Jon Mack Lets Her “Shadow Play”



398147_340532922627160_1115949234_nThe unconscious mind enters a dreamscape world, set against the backdrop of a dystopian society in a post-apocalyptic world where a struggle exists between alien hybrids and humans. The edgy sweetness of a seductive and hypnotic female voice accompanied with electronic sounds and live instrumentation, and hauntingly powerful lyrics take us on a journey into this science-fiction like fantasy world filled with darkness and a land of “shadow”.

This imaginary dream world is the definitive music video “Shadow” from the ultramodern rock group, Auradrone, the brainchild of the highly versatile, Jon Mack, actress, singer-songwriter, musician and composer. A natural born performer, Mack began acting at the tender age of five on stage, before making her onscreen debut in 1999’s Emmy Award-winning biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (aka. Face of an Angel) starring Halle Berry, where she portrayed legendary Hollywood icon Ava Gardner. It was this breakout performance that launched Mack’s career. Having appeared in numerous films including Saw XI, Spiders 3D, Straight A’s opposite Luke Wilson, and 2012’s Playing For Keeps with Gerard Butler as a smitten housewife, the highly talented Mack proves that she is not a one-trick pony.

In 2007, having formed the “ever changing, ever evolving” Auradrone, the electronic rock group which is fronted by Mack herself, she has taken her career in the entertainment industry to a whole new level. Since forming Auradrone, Mack has gone on to release three albums beginning with the self-released debut album Whitelite Britelite in 2009,which received an overwhelming response, followed by the remix album Whitelite Britelite: Rehabilitated, and most recently Bleeding Edge (2011).

As talented as she is beautiful, Mack is indeed an enigmatic force when it comes to performing. In fact, Mack can be considered as the female equivalent of The Cure’s Robert Smith, a mantle which Mack proudly wears. She oozes sex appeal, charisma and a rock n’ roll attitude, through her tasteful lyrics and gritty, sensuous voice.

In an intimate and revealing interview from her studio in Los Angeles, Mack exudes an “aura” of inner peace, placidity, genuine warmth, authenticity, and true beauty both inside and out. Mack is truly a captivating, alluring and inspiring artist. As a multi-talented performer, it is Mack’s uniqueness and vision as a true artist that has ultimately put her on the “edge” of phenomenal success.


Natalie: Jon, it is clear that from a very early age that you were destined to be a performer. In fact, as a young child you taught yourself to sing and play guitar. Growing up, were there any creative influences, for example individuals, who inspired or motivated you to pursue your own artistic endeavours?  

Jon: Yeah. First of all, I love David Bowie from the time that I was a little girl. I always liked how he was both an actor and a musician and a performer, and just this whole, you know, not just one thing, but an artist, a visionary. My mother was a big fan, so I grew up listening to him, and the whole experience of him. I think he was just amazing to me and he seemed so unique. So, I think he was the first one to really 12050871-jon-mack-for-heaven-on-earth-society-for-animalsaffect me that way, I would say. He comes to my mind right away. But [there’s] so many others. I mean, Bjork and people like this. I grew up on their music, and they always seemed so interesting and cutting-edge, and pushed the envelope, too. I think those kind of artists always inspired me.

Natalie: Having grown up on a small family farm in Rochester, Michigan and having no siblings, would you say that this ultimately encouraged you to find alternative means to entertain yourself? And as such, did being an only child lend itself to you finding creative means to express yourself?

Jon: I’d say for sure. Yes. That’s probably why I had that reaction right away, because it’s definitely a factor in it. It’s interesting, because when I was a child I didn’t realize how unusual the situation it was to grow up as an only child on a big piece of land. I was kind of very connected to the land. I didn’t grow up in the city, but I always wanted to move to the city. I think I had seen so much opportunity, and the energy and the buzz of the city always fascinated me. But I think that it was a very good time for me as a child, because I got to go into my mind and into my imagination a lot more. Especially nowadays, kids have so many more distractions. I think it’s easy as an artist to have that as a young person, to have that openness and vastness, because I think that it lets your personality come out more. So, I definitely think it plays in it too, for sure. I like that. I think there’s something to be said for that, living close to the land when you’re young. Nowadays it seems like it’s more rare. I think it’s a gift if you see it that way, for sure.


Natalie: Jon, your mother was an actress herself who worked as a theatre director. When you were only five years old, she cast you in your first play. Obviously at such a tender age, you may not recall a great deal from this experience. Do you perhaps remember how you felt about your very first experience in the spotlight?

Jon: I think from what I can remember, I think I loved it, you know, straight off the bat. Honestly, I don’t know. I think it just seemed natural to me, and it just seemed like an extension of playtime. Most of the time, when you’re a child doing plays you’re around older people. So, I enjoyed being around older people when I was very young. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s being an only child, you spend a lot of time with older people in general. But I just felt really natural with it, and I love the whole family feeling of doing theater, plays, especially being an only child. If you don’t have siblings, it’s the closest you’re going to get to that experience. So, to me it seemed like a really creative moment in time where people come together and they form a family, and they do, you know, this piece of art, whether it’s a play or music or something, but they’re there for this purpose. I grew up feeling that was a very loving space. My mother was a really wonderful teacher that brought that out of people. She had that ability to bring that openness from people, which is something that I admire very much. So, it felt very natural to me at a young age because of that.

Natalie: Jon, do you believe that if your mother had not introduced you to acting, would have inevitably chosen this career regardless?

Jon: Hmm…Maybe just because I think I always liked to feel like I was performing, and I’ve always been obsessed with cinema and films. I mean, that was just a natural thing on my end. My mother was more into theater, which I’ve always loved too. But my obsession with film, and then music came on its own. But I think I just loved anything creative and anything artistic. I think it was something that I was drawn to immediately. Even painting and dancing, and things like that. I was just very…I don’t know. I was a very right-brain child from the get-go. And maybe that was because I was an only child, and I had a mother who encouraged it. You know, in a sense I was allowed to be more free with it.

Natalie: So, you were a natural-born performer, in other words?

Jon: I think so. It’s funny, because in life I can be a bit reserved and shy sometimes. But I think in the moments when I need to, I think I actually do go there. I don’t know. It’s a beautiful expression.


Natalie: Jon, you studied at the prestigious Tisch School of Arts at New York University, where you earned a Bachelor’s degree in theatre and a minor in film. You then went on to study at the renowned Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles. How did the training and knowledge that you acquired at both Tisch and the Strasberg Institute shape you as an actor?

Jon: I think Tisch in general in New York and the Strasberg Institute shaped me a great deal, because it was my first time out of my small town in the big city of New York. It so like transformed me, in that sense of being from a tiny town to the biggest city in the world – one of the most powerful cities in the world, [with the] excitement and all of that. It’s great. It’s a beautiful city. I love New York. I got to meet all kinds of people from all over, you know, working with different perspectives.

And I started in experimental theatre, actually. I started there, and I was there for about a year, and then I switched over to Strasberg. And they’re two different schools of thought completely. One’s more performance art and [there was] people like William Dafoe. I always saw kind of counter-culture theater people where there, which was cool because I grew up in theatre which is different, which I like. But then Strasberg was all method acting and sense method, which is great. I think it’s good for film. That’s really good training for film. So, it was wonderful. I have a lot of good memories of New York and that time there. It’s one of my favorite places still.

Natalie: Are there any methods or techniques that left a distinct impression on you as an actor, and that you have been able to draw upon throughout your career?

