Chloe Sanders Talks “SNAFU: Situation Normal All F***** Up” Web Series

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By: Denishea Bright

SNAFU is a comedy web series created and produced by actress Chloe Sanders. It was co-produced by Haley Rawson and Jonathon Cabrera. The series follows Florence, a young woman who’s lost and trying to find herself in the Big Apple. Florence doesn’t have a clue of where she’s heading to next but you’ll have an awful lot of fun watching her navigate through her sporadic life trying to find a destination.

SNAFU stars Sanders, Michael Pantozzi, Grant Harrison, and Lauren Ireland. It guest stars Jen Kwok, Kelly Jean Clair, Allison Thomas Lee, Jenna Laurenzo, Ty Michael Robinson, Ben Kronberg,  and Stephanie Gibson.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- I just want to start off by saying that I love your show and I couldn’t stop watching it. I love the writing, the creativity, it looks good, and the actors are amazing. So how was the chemistry on set with you guys working together because it seems like you all have been working together forever.

Chloe Sanders– We worked really well. Mostly, I can attribute that we didn’t hold regular auditions for this. I just know a lot of actors. My background is mostly, primarily in acting. I just kind of knew out of my pool of friends who would be good in certain roles and then if I didn’t know somebody then my friend and co- executive producer Haley Rawson knew a bunch of people. And so a lot of the people who were either acting in it or a part of our crew were friends of ours. We really just all got along, had fun, did our jobs, and worked really hard. We also had a great time on set. We were able to joke around, do our jobs, and relax in a fun environment.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- So how long did the production process take for this project?

Chloe Sanders- It took about a year actually. I started writing it around April of 2013. Through my friend and producer Haley (Rawson) and another friend of mine Jonathon (Cabrera) and a small production company, we came together. So I wrote the first 3 episodes and then I pitched those to the two of them and they were very interested in taking on the project. So from there we just sort of started planning for a summer shoot and started organizing ourselves with what fundraising would look like. I finished writing all 6 episodes and then in September we launched our Kickstarter campaign. And then we actually started filming simultaneously along with that and we only shot for about, I think the total was 10 days is what it came out to in reshoots. Almost 10 for all 6 episodes. And you know after that it was all editing and post- production. We released all the episodes in March of 2014. So yeah almost a whole year from start to finish with everything.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- So you said that the project was funded through Kickstarter and so does this give you courage for future projects? Because I know sometimes people can feel discouraged when they use crowd funded projects.

Chloe Sanders- Yeah, If you look at Kickstarter projects. I don’t know what the exact statistic is but actually a surprising number do not get funded. It’s hard to do it that way and there are other crowd funding websites like IndieGoGo where you don’t actually have to meet the pledged amount in order to get all of the money but you know I think they’re great. I think these sorts of websites can really help independent filmmakers and people should continue to take advantage of them. And the better campaign you’re able to show people, and the better video you are able to make, the better convincing campaign. You show all of your friends and family or whoever you’re trying to get to donate to your campaign. Those are the ones. Those are the projects that get funded. And sometimes you are able to go above and beyond and get more than your intended goal. You know I think these kinds of sites are great. I mean they’re not the end all- be all and it’s very difficult to do a project like this. We raised $16,000 dollars and that’s not a small amount. We were lucky that we had a group of friends and family that were excited about this project. And we made a really cool video to show people so that we could get the funding we needed but it’s not something that I ever want to do again because it’s difficult. You know getting funding for artistic projects is a constant struggle so whatever way you can do, I mean, go for it but asking your friends and family for money is not something that you want to do more than a few times.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- So you’re the writer, producer, and actress of this series. So which job was the hardest?

Chloe Sanders- Definitely producing, I mean acting is something I’ve done my whole life. And I wrote the part for myself so that part of the project was pretty easy for me. You know it was just kind of a silly, goofy, more eccentric version of myself. The writing was certainly a challenge and it was fun because I never really written a series or anything on this scale. But I did most of it on my own in coffee shops, and mostly in my living room. The producing part of it is very difficult and something you can’t really prepare yourself for. You just kind of have to throw yourself into it. I never produced anything, actually really ever before. I mean I helped produced a few sketches that I wrote but you know producing is a giant task. I mean you’re in charge of the whole cast and crew. You’re in charge of scheduling, you’re in charge of your job, in charge of feeding people, and you’re in charge of raising money. You’re really in charge of everything. It’s a giant responsibility. It can be stressful but yes definitely that was the most challenging. Also a lot of fun in some ways but to be like the captain of your own ship, is very very very challenging.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- And you produced this with Jonathon (Cabrera) and Haley Rawson.

