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Thomas Sanders Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (10)  | Trivia (22)  | Personal Quotes (14)

Overview (4)

Born in Gainesville, Florida, USA
Birth NameThomas Foley Sanders
Nicknames Storytime Guy
Foster Dawg
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Thomas Sanders was born in Gainesville, Florida, USA as Thomas Foley Sanders. He is an actor, singer and writer. Sanders' parents are both teachers and he has three brothers, Patrick, Christian and Shae. Thomas is two years older than Shae and eight years younger than Patrick and Christian. Sanders is descendant of Irish immigrants on his mother's side and is proud of his Irish Catholic heritage, having the chance to travel to Ireland where his ancestors used to live a few times. Even though he travels with some frequency to New York City and L.A., Sanders has lived all his life in Gainesville and still lives there.

Sanders' interest in theater and singing began when he was in middle school. His debut was when he was in seventh grade, in a middle school production of "Macbeth", where he played Macduff. In middle school, he also started singing in choruses. He did his first musical in high school, when he played the evil scientist Prospero in an adaptation of "Return to the Forbidden Planet", based on Forbidden Planet (1956). He was chosen because he was a bass singer and was the only one among the students who could reach the ultra-bass notes the character required.

Later he became part of the Gainesville Community Playhouse, one of the most important community theater companies in his native Gainesville, and, founded in 1927, one of the oldest active community theater companies in all Florida. He debuted in the GCP in 2006, in a production of "Beauty and the Beast", the same year he started college in the University of Florida, which is located in Gainesville, combining his studies of science in chemical engineering with theater. He won three Golden Apples, an award honoring excellence in GCP productions each season, as the best actor in a musical in 2007 for his portrayal of Ko-Ko in "Hot Mikado", in 2010 for his portrayal of Leo Bloom in "The Producers", and in 2011 for his portrayal of Billy Crocker in "Anything Goes". He also starred in shows like "Into the Woods", "Singing in the Rain" and "Les Miserables" among others.

In April 2013, a friend of Sanders, Antonio Romero, showed him a new smartphone app, named Vine. It allowed recording of videos of six seconds of length and its upload on a new social media network. Together, Sanders and Antonio recorded Sanders Shorts: Dinner After SHR (2013) which became the first in a long list of Vines, later known as the Sanders Shorts (2013). At first, Sanders only experimented with the app, uploading Vines just for fun or recording real life events like parties or moments before or after stage performances. It wouldn't be long until he started doing proper scripted Vines, singing snippets of songs, showing his comedy and doing impressions of characters like Stewie Griffin from Family Guy (1999), Stitch from Lilo & Stitch (2002) or Kermit the Frog from The Muppet Show (1976) and Sesame Street (1969) among others.

On the first months he was still doing Vines just for fun, until he started getting popular with series like "Narrating People's Lives" (also known as "Storytime", which earned him the nickname "Storytime Guy"), "Disney Pranks with Friends", "Pokemon Pranks" and "Stewie vs. Herbert" (co-starring Taylor Shrum as Herbert) among others, and his subscriber count grew amazingly fast, reaching 1 million followers in October 2013, only six months after his debut on Vine. It was then when he was approached by Matt Hogan, who became his manager and producer. Sanders then left his daytime job on an engineering firm and focused on Vines on the daytime and theater at night. Sanders also released his first musical EP, containing Christmas songs, in December 2013.