Jon: Yeah. More than anything to be honest with you. Aside from all the training which is great and scene study, I think the best thing is to be in the present moment. And that’s meditation and breathing and all of that. Centeredness really helps any performer, especially with an actor having to be on the verge of that moment every time, [in being] natural and responsive. So, I think the best technique that anyone can learn, and [when] I look back and see my training, I think that a lot of it was based on mediative thinking, being really present. I think mediation, I can say as a general, aside from studying your craft and working with other actors and your scene work, is really powerful. That’s just my opinion, but I think it’s great.


Natalie: So, are you into the spiritual side of things?

Jon: Yes. I think especially in the arts, it pervades everything. It is everything. I mean, just to be creating any sort of art from an honest place, it comes from a spiritual place. Whatever people call it, it’s basically your core, your center. I think it’s very important for any artist in working on being genuine. It’s really cool.


Natalie: In 1999, you played Ava Gardener in the Emmy Award winning biopic, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge(aka. Face of an Angel) which starred Halle Berry. Your breakout performance as this legendary actress, marked your debut on the screen. Most recently, famous actresses Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts, in particular, have both been highly criticized for their respective portrays of two famous icons, Grace Kelly turned Princess Grace of Monaco and Princess Diana.

Jon, how difficult was it for you to be able portray the Hollywood starlet Ava Gardener?

Jon: Actually, I looked at it as a lot of fun because I think she’s one of these women that I always admired, and my mother loved her too. It’s funny. One of the most beautiful women, I thought. Very strong, powerful, ahead of her time. I was really young at the time, and I took it as a wonderful challenge to play her because it was at the beginning of her career. So, she was young and full of fire. Later on came that Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman. I think that it is hard. I see how hard it is for an actress to play an icon like that, like Marilyn Monroe or someone like that. I think I just looked at it as fun. I didn’t see it as hard. I mean, maybe now I think I would probably be more painstaking and nervous about it. Being so young at the time, I just went for it. But at the same time, you kind of have to go for it. It’s a double-edged sword when you’re playing a true life character, especially one who is so loved and adored. That’s not easy for an actor. But it’s challenging. It’s good, it’s fun.

Natalie: Did you feel added pressure to do her justice?

Jon: Absolutely. She’s a big pair of shoes to fill. I mean, she was quite a strong woman, opinionated woman, [who] stood up to Frank Sinatra, stood up to, you know, Mickey Rooney (laughs). She was ahead of her time. I wouldn’t say feminist, but in that vain of what people would consider as a strong archetype. And it was still, you know, the ‘50s. It was still a different mindset at the time, and a different country back then. But she was classy too, and that’s what I liked about her. She was the rashness with the class, kind of mind. She’s still one of the most interesting women to me, I think.

Natalie: How did you prepare for such a role?

Jon: I watched a lot of old movies, read her biography, did a lot of research. I love to do research. I actually enjoy it. It’s kind of like a project, so I took it on as a project. I was already familiar with her, but I did my research and watched as many movies as I could. I just read as much as I could.

Natalie: Jon, in your opinion, what do you believe it was about this breakout performance that ultimately launched your film career?

Jon: Well, the fact that I got to work with Halle Berry, I think was a big thing. She was just on the verge of her breakout in her career. And it was a great director, Martha Coolidge who’s done so many classic films. Really fun. It was a really well done HBO film, and I think HBO always has a certain prestige to it. I love many of their…whether it’s their made for TV films or their shows, HBO’s got some good stuff.


Natalie: Jon, you have appeared in many feature films such as the sixth instalment of the famous Saw franchise Saw XI, Spiders 3D, Straight A’s and 2012’s Playing For Keeps with Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel. Are you quite selective with the film projects that you choose?

Jon: I think so. I think I’m definitely more so now than ever, because I think it’s important to keep expanding and getting higher and higher and more challenging. And certain things you outgrow. I try to be very aware of what I accept. Yeah, I think that’s a good thing. I really love to do comedy, and love to explore that thing. I’ve done a lot of horror, disaster feature films which is fun. But I’m ready to explore more, maybe a comedic side such as that, [as well as] action thrillers. Some stuff like that. That’s where I’m at now.


Mack plays smitten housewife Connie alongside Gerard Butler in 2012's Playing For Keeps

Mack plays smitten housewife Connie alongside Gerard Butler in 2012’s Playing For Keeps

Mack as Holly in 2013'a Straight A's with Luke Wilson and Christa Campbell

Mack as Holly in 2013’a Straight A’s with Luke Wilson and Christa Campbell

Natalie: When can we expect to see you on the screen next?

Jon: Well, I’m working on a film. We’re just about to start production now. We’re in pre-production. It’s called Kickback. So, we’re going to shoot that very soon. It’s got John Cusack in it. It’s gonna be quite a good film. I’m very excited about it. So, stay tuned (laughs).

Natalie: Sounds very exciting. Jon: Yeah. We’ll be shooting very soon. So, we’ll look at it in 2015.


Natalie: Jon, you are indeed a multi-talented performer. Not only are you a singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, but you are also the front woman for the electronic rock band Auradrone. How important has it been for throughout your very impressive career in the entertainment industry to be highly versatile?

Jon: Very important. I think it’s definitely a survival as an artist to be able to do more than one thing, and I know that a lot of actors are also musicians. In fact, nobody would expect. I think it’s part of being a creative person to do more than one thing. And also to keep yourself sane, because the life of an actor’s like, “Wow”. That sometimes can be unpredictable for anyone. There’s things that are out of your control. I feel like [you have] to take that energy in a positive way. I think a lot of actors do other things to channel that creativity. I think that it’s a survival coping mechanism.

Mack fronts ultramodern post rock electronic group, Auradrone

Mack fronts ultramodern post rock electronic group, Auradrone

Natalie: What was the catalyst behind your decision to focus predominantly on a career in music, as opposed to acting in the past few years?

Jon: I think that it switches back and forth. I mean, really to do music you have to give it so much attention, especially when you’re writing songs and working on an album. It takes a lot of time and commitment and energy. So, I think it’s hard to really give your energy to both things at the same time right now. Like, I was writing songs this past year, about to release a new EP, and we’re playing shows again. But we’ve paired down the live set right now to a DJ set for the moment for the summertime, to kind of just get out there. We’re doing Comic Con. We’re performing on July 24th at Comic Con with Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance, and a few other really cool bands. So, that should be fun. We’re going to play at that show. So, it goes back and forth. You just have to give so much energy to one thing. And then when you’re working on a film, you’re just 100 percent there when you’re actually on the set working. So, it goes back and forth. Right now, I’ve just been harvesting this new music and just about to release that, and planning a new music video. There’s a lot of energy right now on our music, which is good.


Natalie: In your experience, was it harder for you to break into the music business compared to the acting industry?

Jon: I think so. Yes, in many ways I had to prove myself a lot with music, and I still feel that I’m always having to, especially being a female and coming into it, and learning how to produce on your own. I took no schooling for it. It was pretty much self-taught and just on necessity. And when you come into that world, you really have to gain respect with having a good prowess and just how you act with people. Your whole demeanour, especially when you’re a female. It’s still very much a boys’ world. It’s changing. But when I was coming up, it was mostly males. But it was good, because I learned a lot, and I got to watch what they were doing. I’m grateful for that, because I learned a great deal.

My other point being with the music industry, it’s changed so much lately. I think the last ten years, the music industry’s so different now because what’s happened with the internet now and artists, musicians having to make a living not from selling albums anymore, but from touring, merchandise and just being more inventive with packaging themselves. So, I think it really is harder now, and it has become harder versus a band that was coming up in the ‘80s, maybe the early ‘90s before everything switched over. So, the music business now has changed for an independent artist.


Natalie: Were you ever discouraged from pursuing it?

