Todd Farmer: The Stuff of Nightmares

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Johnny Depp pretty much summed it up when he said, “Just keep moving forward and don’t give a shit what anybody thinks.” Film writer, Todd Farmer best known in the horror slasher genre world for Jason X, Messengers 2: The Scarecrow, My Bloody Valentine 3D and Drive Angry, can be considered as a living embodiment of this.

ToddFarmerOver the past eighteen years of his career as a Hollywood film writer, Todd knows all too well the harsh reality of this highly competitive, cut-throat industry, and counts his blessings for his good fortune. Beginning his career with director/producer/writer, Sean Cunningham, the mastermind between the Friday the 13th horror series, this ultimately paved the way for Todd Farmer’s career and his involvement in the horror slasher genre. His choice to depart from the original concept of the Friday the 13th horror franchise, by putting Jason in Space in 2001’s Jason X, saw him being criticized by avid fans of this famous franchise.

But nonetheless, Todd Farmer remains true to himself, and makes no apologies for his bold and brave writing choices. It can be said that it is Todd’s daring choices that has established this southern boy, as one of the most influential Hollywood film writers of our time. He allows himself the creative freedom to go where very few screenwriters dare to go, ultimately challenging preconceived notions of the horror genre, in particular.

This former independent Amway distributor who grew up in Kentucky, is real and refreshingly honest. Throughout the years, he’s managed to cultivate and sustain successful and authentic relationships with key players in the entertainment business – a rarity in Hollywood. Todd most definitely considers himself lucky and understands that he is one of the privileged few that has been able to establish a career in the Hollywood entertainment industry as a successful film writer.

In talking to Todd, he reveals a candid and authentic perspective of the entertainment industry through his experiences, and reveals how he’s been able to pick himself up and dust himself off again in an industry notorious for rejection. Todd truly understands that real life experiences make for good writers, with his message being loud and clear not to be afraid to experience life, embracing both the good and the bad. His writing prowess lends to a variety of different mediums.

With the highly anticipated release of the action-adventure-fantasy movie, Heavenly Sword based on the video game of this same name, as well as numerous projects in the works, Todd Farmer will undoubtedly continue to prove why he’s one of the leading writers in Hollywood.

Natalie: Todd, in 1996, you moved to Los Angeles where you began your career in the entertainment industry working for film director, producer, writer Sean Cunningham, who is best known for creating the Friday the 13th horror series. Sean can obviously be credited to opening a door for you in an industry where many find it difficult to break into.

What do you believe Sean saw in you as a creator that encouraged him to take a chance on you?

Todd: I believe it was because I was cheap. Pretty sure, that’s the starting point. I met Sean through Dean Lorey. Dean Lorey had written Jason Goes to Hell, and Dean and I had met when I was living in Texas. Dean and I talked about stories, and he said, “Look, if you want to write for Hollywood, you need to move to LA”. So, that’s what brought me there. Then he introduced me to Sean, and Sean was like “Hey, I’ll give you a place to write and pay you, and we’ll just write until we make a movie”. And that’s about it. We had a good time. At the time, Sean really didn’t like horror movies. He started in it, but he wanted to move on to other things. So, I wrote a lot of other stuff for a while. I was there for three years, and at the end of that he decided to do another Jason movie. I was like, “Good, let’s do that!”

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Natalie: Todd, many go to Hollywood with stars in their eyes, but quickly learn the stark reality of the industry. When you first moved from Kentucky, did you have high expectations and believed that anything was possible?

Todd: I loaded up all my clothes and computer in my pick-up truck and drove to LA. I slept in a hammock for the first three months.

Yes, I didn’t realize until probably six or seven years later it was hard. I was pretty lucky. Working for Sean paid my bills, and then we made a movie at the end of that. I was always really blessed. I always had jobs, and so yeah, I didn’t know it was hard until years later when I sort of had more of a career, got my foot through the door, I started realizing, well, every job seemed harder and harder to get even though I had already sort of made it. These days, it’s way more difficult than it was when I started. It’s way tougher now.

