Rachel Tunnard: Brits To Watch

Editor Rachel Tunnard is one of BAFTA's 2011 Brits to Watch, an initiative showcasing new British talent to the international industry.

Her credits include the BAFTA-nominated exorcism comedy Skeletons and short films Kill Kill Faster Faster and Native Son.

What first inspired you to enter the industry?

No idea. The Flumps? I took a photo of the TV when Scott and Charlene got married because we didn’t have a video recorder and my best friend and I spent most of the 80s making ‘radio-shows’ on our Casio tape recorder so perhaps it was inevitable. 

How did you first break into the industry?

I was temping at Yellow Pages. My friend was a runner on a film. I sent in a CV for a runner position and was hired as an assistant editor because I’d spent five minutes in a room with someone who knew how to work an Avid about three years earlier. I turned up, kept my mouth shut, read lots of forums, panicked, labelled all the tapes in really neat handwriting and tried not to get fired.

Which professional figure in your field do you find the most inspiring? 

Sally Menke. 

If you hadn’t managed to break into your field, what was your plan B?

I’m not past thinking I need a plan B. I fantasise about living in a cabin in the woods and restoring furniture but after a few days I’d probably end up making stories and drawings for my friends. I’m compelled to create stuff; I can’t stop.  

Which film / TV programme do you wish you could have worked on?

A Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special. 

What single piece of advice would you give to a young person trying to break into the industry and get themselves noticed?

Be nice and friendly and make the tea. They never fire the person who makes the tea.

How important is 'knowing people'? Is raw talent enough?

I didn’t know anyone but thinking raw talent is enough sounds a bit arrogant to me. Sometimes it feels like I am Sisyphus pushing my rock up the hill and watching it roll back down. Sometimes it feels like it is Saturday afternoon, hanging out in the garden, sun cracking the flags with the ice-cream van playing a tune in the distance. In other words, I think talent plus stamina plus working hard plus knowing lots of jokes might just be enough, if you are lucky.

How do think the UK film/TV industry will change in the next few years?

The democratisation of technology and distribution means people who, in the past, had something to say and no way to say it - now have. I think it’s exciting. You’ve still got to work hard and be good and stuff but if you do, hey presto (maybe). 

Rachel Tunnard's Profile On IMDB

Brits to Watch Portrait: BAFTA/ Barry J Holmes