This exciting adventure explores how unresolved trauma comes back to haunt us and the people we care about. Casey and Kate try to avoid injuries from their past at the expense of their relationships, until they are pushed to the brink and there is no option but to face what feels unbearable.
Mission StatementTrauma survivors are often excluded from trauma-centered media due to triggering scenes and heavy storylines. That's why I wrote something that I could also watch: an escape that could be honest about painful issues I was going through, without losing its sense of humor along the way.
About The Project
It started with grief.
After months of work, I finally had to pass over the stages of bargaining and anger and depression to find my way forward. What was I grieving over? A comedy routine, that I now had to accept would never see the light of day. Why? Because it was about domestic violence.
Now let me be clear: It was funny. I'm not saying I could not make domestic violence work as a bit because it worked. But the thing I absolutely could not get over was the idea of walking into an open mic, where somewhere in the crowd could well be an unsuspecting survivor, out for the first night with her friends after escaping a horrific ordeal, only for me to traumatize her again.
I had been there, in that state where up is down and nothing makes sense and you're left alone to process the loss of what you thought your life would be. No matter how hard I worked the routine, how much I tried to convince myself that I had every right to deal with my experiences on my own terms, I could not ease the guilt I would feel if my processing of trauma made it more painful for someone else.
And with that, I shelved the project altogether.
(What I pictured happening if I ever tried to deliver that routine.)
Years later, the pain of trauma therapy drove me back to my keyboard and I started to write an untitled film project. I found myself searching for exciting scenarios; people on the run, caught in a bisexual love triangle, arguing about their personal lives around a campfire in the woods. A flippy knife was always involved. But then, when I thought to myself, Maybe I should include some of what I'm going through now, all life would evaporate from the story.
If I wanted to write about my experiences, the reasons I was in trauma therapy, I would have to write scenes of abuse. I would have to write a character as my abuser, assessing his motives and working out the realism of his lines. I would, down the line, have to sit in front of a computer screen with a hundred self-tape submissions of men auditioning to be my tormentor.
These thoughts drove me away from my work, drove me further into depression, made me question my entire career as a filmmaker, as an actor. After all, what kind of an artist would I be if I couldn't write about the things I was experiencing?
Two stunning characters whose arcs I missed out on because of how traumatizing it was to watch. 5/10
It was during one of these depressing spirals, while I was trying to decide specifically what this abuser would do to inflict pain upon my character, when I stopped and thought:
Is there really no other way to tell this story? Why am I following a standard that I had no part in creating? A standard that has been perpetuated by people who had never endured, and likely would never endure, the things they wrote onto the screen?
This is what led me to re-think the project altogether.
Out of therapy and my realization came "Trauma Bonded," a six-episode web series in which I would follow three rules for depicting trauma:
1) I would not cast the role of the abuser.
2) I would not show graphic violence.
3) The project must be fun and funny. (Yes, my original comedy routine found its home in the series.)
A hilarious show about difficult topics. 10/10
Not only would these rules make the series accessible to survivors, but they also helped me focus the story on the real issue: the lasting effects of trauma itself.
I was in intensive therapy years after I had last laid eyes on my abuser, because what happened continued to affect me long after the fact. I spent those years in between barely hanging on until a triggering event left me unemployed, crying on my couch for weeks, unable to move.
I wanted my series to reflect this moment, when it feels like you can't possibly move forward, and yet somehow, you find a way.
Beautiful, intricate storytelling, created by a survivor. 12/10
With the help of this crowdfunding campaign and its contributors, we will shoot the series as soon as we are able to do so safely within COVID guidelines. Once the series is finished in post-production, contributors will receive pre-screening links before the project goes on its festival run.
After its festival run, "Trauma Bonded" will be available online for anyone to watch. While crowdfunding is important to make the series possible, it is also important to spread the word and help find an audience for this series, which I hope will continue beyond season one because - and I promise I'm not trying to brag - I have lots more trauma to go around.
Follow our campaign as "Trauma Bonded" comes to life! It's 100% free, and as the project gains more followers, we earn rewards including products, services, and festival fee waivers, courtesy of Seed & Spark!
CONTRIBUTE AND PLEDGE
You can help make "Trauma Bonded" a reality by making a pledge. We must collect 80% of our crowdfunding goal to keep our funds, and if we exceed our total goal, further contributions will go towards the distribution of the series in festivals around the country. We had so much fun creating various incentives so that you can choose any pledge amount that fits your budget!
