It’s an exhilarating feeling to escape from a bad date with a potential soulmate, but there’s never a guarantee that the next one will finally live up to one’s hopes…or the one after that…or, you get the idea. Before you step back into the hit-or-miss world of finding the first (or next) love of your life, the comedy miniseries RUN FOR YOUR LIFE will give you an entertaining look at the perils of 21st century dating.
Created by Martha Williams and co-produced by Williams and Ashley George, season 1 of RUN FOR YOUR LIFE centers on the frequently calamitous romantic pursuits of two New York artist types: Richard (Zack Gold) and Celine (Mia Darrow).
Over four episodes, plus an additional five to follow, Richard and Celine hook up with an assemblage of bizarre lovebirds who employ equally wacky tactics to win their hearts. Once they realize how uncomfortable their dates have become, Richard and Celine take immediate action to get away from their trouble: they run for their lives!
While dating is at the forefront of RUN FOR YOUR LIFE’s comedy, the series covers much more than the strangeness that occasionally occurs when two people first get to know each other. The impact of social media, online dating services and apps in modern romance is given notable attention in each episode.
While Darrow’s character frequently gets burned by the dating experience in RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, Darrow herself had only a few romantic letdowns before she spent considerable time in a committed relationship. Nonetheless, those memories would help the actor to add an authentic touch to her performance in the series.
“I had been on a grand total of five dates before RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. So, I mostly imagined how I would feel and tried to respond to the other actors,” she says. “Honestly, I’ve had plenty of experiences outside of dating where I felt awkward, realized the other person was crazy, (and) was forcibly fed vegetables…so I pulled from that stuff, too.”
Dating is, both in theory and practice, an often difficult dance between two different people who just want to find someone to love. Like Darrow, Gold took into account the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of dating while getting set to co-star in RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. “I think focusing on the complexities of ‘first encounters’ was the theme that attracted me most to the pages (of the show’s script) and what I focused on the hardest in my work,” says Gold. “Finding the reality within that absurdity was the rewarding challenge.”
Amazingly, Darrow’s portrayal of one of two perpetually snake-bitten love seekers in RUN FOR YOUR LIFE’s opening cycle has prepared her to take action whenever she gets trapped in a date from hell. “I recently got out of a long term relationship and I’m doing more dating now,” Darrow adds. “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE has prepared me for it! I know I can jet if things get weird, and that dating is weird in general. So I owe them a thank you.”
While Gold has been in a long-term relationship for several years now, he says that the feeling of wanting to bolt out of a bad date is something that many people can understand. “…Ironically, and this is so rare these days, but I missed the whole online date matching phenomenon. I met my wife in 2010, so it’s been the better part of a decade since I’ve been on a first date. I’m sure there have been many date nights where she’s wanted to run away from me, though.”
Love’s disappointments can be hard to take, but RUN FOR YOUR LIFE is proof that some of those disappointments can make for some very amusing stories. Chances are that, like Mia and Richard in RFYL, you’ve had the misfortune of meeting a few bozos before finding “the one”. However, as Darrow and Gold explain, the identifiable nature of such encounters makes RFYL all the more authentic for viewers.
“I think the scenarios (in each episode of RUN FOR YOUR LIFE) are incredibly relatable at their core, and all I had to do was put myself there,” Darrow responds. “Whenever I go on a date/meet someone for the first time, I’m always trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and also trying to figure them out. That’s what Celine is doing, and I think people can relate to that.”
Gold seeks to make the character he plays in RUN FOR YOUR LIFE as true-to-life as he can, as well as the situations he experiences in dating. “It’s important to make Richard, although awkward in his own shoes in his single life, someone who’s incredibly relatable,” Gold replies. “If the audience doesn’t sympathize (with) him, then the episodes lose their meaning.”
While Williams and George made it fun for Gold and Darrow to film their dating scenes, both producers helped to make their escape scenes exhilarating to shoot. “They (Williams and George) were so fun to work with,” Darrow recalls. One of my favorite parts was the running and choreography. Martha had so many imaginative ideas and I got to move my body in new, fun ways. I felt so supported by Martha and Ashley to be loose and to try things.”
Before Gold set foot on RFYL’s set, Williams worked intensively to help the actor maximize his character’s potential. “Martha and Ashley (George) were fabulous,” remembers Gold. “Because I live in L.A. and was working in California during a lot of their prep time, we spent numerous sessions talking about the character and rehearsing with Mia, (co-stars) Tamara Shephard, Nick Jordan and Mandy Schmieder on Skype. This allowed me to do a great deal of prep work and to feel really great about the dynamics coming into the shoot on day one.”
As a miniseries, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE will examine the ups and downs of dating with new characters – and new dating disasters – in upcoming seasons. Realizing that those parameters have been ensconced in the show’s framework, Gold knows that the amount of stories and characters that could be covered in RFYL are infinite.
“This (the miniseries) is a rewarding format because I see endless possibilities,” he notes. “I think it epitomizes what a maze of people there are in a city like New York and how ‘the right one’ can take a lot of trial and error to find. There are so many ways that RFYL can spin off and cover the lives of the supporting characters, as well. It’s a HIGH MAINTENANCE style structured web series about the foibles of the dating world in New York.”
Since RUN FOR YOUR LIFE is done in a miniseries format, the fast pace of production was thrilling for the show’s cast. “It’s so fun to bang something out and have such a quick turnover. It gives the project a good energy,” says Darrow. The tradeoff of working on a miniseries? For actors like Darrow, it’s the difficulty of having to leave behind a character they’ve enjoyed portraying. “The only challenge (of doing RFYL) is letting go of it when my character is all done because I want to play more!”
ON THE WEB: http://www.bughousemedia.com/rfyl/