Jon: I think we all have our days where we feel discouraged, but nothing’s ever made me question why I do it or why I write music or why I love to do it. I think it’s just that I have to do it. It’s a natural feeling and tendency for me. I get a little crazy if I go too long without writing or doing something. I know that I can’t stay away from it too long. There are days where encouragement, is when you go back and listen to or you experience your work again, and you’re like, “Oh, okay. I feel good about this.” It kind of balances it out, I think.


Natalie: Acting and singing are both performance arts. In fact, both mediums can be considered as a form of story-telling. How has your acting background helped shape you as a musician, and do you find it easier or more difficult to tell a story through acting or music?

Jon: First part of the question: I think it’s definitely shaped me as a musician, primarily with performance whether it’s live or video or whatever. It’s something I’m comfortable with already, whereas I think a lot of musicians have struggled with that. A lot musicians can tend to be a little introspective and shy. It’s the stage-fright thing. I had the advantage of that a little bit. I mean still, you know, we all get nervous sometimes when we perform, but versus having crimpling stage-fright. I think that was definitely the advantage, being theatrical. Wanting my songs to be theatrical too, and tell a story more like a film. I kind of approach it more as that answer. I think that’s affected it as well, seeing it more cinematically than song-wise. I think it all kind of influences each other in many ways.

Natalie: Jon, do you believe that acting and music both complement one another? And if so, in what way?

Jon: Absolutely. I think for sure. Again, I think it’s all human expression, and I think they can always complement each other. Nowadays, especially with multimedia, everything’s blending. I mean, music videos are becoming films. [They’re] becoming art installations. Everything’s kind of coming into one, I think. It’s kind of an interesting time, with the internet and with the technology, that we’ll be able to blend everything together. So, I think the whole thing is that you can do it that way and complement each other automatically, for sure, just in the way that they make the experience more rich. It becomes more synesthetic, or it’s encompassing all of your senses and your abilities. Yeah, I think especially with acting and music, I mean they just go together. You’re acting out a song, you’re performing, or even when you’re thinking of writing a song, you’re in another space, you’re a character in it, some type of story. So, it sort of is like an acting thing. I think that’s why writing songs is very cathartic and good for you in many ways.


Natalie: Rock groups such as The Cure, Siouxsie and The Banshees, and Depeche Mode, all which produced what was coined as “New Wave Music”, can be credited as being highly influential on your music. Jon, what was it about the music of these famous groups that appealed to you most?

Jon: Well, I think a lot of it especially with The Cure, I mean the song-writing is so beautiful. I can always admire good song-writing, good lyrics, romantic sort of emotion, and the instrumentation was so lush. I think many people are influenced by bands, such as The Cure. They were also around when I was very young. Some of the earliest, modern music I heard, I think was very influential on me. And I think many other artists right now, they’re a big influence. I would say that it’s the song-writing first of all. Depeche Mode, synthesizers, everything like that. [With] Siouxsie and The Banshees, her voice was amazing. I think she was a big influence to me, because I mimed her singing and her style was very out there at the time. Sometimes you see someone do something different.


Natalie: Jon, how have you as a singer-songwriter and musician, been able to draw upon these influences in the creation of your own music?

Jon: Well, Auradrone’s ever-changing lately. It’s now evolving into a little more commercial style, a little less dark. So, I like to think it’s ever-changing, it’s ever evolving. But definitely. I mean, it’s got style and influences, some of the electronic and dance and all that. But now it’s going into a more cinematic, not pop, but like more mainstream sounds. It’s kind of an indie rock vibe still very much, but it’s not as dark or industrial as the other albums are. The sound is kind of evolving now. So, I think it can be something more [that] people can hear more on mainstream radio.


Natalie: Jon, Auradrone is regarded as an electronica post modern rock group. For those that may not be familiar with this genre or style of music, can you tell us a bit more about this?

Jon: I think nowadays, especially while I was also doing this project, I was interested in making it hybridized and fitting together, with technology and the old school way of thinking and actually playing instruments, which I think will never go away. I think humans need that. That’s a beautiful thing. But I think they have both kind of worked with each other in very interesting ways, and created different feelings and sounds that weren’t possible with just one or just the other. So, I think it’s really important for the sound. What’s important for me as an artist is to explore that, not just do one thing. I think I’ll always want to keep trying to explain that. I think it’s infinite what technology and you know, actually sonic instrumentation, whether it’s live instruments or drums or things like that versus just a drum machine, always make interesting things happen.


Actor Callum Blue appears with Auradrone's Mack in the music video for "The Escape" from the Bleeding Edge (2011) album

Actor Callum Blue appears with Auradrone’s Mack in the music video for “The Escape” from the Bleeding Edge (2011) album

Natalie: Jon, what drew you to electronic rock music, rather than let’s say regular rock music or country or pop, for instance? And has electronic rock always appealed to you?

Jon: Well, actually I do like rock, just simple rock music. I always been a fan of rock music, believe it or not. I did grow up on classic Fleetwood Mac, and bands like The Eagles, and you know, Led Zepplin. I mean, just from the time my parents listened to things. So, I do love rock music and I do love bands things like Queens of the Stone Age now. But I think I also love electronic music just from being a kid and just really loving dance. Loving anything to do with dance, growing up loving dance, so I think it was just natural to me to want to do that. I mean, I admire all kinds of music actually. There’s great music in any genre. I have great respect for that. And that’s the whole other side to me – the song-writing. A good song is a good song.

Natalie: Jon, what was your motivation or inspiration in the formation of Auradrone?

Jon: I’ve been doing, I guess you could say prototypes of Auradrone before Auradrone. A couple of projects, I was getting into the electronic thing more. I started doing rock as a singer, and that was the first genre I actually performed in. So, then I had a couple of other bands between my last band and then Auradrone, where it was more of me experimenting with doing demos, and like connecting with people and trying to see if we could work together and make something interesting. Sometimes it works, sometimes it didn’t. So, it was a lot of experimenting with that until I finally decided what Auradrone would sound like, which was around 2007, 2008, was where it needed to be.

Natalie: Jon, what ultimately sets Auradone apart from other electronic rock groups?

I think we all did something different as far as the vibe, the romanticism of the vibe. It’s not just straight up electronic, there’s some very lushness to it. There’s some bigness and romanticism, and there are just some of those qualities from the band’s religion from like The Cure. Things like that. It doesn’t just make it electronic dance. It’s got a little bit of an edge to it, where it can be listened to from across the board by people who do like to just listen to rock music versus anybody else who likes dance music. So, I think that it has that extra ability to reach a wider audience that way in a sense.

Natalie: Jon, what made you choose the name Auradrone for your band? Is there a story behind this?

Jon: It strangely enough came to me in almost like a dream or meditative state. I like the idea of these two boards together. That just sounded really good. Aura – the human aura. And then the drone. I don’t see it like a ship or anything. I see it like a continuous resonance, like a hum. So, it’s like a harmony. Just a nice sounding word. It just came to me, and it just stuck with me. It just sounded right for the music I was creating at the time. It just sort of fit with it. It sounded like, “Oh, like is what Auradrone would sound like,” I think. It kind of naturally occurred that way.

Natalie: The artist in you?!

Jon: Yes. Who’s ever up there, out there, in there, giving me little clues here and there (laughs).


Natalie: Auradrone can be perhaps described as today’s answer to The Cure and all that it represented. In fact, The Cure was one of your earlier musical influences. Jon, how does it feel to be likened to such an enigmatic rock group?

Jon: Incredible. I mean, again they’re just a huge influence on myself and probably an entire couple of generations of musicians. I think Robert [Smith] is incredible. I think the whole band is incredible, so it’s an honour if anybody compares us. If anybody gets that out of it, then fantastic. Then the music is doing what it intends to do, and I’m very happy with that.

Natalie: Jon, as the lead singer of Auradrone, what similarities and/or differences are there between your band and earlier electronic rock groups?

