Making a Short Film: Six Foot Four Sadiq in a Bunny Suit

M. Francis Enright
4 min readNov 17, 2023

M. Francis Enright is co-creator with John Brancaccio of The Working Experience. Listen to the podcast on iTunes and Spotify and watch videos on Tik Tok. His short film, The Routine, was nominated for Best Dark Comedy at the Georgia Comedy Film Festival. Say Your Name is his third short film.

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

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.

If I had to make a living in sales, my family would starve to death. “You don’t want to buy this? Okay, no worries.” I couldn’t sell ice water in the Sahara.

Speaking of which, it was hot as balls that day.

We were at Rui’s aunt’s house. I arrived first and knocked on the door and when she came told her that I was looking for Rui Lopes. She doesn’t speak a lot of English and had no idea who I was and why I was banging on her door. She said he didn’t live there.

Luckily Rui showed up a couple of minutes later and smoothed things out.

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.

Then the garbage truck showed up, right on cue. We had to delay several times as it crawled down the street, one side first, stopping at everyone’s house and picking up the cans. Then it slowly made the u turn and slowly came back up the other side of the street, picking up everyone’s can. It was agonizing. Time is literally money on a film set and I could feel the minutes being eaten up.

Plus, it smelled awful.

Finally, it moved on and we could get back to it.

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’m a big fan of the show Atlanta and the surreal elements it incorporates. What is life except a series of surreal moments? One time when I was on the subway in the Bronx, a woman asked me if I knew how to fuck dogs. I wasn’t sure how to respond, but that didn’t matter since she went on to tell that she was part of some experiment and where scientists were making her fuck dogs and she told I might be next.

So I have to thank her for that.

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.

Next up was a Japanese actor named Hiroko who has a five-year-old daughter with an African American man. They were going to come to the door and Hiroko would curse out Marcus in Japanese and then her daughter would translate. “You’re late! No tip!” Alas, she had a conflict about taking her kids to camp etc. etc. and could not do it.

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 on a cold Sunday morning, many 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.

I said, hey man, this is America.

--

--

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!