Beneath, Between, Behind the Scenes: Focus on the Big Picture

M. Francis Enright
2 min readMar 26, 2024
Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

M. Francis Enright is a filmmaker. His first short film, HR, was accepted into zero of the 23 festivals to which it was submitted. His second short film, The Routine, was nominated for Best Dark Comedy at the Georgia Comedy Film Festival. His third short film, Say Your Name, won Best Drama and Best Director at the Top Shorts Films Festival and has been selected for the 2024 Boston International Film Festival.

An army marches on its stomach and the same can be said about a film crew. On most low-budget indie films the food sucks. I’ve been there. So I always try to make sure everyone eats decently.

The days are long, sometimes 12–14 hours. Even though I am only really obligated to provide breakfast and lunch, I find that pizza at the 11th hour is a great moral booster. People aren’t really expecting; it doesn’t cost much, and it buys you a lot of goodwill.

So, when shooting one of my shorts, Busted Lines, I asked one of the PAs to make a run for ten pies. It was more than needed, but I always like to over-order to make sure everyone gets enough.

For some reason, this became an ordeal for Stephen, the cinematographer/producer. He didn’t want people eating while we were shooting. He put a sign on the pizza reading, “TWO SLICES PER PERSON”. He kept leaving the set to see that no one was eating until he wanted them to.

It was utterly bizarre. Who gives a shit?

It created quite a challenge working with him. He would obsess over things that made little to no difference. He spent half an hour adjusting the height of three shades so they would be the exact same height that would not even be on camera.

I said, those aren’t going to be visible.

He said, I know. I just want them to be even.

He kept telling the crew that we were lighting like a sitcom which I told him repeatedly I didn’t want but could not dislodge from his head.

I think people obsess over meaningless details to give themselves a sense of control. I try to be a big picture person. I know some details are important, but if you don’t get the big stuff right, the details will not matter.

No one is going to care if the font on the menu looks great if the food sucks.

No one is going to care if the logo on the shirt looks great if it falls apart.

No one is going to shop in your store if the sign looks great but no one is helping the customers.

Just focus on the job and let people eat the pizza.

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M. Francis Enright

Co-creator and cohost of The Working Experience Podcast. We explore what people do for work, how they do it and how they feel about it. Twice a week!