Although Capaldi’s writing and directing credits are not extensive, he was still credited for it. In 1993 he wrote and starred in a film titled Soft Top Hard Shoulder and went straight to a short film titled Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life with Richard E. Grant. This film about writer Franz Kafka trying to find inspiration while writing his famous novel The Metamorphosis won Capaldi an Oscar for Best Short Film (Live Action) in 1995.
The Independent reports that he then sold a screenplay to Miramax, Moon Man, which was never produced. “I thought I was going to be Ridley Scott or Steven Spielberg now and I flew to New York to set up production and then they said they wouldn’t do it. It was over,” Capaldi said. His next produced screenplay, Strictly Sinatra, in 2001 was a flop, so he turned back to acting.
He wrote (and hosted) the 2009 BBC documentary A Portrait of Scotland, which drew on his connection to the Glasgow School of Arts, and the 2012 mockumentary The Cricklewood Greats. He also directed this one and directed two other projects he has written (Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life, Strictly Sinatra). He directed nine episodes of BBC Four’s Getting On, in which he briefly appeared as a psychiatrist because, as he told the BBC, “we really didn’t have anyone around”.