Natalie: Todd, so you were introduced to Sean pretty early on?

Todd: Yeah. Within probably the first two months of living in LA.

Natalie: Todd, you have written scripts for horror flicks, such as Jason X (2001), Messengers 2: The Scarecrow (2009) and the remake of the 1981 slasher film, My Blood Valentine 3D (2009). What is it about the horror genre which most appeals to you?

Todd: When I was growing up, that’s what you did to have fun. I mean, we would get together on the weekends and watch movies. Sometimes they were horror, and sometimes they were action movies. It was just whatever. What’s interesting about the horror genre is, when you wanted to be a writer in Hollywood at the time, it was easiest genre to get into because you weren’t up against big names. It was very small budgets. And when Scream (1996) came out, everything sort of changed. Scream changed the rules. Suddenly, everybody was making horror movies. When I first started, it was Dimension and New Line. They were pretty much it. And now everybody has a genre department. Back in the day, people who made movies tended to be embarrassed by horror films. Now they’re not, because they know that they make money.

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Natalie: Todd, how important is it to stay true to the original concept when remaking a film or contributing an instalment to a famous film franchise?

Todd: I appreciate different. I like the Friday the 13th franchise. Even though it starts with Jason and his mother, then the rest of it is about Jason, each one is a little different and it’s not the same thing rehashed over and over. I appreciate that. With My Bloody Valentine, we went through and took things we liked the most and kept those things. The rest of it we created. I always look at The Fly (1986) and perfect examples of that, because if you go back and watch the original The Fly, it’s quite a bit different from the [David] Cronenberg version. But still at the same time, there’s teleportation elements, there’s still people morphing into other creatures. It still has the same concept, but it’s very Cronenberg. He took his own ideas and expanded. I like that, when you do a remake, especially. If you look at the Psycho remake, the Psycho remake was word for word the original movie, and that’s interesting. But it feels like you can only do that once or twice, and then you’re sort of running out of ideas. I never understood people who get upset when they do a remake, because the original still exists. We’re not burning it. You can still go watch it. It’s just, we’re doing something different. I like that, and I appreciate other artists and other writers when they do it.

For a lot of people who grew up with the original [version of My Bloody Valentine] I think it’s very dear to their hearts. But it is a movie that was made on a very small budget with unknown actors. As far as production value, it’s not a great movie. But as far as fun, as a kind of slasher film, it’s fantastic. But we had more money to throw at it, and we had 3D technology. Back at the time, 3D was brand new, and we were sort of figuring it out. We had no idea that the potential 3D had. We had fun though.

Natalie: In remaking a film, do you feel pressure to fulfil the expectations of die-hard horror fans?

Todd: I don’t. I feel like I am a die-hard horror fan, and so I want to make movies that I want to see. I know that there are guys out there that try to do just want they think the crowd wants to see. I think that’s the wrong way to do it. I think you have to make what you’re passionate about and hope that everybody else comes along. So far, I’ve been lucky.

Natalie: Todd, growing up did you watch many horror classics such as the Halloween franchise, Nightmare on Elm Street, Dawn of the Dead and of course, Friday the 13th?

Todd: I watched them all. Halloween’s one of those movies that make me what I am. I would say without a doubt Halloween, Jaws, Alien and the Star Wars films. Two of the movies, you could even argue that three of them, are horror films. Those are the films that influenced me most when I was a kid. Halloween is certainly a horror film. I think Alien and Aliens are horror films, and I love that genre.

Natalie: How has this influenced your work in the horror slasher film genre?

Todd: Well, you could look at Jason X, and Jason X structurally is Aliens. Everything about it from my storytelling standpoint is Aliens, and that was the whole pitch. The pitch was, what if we took the movie Alien, and what if we took the alien out and put Jason in? That was the idea. Patrick Lussier and I had the chance to write a Halloween movie, and that was really a dream come true because we loved that franchise. And that will be one of my biggest regrets, that we didn’t make that movie.