Vine popularity allowed Sanders to go to conventions around America and abroad, even reaching Tel-Aviv, Israel, and Melbourne, Australia. He still kept working on the GCP for some more years until he did his first professional theater musical in 2015, portraying J.D. in an Orlando production of "Heathers: The Musical". He used his Vine series to help drama teachers in Gainesville high schools give their students an acting exercise, and his high school Vines alongside real life students became some of his most popular, first playing one of the students, and later introducing the Teacher character that, along with the Dad character and the Prince character, became essential characters in his career. Meanwhile, he also started a YouTube channel where he did longer productions and collabs with other famous Viners and YouTubers like Anna Brisbin (Brizzy Voices), Hannah Hart, Ben J. Pierce and Gabe Erwin among others. He also started publishing monthly compilations of his Vines from September 2014 onward. Sanders won a Shorty Award in 2015 and a Streamy Award in 2016 to the best Viner. By January 2017, Sanders had reached 8.3 million subscribers and over 7.4 billion reproductions of his Vines, which made Thomas Sanders one of the most successful Viners in the history of the Vine platform. His popularity as a Viner allowed him to appear on The View (1997) as an interviewee and one of his Vines was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003). He also appeared as a guest actor in an episode of the Disney Channel show Bizaardvark (2016) and co-hosted on Disney XD a special edition of Walk the Prank (2016), Walk the Prank: Talk the Prank with Thomas Sanders and David Lopez (2017).

In the middle of 2016, Twitter announced that they would shut down Vine. Sanders announced that he would keep doing Vines until the app's last day, and then he would focus on his YouTube career. On August and September 2016, Sanders went on a tour with his own stage musical, "Ultimate Storytime", based on his Vine series "Narrating People's Lives", with which he toured through 17 cities in the U.S.A. and Canada, including Toronto and New York City. He also released an album on iTunes and Spotify with the soundtrack of this musical. After the tour ended, he started thinking on how to make the transition from Vine to YouTube, and he had the idea of using three characters from his Vine series, the Teacher character, the Dad character and the Prince character, which had became some of the most important and renowned characters by his viewers and which he had also used in his tour, to represent the different aspects of his personality. Initially it was going to be a one-off vlog, but it was so well received that he did a second and a third installment, where he had Lilly Singh as a guest star and introduced the character of Anxiety/Virgil, which became by far one of the most iconic characters in his career. That's how the Sanders Sides (2016) was born, a series that became "the staple of (his YouTube) channel", as it was demonstrated on Halloween 2017 when hundreds and hundreds of people cosplayed as the Sanders Sides characters, as well as the thousands of drawings and cosplay pics Sanders has kept on receiving and publishing since the beginning of the series. Joan S., one of Sanders' best friends and a long-term collaborator since the beginning on Vine, joined "Sanders Sides" from the 8th episode as a co-writer, and together they expanded the series and developed characters to a new level, incorporating dramatic and thrilling moments as well as further improving the comedic moments that were the root of the series. "Sanders Sides" would also see a special collaboration from Butch Hartman, who not only appeared as himself but also did a special animated sequence exclusively for "Sanders Sides" where Thomas and the "Sanders Sides" became cartoon characters.

Vine was finally shut down in January 2017, and from that moment Sanders kept on releasing the now renamed as "Sanders Shorts" episodes on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, while maintaining the monthly compilations on YouTube which were combined with "Sanders Sides" and many more YouTube shows in the Thomas Sanders (2013) series like "Real or Fake Anime", "I Can't Believe I Never Knew", "Storytime Madlibs" and "Voices of Unreason" among many others. It was in one of these episodes where Sanders officially came out as gay, becoming LGBTQ+ normalization one of the main themes in his career from this point on. He also did some musical collaborations with people like Adam Pascal, Deedee Magno, Dodie Clark and Jon Cozart among others, and kept on releasing music, being "The Things We Used to Share", released in July 2017, his first original single, composed and written by Joan Stokes, based on real events in Sanders' life. He also released a new YouTube series, "Cartoon Therapy", that was also highly praised. Sanders won his second Shorty Award, to the best YouTube comedian in 2017 and was nominated with Jon Cozart to another Streamy Award to the best YouTube collaboration. These were his first YouTube related award and nomination, which gave him high hopes for the future.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: manbemel

Trade Mark (10)

Positive treatment of LGBTQIA+ issues.
Constant happy-go-lucky and positive attitude.
Tendence to sing a lot.
Avoidance of any kind of cursing or bad language. This trait is frequently used as a gag teasing that he might curse but never actually doing it.
Uses to play two or more characters at the same time, many times personifications of his thoughts or feelings.
Purple hair.
Almost always ends his shows with the catchphrase "Take it easy, guys, gals and non binary pals, peace out!"
Uses lots of dad jokes and puns, both in fiction and in reality.
Huge sensitivity that frequently will make him tear up in real life shows before other people's issues.
Floral outfits.

