn’t serve her because she wasn’t wearing a mask. It went viral, a good Samaritan started a Gofundme for him and he ended up with $105,000 in tips and his story went viral. I contacted him, got the story rights, and wrote the script. We shoot it in May. Life is the source. All we need is to pay attention. There are millions of stories being lived every day.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
Keeping up with all of the story ideas has been somewhat of a challenge. I can’t seem to stop. The stories just manifest in my head faster than I can put them on paper. I have three I am writing right now and four on the list. By the end of the week, I’ll probably have a few more to add. I just finished a TV Pilot (starting episode 2 next). I am one-third into a feature (drama) and a couple of shorts in their first draft. I have two other series on the list and it's only Thursday. What can I say? Some people work in oils and clay, but I prefer Hemingway. J
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
My greatest joy has been connecting with people through my writing and sharing my success with them. Because of my writing, I have been able to provide work opportunities to so many actors, directors, film crews, and industry professionals looking for opportunities. I have been able to mentor and share my experiences and serve as motivation and support to others. I am loving what I do. And I love sharing that with everyone. To see someone else be successful or have an opportunity and know that I was a part of that, makes me feel good. Like I made a difference in someone’s life.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
I would love to hear their stories. Learn what drives them, what inspires them. I want to share their passion for writing and their life experiences. Every person is a story and every story is worth knowing. I have lived a very rich life. Not rich in fortune. But fortunate in life’s journey. Enriched by the experiences of life, both good and bad, and sharing them with others.