Natalie: Any plans in the future?

Todd: If they called, we’d be more than happy to consider, but I’m not sure what they’re doing now. I hear rumours all the time, but I don’t know what’s going on.

Natalie: Todd, your first film was Jason X, which was the 10th instalment of the Friday the 13th franchise. In writing the screenplay, what inspired you to use a futuristic setting as a backdrop for this horror slasher flick?

Todd: The biggest reason was that Freddy vs Jason was in development. Well, my argument was that we didn’t want to tell a story that chronologically takes place at the same time that their movie’s taking place. I didn’t want to screw that up. I said, “What if we set our movie in the future?” And the plan was to literally set it five hundred years in the future. Originally, I thought it would be a Blade Runner kind of world where it was future and futuristic, and they find Jason on Earth cytogenetically frozen. They wake him up. But they felt like to build a world that was that futuristic was way too expensive, so we ended up doing it on a spaceship.

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Natalie: So, you got your opportunity to work in Alien.

Todd: I did, indeed. I felt that I was able to work in two franchises that I loved.

Natalie: Todd, when writing a script, how much creative freedom do you allow yourself?

Todd: I allow myself full creative freedom. What ends up happening, is that you get that first draft, for the most part is yours. And then everyone else gets to it, and injects their opinion. At that point, I used to think it was our job to tell the best story with the best characters we could do. It’s not the case anymore. There’s too many people who stand between you and getting the movie made. So, what you have to do is take their notes and their ideas, and make them work. Make them work in a way that the audience will respond. And so it’s a different way of making movies. On some levels, it’s not as rewarding because it’s not just you sitting around a camp fire telling a story, It’s you sitting around a camp fire with, you know, three hundred people behind you telling you what story to tell. And you take all these elements, and put it all together. It’s a little different. But it pays well.

Natalie: Todd, you have written numerous film scripts, some that have been picked up and some that have been passed on. How difficult is it to invest a great deal of time, energy and emotion into your work, without a guarantee of a positive outcome?

Todd: It’s tough. I mean, the good news is when you create that for yourself, you still own it. So, you can always come back to it later. Like, I wrote a script with a friend of mine, well, Dean Lorey, the guy who introduced me to Sean Cunningham. We wrote a screenplay, probably ten years ago, and we went around with it. Nobody bought it. And so now, we’re both in different places in our careers. We decided instead of trying to go back out with it, let’s write it as a novel. So, we’ve co-written it. We’re about halfway through it. So, we’re co-writing a novel, based on a screenplay that we wrote. We’re going to publish it ourselves, and it will be ours. We’ll own it. So, if Hollywood wants to buy it, great. But we’ll still own it. And so that’s much different than be hired to come in and write something. If Drive Angry had be far more successful, Patrick and I would’ve owned nothing. They could’ve made toys, they could’ve made sequels. They could’ve done anything they wanted, and we had no part of it because we had basically sold the rights to an idea that was original. But with a novel or a comic book or anything else, you own it. Basically they have to option the rights. So, it’s a much more powerful place to be.

Natalie: As a human being, rejection can be very hard to take. What are your strategies or coping mechanisms for dealing with rejection or let-downs in an industry notorious for shattering aspirations and dreams?

Todd: I’ve always had a big enough ego, that if someone doesn’t like something I just assume that they don’t get it (laughs). I feel sorry for them. I feel they’re missing out. Bless their hearts.

Natalie: Todd, in 2009 you formed a partnership with director, Patrick Luisser. Since then, you have written the screenplay for four films so far, including the remake of My Blood Valentine 3D and Drive Angry. You have said that Patrick is one of your closet friends.

How important has your close relationship with Patrick been in the collaborative process of these projects?

