Gil Cates, Jr. is a film director, producer, and writer. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
How did you get your start in the industry?
Growing up, I was always making super 8 films with my friends and because of my dad, I was always on set and around movie making. In college, I decided to be a drama major because telling a story was very important. I already knew a lot about film making from life.
For the first couple of years after graduating, I was an actor living in LA. I acted on TV shows like Matlock, Major Dad, and Doogie Howser. But all along I knew I wanted to eventually direct and write, so after a few years, when things started to slow down, I shifted gears. I didn’t like sitting by the phone and waiting for things to happen, so I decided to make my move and make things happen.
I directed a short, called Screening. Morgan Freeman did a little cameo in it. The short went on to a bunch of festivals and eventually to the Sundance Film Festival. After that, I wrote and directed my first film called $pent, starring Jason London and that’s kind of how I started.
You’ve done everything—acting, writing, directing, and producing. When it comes to creating a film, which is your favorite role to play and why?
It used to be just strictly directing, but I’ve been doing more producing lately and I’ve enjoyed that, too. They’re all different aspects of story telling—some are more task-driven than others, but they all contribute to the story.
Right now I’m co-producing a film and it’s been a really good experience. I’ve been enjoying it. Next summer, I’m directing a film, so then I’ll get back into directing-mode.