Early on I dreamed of becoming a screenwriter. Years ago I had a Hollywood agent and was a co-writer on a TV drama that ended up in turnaround. My career was starting to go places… then I developed Multiple Sclerosis. Discouraged, I almost gave upon my writing career. But through discipline and determination, through my experiences as a rock climber, iron worker and now a person living with disability, I’ve learned to overcome obstacles.
Despite being in a wheelchair and legally blind, I developed a unique writing method using a voice recorder, and I transcribe my notes into Final Draft with assistance.
I was the subject of a short film, “WRITING BLIND”, featured in the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge:
I was persuaded to submit my screenplay, “ALWAYS PLAY SOME BLUES”, to several competitions. It won Quarterfinalist at the 2013 Page Awards, scored in the top 10% at the 2012 Austin Film Festival. “ALWAYS PLAY SOME BLUES” is a 1966 Coming of Age Drama about a white teen guitarist, mentored by a veteran Bluesman, who becomes talent show and romantic partners with his high school’s first black student, and must sabotage a dangerous prank planned by his racist pals.
My other screenplay, “SAFE AT HOME”, a Neo-Noir Western/Erotic Thriller, won at the 2019 L.A. Neo Noir Novel, Film, and Script Festival, and won as a Semifinalist in both the 2021 Scriptapalooza and 2021 Your Script Produced screenplay contests.
My writing focus is realistic stories that touch upon important social issues.
I strive to put the total of everything I’ve learned in life into my writing and feel very passionate about it. I care deeply about providing guidance to young people, and tell them that the choices they make today can have life-altering consequences. I made some poor choices along the way and learned some valuable life lessons.
Gary Cifra picking up his award at the 2019 Neo Noir Film Festival.
Genre: Erotic Thriller /
Neo-Noir Western (Rated R)
Logline: After a wealthy cattle rancher’s wife is raped, his twisted plot to lure a suspect to their home leads to a second assault, and she discovers a shameful secret.
“SAFE AT HOME” is a compelling script that demonstrates the writer’s ability in the Mystery/Thriller genre. There are strong dramatic moments that resonate well on the page and the characters are well crafted. We especially like the dynamic between the two women characters at the heart of the story. The story makes for a comfortable, intriguing read, one that capably brings the writer’s vision to the page.”
INTERNATIONAL SCREENWRITERS ASSOCIATION (ISA)
Genre: Coming of Age /
Romantic Drama / Music
Logline: In 1967, a white teen guitarist falls for the first black girl at his school and tries to sabotage a dangerous prank he planned with his racist pals.
17 yr. old Dennis Nicholls attempts to cover up a hate crime on the town's rock cliff with a can of spray paint.