Gary Natoli : 2024 Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award

Gary Natoli

December 27, 2023

Associate Director/Stage Manager Gary Natoli will become the 33rd recipient of the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award, which will be presented at the DGA Awards ceremony in February. The Schaffner Award is given to an Associate Director or Stage Manager in recognition of their service to the industry and the Guild.

 Natoli joined the DGA in 1987 as a Stage Manager on the 8th Annual Ace Awards. Since that beginning, his career has been truly impressive with credits on hundreds of live and taped productions including Super Bowl Halftime Shows, Primetime Emmy Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, The Critics’ Choice Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards and episodes of Big Brother.

He has been a Stage Manager on seven DGA Variety/Talk/News/Sports and Musical/Variety Award-winning productions: Paul Dugdale’s Adele: One Night Only (2021), Glenn Weiss’s 89th Annual Academy Awards (2017), Bruce Gowers’s Genius: A Night for Ray Charles (2004), Joel Gallen & Beth McCarthy-Miller’s America: A Tribute to Heroes (2001), Paul Miller’s The 52nd Annual Tony Awards (1998), Don Mischer’s Great Performances “Centennial Olympic Games: Opening Ceremonies” (1996) and Walter C. Miller’s The 45th Annual Tony Awards (1991).

His burgeoning career has not prevented him from giving back via service to his Guild. Prior to shifting his gears to Associate Directing and Stage Managing, Natoli was first elected as an alternate to the Eastern Directors Council in 2000, and as a member in 2002. He would continue his Guild service with 15 terms on the Western AD/SM/PA Council, serving as a member or alternate and being elected Secretary-Treasurer, Second Vice Chair, First Vice Chair and, finally Chair where he has presided since assuming that post in 2021.

Natoli also participated in other Council Committees including four BA/FLTTA Negotiating Committees, the most recent of which achieved significant gains for his fellow members working in non-dramatic SVOD. Under his leadership, the Council has also sought to elevate the AD/SM/PA categories by with events to highlight their work such as Toybox: Tools Used for Multi-Camera Television, When Sh!t Happens: How the Director’s Team Deals with Unexpected Events in Live Variety Television and The More You Know: A FLTTA Contracts Master Class; and actively reached out to other Councils to develop stronger relationships and support.

Asked how he felt about being the recipient of this honor, ever the leader Natoli spoke of it as more of a statement about advancements of his category and hopes for the future. “Receiving the Schaffner Award is a recognition of the significant contributions our category has made within the Directors Guild of America. In embracing the essence of this recognition, let us champion a culture of awareness and acceptance across all categories, forging a path where every category’s unique perspective is not only acknowledged but celebrated.”


Gary Natoli accepts the 2024 Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award

Past recipients of the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award:
  • Valdez Flagg (2023)
  • Garry W. Hood (2022)
  • Joyce Thomas (2021)
  • Arthur E. Lewis (2020)
  • Mimi (Marian) Deaton (2019)
  • Jim Tanker (2018)
  • Tom McDermott (2016)
  • Julie Gelfand (2015)
  • Vince DeDario (2014)
  • Dency Nelson (2013)
  • Dennis W. Mazzocco (2012)
  • Maria Jimenez Henley (2010)
  • Scott Berger (2009)
  • Barbara J. Roche (2008)
  • Terry Benson (2007)
  • Donald E. Jacob (2006)
  • Stanley Faer (2005)
  • Peery Forbis (20040
  • Esperanza “Candy” Martinez (2003)
  • Anita Cooper-Avrick (2002)
  • Robert N. Van Ry (2001)
  • Scott L. Rindenow (2000)
  • Robert Caminiti (1999)
  • C.J. Rapp-Pittman (1998)
  • Joseph L. Dicso (1997)
  • Don Lewis Barnhart (1996)
  • Larry Carl (1995)
  • James E. Wall (1994)
  • James “Woody” Woodworth (1993)
  • Marilyn Jacobs-Furey (1992)
  • Chester O’Brien (1991)
  • Mortimer O’Brien (1991)