Nationwide search for New Blood offers $100,000 to make web series

By Ophelia Buckleton

Award-winning Kiwi actress Danielle Cormack has been announced as a panellist for New Blood Web Series Competition which opens on Monday. Photo / Darren Tiests
Award-winning Kiwi actress Danielle Cormack has been announced as a panellist for New Blood Web Series Competition which opens on Monday. Photo / Darren Tiests

Would-be web series writers are set for a Dragon's Den type pitch showdown - with the public to be the ultimate judges.

TVNZ's New Blood Web Series Competition will see aspiring Kiwi content-makers have the chance to impress a panel of judges - and ultimately the viewing public - to secure $100,000 in funding to bring their web series to life.

Writers can begin submitting their pilots tomorrow, and a panel of industry experts - including acclaimed actress Danielle Cormack - will shortlist 10 of the best.

It's then over to New Zealand to vote for the winner.

Cormack, whose acting credits include Shortland Street, Xena Warrior, Princess and prison drama Wentworth, said the competition, run by TVNZ with the support of NZ On Air, was a great opportunity for Kiwis to have their work produced and shared.

"The fact this is open to any New Zealander is great and I'm very excited for people who enter.

"Being able to throw a net out really wide and catch new talent, particularly young, raw talent, is great.

"It is imperative that we have bodies that keep supporting the arts and culture. If our creative voice dies off it amputates a massive part of our community."

Cormack shared some of her winning tips with the Herald on Sunday: the pilot must be authentic and have the ongoing potential to make a full series.

"Even if it is absurd, as long as you are telling a story you really want to tell, it will resonate," she said.

"Don't feel like you have to pull out an Oscar-winning masterpiece as your pilot."

The main criterion is that entries must be relevant to New Zealand.

Actor and filmmaker Millen Baird, TV critic Alex Casey, YouTube star Adam King and Three Wise Cousins director Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa are also part of the 11-strong panel.

TVNZ's digital creative director Amie Mills was excited to see the range of ideas Kiwis would put forward.

"We're thrilled with the panellists. The breadth and brainpower of their combined experience will ensure the shortlist features local content unlike anything else on offer.

"We wanted to create a competition where people can put an idea forward that might be really left field or different, as a way of supporting local content and creating greater opportunity for new voices."

Mills said airing the series online provided the opportunity for niche content that might not appeal to a wider television audience, to be seen and heard.

The winner's series will be launched on TVNZ OnDemand.

Entries open tomorrow and close March 31. Public voting begins in May. To find out if you're eligible to enter and to see a full list of the terms and conditions, visit: tvnz.co.nz/webseries-comp

Full list of panellists:
Danielle Cormack: Award-winning actress
Millen Baird: Actor and filmmaker
Alex Casey: Television editor for The Spinoff
Adam King: YouTube star and content creator
Brenda Leeuwenberg: Head of Innovation at NZ On Air
Roseanne Liang: Director and creator of web series, documentaries and feature films
Tina McLaren: TVNZ commissioner of drama
James Marbrook: Producer and lecturer of media at AUT
Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa: Writer, director and producer of local film hit, Three Wise Cousins
Gareth Williams: Award-winning actor in film, television and theatre
Lucy Zee: You Tube content creator, The Wireless contributor and all-round funny girl

- Herald on Sunday

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