Todd: For Patrick and I, it’s been amazing because we don’t think alike. So, that’s wonderful because when we both write, we’re both sort of coming from different directions. But at the same time, we have each other’s backs. Where if you come in and start working with someone you don’t really know, I mean, Patrick and I can finish each other’s sentences sometimes. I have the same thing with Dean. And so, it’s a nice place to be. When we were on set, I could anticipate things he was gonna need as a director. So, once you get on set, a lot of writers think they’re in competition or in battle with the director. That’s not the case at all. When you’re on set, your job changes from writer to you’re the guy who there’s to do whatever you have to do to clear the path for the director. As a writer, it’s your job to basically help the director and help fulfil his vision. Because of that I think Patrick and I had a pretty good relationship. And it’s still good. It’s been a nice little journey, and the fact that we’re friends…if something’s going on the fact that we can crash at each other’s homes, that’s something that is ours.

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Natalie: Todd, you have named four extremely influential individuals who have been pivotal in molding your career. In particular, your best friend Dean Lorey who encouraged your move to LA; Sean Cunningham who helped you get your first film credit and ultimately your “foot in the door”; your mentor Dean Riesner; and your partner in crime Patrick Luisser.

How critical is it in the Hollywood entertainment industry to have individuals in your corner, who are willing to support and champion you?

Todd: Well, basically it’s everything because making it in this industry, is all about talent, luck and who you know. And I knew that I had some raw talent. Who you know is so important. And luck is the biggest factor by far. But if you know the right people, and it’s not about kissing ass. It’s about being yourself and finding people who are on the same path that you’re on, who are taking the same journey. You can pretty much move mountains, if you find the right team. I was lucky enough to find that. You know, Hollywood isn’t a nine to five job. It’s pretty much 24/7, and so oddly enough the people you work with tend to be your best friends. When Patrick and I get together, most of the time it’s work-related. But we love what we do, so that’s okay. Dean and I probably drink a little more than most people (laughs). There’s other people who I’ve met along the way [like] Tyler Mane. Tyler [played] Michael Myers in the remake of the Halloween movie, and that’s how we met because we were writing Halloween. Tyler and I have become great friends, and we like to put our feet up and go drink a lot. But that’s okay (laughs). A bit of work, and a lot of drink.

Natalie: A little bit of work, lots of fun. It makes for a healthy relationship

Todd: It does, indeed.

Natalie: In retrospect, do you believe that without the assistance of these individuals in your life, that you would have been able to achieve success as a film writer in a highly competitive industry?

Todd: No, not at all. I think I may have met different people and the path, the journey would’ve been completely different. That’s possible. But I have no regrets. A lot of people hate Jason X. I don’t care. I mean, it was my first movie. There were things about it I don’t like, things that I wish were different. But that’s just part of it. I don’t have any regrets. I don’t regret the journey, I don’t regret the friends I’ve made. I don’t regret the failed relationships. I don’t regret none of it. It’s all part of life experience. And as a writer, sometimes you say, should I go to film school? I mean, if you want to. But what you should do is get out into the world and live your life because if you want to tell stories that relate to other people, you’ve got to get out there and live. You can’t just be locked up in your room and write. You have to go out there and stump your toe, and you have to go out there and fall on your face, and go out there and fall in love and get your heart broken. That’s the only way you’re going to be able to tell stories that other people can relate to.

Natalie: Todd, you have stated that, “…even though the cards are stacked against you, you’re not alone. The cards are stacked against all of us. In the end it still comes down to talent, luck and who you know.” This can be said to be aptly true in the entertainment business.

Do you believe that although you may be extremely talented, without someone willing to go that extra mile and take a chance on you, it becomes pretty unlikely that you will be able to live up to your potential?

