Shut Off the Air Conditioning

M. Francis Enright
3 min readJun 3, 2023
Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

M. Francis Enright is co-creator with John Brancaccio of The Working Experience. He is also a filmmaker and published author. Listen to full episodes on iTunes and Spotify and visit our website: theworkingexperience.com for videos, merchandise and more. You can also find us on Facebook, Linked In, Instagram, and Twitter.

If we couldn’t get the air conditioning shut off, we wouldn’t be able to shoot. And then I would be a total failure.

My first short film, HR, was shot during the summer if 2017. It cost me about $40,000 and it was accepted into zero of the twenty-three festivals it was entered. I consider it an unmitigated success.

A lot of people don’t pursue something because they think they lack the talent. I don’t have any talent; I’ve proven that time and time again. But I will work hard; I will commit to a course of action and pursue it. Are there problems? Roadblocks, obstacles? Yeah, of course.

It’s called life.

The story takes place over the course of three days. We meet David Bright on day one. He is starting a new job at Gold Crest Enterprises LLC. We don’t know what Gold Crest Enterprises LLC does or what David’s job is; it didn’t matter. These types of corporate jobs are all seem to be the same: people sit at computers doing a bunch of bullshit all day.

The actor playing David is black, but that doesn’t matter either. He was an actor playing a role, which is what he was supposed to do. Other people on set have jobs that they are supposed to do but they are more interested in playing a role than actually doing the work.

The so-called producer/location person, Dave Cranston, was supposed to make sure that everything was all set with the location for the office scenes, most importantly that we would be able to shut off the air conditioning while filming because it would interfere with the sound and make the footage unusable. This is basic on any film set.

We had thirty people there, including cast and crew and we could not shoot.

“We need to get the A/C shut off Dave.” I told him. “Or we can’t shoot.”

“I know,” he said. “I’m trying to get in touch with the maintenance guy.” He was just looking at his phone, randomly typing, hoping someone else would fix the problem.

It was Sunday; the maintenance guy wasn’t working.

I was going to lose a lot of money and look like a complete fool if, after having gathered all these actors to play the background characters and gone through all the trouble of securing the location, we couldn’t shoot.

The problem with the film industry is that people are so full of shit; they like to talk about what they do or what they are going to do rather than actually doing it. I can handle issues arising from bad weather or someone getting sick or a vehicle breaking down. What I can’t handle is someone just not doing their job. Dave is more interested in standing around trying to impress people with his bullshit stories about other productions where he was the hero. I had heard them all three times and knew he was full of shit. And he had just proved it.

The other guys on the crew eventually figured out how to get it shut off by using long poles to hit the switches way up in the vents. Once we got it shut off it was sweltering because it was August and we were on the second floor of a flat-roofed building, but that is how it goes on a film set.

They took action and fixed the problem and five years later I continue to work with them; we just completed our third project. But Dave had to go. Dead weight.

People don’t fail because of problems or obstacles or lack of talent. They fail because they will not commit to a course of action. They use any excuse to not proceed. This is because of fear.

If you decide on a course of action and follow it, it may very well fail. And then where are you? Feeling like a failure; that you are not talented and will never achieve your life’s ambition.

That has never bothered me.

--

--

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!