Jon: Probably it’s just in my blood, the stuff I listened to from the time I was a kid. So, maybe it will come out at certain times, especially with a band like Depeche Modeall, [which] we were talking about, will come out. Just from the time I was little, I listened to them, and they were some of the earliest electronic music I listened to. From the time that they came out, they were fresh. I was very young so it was a good combination. It comes out from time to time, I think. Not so much an imitation, but more of a homage, like in honour of the band. I think it happens with anything. If you really are influenced by someone, you’re gonna kind of run it through your system and have it come out some way in your work, too. So, that’s the beauty of it.

Natalie: In early 2009, your rock group Auradrone released their debut album, Whitelite Britelite which featured songs such as “AutoErotic”, “Appetite” and “Indigo Child”. Your songs can be described as a blend of tasteful lyrics, tantric sounds and rock n’ roll attitude, which essentially takes the listener on a fantastical journey.

Jon, what emotive responses did you intend your lyrics and music to create or instil in your audience?

Jon: [With] the first album, a lot of the songs on there are just like very dreamy, wishful like creating a dream world, creating a perfect escape world. And I think it was more about the texture, kind of like very close to My Bloody Valentine. Bands like that were very lush, like creating a dreamscape situation. Radiohead does that a lot. That album was probably trying to create that. There’s a lot of ideal thinking and sort of dreaminess going on in that album, the lyrics and everything, where there’s fantasy, dreamy or you know, other kinds of dreamy. There’s a lot of exploration with that. I think it draws a lot from that with that album. There’s a lot of space reference too, like outer space.

Natalie: Whitelite Britelite received an overwhelming response. Did you expect such a positive reception?

Jon: I always hope for it, but you never know. But yeah, I think it’s always great when you get that, for any artist. You don’t know how things are going to get received. Some of it’s favorable and some of it’s a blessing. It’s why we do what we do. We hope that it resonates with people and they enjoy it. It’s a good thing.

Natalie: What was your reason for releasing a remix of your debut album that same year with Whitelite Britelite: Rehabilitated?

Jon: A few DJ friends of mine offered to remix it, and I was like “Sure”. If someone wants to remix it, great. Go for it. I put a lot of really cool versions of the material, remixed and redone. It kind of happened. A lot of people at once decided to do remixes, so I said we have enough for an album, so we might as well put out a remix album. Again, for the dance aspect, to get it into clubs, get people enjoying it. So, that was it. I probably will do more remix albums, because they’re fun to do.

Natalie: Jon, having listened to your entrancing music, I must say that your voice has such a sensual quality to it. When you combine the allure of your voice with the electronic sounds of Auradrone, one almost becomes transfixed.

Jon, how do you use your undoubtable charm, sex appeal, charisma and talent to reach and ultimately have a profound impact on the masses?

Jon: Well, hopefully in the right way. I try not to use it, so it’s a distraction. But I think it’s all a part of the music, especially as a female performer, your femininity is very much going to be a part of your art and your craft. I think as a woman, as a performer it’s going to come into play. So, I like to look at it as a positive aspect. It’s the sensuality, the beauty. It’s strength and power conveyed versus just going for the cheap, obvious stuff. I like to shoot a little different way. Many female artists do it in the right way. They make it fun, but it is also strong and powerful. It’s just not those common dominators.

I think it’s a responsibility for any female artist. What you’re putting out there is really powerful, because it’s really influential. Whether it’s younger people or in general, it’s like you’re representing yourself. You’re a voice for many people, especially women. So, it’s your responsibility to put it out there in the right way. It’s just how I feel. But I think it’s very influential. It’s very much a part of who I am. My music is part of everything I do, so it’s definitely going to play into it.


Natalie: As a songwriter, you have written the lyrics to Auradrone’s songs. Jon, how does song-writing allow you as an artist to express yourself more freely, and essentially speak your own truth?

Jon: I think it’s a different language completely. I think song-writing is a whole other religion. It’s not so pocketed and conscious. I think it comes from a deeper place, and when you write a song you feel more freer to express things you wouldn’t say in every day conversation, or you can put yourself in other people’s shoes and perspectives too. You can tell a story about someone else from behind their eyes. It’s kind of like a narrative.I don’t know. Sometimes the lyrics come to me so mysteriously. Sometimes it’s like you’re telling your story, but sometimes I feel like you’re telling other people’s story too. So, it’s an interesting process.

Natalie: Jon, your third and most recent album Bleeding Edge was released in 2011 and featured tracks such as “Shadow”, “The Escape” and “Ricochet”. The album explores themes such as love, loss, and life. Many of the tracks have a dark, edgy, almost haunting vibe and feel to them.

What do you believe it is about dark themes, in particular, culminated with sex and power that seem to captivate and entrance individuals?

Jon: I think that’s always going to be there. The dark aspects of humanity are something that artists are always exploring, people are always questioning. We’re seeing it every day, whether it’s on the news or Facebook or wherever. It’s just a part of us that we are having to own and maybe examine. So, I think art is a perfect example catalyst for that, and I think that it’s a safe place to explore that too. Yeah, I think people relate to it, because of that. [And] because they feel like they can dive into art, whether it’s music or film, and explore that dark side of themselves, and it’s still safe.


Natalie: Would you describe writing and performing this type of music as some sort of dark pleasure, so to speak?

Jon: Sure. I think so (laughs). I don’t see why not. Definitely, yeah.

Natalie: Jon, would you say, that most human beings have a dark side, or are drawn to the dark side? And as such, how does your music allow an individual to explore their inner darkness?

Jon: I think we all definitely do have a dark side, and I think it’s just a part of us to want to explore it and be afraid of it at the same time. When I wrote the last album, it was interesting. It came out darker. Maybe it was because I was in a different space, darker space. I was going through some stuff with my mom and family, and her health. So, I think it was kind of affecting what I wrote energetically. But [when] I think about it, there’s also empowerment to the darkness, even in the lyrics there’s darkness but there’s also another side to the coin and finding strength with that.

And that’s why I’m even further exploring that now with the new material. I think that I’m more in that zone. I was kind of like getting there in the last album. It was more about bringing it away. It’s kind of why the image of the phoenix was on the cover. It’s shedding way, reborn sort of energy. So, I’m now more in the expansion stage. Yeah, I think the dark stuff was a natural process, because the first album was so light, it was different. It’s interesting. When I look at it, I can’t really predict it. I just know, looking at it in hindsight. But it’s interesting.


Natalie: With Bleeding Edge, the use of music videos for “Shadow” and “The Edge”, in particular, which feature notable actors such as Callum Blue, Brian Krause, and Tony Ward, leave such a distinct impression and impact on viewers.

Jon, how much creative input do you have in the production of these music videos? Do you contribute or do you leave it up to the director to best interpret the message behind Auradrone’s music?

Jon: Usually, I’m pretty involved, just because I feel like as an artist, you’re representing yourself and your work. I do love to collaborate with people, and I always love to hear ideas and you know, see if it’s something we can both jive with and it feels synergetic. I think that’s real important. But I mean, I love directors with great, strong ideas and really have it thought out, like you know, come from that aspect. I think that’s great. But [directors who] are also open to letting me give input. So, it’s a give and take. I don’t want to dominate the whole thing. I don’t want to dominate that. But I also want to have my creative input. Yeah, it’s definitely a balance.

Natalie: Obviously music videos are quite beneficial in showcasing an artist or band.

Jon, how has the use of sound and visual medium helped you to further amplify Auradrone’s message, and essentially the band’s image as one of today’s most influential electronic post-modern rock groups?

