Kate Davies-Speak is a British actress, born and raised in Bristol, England. Kate is often drawn to roles that
offer interesting character arcs, gritty and emotional roles and parts that encourage her to keep her physically active. She is inspired by iconic action heroines such as Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley and enjoys working out and practicing combat to use on
screen. Kate a is a huge supporter of her industry peers and often sets up ways that she can utilize social media to find ways for actors, agents, filmmakers and casting professionals to work together.
Kate, you first got involved with
‘Minding Mama’ back in June 2017 when creator Elaine Jackson approached you about the role of Mama after seeing your profile on Twitter. Can you tell our audience what initially drew you to the project?
I was drawn to the role of Mama
when Elaine first approached me because I could tell quite quickly that it was a role that was quite different to anything I’d previously played. I really enjoy anything a little bit dystopian or post-apocalyptic, and I think with the character being
maternal, a protector, it offered a kind of strength that I don’t often get to play in productions. I’m sort of known for doing a lot of action roles, that kind of protector, but I thought the idea of her just wanting to keep herself and her baby
alive against all odds was something that seemed really quite exciting, and something that I was really, really keen to do. It’s a massive honour when people go out of their way to invite you to play a role, without having to send an audition, and the
fact that Elaine had faith in me from the word go, to bring this character to life. I knew how important the character and the story were to Elaine. So, when I was invited to play Mama, it was something I really couldn’t refuse!
Photography by Stephen R Cox
I had a look at the website and through the concept and the more I looked into it the more I knew that it was something I’d
be really excited to be involved in. And I think too that it’s not often that actors get to play a monologue to camera where we really get to tell a story in a short space of time; going through a whole range of emotions and I think with Mama in particular
I really enjoyed how she starts off quite confident making this transmission, and then when she starts to own up to how scared she is of her situation, in particularly when she starts to talk about trying to keep her son out of harm’s way, I knew it
was going to offer me a great chance to show a little bit of an arc and emotions that I really wanted to be able to bring to the character.
You are perhaps best known for your roles in Indie Horror productions – and of course, the Bristol-based
sci-fi web series, ‘Horizon’. ‘Minding Mama’ represents your second foray into the genre of science-fiction. Do you have a favourite genre, and are there any particular roles you would love to take on?
I enjoy lots of different
types of genres; I definitely have a love for sci-fi, but I prefer kind of more scary sci-fi, for example something like ‘The Terminator’, ‘Alien’, ‘Robocop’, that kind of stuff. I believe that still goes under the sci-fi
bracket! I do, of course, enjoy horror, I’m very excited about some of the horrors coming up soon, in particular ‘Halloween’ which is coming out at Halloween, I hope! But there are many genres that I really enjoy, I love crime drama, and
to answer the question about which genres I wish I could play, I would love to do something like ‘Line of Duty’, or ‘Happy Valley’. I used to enjoy ‘Cracker’ growing up. Those kinds of roles, women detectives, they’re
strong characters, very knowledgeable, intelligent, those are the kind of roles I would love the chance to play. My next project will involve me playing something really quite different to what I’m used to, it’s a different accent too; it’s
quite nice to challenge yourself in that way – I think actors in general like to be challenged in some way because no one wants anything to get stale. It doesn’t take me too long to look at some of my previous work and although I’ve enjoyed
it I do see myself falling into a bit of a pattern, really – so it’s important for me every now and then to take another look over projects I’ve got in the pipeline and see what they’re going to offer that’s quite different for
me to do. I think with the next project I’m taking on, that’s certainly going to be the case! So it’s really about being challenged and keeping things interesting, I suppose.
Show Reel Share Day, created by Kate Davies-Speak
You created ‘Show Reel Share Day’ on Twitter and do a lot to help Indie Creatives
connect on social media. Certainly ‘Minding Mama’ is one of many projects which might not exist if it were not for social media networking! Yet social media can be an exasperating environment – how do you think it might be improved for the
benefit of all?
I think there are huge amounts of power in social media and when it’s working in your favour it’s fantastic. As a self-represented actor, I use it to find work but also to sell myself, put photos out there,
showroom material, video, promote the projects that I’m working on, so in that respect it’s absolutely brilliant. But I do think it does have its downside as well; unfortunately bullying can occur, it happens in every industry, and obviously it
happens in the real world too, but I think there is often a pack mentality when it comes to the way people talk to people on social media, online – people hide behind their keyboards and therefore they can do a lot of damage so I think if there was anything
that could be improved on social media that would be it, but I don’t know how they would ever be able to rein that in, how they could monitor it. So I just try to do my bit, really in terms of trying to keep people positive – it’s very important
to me to be able to spread a message in particular to other actors that there are opportunities out there and to just keep going.
I like to promote a lot of the work I do because I think it reassures other actors that there is work out there.
Throughout studying you feel like you’re a small fish in a big pond and that its going to be nigh on impossible to get the work, but actually you’ve got to kind of look at it in a different way, and think ‘well there’s lots of work
out there, I just have to show everyone what I’m capable of” and I do think that social media does provide that kind of platform. Hence why I created ‘Show Reel Share Day’: I figured it would be a nice way for actors to work together
rather than against one another to all share each other’s work and at the same time discover other actors too.
I occasionally work in casting as well. And very often, when I’m sent a casting brief on an actor or a character that the
film team are looking for, I will call several actors from the show reels that I’ve watched via Show Reel Share Day and immediately they’re the actors that I would recommend; so really you just want to stay at the forefront of people’s
minds; don’t be afraid to promote yourself often, because you want to be one of the most recent people that someone thinks about when a casting call comes up, or a crew call, or anything that people are looking for online, you just want to be that person
that people go to; so I really do feel the benefit. I hope it stays the way that it is, but as things grow and grow I think it might become out of control at some point, so it might be that people have to shift onto other social media platforms ... for example,
if Twitter gets too hard to control and monitor.
What else are you working on that you can tell us about?
This month (September) I’m really excited because I’ve got a lot of releases coming out – I was thrilled
to see the trailer of Minding Mama has finally dropped, which made me really happy. I have another trailer coming up very soon which I am unbelievably excited about, from Ember Films who shot ‘Blue Planet’ - their work is incredible, so when I
worked with them recently I was very very excited and from what I’ve seen of the rushes it is something quite exceptional – if it takes off, it could be a really good move for myself and the rest of the team. That’s something I’ll hopefully
be sharing by the end of September.
Horizon Season 2 (c) Hanover Pictures
And there’s the release of season 2 of ‘Horizon’, a film called ‘The Barge People’,
a horror film that I worked on last year which I also helped cast. I have a couple of films coming out on DVD, they’re already out in some countries; ‘Cannibal Farm’ or ‘Escape from Cannibal Farm’ as it’s known in the UK,
and ‘the House of Violent Desire’. The next project that I’ll be working on… I haven’t announced it as such, but there’s a film I’ll be working on up in Scotland and the closest comparison I can make is it’s
kind of like an old ‘Jack the Ripper’ type story, it’s a little bit like Sherlock Holmes, and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a team I’ve never worked with before – it’ll be nice to meet and be working
with a new film company and doing a little bit of travelling as well – I’ve never been to Scotland, so I’m really keen to do that.
I also have another film with a team I work with very frequently, Dark Temple Motion Pictures.
This is called ‘The Servants of Hellwood House’ and we are aiming to shoot that towards the end of this year or maybe the beginning of next year. I’m also in the process of not only casting for another film company but playing a lead role
in that film as well… sadly I can’t say the name of these at the moment because I haven’t been given the go-ahead, but let’s just say I’ve got lots to look forward to and I cannot wait to share!