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David Paull Illuminates the Cosmic Vision of 'Wordspeaker. Producer of Best Science Fiction Film Sha

As the cosmic dust settles on the realm of science fiction cinema, we sit down with David Paull, the mastermind producer behind the interstellar journey of 'Wordspeaker.' Winner of the prestigious Best Science Fiction Film award, 'Wordspeaker' has captured audiences with its cosmic allure. In this exclusive interview, Paull takes us on a behind-the-scenes odyssey, shedding light on the stellar collaboration and creative process that propelled 'Wordspeaker' to its celestial heights.

American Dream Screen : In the current landscape of independent cinema, what do you believe sets your film apart from the rest and makes it a unique and compelling addition to the medium?

David Paull : We are not looking at time travel or aliens here. Instead, writer Dennis Sparks established the theme of WORDSPEAKER based on being ' a fish out of water'. The anti-hero in the story – Roger Mad Dog Welles - is caught unaware of the full scope of an unspecified catastrophe that has happened in the world outside his radio studio. He is stressed and confused – overwhelmed – so he does the only thing he knows how to do, which is to continue hosting his call-in radio show. WORDSPEAKER deals in the psychology of fear, rather than focusing on alien beings or traveling to a different planet or time period, as many sci-fi films do.

American Dream Screen : Independent filmmaking often encourages creative risk-taking. Can you share a specific instance where you had to make a bold creative decision during the production of your film, and how did it impact the final product?

David Paull : Editor Dave Hudkins dove headfirst into a realm of destruction, where everything is in ruins. Hudkins created a montage sequence to illustrate the voice-over towards the end of the story. 120 color images of the history of mankind flash by through decades and centuries of war, rebirth and destruction, until finally there are scenes of human kind reduced to a humble survival mode of living, including hitching a horse to a busted car body for use as a wagon.

American Dream Screen : Collaboration is a fundamental aspect of filmmaking. Could you elaborate on a particularly memorable or challenging collaboration experience with a member of your cast or crew and how it influenced the project?

David Paull : As the producer of WORDSPEAKER, I was tasked with casting the show and choosing a set where it would be shot. I immediately thought of a friend – a real life talk show host – Clyde Lewis – who would fit the part perfectly. But from my description of Clyde and his paranormal radio program, Ground Zero, writer Dennis Sparks thought I was making it up. Even after I emailed a photo image of Clyde, Dennis still didn't believe he was real until the two of them met to discuss the script, which Clyde loved. Dennis came to admire Clyde's acting chops and was pleased with his performance.

American Dream Screen : Can you discuss the artistic influences and choices that informed the film's aesthetics and how they complemented the narrative?

David Paull : Scriptwriter Dennis Sparks: “Rod Serling's Twilight Zone TV series was my bible for writing as I was growing up. So I wrote a script that evokes the Twilight Zone vibe, with a twist ending and a moral to the story.”

American Dream Screen : The post-production process is where a film truly takes shape. How did you approach the editing, sound design, and music composition in your film to enhance the storytelling and emotional impact?

David Paull : The editor sought to evoke an undefined apocalypse, showing the ruins of destroyed buildings and a billboard referring to a radio talk show hosted by the anti-hero of the story, Roger Mad Dog Welles. The script, written by Dennis Sparks, doesn't spell out what happened, just that civilization has been wiped out. So the editor included foreboding music and a haunting operatic song (written in French) at the end in which the singer says goodbye –- 'adieu.'

American Dream Screen : Can you share a challenging moment during the production of your film and how you overcame it, ultimately making the project stronger or more meaningful?

David Paull : We were stymied and the production was halted for three months after one of the crew members decided to quit cooperating.

After all the scenes were shot and principal photography was complete, but the videographer refused to hand over the digital files. For whatever reason, he became convinced that the actor in our movie was satanic and wanted out of the project. When I tried to meet him to retrieve the video cassettes, he said his job as an undertaker's assistant made it impossible to know where he would be on any given day, picking up dead bodies throughout the region, and therefore was unavailable.

Finally, late on a Sunday afternoon, I drove to the mortuary where he worked. As I entered, I saw mourners around a casket in the chapel. He emerged from a darkened hallway, dressed all in black. He handed over the cassettes containing our raw video of the scenes which eventually became the short film WORDSPEAKER. When I asked the videographer why he had waited so long, he innocently replied that there was no problem. The cassettes were available all along, he said, kept in the glove box of his hearse.

Wordspeaker' stands not only as a testament to the limitless bounds of science fiction storytelling but also to Paull's expertise in navigating the cosmic complexities of film production. As the credits roll on this stellar journey, David Paull leaves us with a celestial cinematic legacy, reminding us that in the vastness of space, great stories continue to unfold, waiting to be explored.

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