Still a nurse after 38 years, Ronda Wallace thinks the lights, cameras and action of a movie set could be her next calling.
So she signed up for a course at Savannah Technical College, which put her to work as a production assistant on “Mnemosyne” being filmed at the Masonic Home Camp in Townsend. It’s a movie about a Jonestown-like preacher’s cult on an island.
“Nursing was actually good training for being on the set,” she says. “I had to respond to skilled people who expected me to know how to do what they needed, and do it right away.”
Her training in the classroom and on location included everything from set etiquette (“I had to remind myself I wasn’t there to direct the movie”) to handling equipment like slates and dollies, and learning that a “stinger” is an extension cord, not a cocktail with créme de menthe and brandy.
“My nursing background of taking initiative in order to help others was also an asset on the set,” Ronda says. “I was low on the totem pole, but could still figure out how to be useful. Year of working with doctors taught me to be creative in new situations.”
Another project in her Savannah Tech program put her on the set of the second season of “Underground,” the popular TV series about runaway slaves and abolitionists fighting for freedom.
Ronda enjoys her work at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital, but the pull from the film industry gives her choices for whatever is coming next. The lure also pulled her daughter, Tyler Wallace, back to town from Portland, OR, where she earned a bachelor of fine arts degree. This spring Tyler worked on “Living the Dream,” a British comedy about a family buying a trailer park in Florida. It was filmed in Savannah and Richmond Hill.
Ronda’s story is one more example of how the film business is becoming the “family business” all across Georgia.