Posted on October 25 2017
Today, we sat down with Rachelle Constant, BBC Drama Development Producer, Film Producer and winner of a British Film Institute (BFI) Vision Award.
Rachelle started her career at ITV as a Script Editor on the Agatha Christie series Miss Marple and Poirot before working as a Script Editor on ITV1’s flagship detective series Lewis.
Rachelle then moved to the BBC where she now works as a Development Producer across Drama for the BBC Writers room. She produced two series of “The Break”, an exciting venture between BBC Writers room and BBC Studios to produce five original short films for BBC Three, written by up-and-coming writing talent from across the UK.
Her first short film Two Dosas was met with critical acclaim, premiering at the BFI London Film Festival, and winning awards at The London Short Film Festival and Aspen ShortFest. Rachelle is a recipient of a BFI Vision Award 3. Here's her story:
Newnham: What were you like growing up? And what drew you to the arts?
Constant: I was very quiet in my early years and didn't talk until I was five years of age. I was pretty disinterested in school growing up too. I was really sociable and mainly loved going to the lido and cinema. The turning point was when I realised what I was passionate about. I had to figure out the steps I needed to take to achieve my goals. I think my family and friends would describe me as pretty easy-going, driven, compassionate, loyal and full of wanderlust.
What drew me to TV and the arts? Quantum Leap! I loved that show. And of course the opportunity to work with writers and to be the one to actually help tell stories for the screen.
Constant: I actually find writing difficult and so have never attempted to write myself for the screen, albeit some tweaks in dialogue here and there. I knew I wanted to produce when I was at University. I can be bit of a control freak in my persona and so it was no surprise that I wanted to be the person in the driving seat, overseeing every aspect of the production process from finding the literary property (a novel, play or original script), shaping the idea into a viable film or TV series, raising finance, hiring the director and choosing the cast etc.
Newnham: What obstacles, if any, have you had to overcome in your career and how did you overcome them?
Constant: I spent close to 10 years in TV drama development and always wanted to produce, but wasn't getting the opportunity in television because of my lack of previous experience in production. So I decided I was going to produce a short film, independently, (whilst also working a full time job) to get the skill set necessary to move forward in my career.
It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot (but the 14 hour days were tough!) It was that short film (Two Dosas) that propelled my career as a producer, and the following year, I had developed and produced a series of shorts with emerging writers and directors from the UK for BBC Three.
Newnham: Amazing. And what are you most proud of and why?
Newnham: And finally, if you could go back in time, what advice if any, would you offer a younger Rachelle?
Constant: Not to give up; trust your instinct and know that persistence is key to success. Also, focus more in school! Time is finite, make it count!