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Conversations with Chloe Burns

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chloe Burns.

Chloe, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I graduated with a degree in Film & Media Studies from the University of Kansas, after which I produced two independent projects before moving to Los Angeles. Once in LA, my first goal was acting classes, and then I did a few student films.

When COVID cut off my employment in the city, I went back home to Kansas, which was a struggle at first because it felt like I was putting my career on hold. My mental health started to deteriorate, bringing back memories of old traumas, so I started intensive therapy. This inspired me to write “Trauma Bonded,” a web series about facing difficult events. I am happy to say that we are now crowdfunding to produce the series, which I will be able to act in as well.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I struggled at first with the portrayal of female trauma on-screen because the norm that we see so often is graphic and disturbing to watch. I wanted to write about my own experiences, which included assault and domestic violence, but I couldn’t bring myself to write those kinds of scenes, especially considering I was going to be the one acting them out. It really caused me to question my abilities as an artist: If I don’t subject myself to reliving my abuse, does it mean I’m not a committed enough actor? That I’m not a good writer?

However, once I started questioning those norms, I was able to move forward in a more positive light. I wrote the series without any graphic scenes of abuse, without casting the character of my abuser, and above all, I made it fun. This approach isn’t something I’ve seen when it comes to stories like mine, so I’m very excited to introduce it to the world.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I definitely see patterns come through from my work. I wouldn’t call all of my projects straight-up comedies, but I use humor to cope with heavy topics. For example, “Trauma Bonded” features a comedy show about domestic violence. It walks a line for sure, but it’s authentic because that’s how I have experienced these issues personally.

I enjoy writing larger-than-life characters in exciting worlds and situations. My first web series was about a girl who becomes a local superhero but is genuinely quite bad at it. My recent short film featured a girl who is sent to a farm where they identify and murder witches, and it ends with her vowing to kill the family who sent her there. It’s always a challenge to keep it grounded in some way, and I usually achieve that by staying very clear and specific about my characters’ motivations.

The projects I’ve already done have been a wonderful foundation, but I’m most proud of “Trauma Bonded” because I wasn’t sure if I could make it work. The plot is a complex situation involving assassins and alter-egos and a bisexual love triangle, but it unfolds over six episodes that are five pages each. That’s a lot of ground to cover with very little screen time, especially when the entire point of the show is so much deeper. There’s a visual piece in episode six that I’m especially proud of, and if all goes right, it may be my favorite part of the series altogether.

How do you define success?
I think success is more of a practice than a destination. I’m not tied to any one result as my definition of success; I would love to follow in the footsteps of Issa Rae or Phoebe Waller-Bridge and have my own show that I star in, but I also admire the careers of actors like Jennifer Lawrence and Brie Larson and Florence Pugh who started in indie films.

I think what’s most important is that I’m doing projects that I deeply believe in because that is what gives me confidence in my work. I’m more confident about “Trauma Bonded” than any of my previous projects because I understand it through and through, and that means more to me than prescribing myself a specific career path. All I can do is aim for honesty in my work and hope that the right opportunities will follow.

To support “Trauma Bonded,” click on the link to our Seed & Spark page and pledge, follow, or share so we can bring the story to life!

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