If you haven't met OWA programmer and Outreach Director Tessa Morrison at one of our events, here's your chance to get to know her! You'll learn that she has lots of interests and talents and why Other Worlds is so lucky to have her as part of the team.
Where are you from originally and what brought you to Austin?
Mountain Momma here! I hail from the hills and valleys of West Virginia. Moved to Austin after college in search of employment and had some family here. Found out about proper queso and breakfast tacos and have no current plans for leaving anytime soon.
What drew you to want to join the OWA team? And what do you enjoy about being the Outreach Director?
I first became aware of Other Worlds Austin at a screening of CALL GIRL OF CTHULHU. After that I attended the second OWA Film Festival in 2015 with a press badge for StrangeKidsClub.com and became fast friends with the programmers and crew in the process. I very much admired and respected what they were doing for the Austin film scene.
When Gemmi Galactic needed to step down from her position as Outreach Director to pursue other projects, they approached me about taking the helm. I'm a social butterfly who loves raving about the fest and connecting people to something they wouldn't otherwise be aware of. It's not about who knew of it first...it's about sharing the experience.
What is your favorite SciFi TV show or film?
Pre-STRANGER THINGS TV show would be FIREFLY. For film, I'd probably have to go with ALIEN.
What is your background in film?
I generally work art department/production, anything from creating puppets, set design/dressing, wardrobe, props, miniatures, hand painting stills, to customizing creepy dolls for horror films. I've worked on P.S.A.s for MTV, commercial bumps for FUEL, and on SONY's web series BACKWASH for Crackle.com, which featured such talent as Sarah Silverman, Michael Ian Black, Jon Hamm, and Fred Willard to name a few. I've been an extra in several films, including the upcoming James Cameron/Robert Rodriguez film ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL. So art department/production design and extra work
How long have you been a cinephile?
As long as I've had eyeballs. Starting early I watched my fair share of films that weren't meant for my age range. AKIRA'S milk bleeding teddy bears and amoeba-like monstrosities found me at age 3 and GHOST IN THE SHELL's psychodrama with futuristic tanks when I was around 9. Which probably helped shape my taste in animation, suspense, gore, Horror, and SciFi a great deal, because to this day I love robots, gore, and stories about telekinesis.
What do you consider to be the Golden Age of SciFi?
Geeze. Gotta go 70s through early 80s. STAR WARS, ALIEN, SOLARIS, LOGAN'S RUN, WESTWORLD, SOYLENT GREEN, MAD MAX, SCANNERS, BLADE RUNNER, THE THING, THE TERMINATOR. I mean, how can you not?
Do you have any SciFi pet peeves?
DREAM SEQUENCES. And that applies for any genre of film. I hate the Dream Sequence cop out. It's infuriating and just shoddy writing. Unless this is THE CELL, INCEPTION or PAPRIKA, it has no place in film if dreams are not an integral part of the plot already. If a dream sequence is necessary to explain why a character is feeling or acting the way they are, they are not being written or directed properly.
Another pet peeve is doppelgangers. When SciFi doesn't have a budget...doppelgangers! Holographic, shapeshifter, alien replica, clone, android or robot. There are several films that have used them to great effect, but it gets tiresome used over and over in TV series.
What appeals to you most about the SciFi genre?
How sometimes the fantastic ideas and creations eventually become a reality. There is an element of mind over matter with these inventions being willed into existence almost. It's all very prophetic in a way and I find that intensely cool.
What do you like to do when you are not doing stuff for OWA?
I'm a co-host and social media director for a TV Show called Ladies of Fandom on Austin Public Access. A couple times a year I volunteer and work art department, stage-handing, and costume design for Party World Rasselin', a DIY-based theatrical wrestling league. PWR is one of Austin's best kept secrets. I'm a contributor for nerdy/weirdo website Strange Kids Club.com and the associated Strange Kids Club Magazine, which has a very MAD Magazine and Heavy Metal vibe to it.
Most of my free-free time is spent slouched over gluing and sewing; I am a fiber artist and puppet-maker. My work has been exhibited in several galleries including Gallery 1988, Spoke Art Gallery, Creature Features, Bottleneck Gallery, Guzu Gallery, and Hero Complex Gallery. A Steve Zissou puppet I made is even featured in the third official Wes Anderson Art book BAD DADS, by Abrams Publishing. Anyone curious about my fiber art and puppets can check them out on behance.net/tessamorrison
Is there anything else that people should know about you?
Laser tag and karaoke are my jams, and would combine the two in some fashion, but feel it would give up my position. Laseraoke? Oh, I also love trapeze, cosplay, coffee, cats, succulents, and chicken & waffles.