Trivia (22)

He has a bachelor's degree of science in chemical engineering. When he started on Vine in April 2013, he was combining community theater with a job as a manufacturing engineer in a pharmaceutic factory, a job he left to focus solely on acting when he became a Vine star at the end of 2013.
Received three Golden Apple Awards from the Gainesville Community Playhouse to the best actor in a musical, one for his portrayal of Ko-Ko in a stage production of "Hot Mikado" in 2007, another one for his portrayal of Leo Bloom in "The Producers" in 2010, and another one for his portrayal of Billy Crocker in "Anything Goes" in 2011.
By the time Vine was shut down in January 2017, his Vines had been seen a total of 7.4 billion times, and Sanders' account on Vine had 8.3 million subscribers, which made Thomas Sanders one of the most successful viners in the history of the Vine platform.
Sanders is descendant of Irish people. His great-grandfather on his mother's side was a direct immigrant from Ireland, who became in America a lucrative business man known for his frugality. He was to get aboard the RMS Titanic, but at the last minute he changed his passage for another one in another vessel because it was 20 dollars cheaper. In Sanders' words, he is now alive thanks to his great-grandfather's "cheapness".
He is left handed, something he has incorporated to most of his characters.
He is a bass singer, and he went through vocal training to try and manage to reach a few higher notes required by certain characters. Some theater critics mistook him for a baritone when reviewing some shows he was in.
He is a fan of jazz music and he has mentioned Nat 'King' Cole as one of his favorite singers.
He was named after his father's oldest brother, who was killed in the war of Vietnam and whose name is present on the memorial wall in Washington DC.
According to a DNA test he went through whose results he made public, Sanders' DNA is 45% from the United Kingdom, 22% from Ireland, 11% from Western Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein), 9% from Spain and Portugal, 8% from Eastern Europe (Poland and Slovakia), 3% from Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden and Denmark), 1% from Finland and Russia and 1% from North America, as well as less than 1% Czech Republic and Austria, among others.
Sanders' family on his father's side has been present in America since at least the 1600's.
His acting debut was when he was in seventh grade, in the early 2000's, in a middle school production of "Macbeth", where he played Macduff. His debut in musical theater was in high school, as Prospero in "Return to the Forbidden Planet". His debut in community theater was in 2006, on his first year in college, when he joined the Gainesville Community Playhouse in a production of "Beauty and the Beast", and his professional debut in theater, after doing more than 20 stage shows, was in 2015, when he played J.D. in the Orlando production of "Heathers: The Musical".
He suffers in real life from arachnophobia, an extreme fear to spiders, something he has incorporated to some of his characters, most notably Patton from Sanders Sides (2016), who panics at the sight of spiders, even cartoon spiders.
Because of his bass vocal range and the low notes he reached, he used to get the role of the villain in some of his performances on musical theatre, a drastic contrast to his happy and kind attitude on the internet. In fact, his debut in musical theater was doing a villain, Prospero, from "Return to the Forbidden Planet", and he has played villains or dark and tormented characters like Javert, from "Les Miserables" and J.D. from "Heathers: The Musical" among others. When he announced this last role in his YouTube series, he had to add a warning to his usual viewers, that, if they were underage, they should seek parental permission before trying to see him on this show, so far away from the light stuff they were used to see from him.
