FILMMAKER Q&A – The Speech – Darius Midcalf – Writer

OR: What was the inspiration for your film?

DM: My inspiration for The Speech Screenplay came from the end speech of the Charlie Chaplin film ‘The Great Dictator’. I wanted to make a modern-day version of this speech, but in a different setting with a different world leader (I chose the UK Prime Minister). Other aspects from other films and TV helped pave the way and allowed me to build upon this concept. Some of these examples are Goggle Box, Doctor Who, and The Kings Speech. Otherworld events in the UK also helped influence what the Prime Minister was going to say when I was writing it.

OR: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

DM: This is only a screenplay and is yet to be picked up. It was meant to go into Production in early 2021, but due to Covid the date kept getting pushed back for filming and eventually had to be shelved through a lack of time and funding drying up (this was going to be my main graduation film for University).

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

DM: I’d say it’s sticking to an allotted time limit and not going too big, where you have to explain everything right at the end. I know many writers (myself included), who tend to go too big, instead of making self-contained stories. If you try and put a Hollywood-style plot into 15 minutes it will always fail, but if you focus on one aspect, write it how it should be, then minimize that down to the page count limit, then you’ll have much more success. Its always just cutting the fat in a story to keep the pace going. Also make sure what you’re writing is realistic enough to go into production, always have a rough idea on how you’ll execute the film. It can be harder than it sounds, but with that focus, it can be successful.