Ex-BMC pupil’s web series flies

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Former Blue Mountain College pupil Tessa Livingston is living the dream. She has written a television show that has been picked up by TVNZ.

Miss Livingston grew up in Tapanui and left West Otago when she was 18.

“I’m now 24, live in Auckland and have a pretty cool story to tell,” she said.

“Since leaving Tapanui I have written a TV show/web series and it’s been picked up by TVNZ.”

Miss Livingston has written a New Zealand Broadchurch-style web series that is running in a competition via TVNZ called “New Blood”.

“Prior to this I studied at Canterbury University and graduated as a speech and language therapist in 2016,” she said.

In 2017, Miss Livingston auditioned for one of New Zealand’s most prestigious acting schools, The Actors Program.

“I was fortunate enough to get in and spend a year in intensive acting training.”

From that programme she made some “incredible” friends, and she and three others wrote the web series.

Out of 750 applicants, the group’s drama was selected in the top five and given $5000 to make a pilot. Now it is competing for the top prize of $100,000 to make a full series.

The pilot was 15 minutes long, she said.

“Our show, Constance, is now live on TVNZ OnDemand for voting.”

Constance was filmed in Wanaka and represents southern people and landscapes.

“We wanted to get out of the city as much as we could to show a side of New Zealand that is seriously lacking from our screens.

“We are an incredible and complex people, with wonderful stories, and I want to help tell those stories.”

If it won, the group would make a series of seven episodes, she said.

Miss Livingston did not think she was very good at writing until a tutor at The Actors Program commented favourably about a scene she had written.

She had been involved in drama since she was a child, she said.

“Since 12, I was in every West Otago Theatrical show.”