Freelance Director and Writer
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Screen Production
As a freelance director and writer, communication studies alumnus Tom Levesque enjoys creating new worlds through the stories he tells.
“My role is a mix of ideation, scripting, talent and crew scouting, directing on location or on set, and editing. I love the idea of creating a world filled with characters and stories that didn’t exist before, and using that to move audiences in a way that’s memorable.”
Since starting in the industry in 2012, Tom has had a number of achievements he is particularly proud of.
“I’ve been quite fortunate in my career so far, including being a two-time finalist for screenwriting at the Austin International Film Festival, winning Gold at the New Zealand Cinematographers’ Society, featuring on the esteemed Black List, optioning a screenplay to an international production company, winning best New Zealand project at the Vision Film Festival and being featured on MTV with a music video of the week.
“This year, my debut feature film Shut Eye has been selected for the 2022 NZIFF. We made the film over 16 days in 2021 and it was entirely self-funded.”
First steps into the world of film
He still fondly remembers his time at AUT, says Tom who completed a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Screen Production.
“In terms of my development as a filmmaker, having the freedom and encouragement from my lecturers to discover my own visual style was a great learning curve. I was fortunate to win at the AUT Flavours Film Festival for a short documentary, but one of my greatest highlights was meeting my future fiancée when we were in the same film studies class.”
One of his lecturers made a particularly strong impression on him.
“I really cherished my time spent with my lecturer Jim Marbrook. Through my conversations with Jim about story, character and execution, I realised this world of filmmaking was one where I felt totally ‘in-sync’. His encouragement also pushed me into areas I wouldn’t otherwise explore; teaching me invaluable lessons to keep finding the right story to tell.”
Advice for other students
With a decade of industry experience behind him, Tom has some great advice for other students.
“Take your time at university to dig deep and uncover what’s really driving you to succeed, and be an agent for pushing the boundaries in your chosen field.”
Ask for help if you need it, he adds.
“Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know all the answers. There’s help when you need it – just ask.”