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Meet Tessa Germaine of Rosie in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tessa Germaine.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Tessa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started in entertainment as a child actor at just six years old. I bothered my parents until they put me in acting classes, signed with the first agent I met, and the rest is history. I grew up driving to LA from Orange County for auditions every week, sometimes five days a week. Growing up auditioning, I was constantly reading scripts. This got me interested in storytelling from behind-the-camera and I developed a television concept at the age of 12 that was shopped around to multiple networks. It was never picked up, but this experience taught me I wanted to be more involved with the filmmaking process than just writing or acting. That is how I became interested in directing and producing.

After high school, I attended Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and I will be graduating this May with a BFA in Film Production and a minor in Leadership Studies. During my time at Dodge College, I have really discovered my artistic voice and the stories I want to share through cinema. That is why I made my senior thesis film Rosie, a fictionalized origin story to the feminist icon Rosie the Riveter. I love historical fiction films and how they can educate audiences on important parts of history while also entertaining. Not only do they shed a light on our history, but they also use historical context to comment on the issues of today. Rosie emulates the struggle women faced when entering the workforce during WWII, as well as showcases unfortunate circumstances of sexist behavior that caused the #MeToo movement today. I am so thankful for the LA and OC communities for coming together to help me produce this film.

Now after directing multiple short films, interning at various companies, and working as a PA on professional sets, I am excited to move to Los Angeles and take the next step in my career.

Has it been a smooth road?
Growing up as an actor, I faced rejection on a daily basis. There were multiple heartbreaking moments within my childhood career, including ending up on the cutting room floor numerous times. However, this rejection only helped me become a stronger person. I have a thick skin now and I understand how harsh the entertainment business can be, but it hasn’t scared me away yet.

Paying for my education was an obstacle. My parents helped as much as they could, and I am forever grateful for how much they have, but it has definitely caused some financial hardship. There were times I was working two jobs, 35+ hours a week while trying to maintain my grades in five courses that required me to work on set on the weekends. I wiped out my savings from acting in order to spend a semester abroad, but I have not regretted it for a second. Studying in Italy for a semester was the highlight of my college years, and taught me how important it is to be a global citizen. Though I am leaving college with a pile of student loans, I took advantage of everything my education had to offer, and I am grateful I was able to attend such a prestigious film school.

Finally, paying for my ambitious thesis was an obstacle I was not sure I could overcome. Thanks to the kindness of so many wonderful friends, family, and strangers I raised a great budget through grants and crowdfunding. Making this film may not have been easy, but it will be worth it to share Rosie’s story with the world.

Please tell us about Rosie.
Rosie is a short narrative film giving a fictionalized origin story to the Rosie the Riveter character in the famous “We Can Do It!” poster. The film was inspired by the stories of numerous Real Rosies who went to work for the factories during WWII. It is thanks to these women that girls today can aspire to work in industries originally deemed a “man’s world”. I wanted to honor these women by sharing their struggle entering the workforce and their unbreakable strength. I visited the Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park in Richmond, CA in 2019 where I got to speak with multiple Real Rosies. These women are now in their late 90s and early 100s, but they still shared their stories with me. Multiple women told me they never asked themselves, “Can we do this?” They just knew they had to, so they did.

I knew I had to make this movie, so I stopped asking myself, “Can I? Can we?” I told my team we had to, and we did it.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The quarantine is going to affect the film industry, but Hollywood always bounces back. I predict a huge content boom occurring once the pandemic has ended. Creatives have been unable to do anything but develop content while trapped inside, and audiences are consuming entertainment daily now. When production can start back up, Hollywood should strive to greenlight as much as possible. Once movie theaters reopen, I suspect many people that are anxious to get out of the house will flood the theaters, and indie filmmakers will have a better chance of success in theaters with most summer blockbusters being pushed to Christmas or 2021. While these may be tough times we are living in now, I truly believe things will improve for everyone in the entertainment business.

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