He is a huge lover of dogs and this has been reflected in most of his work, where dogs usually take crucial roles in his stories, sometimes even Thomas playing the dog itself. In fact, his first username on Twitter, "Foster Dawg", which is now the name of his little production company, Foster Dawg Inc, was inspired on the name of his first dog when he was a child, Foster. Despite this, he remains reluctant to own a dog himself nowadays, even though he repeatedly expressed he really wants to, as he fears not being capable of giving it the love and attention it needs due to how much he travels. He also equally loves cats, but he is allergic to them and cannot spend too much time close to a cat before he starts sneezing, to his dismay.
His fans call themselves "Fanders", a portmanteau of the words "Fans" and "Sanders". In the early days of his career on Vine, some of them also called themselves "Sanderlings" or "Foster Children", this one for his first Twitter username, "Foster Dawg", but "Fanders" quickly became the preferred denomination. After a live stream where he said he saw his followers, in a way, as family, the name mutated to "Famders", and now both names coexist.
He's mentioned Ian McKellen and Danny DeVito as some of his acting referents.
Even though he spots an outgoing, kind, and charismatic attitude on his work and social media as well as in conventions and meet-and-greet events with his followers, he considers himself quite an introverted person in his daily real life, and he's recognized several times he suffers from social anxiety. These two traits of his personality have been reflected in much of his work, most notably in the character of Virgil, from Sanders Sides (2016), who is a straightforward personification of his own anxiety.
Since focusing on his YouTube career, Thomas has formed a long-term creative partnership with Joan S. and Talyn. Thomas and Joan write scripts together, especially for Sanders Sides (2016) which is a joint work since its eighth episode. Joan and Talyn participate in editing and visual effects, Talyn creates and applies makeup, as well as sewing the costumes Joan designs, and also both Joan and Talyn appear as actors or as themselves when needed.
For years, he didn't know how to play any instrument apart from the basic recorder he learned at school. It was in 2017 when he decided to learn an instrument because he got tired of always having to sing without music or along anybody else playing an instrument. He decided to learn ukulele and Joan S. was his teacher. However, because his fingers were too big for the classic small ukulele, he decided to learn the bigger tenor ukulele. He would showcase his progress for the first time in Thomas Sanders: The Things We Used to Share (2017), his first original single and music video, where he played the ukulele while singing.
His great-grandmother was a Zigfeld Follies girl, something Sanders called his "ancestral connection with stage".
In January 28, 2019, he raised a petition on his Instagram to help a fifth grade teacher who had asked him for help to get books for her students. Sanders asked his followers to share a list of items on Amazon and purchase whatever they could afford for these children. His followers got mobilized, buying as many items as they could or sharing the list those who couldn't. In less than 24 hours, almost the whole list of books had been completely purchased by Sanders' followers with the participation of people like Kim Rhodes among others, and the rest would be purchased in the few following days. After a slight delay due to the extreme cold wave in the USA at the time, the more than a thousand books that had been purchased were successfully delivered to the children around February 8, 2019, eleven days after the petition was started.
He suffered from bullying when he was in middle school. He remarked as an example that one kid told him: "no one likes Thomas, because he's... Thomas", a phrase that stuck deeply within him for years and became one cause of his present self worth issues and social anxiety.