Todd: I think you can make peace with that, and have a wonderful life. Sure, there are exceptions to me. But I’ve been lucky enough to have friends and associates who have helped me get my foot in the door and have helped me keep it there. In the absence of that, I don’t know very many people personally who have made it. Every story is different, but in the absence of having someone who’s got your back, having someone who can help you, it’s difficult. You can’t force it. It’s a natural thing.

I mean, you meet friends, the ones you click with and the ones you don’t. A lot of times people will reach out to me who want that friendship, thinking that we can work together, that we can do things together, and it’s unnatural. Friendship has to come first, I think. You can meet somebody and work together and have a friendship build out of that, but in order for that to sustain, that has to be there. I mean, [with] my friends we’ve been in the trenches together. We’ve been fighting the same battle, the same war. You really can’t put a price-tag on that.

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Natalie: Todd, how important is networking in this business?

Todd: It’s not important at all. (Laughs) I’m just kidding. I mean, the world has changed now. Now networking is social-networking. It’s important as anything. Dean and I are about to do books together. We are going to want the people we associate with to be a part of that. You know, I used to say if you want to make it out here, be around people who in life you want to be. Because you know, if you’re hanging around with someone who’s not doing what you want to do, you’re going to end up picking up those traits. If you want to be a writer, hang out with writers, and go to the parties and go to the premieres. Do the things that people you want to be like, who’s careers you want, do things they’re doing. So yeah, networking is a huge part of it. I never took it too seriously because I wanted to just have fun. I networked, but I networked with people that I liked. I never felt that I wanted to be…I can’t. I’m too Kentucky. I’m basically your most feral Aussie. I can’t go be anything but me. I’m not gonna fake it. If I meet somebody at a party or at a social event or premiere that I like, we’ll hang out. If not, I’m not gonna randomly kiss ass for no reason.

Natalie: So, you’re definitely staying true to yourself?

Todd: I am. I mean, I have friends that have built wonderful careers out of saying and doing whatever needs to be said and done at the time. I like my path. I’m gonna stay on it. If it means that I don’t become the biggest writer or the biggest whatever, that’s fine with me.

Natalie: Well, good on you. I really like the “feral Aussie” comment!

Todd: (Laughs). Of all the people on the planet, I’ve never met anyone who is more loyal and easy-going than Aussies, and also more filthy and dirty-mouthed (still laughing). You can meet two friends in Australia and they start talking to each other in the most vulgar, offensive ways, and they just love each other.

Natalie: For us Aussies, it’s probably what we call terms of endearment

Todd: Yes, it is. It’s funny because the first time I went to Australia I was with a friend…There was lots of drinking and lots of vulgarity. And I’m okay with that.

Natalie: So, you were right at home then?

Todd: I was, indeed.

Natalie: Todd, both 2008 and 2009 can be regarded as very rewarding years in your career with the theatrical release of My Bloody Valentine 3D starring Jensen Ackles, Jaime King and Kerr Smith, and Messengers II: The Scarecrow direct to DVD.

What did you enjoy most about working on these projects?

Todd: Oddly enough, I worked on most of them. You said, My Bloody Valentine and Scarecrow. What happened was the [Writer’s] Guild went on strike. I was working with three companies and all three companies struck deals with the Writer’s Guild, so I could continue writing. So, I was writing My Bloody Valentine, Scarecrow and a project called Heavenly Sword which was based on a videogame. I was doing all three of those at the same time. Almost a million writers were out of work on the picket lines, and I couldn’t be on the picket lines because I had too much work to do, so I felt bad. By the way, no one was paying me a ton of money at the time, because their feeling was you know, we’re on strike, we can go get anybody we want. So, there really wasn’t any negotiation. It was just, “We need you to write. Here’s what we’re paying you. Go and do it”. And I did it. But it was a wonderful time, because I got to work with Sam Ramey. I got to do a remake that ended up getting me killed by the miner. So, that was fun.

Then I got to do something that was completely outside of the horror genre. I got to take a video game [Heavenly Sword] that I loved and turn it into a movie. It was a good time. And you know, the Heavenly Sword movie still hasn’t come out. It comes out this year. So, it was a fun year. It was busy.

