Missouri Stories Spotlight with Meg Phillips Crespy
By Grace Smith | April 26, 2023
Meg Phillips Crespy is a Missouri-based playwright, composer, and author who was selected as a 2017 Missouri Stories Fellow for her pilot script “Flyover.” It tells the story of a buttoned-up Manhattanite whose life spins out of control, so she retreats to her childhood home in Missouri – only to discover that her family’s world is unraveling faster than her own.
We caught up with Meg to talk about her writing process, inspiration, and more.
Where do you get inspiration for your work?
MPC: Inspiration can strike any time, but I seem to get ideas in the shower or while swimming. Occasionally, something comes through dreams. Sometimes inspiration doesn’t strike at all, and that’s frustrating! When that happens, I focus my energies on other creative endeavors such as theatre, music or interior design while I await the muse’s return.
Tell us about a screenwriter who inspires you and why.
MPC: Greta Gerwig is an inspiration. She tells character-driven stories and isn’t afraid to buck trends and do things the way she wants to.
Please tell us a little about your writing process.
MPC: Sometimes I’m so caught by an idea that I simply sit down to write and a finished draft pours out. Other times I use what I would call etudes, or “practice scenes” to flesh out the characters/situation. Sometime these make it into the finished work, but not always; either way, they’re helpful. I also use elements from dreams, written down on pieces of paper and then drawn at random from a bag. It’s a great way to generate ideas and avoid cliche.
How do you connect with other writers?
MPC: I’m not in a writers’ group, but I connect every few weeks with a writerly girlfriend and we talk about our work in progress. I also connect regularly with a second friend who’s an avid reader, and we talk about the stories that have captured our minds and hearts.
How has being a Missouri Stories Fellow affected you?
MPC: In addition to what I learned during the wonderful fellowship itself, I gained a level of confidence in myself. Additionally, we serve as judges for the competition; scoring the submissions and providing feedback has helped me articulate what makes for good, tight, visual storytelling. Plus, I was fortunate to have my short film chosen for the production lab. Seeing it go from the page to a finished product was an education like no other. I really can’t say enough good things about Missouri Stories.
Finally, what are you up to now?
MPC: Currently I’m a freelance writer, and I’m creating some instructional, yet entertaining video scripts for a small nonprofit. I also write both scripts and music for live theatre; most recently I completed a new humorous number for a song cycle to be performed by a local theatre company in 2024.