Beneath, Between, Behind the Scenes: The Right People Show Up

M. Francis Enright
3 min readMar 21, 2024
Photo by Satyabratasm 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.

In the short film Say Your Name, Marcus has to deliver food to make ends meet while he is looking to land the role of a lifetime. I know at least four actors who have their real estate licenses. Others drive Uber, Lyft etc. They have to have job that allow them the flexibility to go on auditions and take acting jobs. It’s one of the sacrifices you make to pursue the craft.

One aspiring actor, Brian Jaber, told me about trying to sell real estate by cold calling people whose names he had gotten off Zillow. They would yell at him for calling because the whole reason one lists a house for sale on Zillow is so they don’t have to deal with an agent and pay the fee.

Brian said it got so bad that he hired a guy in India to make the calls.

You do what you got to do.

We started with a wide shot of the house and Marcus driving by the camera. He made a U-turn at the end of the street and came back into frame.

We got an outstanding tracking shot of the camera following the food bag Zair held in his hand. It seemed really awkward when we were filming it because Zair had to hold the bag out away from his body but, it looks natural on camera.

The shot was not my idea; it came from Rui. I wouldn’t have thought of it and didn’t want to spend time on it, but he insisted, and it adds a lot to the scene.

Which is another instance of me not being a good director. But I listen and I learn.

I had wanted the scene to be memorable.

I had originally pictured an obese white woman in a tent-like dress, smoking a cigarette and yelling at Marcus for being late. However, I could not find anyone to cast in the role.

We were two days away from shooting when Rui said, “I’ve got this bunny suit.”

I didn’t ask him why. Not my business.

We got a guy named Sadiq, a six-foot, four-inch Nigerian man to get on that suit on a 95 -degree day and answer the door to get his food. He curses Marcus out for being late and slams the door in his face.

The poor guy had to wear the headpiece and every time he took it off, he was drenched in sweat. I was worried he was going to pass out from dehydration but he was a great sport about it, he was so happy to be there.

A lot of people talk about wanting to do creative things, but when you need them to be there most of them have better things to do.

I don’t.

The right people show up. The right people love to be involved in creative projects; they love to help out with a short film. I know I do. If anyone needs me to do anything on their movie, I will be there. That is because I know how hard it is to get a project going. If I help others, they will help me. Maybe you could call that practical karma.

If someone wants to act badly enough, they will do whatever it takes. Imagine having to deliver food and getting clowned by a guy in a bunny suit.

Malik, the sound man, asked if we knew why the man was in a bunny suit.

We don’t need to know why. I see things everyday that I have no explanation for.

Let the audience figure it out.

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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!