Jon: I think from the beginning it kind of went hand-in-hand, being the kind of music it is and was. I think it helped a lot, just kind of branding the whole vibe of the band. I don’t want to say genre, but it kind of put it into a certain genre right away, having the videos, having the vision, having the imagery – all of that together. With the release of the album, I think it all played together, pretty much as it should. And it continues to grow. So, I’m curious to see. Now we’re added lights. More and more lights, and more visuals to the live sets. So, it’s going to become more of that – that live experience. It will be fun.

Natalie: Jon, as the lead vocalist of Auradrone, do you find this more challenging to be the front-woman of a rock band as opposed to being an onscreen actor?

Jon: Definitely. I think they both have their challenges. Different challenges, but both have challenges. So, it’s hard to say which is more, but I think they switch often at times too. I think in order to do a good job or great job with anything, you have to give your all and really focus on it. And then challenges can arise, and then you know, you have to step by step take those challenges and overcome them.


Natalie: Jon, having started out as an actor, has this given you more confidence and self-belief to perform as the lead vocalist of Auradrone with conviction, and the ability to reach people on many levels?

Jon: I think definitely. Yeah. Definitely. That has helped.

Natalie: Jon, how has singing, song-writing and performing as musician brought fulfilment to your life, and in what ways?

Jon: It’s probably kept me sane, alive, you know to some degree (laughs). It’s made it more bearable at times, for sure. I couldn’t imagine life without it. So, it’s just hard to imagine.

Natalie: Jon, both you and your band Auradrone are currently in pre-production working on your next music video, as well as planning the highly anticipated release of an EP this northern summer.

Are you able to tell us a bit more about these upcoming projects, and what we can expect to see from Auradrone in the next coming months?

Jon: Yes. Well, look out for a new video. We have an exciting video with director Michael Sarner who’s done videos for Metallica, Blink-182, Nickelback. He’s shot some big bands. He’s great. And so, we’re about to shoot a video. By the end of summer, we’ll have a video ready.

Natalie: That sounds exciting.

Jon: Exciting. Yes. It’s a bit overdue. It’s going to be a new concept and everything. And of course, there’s the EP, so expect that out very soon as well, right before Fall. And live shows. We’ll be doing some more DJ shows. Hopefully, we’ll be leaving LA soon and heading out to Chicago or New York or something. I’ll be posting on the website periodically. So, definitely, definitely stayed tuned.

Natalie: Excellent. Some exciting stuff coming our way, for sure.

Jon: Yes.

Natalie: Recently, Auradrone has been performing live. In fact, you have an upcoming live performance at The Viper Room on July 21st. Jon, how exciting or exhilarating is it for you to perform in front of a live audience, where you are able to directly gauge their reaction?

Jon: It’s great. It’s the best. Live shows are the best. No complaints. I mean, it’s different when you have a CD, you don’t know how people are hearing it. But when you play live, you play a song, you see immediately how people react, whether it’s good or bad or indifferent. So, it’s exciting. I love being in front of an audience and just feeling that. It’s wonderful.

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Natalie: Jon, what can we expect to see from your upcoming live performances?

Jon: I think I mentioned before, we’re adding some visuals. So, there’s going to be some cool visuals. We’ve got some exciting stuff coming up. So, stay tuned, for sure.

Natalie: Jon, when performing live, are you able to feed off of the audience’s energy?

Jon: Yes, for sure. I think that’s absolutely true. I think any musician does.


Natalie: Jon, does performing in a more intimate venue allow you to form a closer relationship with your fans, and if so, in what way?

Jon: I think it’s more one on one when you’re in an intimate venue versus a festival. The energy’s different. It feels more intimate. It feels like people are right there with the music versus a festival setting, where it’s more personal. But I think an intimate venue sounds great. You can really get more subtle with it. You can even do more ballads and things like that. Yeah, I like intimate settings too, and it’s great to see your audience right there. So, that’s nice.

Natalie: Jon, you mentioned that Auradrone will be hitting the road soon to Chicago, New York and other places in the United States. Can we expect an upcoming tour from Auradrone anytime soon?

Jon: We’re planning it. We’re hoping to. We’re in the talks for it right now, so I will definitely be letting people know as soon as we figure out our dates and where they will be. So, stay tuned.

Natalie: Jon, how has Auradrone been received internationally? Any countries, in particular?

Jon: Yeah. It’s gotten a good response from the UK, Germany, France, South America, some places in America, Brazil, places like that. Even India, believe it or not. So, I think it’s globally reached. We’ve got Australia, yeah (laughs). We’ve gotten a lot of good response in general, so that’s why I think I’m preaching so much to play in Australia, Europe and countries like that. I’m really eager to do it. It should be good. We’re working on it. We’re working on at least getting over to Europe soon.

Natalie: So, a lot of big things happening for both you and Auradrone?

Jon: Yeah, exactly.

Natalie: Jon, where you would like to see yourself in the next five years or so?

Oh, boy. Well, just healthy, happy, and successful as far as creating art. Having a nice life with the people I love. And always moving forward. I mean, it’s hard to say. I love the idea of starting projects. I’m getting more involved with production. So, getting more into production and facilitating projects, whether it’s film or music. I see myself doing that. And you know, helping out the environment and the planet as much as I can.

Natalie: Fantastic

Jon: In a nutshell (laughs).

Natalie: Do you have a mantra which you live by?

Jon: I think the Joseph Campbell mantra’s the best thing ever to “follow your bliss”. I think that’s the best mantra. No matter what situation it is, just listen to yourself and follow your bliss. What feels good inside, and really trust that feeling. I think that’s a big thing that artists forget to do. So, I try to remind myself to do that.





DEAR FANS Please contribute in any way if you can. We are doing our best to put together an amazing video and your help really matters!

Check out the page to see what perks are being offered for your contribution.


With gratitude,
~Jon Mack / Auradrone




Auradrone is an indie electronic-rock act that was formed by musician, actress and producer Jon Mack in 2007 with the goal of creating a project that explores the realm of multi-media and music while bringing to light important social causes.

Recently, Auradrone shot the first part of a music video for a song off their soon to be released album. The song titled “Weapon Of Choice” is intended not only be a music video but also a PSA (Public Service Announcement) to raise awareness about the slaughter and near extinction of many endangered species due to illegal poaching and trophy hunting.
We intend for this video to carry a strong message and bring to light this very serious threat to our planet.

We are seeking funds not only to complete one more day of filming but also to cover post-production costs and advertising.
Any additional funds raised will be donated to organizations such as WWF, Big Cat Rescue and SANParks Honorary Rangers; all of which are working to solve the poaching crisis by protecting and rehabilitating the innocents and educating the public on this alarming issue.

With less than less than 100 Amur Leopards, 3,200 Tigers, 29,000 Rhinos, 40,000 Elephants and 60,000 Orangutans left in the wild, it’s time for those of us who love these magnificent creatures to step up and do something before it’s too late. This is a global issue and one that could be a game changer for our entire planet.

We are truly passionate about protecting these innocent beings and appreciate your help no matter how great or small. Your contributions will give us the resources to not only carry out this important message but also to furnish much needed supplies to those in the field fighting for peace and justice so that our children and grandchildren will inherit a world worth saving.

Thanks for your support!

~Jon Mack  & Defending The Endangered

“Like” Defending the Endangered Project on Facebook

Jon’s IMDB Credits

Jon’s Official Facebook Page

Auradrone’s Official Website

Auradrone’s Official Facebook Page

Alex Feldman’s “Community of Actors”


Creative, multi-talented, inspiring, innovative are a few words that can only begin to describe Alex Feldman, an actor, director, writer, mentor and teacher. His remarkable acting prowess, bold character choices, and versatility as an actor has seen him play an array of colourful and interesting characters throughout his impressive 15 plus year career. Among his most notable acting credits, they include roles in Chernobyl Diaries, The CollectorRepo Chick, Animal Hitmen, and the upcoming psychological thriller, Awakening, as well as SENT in which he wrote and directed and the hit web-series, Floored And Lifted. He has also made numerous appearances in hit television series, such as Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, CSI: Miami, In Plain Sight, Cold Case, Notes From The Underbelly, and LIFETIME’s Bling Ring.