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Natalie: Todd, you co-wrote the screenplay for the 2011 supernatural action thriller, Drive Angry starring Nicholas Cage, Amber Heard and William Fichtner, directed by Patrick Luisser. It cost an estimated 30 million or so to make, was an original script and starred a major Hollywood A-lister, however it was not well received at the box office.

In retrospect, what do you believe it was about Drive Angry which failed to attract moviegoers?

Todd: I’d like to say that we started 3D and we destroyed it, which is not exactly true. After My Bloody Valentine we wanted to do another 3D movie, and Patrick said let’s do a car movie and we wrote it. We had very little time, and the sets weren’t very well made and they cost more. I think the audience was sort of fed up. I think they were tired of 3D, and I think that was the biggest issue. I probably would’ve marketed it differently. I felt that the ads that were out and the stories that were being told, didn’t really represent the movie. But I stand with no regrets. I went to Disneyland with my ex-wife and daughter at the time, just to not deal with any of it and we had a blast that weekend while the movie was coming out and nobody was going to see it. But we were at Disneyland (laughs). But I do know, that every movie I’ve ever made has been a love-hate movie – people either love it or hate it. I approach the love as much as I do the hate – the movies that were the love-hate. You either love my movies or you hate my movies, and I’m okay with that.

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Natalie: Todd, you have stated that you have been fortunate enough to pay the bills as a film writer, but nonetheless, you still live a middle-class existence.

How difficult is it to earn a decent living from writing?

Todd: It can be tough. There have been years that have been wonderful years, and there’s other years that nothing has happened. Now studios and producers aren’t paying as much as they used to. And so, it can be difficult. It can be really tough. I’ve never been one of those guys who’s had the movie come out and made, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars and had it made and walk in and just get the next job. I’ve always had to work for it, and I’m okay with that. That’s just a part of it. It’s the path that I’m on at this point. I have no regrets. It can be tough.

Natalie: Todd, you have written numerous scripts for films. Have you ever thought about writing for the small screen? Any plans to write a pilot to pitch to a studio?

Todd: I actually have. I’m trying to get TV. I’ve tried to get some TV stuff on the air, and there’s a good chance in the next year that I probably will turn to TV. There’s some things in the works now that I probably will ended up doing for TV. I like television because it feels more grown up. The movies feel like you’ve got a lot more money to play around with, and there’s a lot more cooks in the kitchen. But with TV, there’s not enough time to do that. You have to write good, you have to shoot it, and then you have to put it out there and let people see it. You don’t sit on a story for six months, tweak it and second guess it. I like the idea of just writing something, and then going to make it. That’s what I loved about Drive Angry. Some people don’t like Drive Angry and that’s fine. But Drive Angry, we wrote it and we went and shot it. And we had some budget constraints. But beyond that, it’s ours. We wrote it. It’s our story. We made those decisions and we didn’t have a lot of money to throw at problems when they arose. If something happened and if it was gonna rain, we just had to work our way around it. And I liked that. I liked having to outthink a problem, rather than just throw money at it. So, I would love to do TV for the same reason because there’s not enough time to screw around. You have to go make the show.

Natalie: Todd, you mentioned that you have something in the works. Are we looking at drama or comedy?

Todd: Probably comedy. But drama and comedy. Not a sitcom but shows that are funny and that have drama.

Natalie: A dramedy in other words?

Todd: A dramedy. Yes, indeed.

Natalie: What has been your most satisfying project thus far, and why?

Todd: I love them all for different reasons. That’s like saying, which is your favorite child? Which is your favorite pet? I do really have affection for all of them, even any comic books I did. I like telling stories. Each experience is different. There are elements of drama that are wonderful. But at the same time I can say different things about My Bloody Valentine. I don’t think there’s any one experience that’s better than the others. They’re all sort of very different. I appreciate them all.

