Interview with Marie Claire Marcotte from @kleffnotes

Running With Violet, the hit YouTube series, just returned for a second season with more drama and unexpected drug dealing. I had the opportunity to ask one of the stars and creators, Marie Claire Marcotte, who plays Miranda. If you haven’t checked out this great series yet you are definitely missing out, check out my interview and then get to watching Season Two right away.

Could you tell our readers a little about yourselves?

We started out in theatre school together and are now creators, writers, producers, actors…so we wear a lot of hats. People often encourage us to stop wearing so many hats and to settle in as writers, but we are also determined to forge our own paths and you have to wear a lot of hats if you’re going to do that. Some of the other things we have going on: She Said Notes (our online publication which we are in the process of turning into a podcast), co-directing a new play Marie-Claire wrote, developing a new TV show based on a graphic novel we are optioning, imaging a season 3 of Running With Violet! We always have lots on the go!

What led you to begin working on Running With Violet?

We saw the opportunity to make our own work with the growing trend of web series where you write a complete story arc and then take it to production and get it funded! It seemed really exciting to make something from start to finish. And then we got this nugget of an idea when it was suggested to us that a remake of “Thelma and Louise” hadn’t been done in a while. That got our brains turning. We saw some parallels in our friendship (two women with a tight friendship but with different lives) and also what made our lives different than Thelma and Louise: one of which was my toddler Violet. So we started to write and ended up with these two small town women who take themselves on a girls’ weekend…with diapers.

With the new season releasing on July 15th, how did the story evolve between the two seasons?

There is a time lapse between seasons to allow for Violet to get older, so season 2 is set one year later. The story of season 2 also got quite a bit larger and is set over more days–more costume changes! What stayed the same is that each season is essentially its own heist. Season 1 revolves around a girls’ weekend turned into an accidental drug heist; Season 2 finds them running a beauty business only to discover they’re doing something much more than that. They always try to be good people doing their best, but keep spiraling into these criminal activities.

You also both appear as the main characters in the series, what is it like being the focal point of your own work?

We know we are the focal point of the series at some level, but I think we’re also interested in how we shed light on other people–particularly other women. Our two antagonist leads are a really dynamic pair (played by Amy Matysio – “Save Me” and Andrea Bang – “Kim’s Convenience”).

How would you describe the changes Jolene and Miranda have gone through since the start of season one?

In Season 2 Miranda is now openly queer, having firmly walked away from her abusive relationship with Blair – although she is still not making the best choices for a life partner. Jolene is trying again with her ex-husband Nick, but feeling fragile about it all. In terms of work, the women think they are rocking the business world as entrepreneurs in a beauty business, so when they discover they’ve been duped and duping others it’s pretty traumatic for both of them!

What were some of the hardest scenes to film?

Some of the hardest scenes to film were our group scenes were there are lots of people to cover–it just takes a lot of time and time is, of course, the great commodity on set! Also, the shoot out in episode 11 was pretty tricky. We ended up going hand-held with the camera to make it doable. We might have done some serious damage to a certain hardwood floor during the filming of that scene 🙂

Are there any on set moments that are exceptionally memorable?

We spent four days shooting in this abandoned police station in the Junction neighbourhood that is used a lot for film shoots. It’s a multi purpose building that served as our hospital and police station. There’s also…an old prison in the building. We should have written a prison plot in our series! Visiting the prison became a highlight for any new person showing up on set. It’s eerie to know that people used to be detained there and a few doors down we’re shooting.

How do you hope viewers will react to this new season?

Our hope is that viewers feel entertained as they root for Jolene and Miranda. We have a variety of interesting, funny and complex characters and want people watching to see themselves reflected back – especially women, as our series presents a multitude of female characters. A bonus would be if people ask themselves how they would act given the opportunity to change their lives for the better only to find out they’re mixed up with the wrong crowd. Now what?

What are some situations you would love to put your characters in if you had an unlimited budget?

Jolene and Miranda travelling the world selling their beauty supplies. Since we’re also shedding light on the types of people who pay up to feel young and beautiful, there’s no limit to where our two leads could go. Maybe they sell a fancy face cream to a billionaire who lives on a mountain top only accessible by helicopter. Or they deep water dive to sell to a philanthropist as she pets her sharks.

What inspired the decision to have Miranda come out at the end of season one and start a new relationship in season two?

The idea evolved naturally. Back in Season 1 when were developing Miranda’s character and her backstory we thought it would be interesting to have her break free and ‘own her life’ in a big way. It’s also a real situation people go through – ending a marriage after many years and coming out. We weren’t seeing many shows reflecting that reality.

Where can our readers keep up to date on the series and both of you?

We, along with the series, are active on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. All of our episodes (Season 1 and 2) as well as all our fun BTS videos are on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNfjNCJTNrOnIED3VZ5-PJQ) or our main website (http://www.runningwithviolet.com/).

Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog, kleffnotes.wordpress.com, and on my kleffnotes YouTube channel.

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