by Respeaking Crew in Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom

We did it
On 16th December 2021 we successfully raised £7,305 with 151 supporters in 28 days

A dystopian comedy about a TV subtitler who makes a fatal mistake. From Bournemouth Film School.

by Respeaking Crew in Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom


In an authoritarian state, at a time of immense political unrest and constant protests, Joe, an anxious TV subtitler, makes a fatal error whilst subtitling an interview with Colonel Tom, a tyrannical politician.

Joe accidentally displays subtitles that he recorded for a late-night reality show and, unbeknownst to him, the Colonel gives his interview with [A RUDE WORD] as his title.

Following a tense meeting with his superiors, Joe attempts to make up for his mistake whilst both the protesters outside and the shadowy hand of the government close in.


1637776619_1637776619208.jpegJOE, a TV subtitler, wants nothing more than to fit in, but his excruciating social anxiety always gets in the way. He has resigned himself to being an invisible cog in the machine before his mistake casts him into the limelight.   

A collage of a person  Description automatically generated with medium confidenceCOLONEL TOM is a venerable, former military officer who’s recently begun his political career. In front of the camera his wise, paternal persona barely masks his deep-seated rage and intolerance. 

1637776820_1637776820061.jpegTIM is a political talk show host. A prideful journalist who likes to think he knows right from wrong, even if “right” always seems to be those in power.  

1637776859_1637776859307.jpegMIRANDA is a producer and Joe’s boss. She is a professional of no real political persuasion, good-natured though slightly impatient. It’s her idea to give Joe a chance to make up for his mistake.


Somewhere in the late 20th century, in the familiar yet increasingly alien environment of broadcast TV. A heightened world where a minor slip-up in communication can spell death.

The corridors of the TV studio are drab, grey, brutalist and corporate. Low-ranking employees wear anonymous grey suits, as if part of the architecture. The world we see on the various TV screens in the studio is different, a bright, garish, exaggerated version of reality.



Respeaking is a farcical, dark comedy inspired by the real (and quite bizarre) job of “respeaking” in which TV subtitlers will robotically repeat the words of TV shows so they can be more accurately detected and transcribed by voice-recognition software. 

1637333547_screenshot_2021-11-19_at_14.52.23.pngRespeaking is also, at its core, a film about social anxiety and the struggle to communicate and it is inspired by writer/director Rhys Hemming’s own experiences with the condition. Taking thematic and stylistic inspiration from satires such as Network and In The Loop as well as the Kafkaesque dystopias of Brazil, The Double and The Trial, our aim is to recreate, through its heightened setting, the painful, uncomfortable and often very funny (if only in hindsight) experience of living with social anxiety.



Respeaking is entirely funded by donations from you so we can only make this film with your help. Our film is an ambitious project - notably the demands on production design will be significant if we hope to capture the richness of world-building that has been developed in script and pre-production. The look of the world calls for an out-of-time setting somewhere in the 20th century, akin to films like Brazil (1985) in how it is neither future nor past. The most conceivable way for us to do this is with a studio build in which we can control as many elements of the set as possible, and build it bespoke to our needs. However this will require substantial funds to construct and is where much our crowdfunder will be directed.

In addition to this we will also need to fund the requirements for props. For example, the fictitious working process of our protagonist Joe as a ‘Subtitler’, a job in which people monotonously re-speak the words and sounds of TV shows into a microphone to allow a programme to convert them to subtitles, will translate to complex prop work. It will require the custom creation/sourcing of a series of props that believably recreate his work desk - complete with multiple operational CRT monitors, a subtitler’s control panel, microphones, complex wiring as well as whatever else is developed in pre-production to make this job seem as real as possible.

Costume will also be a significant cost on our film. Between war-decorated authoritarian dictator Colonel Tom, flashy talkshow host Tim and our uniformed gawky protagonist Joe; there is a significant breadth of costume requirements for Respeaking. Whether these costumes are hired, adapted or bespoke made, they will be a substantial budgeting factor that cannot be overlooked!

Our remaining budget will be largely distributed between casting and camera needs which will be equally important and substantial departments in their own right; the former to ensure our story is effectively told by talented actors, the latter to capture the world and story that we have built as creatively as possible. However, if you are interested in supporting a film that strives for ambitious world building in its design, you could do no better than Respeaking!


A picture containing text, electronics, microwave, oven  Description automatically generated

Hello, I’m Rhys and I’m the writer-director of Respeaking.
Growing up on the tough streets of Waitrose-on-Thames, I found an escape from the existential despair of primary school in making embarrassing YouTube videos on the family computer. This childhood interest in the moving image eventually blossomed into an unhealthy adulthood obsession and, following a series of academic failures, I somehow blagged a place on AUB's illustrious film course (did you know Edgar Wright went here? ...sort of?)