It can be said that it is Alex Feldman’s ingenuity and creativity as an actor that has been a major catalyst in shaping his career as a successful actor. Having studied at the prestigious New York Conservatory, and been taught and mentored by the crème-de-la-crème of acting greats, Anthony Abeson who has been instrumental in launching the careers of many Hollywood A-listers, has equipped Alex Feldman with not only the necessary tools and knowledge to succeed as an actor, but to also pass on that wisdom, insight and expertise to his acting students. It was his time with Abeson that has made a distinct impression on this talented performer and acting teacher.

It was this profound influence that was fundamental in the creation of For Actors By Actors (F.A.B.A.), a “community of actors” dedicated to helping other actors, a concept born out of his close relationship with Anthony, who he affectionately refers to as the “Yoda of Acting”. It can be said that this concept, the very foundation of F.A.B.A. has gradually helped many of his students get a foot through the door and ultimately has given them the confidence to pursue their own creative endeavors, through his ongoing support, guidance, knowledge, advice and professional experience in the entertainment industry.

Alex Feldman’s approach to teaching acting is remarkably different to most, creating a fun and supportive “playground” where actors can learn and feel free to make mistakes, and in doing so ultimately grow as a performer. It’s clearly apparent that Alex Feldman has embarked on a labor of love, and encourages all other artists to pursue their creative endeavors. He has already provided past and current students with numerous opportunities to appear in many of his projects, as well as encouraging them to create their own  projects. His philosophy is simple – to help others to succeed in the highly competitive entertainment industry. His work at F.A.B.A. is a true testament of this. While Alex believes that his most satisfying acting role is yet to come, it’s obvious that his work at F.A.B.A. can indeed be regarded as one of the most satisfying and fulfilling roles in his impressive career, thus far.


Natalie: Alex, you and your family migrated from the Ukraine to New York in 1990 when you were only eleven years of age. How difficult was it for you to leave your country of birth, and start a new life in America at such a young age?

Alex: I turned eleven, just about a month after we moved here. Well, you know being a little kid, I didn’t really have much to say in the matter. It was my family’s decision. But I was excited to come to America, because it was sort of this, you know, as a child growing up in the Soviet Union, America was this sort of dream place. It seemed like so much fun. But when I got here, I didn’t speak one word of English. And at eleven years old, the children at schools, they find reasons to kind of bully you, or make fun of you. I needed to learn a way to communicate with American English speaking kids. And so, I very quickly realized that there are many ways of communicating, not just verbal. And probably that’s where I first started to realize that performing and communicating physically and through behaviour, was important to me. I don’t know that for a fact, but it probably led to my interest in acting. It was a tough time, but I didn’t really know better and my parents sort of threw me in there. We landed in America, I’m gonna say on a Friday and I started school on a Monday, so right away. So, you know, it was throw him in the water and see if he can swim kind of situation.

Natalie: So, it forced you to be more creative?

Alex: Yeah, absolutely. I think right around that time in those formative years, you’re trying to figure out who you are as a person. You’re not quite a little boy anymore, but you’re not quite a man. It was an interesting experience to go through, because I had to learn a new culture, while at the same time learning who I am as a person. So, it was…I don’t know. I am who I am today (laughs). Being from the Ukraine, is a big part of who I am. It’s a big part of my identity, but I definitely think of myself as an American because the country where I’m from, the Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore. The way things are in the Ukraine right now, is obviously very difficult, the situation they’re going through. And I sympathize, I relate. They are my roots, but I definitely think of myself as more of an American.

Natalie: It is obvious that your new life in the “land of opportunity” was indeed the first stepping stone towards a fruitful career in acting. In fact, you studied and graduated from the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. Alex, is it fair to say, that you have achieved your American dream?

Alex: (Laughs) I don’t know. I’ve got big dreams, so hopefully I’ve just started out now. But I’m very grateful for whatever opportunities I’ve had. But certainly being over at the Conservatory in New York, it really made me realize how serious this industry is. It’s not something that you can just wing. It was a great foundation. Let’s just say all of that combined was happening in my life right now, is the beginning of my dream.

Natalie: How long did you study at the Conservatory?

Alex: I was there for two years. I then went off to study with a variety of teachers. In fact, I’m still taking classes now. I think acting is not like riding a bicycle. If you’re not constantly doing it, you will get rusty. There’s always more that you can learn. The cool thing about being in acting class, is watching other people make progress or make mistakes, is very valuable for an actor. You don’t really get those opportunities on the set as much, because on set usually people are fairly accomplished, and they know exactly what they’re doing. So, getting back to some basics once in a while, classes are a very important thing.

Natalie: Alex, you studied for several years with acclaimed acting teacher and acting coach, Anthony Abeson in New York City. Many of his students, including Jennifer Aniston (TV’s Friends, Horrible Bosses, Just Go With It, We’re The Millers), Ian Somerhalder (CW’s The Vampire Diaries, Lost), Reno Wilson (CBS’s Mike & Molly), Sherri Saum (ABC’s The Fosters) and yourself in particular, to name but a few, went on to pursue successful film and television careers in Los Angeles.

Having trained with Anthony, what would you say it is about his particular style of teaching that has helped launch the careers of many actors?

Alex: Anthony Abeson, he’s the “Yoda of Acting”. I don’t know how else to put it. He’s awesome. He’s been the most formative of the teachers I’ve had in my career. I’ve had a lot of good ones. So, I’m incredibly grateful to him for all of his influence, for all the knowledge he’s passed along. In fact, whenever I go back to New York, I try to sit in on his class and come in and visit with him as often as I can. He has this amazing ability to create a “community of actors”. He encourages actors in such a nurturing way, which is really inspiring. And his excitement and love for acting is so contagious that when you leave his class you just want to go create. You want to create, you want to build projects, you want to read books, you want to write…There’s a quote that he has in his book, which is “No recipes, whatever works.” He doesn’t subscribe to any particular method, nor does he deny any particular method. And it’s that sort of open-minded approach that he has to acting that is really contagious and really draws people to him. It’s my time with him in class that has been very special, and I still do coach with him if I can. He’s been very supportive of the stuff I’m doing. He really sort of planted this idea of a “community of actors”, and actors supporting other actors. So, I’ve been trying to carry that with me ever since I met him.

Natalie: Alex, how has your training with Anthony and your schooling at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, helped shaped you as an actor, and as such your unique style of acting and the techniques that you employ?

Alex: Well, the acting education that I’ve gotten early in my life with Anthony and at the Conservatory, I was given a chance and opportunity to have a creative playground. A place where I could really explore, you know, anything acting related. At the Conservatory, I studied Meisner quite a bit. And then with Anthony, he talks quite a bit about Sanford Meisner, Stella Adler, Constantin Stanislavski. So, it was really a fun place to make some mistakes, and understand that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you’re taking risks creatively. And I made some amazing friends there. Some of my closet friends, I’m friends with now, I met at either the Conservatory or through my classes with Anthony Abeson. In fact, I met my wife there at an acting class. I want to say it was a great foundation for me. But it’s way more than that, because I continue to have relationships. Professional relationships and personal relationships that I cultivated from my beginnings.