No pledge is to small. Every dollar makes a difference in making this series possible.
SPREAD THE WORD
The only way we can reach our goal is by expanding our networks. By sharing this project with others, YOU can help bring it to life.
I started this project, initially, to cope with struggles I was facing in my own life. Now, it has grown into something that I hope will pave the way for other creatives like me to add our narratives to the conversation, which can in turn create lasting change.
By helping us spread the word, you help "Trauma Bonded" find its audience.
Here are some easy-to-share examples. You can post one of these Trauma Tiles (or all of them! Just press and hold or right-click on a computer and select "save image") and either copy-paste the caption or write your own:
Trauma sticks around. Help filmmaker @itschloeburns by supporting her project #TraumaBondedSeries, which highlights survivors of assault and domestic violence who are telling their own stories in media. Join them on @seedandspark: seedandspark.com/fund/trauma-bonded
#TraumaBondedSeries by @itschloeburns is putting a new spin on survivors in film & television. Support them on @seedandspark: seedandspark.com/fund/trauma-bonded so I can watch this show!
I cannot WAIT to see this show! So excited to see survivors like @itschloeburns adding their own stories to media. Support #TraumaBondedSeries on @seedandspark: seedandspark.com/fund/trauma-bonded
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
Chloe Burns graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Film & Media Studies and is currently working in Los Angeles. After graduating, Chloe wrote, produced, and acted in The Adventures of Botfly, a 6-episode web series that premiered at the 2019 Indie Short Fest and received an Honorable Mention Award at the 2019 Life After Life Films: FEM Fest. After this, she wrote, produced, and acted in The Thing About Miller House, which showed at film festivals throughout Kansas City.
As an actress, she has been featured in roles at the University of Southern California and the ArtCenter College of Design. She has studied at Warner Loughlin Studios and Lesly Kahn Studios in Los Angeles, and uses writing and producing to create challenging, dynamic roles for herself.
More about Chloe's film and acting work can be found at her website: chloeelizabethburns.com
Melina Bartzokis is an actress best known for her lead role in Lifetime's Secrets of the Basement and for her guest-starring role in the web series Nasty Habits.
She graduated from Emerson College with a Major in Acting and Minor in Marketing Communications, and is working to combine her talents through film producing. Her past producing work has included several music videos for the artist Bonesteel. She hopes that through honest and authentic storytelling, she can dig deeper into social issues in a way we have yet to see.
Tori Lane Ross
Tori Lane Ross is an actor who is best known for their leading role opposite Tom Sizemore in the independent feature, Hell Hole (coming soon), and for their portrayal of Dorothy Stratten in an episode of Murder Made Me Famous (Reelz). After working as Director's Assistant on a film by David Hunt and Patricia Heaton (Unexpected, coming soon) in their home state of Oklahoma in early 2020, they realized that directing was as much a part of their purpose as acting.
In September of last year, they signed on to direct the ground-breaking production of a live-stream theatre/film hybrid presentation that wowed audiences with its intimate moments and unique format. Josie Needs Help, an original show by Jayna Sweet that premiered in October 2020, allowed them to collaborate on a story that explored the diverse experiences and challenges faced by those who struggle with mental health in our modern society. As a proudly queer, non-binary, and spiritual artist, their goal is to normalize queer experiences and to encourage true connection and compassion with every story they tell.
Lena obtained her BA in Cinematography and Film Production from Baylor University, where she co-founded the university's first film club, 'Baylor Women of Film,' which focused on bringing awareness for equal rights in the workforce and connecting and collaborating with others in the program and industry. Through this club, Lena was able to establish ongoing relationships with eminent industry personalities and give them a platform to connect with other Baylor students.
In her time as an artist, Lena has created dynamic, stunning films, and she consistently champions the work of other up-and-coming filmmakers.
Ria is an Australian-Indian actress, dancer, and writer. Art has always been there for her and that is what she wants to do for her audience: connect with them, help them feel understood, and ultimately evoke change.
She graduated from New York Film Academy with a Bachelors in Acting and also studied at Victorian College of the Arts in Australia. Some of her work includes playing the lead in the first ever Gujarati web-series Varta re Varta, short film Bandaid, and award-winning short Two Paper Nightingale and Nice. Most recently she won Best Actress Award for her films Trey Pops and Bandaid.
She is also passionate about PR. Actors want to tell stories and by incorporating PR into the mix, this elevates visibility of their story being shared with the audience. Ria strongly believes "your story deserves to be seen".