Natalie: Todd, in addition to writing scripts, you have also appeared in some of own your projects.

How different is it working in front of the camera as opposed to behind the scenes? And what do you prefer?

Todd: I like it both. I like acting because it allows me to see that side of it, so I think it makes me a better writing. But also when I was in college, I did theater and that sort of thing, so I always enjoyed acting. Jason X was a fluke-thing, James [Isaac] was like, “Do you want to play one of the parts? and I said “Yeah”. With My Bloody Valentine, it was more of a situation where we needed someone to play that role for certain reasons, and Patrick was like, “Will you do it?” And I said, “Yeah, I’ll do it”. But that was a difficult role. I was worried because Lionsgate was going to cast a local in Pennsylvania which was fine. There’s great local actors there. But it was a role that demanded special effects. A lot of special effects. It also demanded a sex scene which is difficult to shoot. I was worried that we’d get somebody in there that would panic, and we didn’t have a lot of time or money to screw around. So, that’s how I ended up doing it. But with Drive Angry, it was just us being funny. I’ve done some little stuff here and there for friends of mine. I did a small role in Cheap Thrills which is a wonderful movie, very dark. I’ve always enjoyed acting, so if friends ask me to come in, of course I would.

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Natalie: Todd, any future plans to delve further into the acting world?

Todd: No. Not unless director friends or producer friends ask me to come in and do stuff. I don’t know that I would ever want to be a series regular or something like that. It’s not really what I want to do. I like telling stories. If the right project came along, I would probably consider it. But you know, look at me. What am gonna do? Play the bouncer? I like telling stories, and I want to keep doing that. I would like to play a part in everything that I write, but for the most part, I want to be on set, I want to write the stories. You know, let other people do the acting.

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Natalie: Todd, how important is it to you for the actors in your films to do justice to the script and ultimately the words you created?

Todd: Not at all. I just need them to do justice to themselves. They need to come in and make the character their own. I saw a writer recently say that it was wrong to say that a screenplay is a schematic or an architectural design. That person was wrong. We create the blueprint and others have to come in and make the movie based on that blueprint. And if a wall has to be torn down and changed in order for the actor to be able to do a better job, then we can’t be precious with our little screenplay. If you want to do that, then go write fuckin’ novels. My screenplays aren’t precious. I want the actors to come in and take the role that’s written and make it their own. And if they go too far in the wrong direction, then the director will pull them back. It’s not my job.

Natalie: Todd, what motivates you as a creator and artist?

Todd: Money. Yeah. There’s no other answer to that (laughs).

Natalie: Where do you derive your inspiration from? Any musings?

Todd: I run a lot, so I get a lot of ideas when I’m running. Just living life. I mean, it really sounds cliché but the truth is, go to Disneyland, go to games, go out into the world, go ride horses, go do whatever it is you need in order to do to experience life because that’s where the ideas, well, it is for me, where the ideas come from. You know, when I’m out doing something, I’m like “Oh, what if this happened and this happened? Oh, while you’re here at bank, this were to happen.” You know, that’s where the ideas come from. Just living life.

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Natalie: Todd, what valuable advice have you been given that has served you well in your career?

Todd: Dean Riesner who wrote Dirty Harry, High Plains Drifter and bunch of those movies, he told me to argue three times and then cash the check. And he was right because some writers can argue their way out of a job. It’s our job to tell the best story we can tell, and get paid for it. Argue three times and if you don’t convince them after the third time, you’re not going to. So, just make the change and go buy a car or something.

Natalie: Todd, what advice would you give to others who have an interest and passion for a career in the entertainment business?

