Missouri Stories Spotlight with Michael Doshier
By Grace Smith | May 24, 2023
Michael Doshier is a New York-based writer, musician, and performer. Growing up in Conway, Arkansas, Michael was inspired by his favorite place in the world, Branson, Missouri, where he dreamed of becoming a star. He was selected as a 2018 Missouri Stories Fellow for his script “Branson” about when the patriarch of a successful family variety show in a conservative town commits suicide, his gay son must decide if he wants to carry on his family’s legacy.
Where do you get inspiration for your work?
MD: Real life. There is a movie in every situation you find yourself within on a daily basis if you just look hard enough. A workplace comedy at your job, a family drama with your brothers and sisters, a romcom with that latest Hinge match.
Tell us about a screenwriter who inspires you and why.
MD: Right now I have joined the ranks of millennials in their thirties rewatching Girls, so I am going to say Lena Dunham. I am amazed by the artistic streak from Tiny Furniture to all six seasons of an HBO show that sort of deepens and expands upon her original, foundational thesis – the stamina!
Describe your writing process.
MD: It usually starts with about a month of scene ideas coming to my head, void of any structure or plan, and way faster than I can keep up with. I type these out in my Notes app in a totally unorganized way, then when I have enough, I move to outlining. Then, those scene ideas get placed in this wonderful outline I got from a screenwriting professor my sophomore year of college, which I have used for every project I’ve written since. This is when I am forced to come up with the proper plot points and reversals that don’t come naturally when I am blue-skying. But then the hardest part is done! Moving these ideas into full-scenes within Final Draft is the fun part!
How do you connect with other writers?
MD: I am a part of a couple of writers groups – and I will often reach out to creatives I have met along the way – at work or on set – when I need more eyes on something. I’ll ask if they’re willing to take a look or know someone who would be interested in my themes. I have found that if you even have a small connection (a friend of a friend of a friend) with someone, and you write with humility and thankfulness for any time they can offer you, they may very well respond to your cold email.
How has being a Missouri Stories Fellow affected you?
MD: Being a Missouri Stories fellow completely changed my life. The script I submitted, Branson, has gotten so much sharper from that trip with the expert notes I received from the panelists. But beyond that, I had a wonderful and grounding career sit-down with Andrea Sporcic Klund. It was in this chat that I explained what I wanted out of my career to Andrea, and she gave me the advice to write an ultra-low-budget script I could make with my friends in New York, and then submit to film festivals. That is precisely what I did – and I was already drafting it on my plane ride home from Kansas City!
What are you up to now?
MD: Fast forward five years from that very productive plane ride – THROUPLE is wrapping up post-production for submissions for the 2024 festival circuit. The film – directed by Greyson Horst – is a queer, non-monogamous rock ‘n roll romantic comedy for today’s day and age – and bringing it to life has been the most amazing ride of my life so far. I am currently developing another feature set in Branson, Missouri – and a TV pilot based on my one-man show which premiered at The People’s Improv Theatre last month. I am also moving from New York to Los Angeles later this year!