Missouri Stories Spotlight with Todd Bronson

Todd Bronson is a retired lead family caseworker based in St. Louis who loves to write sexy film noir and entertaining creature features with an underbelly of humor.

He was selected as a 2022 Missouri Stories Fellow for his script Poachers, A Mark Twain adventure with a William Castle monster. On the Mississippi River, teenagers Fiddler Mayfield and Darren Jamison confront monstrous Cheroots who only hunt humans and struggle to save Fiddler’s father even as a government agency searches for the monsters for their own mysterious reasons.

Where do you get inspiration for your work?

TB: Writing a script is an entertaining and creative process for me. It’s a puzzle that starts with a simple location, an odd character, or a devious plot. Once I start researching I get inspired by the interlocking the newly found pieces together. If the story entertains me and it is something that I’ve never seen, then the creativity takes over to complete it.

Tell us about a screenwriter who inspires you and why.

TB: I’m going old school with Billy Wilder. I write horror/film noir, but just the sheer amount of great movies he wrote is mind boggling. The comedies and film noir still resonate today. He is a classic.

Describe your writing process.

TB: It all starts with research and a cheap spiral notebook. I like to take location vacations. I’ll travel and experience the area where my script will be set and take photos so I can always go back to review. I take notes and begin an outline. I’ll write scenes in the notebook and then edit them in Final Draft. My motto for writing is to never write safe. If I find the script is going in a safe and obvious direction, I stop and detour it into a dangerous direction.

How do you connect with other writers?

TB: I find it difficult to connect with anybody, let alone other writers. I’m pretty much an introvert and I like my stories to be mine until rewriting where I accept notes. I usually end up paying for editing and notes to a site I can trust. 

How has being a Missouri Stories Fellow affected you?

TB: More than anything it built my confidence and self esteem in my storytelling and writing. I received so many quality helpful critiques that made a rewrite so much better. The mentors and the Film Office were so professional and their experience so vast that it opened my eyes to being a professional screenwriter. 

What are you up to now?

TB: I’m editing a modern film noir/mystery I wrote after researching the murder of abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy. Also researching and contemplating a first for me. A supernatural slasher.

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