It really has shaped me as an actor, as a performer. And as I developed over the years, I think it kind of never went away. It’s still there. It’s the foundation, it’s the basics. So, every project for me is different. I don’t necessary treat every script and every project the same way. And the flexibility of doing so, I think comes from studying a variety of ideologies. Certain things still sneak in there. I don’t always know that I’m using a certain tool that was taught to me by a certain teacher. It just sort of happens. There are some conditions, where I think okay this character is way outside of my comfortable zone, and so I want to use substitutions or some emotional recall or sense memory, or something like that. Whereas others seem so familiar that I use something from my imagination, just being more or less myself, or letting the writers speak through me. So, I look at a project or character and think here’s the best tools. I just try to invent them or reinvent them from scratch and see where it takes me. But certainly techniques that I’ve learnt over the years, are in there. They’re ingrained. They sneak in. And whether I know it or not, I’ll certainly use the tools given to me by various teachers I’ve had over the years.

Alex with the "Yoda of Acting", Anthony Abeson at the Producer's Club Theaters in New York City on May 29th, 2014

Alex with the “Yoda of Acting”, Anthony Abeson at the Producer’s Club Theaters in New York City on May 29th, 2014

Natalie: New York’s film and television industry is much smaller compared to the industry in Hollywood. Alex, how does the industry in NYC differ to that in Los Angeles?

Alex: It’s changed over the last few years. When I was living in New York in the late ‘90’s and early 2000’s, all the Law & Orders was there, Oz was there, The Sopranos was there, Sex and the City. But not much more television than that. There is certainly film productions, and a huge variety of theater. I mean, New York is a theater town. But now it’s kind of changing. I think there are more and more shows that are there, more and more films that are being cast out of New York. You know, film-making and television is really becoming a global phenomenon now. All over the country and for other countries as well. So, there are more and more opportunities now in New York than there have been for film and TV. New York is the mecca for theater. So, if you are interested in pursuing a theater career, New York is definitely the place to be. LA has some good theater, but New York is a whole different boat.

In my experience, a lot projects that shoot in New York, still cast here [in LA]. They will come here to do a casting, because there’s a great pool of actors to choose from. So, while there are some really great projects in New York, usually they’ll do at least one casting session here. So, when you’re here there are much more actors here, so your competition is greater, but you’re also given more opportunity. So, probably LA for film and television, is still the best place to be for an actor. For theater, it’s still New York. But there is more and more crossover now. In this past year, I’ve done a few Skype auditions for directors. So, I think it’s changing. You can really be anywhere in the world, and if people are interested in meeting with you, or if they want to talk to you, or see you perform, they’ll find you. Much like all the other industries, the entertainment industry is really becoming digital. And with it becoming more digital, it’s becoming more global, more universal. I’m curious to see what will happen over the next decade or so. But where you are doesn’t seem to be as important as it used to be. It will be very interesting to see where this takes us. Some of my students are teenagers. They’re ability to work on their phone is astonishing to me. What their capable of doing. In my generation, we didn’t think it was possible ten years ago. So, you know, we’ll see what happens.     


Natalie: Also, would you say that it is somewhat easier for an aspiring actor to break into the entertainment business in NYC compared to Los Angeles, where the market is significantly bigger and more competitive?

Alex: Again, I think if you’re trying to get into film and television, LA’s still the place to be. It really depends on the actor. Who the actor is, what their support system is like. If they have a moral support in New York, then they should be in New York. When we accept actors here at F.A.B.A, I try to take a very individualized approach and really listen to the needs of the actor before I put out a statement on how to do things. Both New York and LA have a tremendous amount of opportunities. LA is more film and television based, and New York has a ton of film, some television and really mostly theater. So, it really depends on what your goals are. If at all possible, I would say spend a little time in both.

Natalie: Alex, your versatility as an actor has lent itself to you playing many roles. In fact, it could be said that your versatility has led to you being cast in the Law & Order franchise on three separate occasions, playing three different characters – convicted murderer, drug addict, serial rapist. What would you say it is about your unique acting style which attracted the attention of the producers of this acclaimed, long-running television series to cast you multiple times?

Alex: Just to be clear I did not play a serial rapist. I was accused of being a serial rapist (laughs). I was accused. I was innocent. I was actually a lawyer. But for the Law & Order opportunities that I’ve had on both Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Special Victims Unit, all those roles were directed by the same, wonderful director named Constantine Makris. And I met him when I did the first one, and he and I hit it off and he gave me some wonderful opportunities. In New York when I was living there at the time, it was one of the really few popular shows that gave opportunities to good actors. They weren’t sort of really hiring a name. They were looking for good New York actors. I was just lucky enough for the right part to come along, and then I hit it off with Constantine. I asked Constantine one time, how I can pay him back, cause he really gave me a nice break. He said, “Just help someone else out”. I never forgot that. That was pretty cool.

Alex as Mitch Regan on Law & Order "Teenage Wasteland" (2001)

Alex as Mitch Regan on Law & Order “Teenage Wasteland” (2001)

Alex as Kevin Donovan in Law & Order: Criminal Intent "The Faithful" (2001)
Alex as Kevin Donovan in Law & Order: Criminal Intent “The Faithful” (2001)

Alex as Danny Ryan in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit "Greed" (2002)

Alex as Danny Ryan in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit “Greed” (2002)

Natalie: Alex, your acting resume is quite impressive. In addition to various guest star appearances on hit television shows, such as Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: SVU, CSI: Miami, Without a Trace, Notes from the Underbelly and In Plain Sight, you also have over twenty-five film credits to your name. Are you quite selective with the roles you choose?

Alex: It depends. I mean with any actor, sometimes you take a role for a pay check. Sometimes you take a role because you’re absolutely riveted by the character. Sometimes it’s the relationship you want to cultivate. Maybe I want to work with certain director, producer, or writer. There are main things that go into how one chooses a project. But you hope that when it’s all said and done you can go back and say, “Hey, you know, there were really a few good moments there”. You know, ones that you’re really proud of.

But sometimes working on a project versus watching a project, are two very different things for me. There are genres, for example, that I love to perform in. I’ve been lucky to be in some interesting horror films. That’s been a genre that’s been kind to me, and it’s so much fun. They’re tremendous fun. I love making them. I wouldn’t necessarily go and watch a lot of horror films, because I’m terrified and I don’t enjoy being scared (laughs). But making them is fun, so sometimes you take a project because you look at a script and go, “Oh my God, I’m going to travel to Louisiana and have a tremendous amount of fun being killed by bear traps”. It’s awesome.

But you know, much like the way that I approach my acting techniques, I’m not very uniformed in the way that I select projects. There are so many different variables that go into that. Sometimes it’s just right. Sometimes it’s for fun. Sometimes it’s because it’s the right person and I have a little bit of time. Let’s do it! I have a kid now, and so I’m a little bit more selective with travel. I would prefer to be at home with him. But other than that, I mean it’s just, you know, when an opportunity presents itself, you have to say well, okay, what is attractive about it to me? Can this help me? Can this help other people? Can this be something that will prove to be fruitful down the line? And you just make your decision that way.

Alex with actress Jennifer Grey and director, Michael Lembeck in Lifetime Television's "The Bling Ring" (2011)

Alex with actress Jennifer Grey and director, Michael Lembeck in Lifetime Television’s “The Bling Ring” (2011)

Natalie: Alex, some of your most notable films roles, in particular, were in Chernobyl Diaries (2012), The Collector (2009), Repo Chick (2009) and Animal Hitmen (2007). What has been you most satisfying film role so far, and why?

Alex: I believe that the most satisfying role is to come. I’m hoping that my future will bring me my most satisfying role. So far, I don’t know, I’ve been quite happy with the roles that I’ve had. I got to play a Jamaican rock star in a comedy directed by the great Alex Cox (2009’s Repo Chick) a few years ago. I got to have the long dreadlocks and learn the Jamaican accent. That was fun. I’m still a little shocked. I never thought that was going to come my way, but that was cool.

