Missouri Stories Spotlight with McKenzie Moser

McKenzie Moser is a Missouri native and is currently working in the film industry in Los Angeles. McKenzie was selected as a 2020 Missouri Stories Fellow for her feature script My Best Friend’s Ashes. It is a coming-of-age dramedy that follows co-dependent best friends Syla and Fern. After Syla dies and returns to haunt Fern, Fern steals her best friend’s ashes so that she can live out her friend’s final dreams.

We caught up with McKenzie to talk about her writing process, inspiration, and more.

Photo by Sandy Moser

Where do you get inspiration for your work?
MM: I’m inspired by people I’ve met and people I’ve loved. I’m also inspired by people I’ve disliked, admired, misunderstood, felt neutral about, felt curious about, felt attraction toward, felt enthralled by etc. Most people make me feel things, and that elicits inspiration. 

I’m really just a people watcher. 

Tell us about a screenwriter who inspires you and why.

MM: All of my writer friends who are nice enough to read my work and give notes. They’re better than me, that’s why. 

Please tell us a little about your writing process.

MM: Chaos. I vomit something out. It’s horrible. It’s nonsense. I go back in with a marker and a million sticky notes and make sense of it. Then I hyper-fixate. My work is one big hype-fixation. I can get stuck on a quarter-page scene for days. DAYS. 

How do you connect with other writers?

MM: Coffee. 

How has being a Missouri Stories Fellow affected you?

MM: Without Missouri Stories, I wouldn’t have gotten a job right out of grad school. I wouldn’t’ve been able to make a short. I wouldn’t’ve been able to apply for other directing fellowships. No sample, no chance. So really I wouldn’t have a career without MO Stories. That’s not an exaggeration, or a paid sponsorship. 

Finally, what are you up to now?

MM: Currently hyper-fixating on a quarter-page scene. 

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