Zayden Bates stars in the upcoming sci-fi webseries “Surviving The Dead.” The teenage actress spoke to rolling out about the experience and how hard it can be to slay zombies while still making time for volleyball tournaments.
“I play this innocent girl whose older sister won’t even let her watch certain sections of Netflix,” laughs Bates. “As the show goes on, my character grows into a responsible adult. My dad on the show teaches me how to survive and I use those skills to survive. And, I do some crazy things that a fifteen year old should not be doing—like actually kill someone!”
The dark and unsettling subject matter was a lot for Bates initially, who admits that this was the biggest challenge of her young career. “It was very much emotionally draining. After the first day, I was extremely tired after one of the more intense scenes. I’d never been more emotionally exhausted than I was then. I was shooting 14-hour days and it was the first time I’d played someone who was extremely terrified. The filming was intense. It was a very good learning experience.”
Helping Zayden on-set was director Reagan Gomez, who initially rose to fame as a teenage actress herself on the popular 90’s sitcom The Parent’hood.
“She’s one of my favorite directors thus far,” Bates shares. “Reagan and the entire cast and crew is amazing.” Bates spoke of the director’s ability to help the cast find the right emotional place for any particular scene.
With Surviving premiering in a couple of weeks and season two on the horizon, Bates is learning how to juggle both sides of her life. “This year has been the first year that I’ve had to really sit down and think about how I’m going to balance everything. It’s hard on the weekends when we’re filming. I’ll have school all week and I’ll have homework on the weekends while I’m still shooting long days. The real challenge, though, is my extracurricular life. I played volleyball last year and I had to miss some important tournaments to be on set. That was hard. So, it is hard but I’m figuring it out as I go.”
Bates is continuing to push herself as an actress. She’s signed with a new agent and will be taking more acting lessons in the coming months. Still, there is nothing that pushes her to achieve more than her family.
“Family is the most important thing, in my opinion,” Zayden says. “My family has always been the glue, they’ve always been super supportive, my dad especially. He’s always there pushing me to be better at everything. If it were not for them, I would not be where I am right now in acting or school or in sports. I’m very thankful for that.”