We had the good fortune of connecting with Chandler Barbee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chandler, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It started when I realized I would rather be a ‘king in a shack’ than a ‘servant in a castle.’ I was writing and making tv shows and movies but it wasn’t the content that I wanted to see or felt fulfilled and excited about. What did I know? Well, I knew that I was funny, creative, and experienced and when I looked around me, I saw that my friends were the same. So we all came together and founded Dark Ideas Production and Crew Member Coffee. We didn’t wait on “Big Mr. Hollywood” to save us when we knew we could do it ourselves. It’s been the most difficult, insane, and rewarding time of my life. I’m truly proud of every piece of content we make and happy to work on it all.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
This March marks my 11th year in the film industry, and let me just say, it’s been a rollercoaster. I grew up in a small town in Alabama with no creative or film connections. In this business, you’ve gotta be able to hustle to get in and stay in. I started from the ground as a production assistant at 18 and worked my way up to a comedy writer and performer. When I was younger I would work 14ish hour days on set and go home and write comedy or go to improv classes. I constantly studied film, comedy, and people I admired (I still do)! I think the thing that sets me apart from others is that I will always find a way. No matter how many doors close in my face, I believe in myself and that’s all that matters. In this business you HAVE to believe in yourself because you will get 100 ‘no’s’ before one ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’, The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it’s okay to say no. You don’t have to do everything, always… which is hard when you’re like me (libra problems). In the past couple of years, I’ve changed a lot as a writer and comedian. I’ve found my voice in filmmaking and storytelling, and I’m excited to share it through Dark Ideas Production. I’ve been known to have a pretty dark and satirical outlook on life and I’m comfortable in sharing it. I don’t want to make comedy for ‘Hollywood’ anymore; I want to make comedy for my friends, my brothers, and people from all walks of life around the world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would start the day off at Cofax on Fairfax Ave for breakfast burritos and an almond milk latte, obviously. Cofax, in my opinion, has the best breakfast burritos in town, so if I’m getting breakfast… it’s going to be Cofax.
Since we are all a functioning mind, body, and spirit, next up would be ARTHA where I go to do yoga, sauna, and cryotherapy. Working in the entertainment business can be stressful, but I’ve found it to be more manageable when I’m in this healthy routine. P.S. John’s Rebel Yoga class is like a spiritual experience.
If we’re thinking bars, my favorites are Birds, Ye Rustic Inn, Melrose Umbrella Co, The Rainbow, Chimney Sweep, or The Short Stop.
Later in the day we might hit up The Comedy Store or UCB (when they’re back… I miss it) to see some of my comedy friends perform. Regardless, every late night ends with Swingers diner on Beverly Blvd. Swingers has had my heart since I moved to LA years ago. Every good memory I’ve had involves my friends and Swingers. Vegan chocolate chip pancakes for the table!!
Oh and the best tacos in town? El Carmen on 3rd. Shout out to Dom!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate this Shoutout to my friends and creative partners, Max Frew and Hailey Oltman. Max and Hailey have been my friends throughout most of my film career. We’ve ‘grown up’ in the industry together. They’ve been with me through the roughest parts of my life and career, and have always made me laugh about it instead of cry. When I had the idea to start Dark Ideas Production and Crew Member Coffee, they were not only encouraging, but there with me every step of the way. Our friendship has grown and expanded into businesses where we all have trust to be creatively free and thrive. I couldn’t think of anyone I owe more of a thank you and shoutout to than both of them.
And obviously, my mother. Mom, thanks for taking my crying calls at 2AM.
Youtube: Dark Ideas Production
Other: Tiktok: @ChanBarbee
Coffee Product Shots: Max Frew On Set Images: Kevin Heffernan