Kate Madison, director and star of Born of Hope, talks pirates and her new fantasy series, Ren
RL: Born of Hope has reached 23 million views. Did you ever think it would be so successful?
KM: Not at all!! I never really did it thinking about who would watch it once it was finished. As we progressed through and saw that people were watching the trailers and supporting us at the odd convention then we started to realise that people were really interested but 23 million is a heck of a lot of views for a 70 minute internet film with not one cute kitten anywhere in it What’s so surprising too is that the views seem to keep increasing. As in, it took us maybe a year to get to 1 million but now we almost get 1 million a month.
RL: I gather you shot it all for around £25,000, which is amazing. How did you make such savings? How does a series like The White Queen cost £25 million??
KM: Well if we had made Born of Hope in the conventional way it would have cost a lot more. Probably even into the millions. There are a lot of people involved in making TV and Film productions and all those people need a salary, plus insurance, hiring equipment and props and costumes, catering etc. We didn’t have millions for Born of Hope so we had to save money any way we could. No one who worked on the film was paid to do so. Everyone gave their time and talent for free. We also borrowed a lot of equipment and pulled in a lot of favours. Some costs are impossible to avoid though like Insurance, food, costumes, props, wigs and prosthetics. There are transport costs and even accommodation at times. It’s quite amazing that we managed to keep it down to just £25,000.
RL: How is the Mary Read and Anne Bonny project progressing?
KM: I’ve kind of rounded off that project for now and am finalising the little promo we managed to shoot and getting the sound design completed. I’m still very keen to see this story brought to life and am looking forward to the new TV series Black Flag which comes out next year, as they seem to include Anne and Jack as characters at least. However, a story focusing on Mary, her life and her meeting with Anne and Jack is such a wonderful idea that it’s just got to be made at some point soon. For me the project is too big to do alone and does really need some big investment and backing to make it happen with the quality it deserves. Having said that I think we managed to shoot some nice little scenes and moments with only £3000 and I think my actors did a great job. I can’t wait to get the promo finished so I can show it off to everyone.
RL: Do you have any other historical series in mind?
KM: I am co-producing an action horror film set amongst Trappers in the North American wilderness in around 1837 and that should be great fun. Other than that, nothing specific at the moment but I find I’m more drawn to fantasy or period ideas and stories than modern ones and there are plenty of interesting stories out there so we’ll see.
RL: Many of our author members might be interested in using some of your footage for book trailers. Is there any way that could work?
KM: I’m very open to discussing that idea with people. Whether it’s footage I’ve already shot or shooting new things especially for book trailers. I think they are a great tool and I’d love to help bring books to life for authors. They should just get in touch through my website http://www.actorsatworkproductions.com
RL: Which films have most influenced your style of direction – and in what ways?
KM: I think I prefer pretty conventional films really. I’m not a huge fan of weird editing or strange camera angles. I don’t want to notice the camera movements or get distracted by how something is put together. To me it’s about telling an interesting story and getting to know the characters.
RL: So after the success of Born of Hope, what is your next project?
KM: I’m sticking with fantasy at the moment. I have a fantasy web series I’m working on. It’s called Ren after its lead character, who lives a quiet life in a small village until dramatic events, involving an ancient powerful spirit and the ruling warrior order of the Kah’Nath, forces her to leave her safe existence and find the truth behind the web of lies she’s believe in all her life. The inspiration for the show is very much rooted in great fantasy stories like The Lord of the Rings, but epic books and TV series like Game of Thrones and the more lighthearted Legend of the Seeker have also influenced the creation of Ren. I’m currently running a crowdfunding campaign for the project on Kickstarter if people want to find out more. http://www.rentheseries.com/
RL: You acted in Born of Hope. Do you have a role in the upcoming Ren as well?
KM: Well just like for Through the Eyes of Men, my Mary Read story, when I first came up with the idea for Ren I planned to play the lead. However, with TTEOM and also with Ren, I don’t really think I’m the best person to play the lead. I think Ren is a great part and I’m not going to rule out the possibility just yet, but I don’t picture me when I picture Ren. Having said that I do want to be in the show even though I’m not sure there’s a role for me in season one. However, the joy of a long running series is that new characters can appear all the time and I’m sure we’ll find something for me in future seasons so stay tuned.
RL: What elements of Ren will appeal most to a historical fiction audience? Are there any specifically historical influences?
KM: Well I think that lots of my ideas for fantasy works are influenced by history. Just today my production designer and I were discussing coin props for Ren and he had an idea to do a coin that could be broken into pieces, inspired by the Spanish milled dollar, or piece of eight. When it comes to bigger themes and ideas, there are reminders of witch hunts in Ren and the persecution of people who are different and thought of as evil. Many more ideas will come to light as we move forward so who knows where we might go from here.
Kate is currently running a crowdfunding campaign for Ren so please follow the link and share it around.
Posted by Richard Lee