On March 23, Lambda Pi Eta held a theatre and film panel, “Behind the Cine,” with Seton Hall professors William Pace and Gretchen Hall, who were both a part of the award-winning short film “Cammy.”
Pace, who received an MFA in Film Production from NYU, teaches digital media production. On top of teaching, Pace has written several distributed independent feature films (three of which he co-produced) and optioned screenplays; he has also produced multiple TV episodes.
Pace’s directorial debut, Charming Billy, premiered at the AFI/Los Angeles International Film Festival, was released by Wellspring Films, and was featured on IFC. Pace has also produced and directed several award-winning short films, such as “Cammy,” which he also wrote.
Hall, who earned her BA from Fordham University and her MFA in Graduate Acting from NYU, teaches vocal techniques and acting. During her theatrical career, Hall performed on numerous regional stages, including Shakespeare Theatre Company, Center Stage, and Theater Calgary. Internationally, Hall has performed with NYU’s The Continuum Company in Italy.
Hall has also worked in television, her credits including “FBI,” “Gossip Girl,” and “The Blacklist.” She has also worked in film with roles in “The Weekend” and “Almost in Love.” Hall also plays the title role in “Cammy,” which earned her “Best Actress in a Short Film” at the Studio City International Film Festival.
According to IMDb, “Cammy” is about a woman who cannot convince anyone that she has an illness; “not her doctor, not her mother–or her husband who cheated on her.”
Hall said that the concept for “Cammy” originated from her telling Pace that something she had always wanted to do in a film was cough up blood into a handkerchief, and the project bloomed from there.
Pace said that “Cammy” was his Digital Cinema Production III class’s fall project. He added that all students in the class had to clear one weekend out of the semester to devote themselves to making “Cammy” and learn what it takes to shoot a film.
Pace said that he directed “Cammy” and asked Hall, who he co-teaches Acting/Directing for Camera with, to star in it.
“We should walk the walk if we’re gonna talk the talk,” Pace said.
Both Hall and Pace addressed some misconceptions about their respective professions during the panel. Hall said that many people think acting is easy, or that they could do it with no formal training, which she disagrees with.
“If you want to be great at it, it requires a lot of time, focus, and discipline to really do it,” Hall said.
Pace said that, contrary to what some may think, filmmaking is not easy.
“It takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of focus, it’s not easy, and is very rarely glamorous,” Pace said.
Hall and Pace also gave advice to aspiring actors, actresses, and filmmakers.
To aspiring actors, Hall said: “If you really want to do this, put everything into it. If there’s any little doubt, you might want to look at that. The other side of that is…even if you pursue it to a certain point, there are skills that you learn doing this work or in school that are transferable, so I don’t think it’s a waste of time, but if you want to make it, whatever that means to you, it takes a lot of business savvy, dedication, and time; it’s not glamorous and it’s not easy.”
For aspiring filmmakers, Pace said: “If you’re really committed, do it as much as possible, and really try to configure your life so that you can and you’re not constantly trying to service bills…All I can say is throw yourself in it 110%. Even if you don’t ‘make it’ in what the world sees as making it doesn’t mean you won’t be rewarded.”