My aim with Respeaking is to make a film which draws on the rich tradition of British satire (Brazil, Brass Eye, The Thick of It) to tell a story about anxiety and the struggle to communicate. I think my own experiences with anxiety and insecurity make me a perfect fit to direct this film… or maybe I’m not… I dunno…

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Hello! My name is Billy Cooke. I’m the Co-Producer of Respeaking alongside my other half James Fry. Together we form FryCooke Productions.
Since coming to study filmmaking at Arts University Bournemouth I have discovered a passion for Producing, after realising that logistical and people managing aspects of film production are where my strengths lie.
Above all else, I was drawn to Respeaking by the humour that our writer/director Rhys Hemming finds in the awkwardness of the protagonist Joe; and how he uses it to spin a Kafka-esque tale of miscommunication and identity. Many student films are overly sincere and one-note which ultimately ends up alienating or boring their audience. Respeaking emphasises the humour that often exists alongside the serious. I think Joe’s journey to find his voice in a harsh, politically divided world is apt in our real-world climate of misinformation, misguided right-wing ideologies and capitalist dominance that seems to have no end or alternatives. I cannot wait to fix all these problems with our funny student short film ;—)

Hiya, I’m James Fry, the co-producer of Respeaking, and the better half of FryCooke Productions. 

Whilst Billy has a firm grasp on the logistical side of filmmaking, my own strengths lie in the more creative and developmental sides of producing (the fun stuff). With every film which we produce, we seek to enhance the subject material, so, with any luck, the story can reach its fullest potential. 

As a writer and lover of filmic farces myself, what first drew me to Respeaking was just how seamlessly funny it was. Each and every gag is truly pushed to its absurdist extreme, in such a way which doesn’t dimmish from the narrative or world building on offer, but rather enhances it. Likewise, the way script utilizes comedy to richly illustrate each of its distinctive characters is its greatest strength. So, watch out world, Respeaking will be coming to a screen near you (in due time) (actually 2022) (be patient please).

A picture containing text, electronics, camera  Description automatically generatedHi, I’m Joana Caiano, the director of photography of Respeaking.
Respeaking explores the problematics of miscommunication. As a cinematographer, and contrary to the storyline, I must communicate the script visually. I’m super excited to tell this story not only through the main screen but also through the multiple small monitors within the frame, and ultimately, I’m excited to show the world of Respeaking in a larger screen at the cinema.

A picture containing text, pink  Description automatically generatedHi- I’m Skye, the production designer for Respeaking.
I have an artistic background and have always been pursuing any creative endeavours that come my way. I was drawn to Respeaking right from when I first read the script - this film has such strong themes of anxiety that many of us can relate to, as well as being extremely poignant politically. I am beyond excited to bring to life this Orwellian, brutalist, dystopian world that writer-director Rhys Hemming has created. I cannot wait to work with him the rest of the insanely talented crew to make a visually stunning masterpiece.

A picture containing text  Description automatically generatedHey, I’m Thomas Zapata, and I’m the editor for Respeaking.
I’ve had an immense love for the craft and practice of making film for as long as I can remember, but my love for editing eclipses all else. The films that I enjoy making and watching the most are abstract and experimental – and that’s what drew me to Respeaking. My own editing style aligns well with Rhys’ vision for the story, and I’ll strive to portray the tension and anxiety within the script effectively with my edit. Overall, I’ll do all that I can to realise the dystopic, yet the comedic story of Respeaking.

A picture containing text  Description automatically generatedI’m Andy Weeks and I’m the Sound Designer and on-set Production Sound Mixer of Respeaking.
At my time at AUB I have acquired a great knowledge of sound devices, as I’ve recorded and mixed sound for several projects and productions – making me a super addition to this crew. My Interest in sound comes my love of sci-fi, as I grew up watching ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Back to the Future’ – but I also have a soft spot for dark comedies too. Respeaking is definitely the latter, and I was really drawn into the script after my first reading. Its late 20th century setting will allow me to get creative with my sound design – but my main aim is to keep it grounded in the humour and help the audience follow along on Joe’s journey.

“I don’t make noise, I Just Record it” (Andy Weeks, 2019) 

A cell phone with a person's face on the screen  Description automatically generated with medium confidenceHi, I’m Mia Zillwood-Hunt, and I’m the costume designer for Respeaking. I’m so excited to work on this wonderful film. I was drawn to the story and the main character Joe, who like me, and many others suffers with social anxiety. Being able to understand Joe’s struggles makes me feel a deep connection to the story. I’m looking forward to working with the crew, designing, and sourcing everything and helping to make this brilliant project a success. I can’t wait to get started and bring these characters to life.