Chloe Sanders- Yeah Haley Rawson and Jonathon Cabrera were my co-producers they had more experience than I did producing. They have a small production company that they produce mostly corporate videos for. The three of us were all in this together and they were great. I couldn’t have asked for better co- producers. They were amazing.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- And I read that you and Haley knew each other since you were 16 years old, is that correct?

Chloe Sanders- That’s true. Yes. We met at a theater camp. We were both actresses forever and we met at a summer theater camp at Boston University. I think it was between our junior and senior year of high school. So yeah we were 16, whatever grade you’re in at 16. I can’t even remember. We met there during the acting program and just kind of always stayed in touch even though I was in California for a while and she always lived in New York. So we just kind of kept in touch until I actually moved to New York and we hooked up again and started making stuff together.

Just do it, don’t even think, just do it. -Chloe Sanders

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- Okay. And she is the one who had small parts in the series?

Chloe Sanders- She did. Yeah. She had a tiny part in every episode.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- Yeah because I could have sworn I was looking at Kristin (Cavallari) from Laguna Beach. She kind of favored her a little bit to me.

Chloe Sanders- (laughs) Yeah. She does have that look.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- And you’re series, is I guess the first web series for Floor 7 Media, the production company behind it?

Chloe Sanders- Yeah it’s the first web series they ever done. They did a few of my sketches. I’ve never done a series before but I’ve done a few comedy sketches that they produced but they mostly were producing corporate videos for businesses.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- So how does that feel with it being the first web series for the company?

Chloe Sanders- It feels amazing. I mean I don’t even know if they are going to do more. Like the production company was kind of existent just to do the corporate videos and you know to do SNAFU. It’s not like they’re (Cabrera & Rawson)  trying to make this their number one interest. They both have other interests that are more of a priority to them, than producing web series for Floor 7 Media. They both are involved in a lot of different stuff. But I mean it was amazing. It was really great to get the support of friends who had more experience than I did and who were willing to take on such a giant project that was my baby and you know that I had a vision for and they were just you know the best at helping that come true.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- Okay. And your series stands for “Situation Normal All F’d Up”. And so I have to ask, where did that come from? It’s something I never heard before.

Chloe Sanders- Well, we didn’t make that up. You may have heard the term before in everyday normal conversation. What SNAFU actually stands for, which I don’t think most people do know is that its an old World War II acronym. It was kind of used sarcastically in World War II amongst soldiers or whomever to sort of just describe how the normal day to day existence of everything was just really kind of screwed up in a way. Its just kind of a funny, silly, sarcastic way of saying how shitty everything was and that it’s just “normal”. So I find that an amusing title for the show because things are always going wrong but you know nothings too serious its all in good fun and just kind of (points out) how absurd daily life is regardless of what you’re doing.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- So your character, Florence, is someone who basically doesn’t have a clue of what she wants to do with her life. She’s extremely busy trying to discover who she is and she kind of just floats through her day to day life doing whatever. So how do you go through your everyday life? I know that you obviously know what you want to do with your life, but do you believe in Flo’s whole “float through life” attitude as being the best way to live?

Chloe Sanders- I mean I wouldn’t be so bold to suggest that its the best way to live but I do appreciate that mentality of life and that Flo is willing to just jump into whatever sort of strikes her fancy in the moment and you know totally go for it without thinking of the consequences or potential dangers. Going for it 100 percent. I don’t know if that’s something that will work for everyone. I am certainly not the one to say but I do love that she has a commitment to whatever she’s working on in the moment and is a very present person and is willing to try anything and is not ashamed or scared and just goes for it. And I also just find it hilarious that she just changes her mind all the time. And I don’t think that’s a bad way to live your life either its totally cool. So that was the thing that originally made me laugh about the premise of SNAFU and that’s why I wanted to write something based on that because I just think its silly.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- So do you relate to Flo in any way or no?

Chloe Sanders- Yeah definitely a little bit. I mean I can’t say that I’m too much like her. There is certainly parts of myself that I wish was more willing to just go for it and not question myself but I also think she’s a bit of a hazard and a bit clueless. Her mess can get her in trouble or make her seem a bit “not very nice”, to put it mildly. So I mean yes and no. Its a character that I knew I could play because there are parts of myself that I share with her but you know I’m much more analytic, cynical, and neurotic than she is. She really doesn’t seem to have that going for her. She just kind of does what she feels like.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- But I love how you’re not afraid to show her, you’re making faces and doing voices. And I read that you have Improv training, is that true?