Personal Quotes (14)

[Speaking about how Vine has affected his career in show business] Having Vine take me places - I went to Los Angeles, I went to Canada, I was on The View - and all because I'm on my phone too much.
[about how being a stage actor helped him build his comedy on Vine] I was into theater way before Vine. Theater has always been my passion and my dream, so I had done a lot of theater before - I think nearly 20 shows - before I got into making Vines. I borrowed a lot of my own theatricalities for the Vines. In fact, I think I was the only one chalking up character acting and singing and nerdy humor, and that was my niche and that's how I took off. So I owe a lot of my success on Vine to theater, to stage performance, and now I am able to borrow back and forth.
[speaking about real life encouraging words he has received from his followers] It always takes me aback that the videos I make can positively affect someone somewhere in the world, and then to see them face-to-face thanking me just makes it all the more corporeal. I've been to a few State Thespian competitions where individuals have come up thanking me for bringing some representation to the LGBTQIA community in comedy without making their identity the butt of the joke, which unfortunately happens so much in social media. I have been messaged by some students that their sign language teachers really appreciated my use of sign language in some vines to represent the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community. And I've also had a student write to me that their teacher used my Vine about mental health to start a conversation in their classroom, which absolutely amazes me.
[when asked what was something fans did not know about him] I am remarkably an introvert. I really do like my alone time, I think a lot of people online like their alone time, whether they like to admit it or not. Being in the public for too long, it's draining. It's also nice to have your alone time to refresh and recharge.
[about how he does cope with critics and internet trolls] Thats a really good question. Honestly, I've learned pretty fast that a lot of comments you kind of just have to tune out. The important thing that I try to do is give an ear to those who send me positive feedback. I don't give my attention to the people who have something negative to say. I think I'm lucky I'm coming from a point where I'm a little bit older and I'm able to put myself in that position. They might be coming from a place of jealousy, they're not in a good place in their own heart, and you can't give into that negativity.
[about what advice he would give to people who look up to him] We don't give young people enough credit, for how smart they are, and how [worldly] they are. And also how much stress they have, how much they have to live with. Now with the internet, there's an added pressure of identity and criticism, and they really need to take that into consideration. For them, I want to say: Don't let other people tell you how you should be. Or who to be. Don't let people make you feel lesser than the amazing person that you are, because it's just such a shame. There are so many sweethearts out there and they should never be made to feel as sad as they are being made to feel. It's a shame. I just want to be there to offer their support.
[about what's the message he wants to spread to his fans] I want kids to understand that they have the power to conduct their own story, that they are the protagonists of their own narratives. I think that people try to tell others how they should be and how they should live and what their lives should be like. They need to remember that they have the power to write their own stories, and to be who they are.
[about the shut down of Vine] It's definitely, definitely an emotional day. It's kind of like that last day of school where people are reminiscing. It's bittersweet because I know these and how talented they are. They are going to keep on doing amazing things. But it's kind of sad that the app that got me started, that started this whole career, is shutting down.
Keep in mind the power you hold as an individual. You all are capable of creating beautiful art, inspiring written word, and plans for change in this world. Do not let anyone convince you one person can't make a difference.
[Published on the National Coming Out Day, 2018] Seven years of being out of the closet. Although I'm still figuring myself out, I at least am so happy to be more comfortable with my sexuality! If you haven't come out yet, don't worry! You'll come out when you're ready and it's the right time for you.
[about the experience of coming out as gay] I still remember the fear I had when I told friends that I was gay because I knew there was no turning back. I've not regretted a day since. I had a support system and it was the right time for me. Coming out isn't a race and there'll be a time when you'll be ready to take that leap.
[after a long day of backstage work with nothing published] Ugh!! I get so frustrated when a ton of work gets done in a day, but nothing is able to be shown or posted yet. Especially when I was /planning/ on posting at least a short today, but other work took over. I'll get something out to you guys soon, promise!

[after reading responses from his followers encouraging him to rest and not overwork himself and telling him they care about his health more than him rushing out to publish a video, among other responses] And it's at these times after I've vented that I'm reminded I'm dealing with some of the sweetest freakin people in the world. Thank you all so much for your sweet words. I just know it's nice to provide some small bit of content that might make you smile, so I try to do that.
[speaking on Twitter about when he suffered from bullying in middle school] I think much of my self worth issues can be traced as far back as my early days in school. One kid in middle school once said, "No one likes Thomas, because he's... Thomas." It's wild how that can still stick with a person years later. Try your best to be kind to one another. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't and still am anything but perfect. I was an eccentric kid for sure. But being aware of what you say to one another can really go a long way. That's a lesson even younger me needed to be reminded of.

[after receiving hundreds of tweets showing him love and support] By the way, you all are the sweetest sweethearts for all the things you're tweeting at me right now. You're far too kind, and trust me, I thank God each day for the kindness you all show to me. I know how lucky I am here and now and feel so fortunate, so don't you worry.
[on a tweet from 2013] You don't stop having fun because you get old. You get old because you stop having fun.

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