Making a Short Film: The Fire

M. Francis Enright
3 min readOct 28, 2023
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

EXT. BACK YARD-NIGHT

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.

Marcus and Christina sit outside by a fire pit. A couple of Tiki torches add some ambience. Christina is reading from a script, WASTED TALENT, she has printed. Marcus is sitting on a chair, listening.

We shot this over Indigenous People’s Day weekend because Christina had gotten sick during the originally scheduled day in August. We were in the back yard of Rui’s aunts house in Brockton. She has a nice set up back there with an outdoor firepit and patio furniture set up around it.

It was cold and crispy outside. The pool had leaves floating in it and Alvin, the camera assistant, put on a breakdancing display on some cardboard that had been leaning against the wall of the garage. Very old school.

Originally, the scene took place in the apartment with Marcus and Christina sitting on the couch, but already had a scene with them on the couch.

The fire was way more interesting, visually. Much more fun to shoot, too. Always try to work in a fire scene. Plus, maybe it symbolizes Marcus’s yearning to be an actor; it burns within him. But I just made that up.

CHRISTINA

So much talent, so much potential but he stopped believing in himself…he lost his way cause he couldn’t figure out what to do next with his career and I guess all the stress added up and finally broke him…

I found the script online when I searched “Monologues for Auditions”. Never heard of the play before but the actor who plays one of the cops who get Marcus in the beginning said he had used it to audition for a role.

CHRISTINA

It’s from Wasted Talent. Maybe it makes more sense than that Hamlet shit.

Marcus takes the script from her.

We went back and forth for two hours about how and when to light the fire. I thought if we lit it too early it would die out before we shot the scene. There were debates about how to properly stack the wood so it would catch. Someone thought to bring lighter fluid which worked well but reeked like cheap whiskey.

MARCUS (READING FROM THE SCRIPT)

His music was great…I would listen to it all the time…it would get me into a pumped up emotional state and his lyrics never got old…no one gave him a chance but I think that in today’s world that doesn’t matter; he didn’t give himself the chance to take control of his life. It was fear from doubting himself and it crippled his ambition.

The fire burned just right.

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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!