Rachel Marwood is no stranger to comedy performances with a background in theatre, television, and film! As if her resume isn't already impressive, she's also the creative mind behind Figg & Dates, a comedic web series that follows Jessica Figg through her dating escapades! Oh, and did we mention that she also stars as Jessica? Check out our interview with the Funny Women recipient and be sure to check out Figg & Dates today!
netTVnow: Where did the concept for Figgs & Dates come from?
Rachel Marwood: There's a lot of shows about women hitting 30 and counting down that biological clock. Desperately searching for a man as all of their friends buy houses and have babies. When I hit 30 that just wasn't the case at all. For me or any of my friends. My fierce, fabulous, independent, beautiful friends weren't desperate for a man, any man. They just wanted to find their person. That person you can be the closest to. And it hit me that those shows out there were out of date. That's not how we roll anymore. We'd be okay on our own, we'd be absolutely fine in fact. It would just be more fun to navigate through this silly world holding hands with that dude who makes you laugh so much a bit of wee comes out.
NTN: What was the writing process like for you?
RM: The series came to me almost fully formed. I'd be out walking my dog (Pablo, who plays Flávio in episode 2), and whole scenes would come into my mind like a movie. I'd take voice notes and scribble down chunks of dialogue. Then when I was back home and faced with that usually terrifying, blank Celtx page, I had the whole thing already mapped out on old receipts and Pret napkins ready to be transferred.
NTN: How did you get involved with Mann Bros. to kickstart the series?
RM: Ben Mann had seen some of the comedy shorts I'd written and made and asked if I had anything in mind for a web series. I originally wanted to write Figg & Dates as a pilot for TV but thought a web series suited the concept really well.
NTN: Is there your first experience in web series? If so, what was it like for you?
RM: I've only ever written comedy shorts before so this was the biggest project I've produced to date. The whole thing was so satisfying and exciting. To make a series that's so episodic and yet still has a through-line.
NTN: I love the chemistry between the core cast members, did you have a hand in casting? If so, what was that experience like, I’ve heard mixed things from crew members when it comes to casting?
RM: I wrote almost all the parts for specific actors I know and have worked with before. The chemistry for me was very important and especially as we were shooting on a tight time frame, I needed to know the actors would get the character and connect with me on set immediately. The Mann Bros. were really up for me taking control of that side of things. It also helped when writing the characters as accents and nuances in the way that they speak were already there for me. I could hear the characters as I was writing them.
NTN: The situations Jess finds herself in are hilarious, did you pull from any of your personal experiences for the dates?
RM: Most of the experiences are fictional actually, much to everyone's surprise! I'm similar to Jess in a lot of ways and so they're mostly how I would react in those situations! Some are taken from real life but I couldn't possibly admit which ones!
NTN: If there’s one thing you’d like audiences to take away from your series, what would it be?
RM: Relationships, dating, making connections with people and more commonly missing connections. These are universal things. Something everyone on earth understands. When I started writing Figg & Dates, my friends, even strangers I got chatting to about it were inundating me with their own stories. Too many to tell. All crazy and beautiful and sad and hilarious. I want people to see Jessica Figg and see a part of themselves. Or maybe they see themselves in one of the dates. These aren't bad guys, they're great, for someone. Just not for Jessica. I want people to feel like they're not alone navigating through this silly world.
NTN: If you could describe Jess in three words, what would they be?
RM: Warm. Real. Determined.
NTN: Why do you think Jess has such a hard time finding a partner?
RM: Dating in London is hard. In any big city probably. Everyone has different backgrounds, different cultures, they're at different stages of their lives. In a small town like where I grew up, you've got a common ground with most people. Same class, same background, similar family. And Jess doesn't want to settle. She doesn't want just anybody. She's seen how it works in Woody Allen movies and that's what she wants. To find her one. If not, she'll be just fine on her own.
NTN: Will Jess Figgs make a comeback for season two?
RM: There are a couple of possibilities in the pipeline for Jess & co. Perhaps a full half hour episodic version of series one. Perhaps sticking to the web series format for series two. Either way, there's definitely more to come!
NTN: Are there any upcoming projects you'd like to share?
RM: I've written a dark comedy drama, Skin & Blisters with fellow actress Amy Booth Steel about her experience with cancer. It’s in earlyish stages at the mo so can't say too much!