A picture containing website  Description automatically generatedHi, I’m Tilly and I’m the 1st AD for Respeaking. I have worked under the role of both Producer and 1st Assistant Director throughout my time at AUB. As 1st AD you require skills in time management, organisation, and communication. By applying these skills to my role, I hope to establish a positive and creative working environment during production.
I was drawn to the story due to its relatability. Many people struggle to find their voice or the right words. By working alongside my crew, I look forward to seeing this project come to life.

A picture containing text, electronics, yellow  Description automatically generatedHey! I’m Eden and I’m Respeaking’s friendly neighbourhood Gaffer!
As the person who’s in charge of lighting this film, my aim is to ensure Respeaking is LIT! (Apparently according to today’s youth that means good). As a lover of everything ‘dark comedy’ Respeaking’s concept immediately grabbed me; having read the script, it became immediately apparent just how impeccably funny this film will be! I’m a big fan of absurdism as a trait as it’s always a brilliant discussion point, so this intense and absurdist style of comedy woven in with a compelling narrative and peculiar and perplexing characters ticks all of my boxes! I just hope you have as much fun watching it as we will have making it, and we can’t wait for Respeaking to become available on a monitor (preferably not a CRT one) near you!

A picture containing text, electronics, cellphone  Description automatically generatedHi, I'm Yushi, the Cam Op for Respeaking.
It seems like Respeaking’s period happens in the last century, in fact, the core of the story has a thousand words of relationship with our nowadays life, the information technology has been gradually completed today though. Moreover, there are many surprisingly constantly sets in the story, which is another point that attracted me. It should be fun to capture every shot through the lens from the “antimodern” world created by all crew.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£3 or more

Solo Ticket for the Respeaking Zoom Quiz

Solo ticket for the Respeaking Zoom quiz on the 12th of December at 7pm. Note: With this Tier we ask you to not to donate anonymously, as we'll only be able to contact you, via email, with the link to the Zoom quiz if you leave your details. Thanks!

£5 or more

Thanks for Donating Tier

Thanks so much for donating to our crowdfunder; £5 may only seem like a little, but it can go a long, long way.

£6 or more

Group Ticket for the Respeaking Zoom Quiz

Group ticket for the Respeaking Zoom quiz on the 12th of December at 7pm. Note: With this Tier we ask you to not to donate anonymously, as we'll only be able to contact you, via email, with the link to the Zoom quiz if you leave your details. Thanks!

£15 or more

Digital Bundle Tier

By donating to this tier, you'll receive a digital copy of the film, a digital version of the Respeaking poster and be featured in the thank you section in the credits!

£25 or more

Respeaking Postcard and Bespoke Thank You Tier

£25 gets you a digital copy of the film, a shoutout in the credits, a physical signed Respeaking postcard and bespoke thank you message (profanity optional).

£35 or more

Online Respeaking Premiere and Q&A Tier

By donating £35, you'll receive everything from the tier above, plus a ticket to the online Respeaking premier and Q&A - truly an unmissable event!

£45 or more

VHS Special Tier

Do you love outdated media formats? Still own a VHS player? Well by Jove do we have reward tier for you! By donating to this special NEW tier, you'll receive a VHS copy of the film for your viewing pleasure, as well as the invitation to digital premiere and Q&A, and a thank you in the credits (no other rewards from the previous tiers) .

£50 or more

Signed Script & Soundtrack Tier

Alongside everything from the £35 tier, by giving us 50 big ones, you'll receive a physical signed script and a digital Respeaking soundtrack album.

£75 or more

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Your very own PHYSICAL COPY of the film on a VHS tape (ask your nan). Fight back against obsolescence with a big chunk of plastic! Includes all previous rewards.

£100 or more

Respeaking Zine and Bespoke (rude) Poster Tier

£100. Wow. Thank you! As well as receiving everything from the previous tier, you'll be rewarded with a copy of the Respeaking Zine - which will be full to the brim with interviews from our cast & crew and snapshots of production. Also, we'll chuck in a bespoke [insert name here] is a [insert naughty word here] poster (profanity is once again entirely optional) (but encouraged).

£250 or more

Associate Producer Tier

By donating £250, you'll officially become part of the Respeaking crew as Associate Producer. You'll get the chance to call our director and producers about the project (constructive criticism will be appreciated and ignored). You'll receive everything from the £100 too.

£650 or more

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Bespoke Respeaking VHS Light Up Model Tier

Now for the big one. As well as receiving all the previous rewards, you'll be named one of our executive producers! But that's not all- you'll also receive a bespoke Respeaking VHS light up model. Now, who wouldn't want a bespoke Respeaking VHS light up model? You'll be the talk of the town, nay, the country, with your very own bespoke Respeaking VHS light up model.

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