One of the first female-led B.C. indie projects that returned safely to principal photography during the COVID-19 pandemic, KGP Films has released the second season of the popular locally shot web series, Narcoleap.
With both seasons now available online on HighBall.TV, the award-winning series continues the story of a college student who unexpectedly begins to leap into the bodies of other people during her bouts of narcolepsy.
In this Q&A with Narcoleap creator Kate Green, we find out more.
This interview has been edited and may contain spoilers.
Tell us about NarcoLeap. What is it about?
NarcoLeap is about a young woman, Kelsey, who has narcolepsy. Kelsey is thrust into a world of espionage when she discovers that during her narcoleptic naps, she is commandeering the bodies of real people across the globe.
Q. Where did the idea come from?
I had been looking to direct narrative work and started collaborating with a new writer on various short film ideas when I expressed my interest to him about doing a sci-fi series. I
knew I wanted to do something with a female lead kicking butt, and I also wanted to work with Chelsey Reist. It was important to me to tell a story about coming of age and
learning to navigate life and relationships from a female perspective. Unfortunately, the idea that the writer came back with was too similar to Stranger Things. I had then been
accepted into the Women in the Director’s Chair Program and decided to re-work and create the series that NarcoLeap is today.
Why this particular story now?
SPOILER ALERT: In season two, Kelsey discovers that she is not alone. Others have her power, and it really is a metaphor for our time. Especially with COVID, many have felt socially isolated and alone. The group of young people that share Kelsey’s power are called the Trippers. They are using their power to leap into CEOs and boomers in an attempt to help save the planet. Although their methods are misguided, it will definitely spark a conversation with your friends on how best to protect our futures.
Why a web series?
Web series are a great way to prove a concept and develop your characters. You have to tell your story in a succinct way, which is a great skill to have. As a
Canadian indie filmmaker, I was able to see a way to tell the story I wanted to tell and get the funds required to produce the quality I wanted.
What has been the biggest challenge in bringing NarcoLeap to the screen?
We were one of the first Indie productions to go back to filming in Vancouver during a pandemic. We hadn’t prepared for that when we had closed financing earlier that
year. There were a lot of adjustments that had to be made to keep everyone safe.
The episodes are relatively short. What are the challenges in telling a full story in such a short period of time?
Luckily, most of the set-up or exposition had been dealt with in the first season. Our fans knew the characters and the ‘rules’ of the world going into this season. That was a
huge benefit and allowed us to spend more time on character development moments with the actors.
Were you surprised by the reception to the first season of NarcoLeap from fans?
When you put your blood, sweat and tears into any project, it is always nice if people like what you created. When the fans started going nuts, I felt truly humbled.
The show was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and was awarded three Leo Awards. How important is that recognition to a show like NarcoLeap?
I don’t think any filmmaker goes into a project like this just for the awards. However, it’s very special to get that type of recognition, especially when it comes from your peers.
You returned to principal photography for season two in the middle of the pandemic. How different was filming from season one?
In B.C., we have very clear health guidelines to follow. Everything we could do to make sure people were safe and felt comfortable is what our crews did. This, obviously, made
the process a little slower between shots. We also needed practical things like more location space to socially distance, a COVID officer, and lots of cleaning and protective
gear. I also had to re-work some scenes and change creative, so actors were not confined in spaces for long periods of time. I think it all worked out, though, and in season two, the pandemic is not present. It’s a great escape, in fact.
What is the biggest difference between seasons one and two?
There are a lot of big reveals, and character backstory explained. No spoilers. Go watch it.
What’s next for NarcoLeap? Is there a season three in the works?
We are currently developing a full-length series inspired by NarcoLeap. The more people who watch the web series and share it with friends, it will certainly help show broadcasters that there is an appetite for this content. However, the web series format for NarcoLeap is over, and we will not return for a third season.
Editor’s Note (15 February 2021): This article was updated to reflect the fact Narcoleap is now available on HighBall.TV and not on the series website and YouTube as originally reported.