Todd: That one changes yearly. It’s a tough business here. I know that it’s a tough business in Australia. I don’t have any answers. Lately, I’ve been telling people not to (laughs). Don’t pursue it. Go do something else that’s more rewarding. But I think the truth is, if you’re going to do it, these days you should make your own film, write your own story, pull your friends together. Make your own film, because the industry’s changing. It’s so much easier to make your own movie now than it used to be. And with social media, you can actually get it seen. There’s a bunch of crap out there, but every now and then you see one that you’re like, “Wow, that was actually good”.

I think the best advice is, don’t wait on anybody else. Don’t wait for anyone else’s permission. Just go and make your own movie. Stephen King said you can’t write every day and not get better at it. And he’s correct. So, if you’re a writer, write every day. The thing that I don’t want to hear about are people that say you know, I don’t know when to start or don’t know how to start it. Then you’re not a writer. Writers write. If they don’t write, they go insane and they bury people in the backyard. Write! That’s what you do. Write. Live your life and have fun and love the people that you love and hate the people that you hate. And the rest will fall into place.

Natalie: What is a typical day like in the life of Todd Farmer?

Todd: For the most part, mornings are writing. And then around noon, I’ll do some writing. And then in the afternoon, I’ll write (laughs). At night, I’ll go for a run, go to the gym, go for a run, do laundry. You know, the normal stuff. But for the most part, it’s about writing. As you’re chasing jobs, there’s a lot of phone calls and emails and that sort of thing. I do like going out with friends that I’m working with. Dean and I go out and have a drink from time to time. Tyler and I certainly do. Patrick and Laeta [Kalogridis] are off shooting Terminator: Genesis right now, so they’re back in the trenches. But when they get back, we’ll hang out some more. I like writing. My dad told me when I was a kid, he said, find a job that pays you to do what you love to do. He said, you’ll never be working. So, I feel like I don’t really work. It’s a good thing.

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 Natalie: Todd, do you have any projects currently in the works that you would like to tell us about?

Todd: Heavenly Sword, I mentioned earlier is coming out soon. The rest, it’s all sort of a little too early to talk about publicly yet. So, do I have anything that I can talk about? No (laughs).

Natalie: But there is a show, a pilot that you’re working on?

Todd: There are a couple of TV projects that can see me pretty well being a part of. There’s some novels and stuff that I’m working on. There’s also a series of children’s books that I’m working on. Then there’s a feature that I’m working on. There’s a couple of things, but I can’t really talk about any of it until people say I can.

Natalie: So, it’s pretty hush-hush at the moment?

Todd: Yeah. Normally there’s something I can talk about. But I’ve got nothing (laughs).

Natalie: Todd, you said that you have a daughter.

Todd: Yes, I do.

Natalie: You said that you’re writing some children’s books. Is she your inspiration?

Todd: Absolutely. A lot of actors will say that they did an animated feature because they want to make a movie that a kid can watch. It’s the same thing. The truth is I grew up living fantasy. I grew up loving dungeons and dragons and that sort of thing. That’s why I really like having my sword. It’s not that I don’t love horror. I do, but I’m writer. I’m gonna write everything. With writing children’s books, it’s nice to turn off the vulgarity and just write, you know, a fantasy story or a fun story, or a story about a boy and his secret pet, or his secret friend. It’s nice to tell those kind of stories that kids can relate to or stories that can relate to my daughter. What’s great is I can sit down when I’m finished with one, and when we’re ready to go to bed, I can read that to her and see how she responds to it. She’s seven years old, and if she likes it I know I’m in good shape.

Natalie: Like the say, kids will always be brutally honest with you.

Todd: She always is, but she’s loved everything so far, so I’m feeling good.

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Natalie: Todd, is there anything that you would like to add?

Todd: I’m ready to come back out to Australia.

Natalie: We’d be glad to have you here!

Todd: Yes, it’s been too long. I haven’t been there since May of last year. I’ve come every year. This is the first year that I haven’t been there in a while. So, I need to find an excuse to come back this year before the year’s up.

SantaBat09

Todd’s Official Website

Todd’s IMDB Credits

Todd’s Twitter

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