When Dating Goes South: An Interview With RUN FOR YOUR LIFE Web-Series Director, Martha Williams
We were able to talk with Martha Williams, the creator of a web series called Run For Your Life, dealing with the subject of modern dating.
We’ve all been there. You meet someone off of Tinder or OK Cupid for the first time and you have no idea what to expect. They turn out to be awful. But you can’t just get up and run away… or can you?
Run For Your Life, an upcoming web series by Martha Williams, encompasses modern dating, with all of its quirks and challenges. The series is currently in its pre-production stages; the team has written 10 of the short, 2-3 minute episodes, and will begin by making four of them.
Ashley George, producer of Run For Your Life, got involved with the series after meeting Martha: “She’s like a magnet—the good kind. I was sold on doing a comedy on hookup culture and online dating because in this digital age it hits home. Hard.”
Ashley has her own experience with online dating. “I recently went on a date with a woman who stayed over and then left her entire wallet spilled underneath my bed,” she wrote over email. “Then she called me a thief as if I took out her wallet and spilled everything under my bed. (Too many drinks involved that night!) Not nightmare, but hilarious.”
Martha, like many of us, is no stranger to online dating. She once went out with a man who refused to take off his sunglasses during the entire date (and no, he didn’t have a migraine). When Martha asked—for the third time—if he would remove his specs, “Ray-Ban Man” said, “the more you ask, the more it won’t happen.”
“Then there were things like when I said, ‘tell me about yourself, what do you do, etc.,’ he replied, ‘are we here to enjoy each other or interrogate each other? I mean, this isn’t the Spanish Expedition.”
It was at this point that I fired an email off to Martha to ask, did he really say “Spanish Expedition?” (Yes, in fact, he did.) As it turns out, the dude was no historian. Big surprise.
But the date continued, historical fumbles aside. “When I asked if he had any writing partners (he was a filmmaker) he said, ‘I have two writing partners, Martha: God and Joseph Campbell.” Cringe.
Maybe some day we will be blessed with Ray-Ban Man’s character on Run For Your Life, but until then, we can look forward to watching a new age man who sells homeopathic oils to aging women, a hair fetish guy, a narcissistic massage therapist, and a mortician, to name a few.
The web-series will have a “natural feel,” according to the series’ press deck, with the end goal of making it relatable. In terms of cinematography, the team will use natural light and an unsaturated color palette, taking advantage of handheld camerawork and showing the date from the main character’s point of view.
Strangely enough, the idea for Run For Your Life was born when Martha and friends began creating commercials for a shoe company. We interviewed Martha to find out exactly how that happened, and to get the low-down on what to expect for the upcoming series.
Interview With Martha Williams
Sophia Cowley For Film Inquiry: When did the idea for Run For Your Life first pop into your mind?
Martha Williams: About 4 years ago I was in the process of trying to start my own production company/agency as a way to make money and maintain freedom while I pursue my own more meaningful artistic projects. I had this strange idea of getting these two friends together to brainstorm short video or commercial ideas.
I did this because I love the way ideas flow in and out in relaxed friend situations. I tried to simulate that to a degree. I’d get chips and beer and then we starting throwing around ideas. And since I wanted to make commercials, we would start with a company, like for example an electronics company, restaurant or shoe company.
But the bottom line was, I was going on a ton of bad internet dates at the time, the best worst-date being Ray-Ban Man. (You can hear that story here.) And since this was front and center for me, when we got to running shoe companies… Run for Your Life was born.
We had numerous ideas, but out of all of them, Run for Your Life had the most promise on all fronts. That said, the production/agency got sidelined because I landed a crazy, over-taxing full time directing job shortly thereafter that lasted for 3 years. The irony is that 4 years later, Run for Your Life will be the first original project at BugHouse Media.
Since your background is in video, how have you found the transition to writing for a web series?
Martha Williams: I’ve been developing a TV series called Church of Christy for about 3 years and have since learned a lot about series formats. What’s interesting about the series format is you get to build a world and the conflict/resolution keeps ebbing and flowing just like life. So in that way, it’s a very true to life form.
The web series format is also all about simplicity, which is a particularly interesting challenge and opportunity. But really, the series came to life when I started collaborating with another writer Rachel Werbel. Rachel comes from improv, so we used an improv structure to open up the writing process. From there, I discovered a really solid structure for the show.
Can you give us a breakdown of the structure and plot of a typical episode?
Martha Williams: Alternating episodes feature one of the two main characters, Celine and Richard. Essentially we quickly see their date go wrong, and then the main character tries to be nice and/or roll with it. This continues until the date goes a little too wrong, at which point the main character has a pretty absurd fantasy about how it could go even more wrong. This is when she/he throws on their running shoes—this is an over-the-top moment “love of shoes” that will save her or him.
The main character then runs through the city (Run Lola Run moment) and passes the other main character as they’re running for their lives. Ultimately, the question is if Celine and Richard will ever find each other.
Who are you hoping to reach with your new series?
Martha Williams: We want to reach people who have experienced bad Internet dates and we’re confident that is quite a few people in this day and age. But it’s also worth noting that we’re taking on a mini-series format. So the first season will feature Celine and Richard and the second will feature two different kinds of characters perhaps even in a new city. This is an opportunity to really see the dating and hookup experiences of all kinds of people and demographics around the world. Perhaps we’ll end up in Italy or the Ukraine at some point!
How can people get involved in the making of Run For Your Life?
Martha Williams: The most immediate and obvious way to get involved is by contributing to the Kickstarter campaign, which ends Monday June 19 at 6PM. But you can also share the campaign with friends, join our mailing list, follow us on twitter, like our Facebook page. Also we are starting a couple of hashtags #runforyourlife #fuckstrangers #datingdetails #pdsd (post dating stress disorder).
Where will the show be available for streaming? Are you partnering with any sites or services?
Martha Williams: We will have a Run for Your Life YouTube channel once the show is ready to go live. We haven’t partnered with any sites yet but that’s a conversation we may be open to having further down the line! The idea is to make it first and maintain creative control, and then shop it around to platforms, sponsors and distribution sites.
Thanks so much to Martha and Ashley for sharing!
What was the worst online dating experience you’ve had? Let us know in the comments below!
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