Chloe Sanders- Yeah. I do have a little improv training. I haven’t done a ton of it but I have a ton of regular acting training too. So mostly what acting and Improv training will do for you, eventually if you do enough, it’ll kind of make you a freer person. And do whatever comes naturally without being embarrassed or whatever. So that’s definitely coming through in the character.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- So would you ever try to be apart of the SNL cast? Or is it too far fetched for you?

Chloe Sanders- I wouldn’t say I necessarily see myself directly on that cast. That’s not a main goal of mine. If it was I would probably be doing Improv every single night like on an UCB stage or something like that. And that’s not exactly something that I’m interested in I mean I love comedy and I love sketch comedy . I love improve and all that but I’m a little more interested in other things and writing sketch comedy and not improvisational work. But I love SNL. I watch it every episode and I think those guys are so talented. And you know. Who knows where life will bring us all.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- So when did you first realize that you wanted to do this kind of work? Like this was something that you knew you wanted to do with your life?

Chloe Sanders- Well I always knew I wanted to act. I’ve known that forever since the earliest I can remember, practically. The comedy thing and really specializing in comedy has come much later since I graduated college. I mean I wasn’t focused in comedy particularly. I think I realized in the last year or so of training that I happen to gravitate towards those kinds of roles and I was just naturally more fitting for comedic roles. And the acting field is so incredibly competitive, whatever comes naturally is probably where you should be. You should really go for it because its just so many people trying to do what your doing so its good to really stick with what just comes easy and what flows for you. And the writing thing came even later I didn’t start writing until lets see a year and a half ago or two years after I graduated from college. I just realized I had a lot of time on my hands and kind of started typing away and seeing if I can create a funny scene. I realized I really enjoyed that and I filmed a few sketches that I wrote and then from there I just kind of wanted a big project to take on. I was just trying to do the web series thing and that’s when I came up with the idea of SNAFU.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- Your originally from California and you moved to New York. So do you have any advice for any one contemplating moving to another city or a bigger city to go after their dreams?

Chloe Sanders- Yeah. Its definitely a good thing to do and its very scary. Its very difficult at first especially if you don’t know many people but a place like New York is great because you can almost know no one and you can kind of just show up and start getting involved in things. Whatever you’re interested in you can kind of throw yourself into it. I mean if you’re interested in acting, even if you’re not interested in Improv, I would recommend taking Improv classes UCB or something like that just so you can start getting a community growing. Because when you are down and out trying to pursue such a difficult career it’s your networking and your group of friends , your people, likeminded individuals who are also pursuing what they love (that can help) and that’s what made SNAFU happen for me. My friend Haley is someone who’s so talented and passionate in working hard in the same field I’m in and I took on this project with her so you really just have to find a network of people you know? See what you can make happen amongst yourselves. Anything is possible.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- So do you have any other projects coming up?

Chloe Sanders- At the moment I don’t have anything. I’m writing a few little things here and there but I’d love to write more web content. I really do get excited by that whole thing but again its pretty difficult to self produce because of the budget and the financial concerns. And so right now I’m kind of thinking that I can write something that can be filmed on an almost low, very simple, in your apartment (budget) or write something that’s totally in the other direction full scale high budget and see if I can get someone to pick it up or be interested in it who actually has money. So you know I don’t really know what my next thing is I’m just hoping I can get something rolling and interesting and exciting for my next project.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- Okay well on our site we do this thing where we ask everybody that we interview what’s the one piece of advice that they live by. And so I’m going to ask you.

Chloe Sanders- I don’t know if there’s one but my dear father has always said to me “run towards your fears” and that’s something he’s always told me. And I think that’s a good piece of advice and that goes along with your question about moving to New York or a big city where you don’t know people to pursue what you love and you know get out there because it might open a lot of doors to finding some really great people to work with or finding a great idea  to work on. Just do it, don’t even think, just do it.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- So for all the people who don’t know how to stay in contact with you. Where can they go to do that?

Chloe Sanders- I have a twitter (@chloecsanders), I have an Instagram (chloecsanders), they can follow me on those. I also have a website you know they can email me directly from there. My website is http://www.chloecsanders.com/.

Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites)- Well Chloe, I had a great time talking to you and its been a great interview. I want to thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day and talking with me.

Chloe Sanders- Yeah, no problem. Thank you very much.

Visit SNAFU’s website: http://snafutheseries.com/

Please subscribe to the SNAFU channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/snafutheseries

 

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