I just shot this a couple of months ago, a science fiction pilot called Eternity Hill which I wrote and directed, and I was in it as well. That’s maybe the most interesting role I’ve had, because it’s very complex. I get to play a variety of versions of the same character, as they might be remembered by their family and friends. So, there’s these very distinctive differences that each one has, and yet it’s a representation of the same character. So, that’s been challenging and rewarding. So, maybe that. I’m hoping…Get me a job Natalie. Get me a role that I can say is the most satisfying.

Alex with co-star Madeline Zima in 2009's The Collector

Alex with co-star Madeline Zima in 2009’s The Collector









Alex with director Alex Cox in the 2009 comedy, Repo Chick

Alex with director Alex Cox in the 2009 comedy, Repo Chick


Natalie: Alex, can you describe your style of acting? Are you a method actor? Do you employ the techniques of some of the greats, such as Strasberg, Adler, Meisner, Stanislavski, for example?

Alex: Yeah, I do all of those. I mean, they are all amazing teachers, you know, philosophers of acting, so you can’t really ignore them. You can’t ignore any of the people you mentioned – Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner, Constantin Stanislavski, Stella Adler. Eric Morris is another one we have here in Los Angeles. Really great people. You can’t ignore them. So, I think I do use techniques from all of them, and as I said earlier sometimes when I’m acting I do have a clear decision, like this quote from a book or this technique from a book that I read or this technique from class which is very useful in this moment. Other times, I’m just going with my instincts, and I think probably my instincts have gotten a big layer of technique (laughs). So, even know I’m hoping that they’re organic, they have probably been developed through stuff I’ve learned.

There have been people who have written reviews of my work, and have called me a method actor. I don’t think of myself as that, but I know that I’ve sort of naturally or accidentally slipped into moments of, while I’m working on a character, my life becomes mixed up with and in my personal life. I start doing things that my character might be doing or recalling things from my past. Or you know, personal experiences that are affiliated with what’s happening in the script or in the life of a character. So, I think when people refer to it as method acting, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler work sort of bleeds into it. I don’t know that I make a conscious choice to do that. If it feels natural, if it feels organic, I’ll let it happen. So, when I get a script I’ll read it, and I’ll just sort of start seeing it in my head, and I’ll try to do some kind of physical work to figure out how this person might be a little different from me. Peel away some things in me that don’t help necessarily, and keep what does help and go from there.

There have been patterns of different techniques, methods that I’ve found to be helpful to me. But I don’t rely on them. Whatever this particular character feels like doing, I try to let it happen. It’s different every time. With comedy, drama, film, television, theater, it’s more of what is the writer trying to say, what’s my responsibility to the writer, what’s the world that we live in. And then trying to be as truthful and honest as I can be, to deliver whatever the writer has requested.

10p1_previewNatalie: Alex, for those who are struggling to obtain representation, what advice can you offer to an aspiring actor in order to increase their chances of being signed by an agent or manager?

Alex: Well, first of all there are a plenty of opportunities to get work without representation. There are these websites setup in both New York and LA to help you get work, even if you’re not in the union, if you don’t have representation. You can see links to that on our website. You can also Google some of them. There’s plenty of work out there. And again, I really implore all up and coming actors to create their own projects. If you are creating your own project, that gives you something to show to a potential rep. So, you’re not saying, “Hey, I’m an actor who’s totally new and I need representation”. You’re saying, “look at what I’ve created”. If you don’t have a reel yet, which is a very important, put together a short film, a little web series, you know, some YouTube video. Something to show and say, this is what I’m capable of. And that really sets you apart from others.

Doing showcases is a good idea. There are showcases in New York, Los Angeles…There are showcases all across America, that will kind of help you be introduced to different representatives. And doing your research. Don’t just say that I need an agent. Find out which agent is the right agent for you. Ask for advice, ask for references. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. But the more important answer to your question Natalie, is when you’re looking for an agent, remember what your goals are that you’ve set for yourself in the long term. Just because you’re looking for an agent, just because you find an agent, doesn’t mean that you’re going to necessarily be successful or anything. What do you want to get out of your relationship with the agent and where do you see your career going – make sure that you’re very aware of that. I think that will set you on the right path. But I mean, if anyone’s coming to LA and they want to get a little advice about agents, come here. Just drop by For Actors By Actors (F.A.B.A.), and we’ll help you out.

Natalie: Alex, how difficult was it for you when you first started out in acting to find representation?

Alex: When I was at the Conservatory in New York in our second year, we did a showcase at the end of the year. It was a graduating showcase. I didn’t realize how lucky I was at the time. Looking back, I guess that I was quite lucky. But I got signed with a really wonderful manager, named Tex Beha right out of school. And then, one of the first auditions she got for me, I ended up booking was a play that ended up turning into a film and I was a lead in that. And that sort of gave me an opportunity to sign with a really good agent and that agent had an office in New York and LA. I kind of starting work right away out of school. And again, at the time I felt that’s just how it is. Looking back I realize that there was quite a bit of luck there, and obviously I was given opportunities that some actors don’t get right away. And so, for me my way of getting representation wasn’t necessarily what it’s like for most people.

But I was given an opportunity by my school in New York and got signed pretty much right way. But since then, I mean, I’ve been doing this for over fifteen years now. Since then, I’ve had a variety of agents and managers. I’ve had some really wonderful relationships with them, and I’ve had some relationships that really didn’t work out well. Well, that’s what sort of happens as you go along the way. You work with people that really understand you and can help you out. If that’s not the case, you find somebody else. But for me, it was through school that I got my first representation.

I was with Don Buckwald & Associates. I was with them for almost eight years, and then we parted ways and I signed with a different agency and a different manager. And now I’m with a totally different agency. Right now I’m with AEFH in Los Angeles, and I’m in very good hands.

Natalie: Many actors expect their agents/managers to find them work. What can an actor do to be more proactive in shaping their own career and essentially create greater opportunities for themselves?

Alex: Well, first and foremost, there are so many different avenues now, and more and more popping up every day which you can push your own projects. That didn’t exist so much when I first started acting. But now through all these online opportunities, the whole digital world is so open now that if you are an actor that is not in some way creating their own work, you’re probably a little bit behind. You got to get on the bandwagon. It’s so easy now to pick up a camera, get some friends, some actor friends, some writer friends. Put together a script and create stories, because you can actually put them up. There is an audience. And by doing so, it gives you much more control. No actor should ever allow someone to say, “No, you can’t work”. You can act. You can create your own projects. So, get out there and build a little team and create content. That’s what we do. We’re storytellers. There’s no excuse not to create your own work.

However, with representation, with agents, yes it’s very difficult to find the right agent and the right manager, and once you do find them, it can be a little daunting and confusing, as to how to help them create opportunities for you. I think one of the strategies that an actor can use, is to get really clear and really specific on what their goals are, what they’re trying to accomplish. You just don’t go up to an agent and say, “Hey, I want to be an actor”. Be more specific than that. Where do you see your career going? What casting directors do you need to cultivate relationships with? Specific tasks that your agent or manager can do to help you with. And certainly, listen to the agent or manager, and allow them to do their job. But be involved. Just because you have representation, doesn’t mean you just get to sit back and wait for the phone to ring, let them take care of everything. Be involved in your own career. Take control over your career, and create opportunities for yourself. And help your agent do their job. But don’t distract them from their job. Help them do your job.

Natalie: Alex, you have been teaching acting students since 2003. What made you want to pass on your knowledge and wisdom to young aspiring performers?283015_10150339360383939_1947709_n

Alex: This teaching job was offered to me when I was only 25 years old, and in hindsight, really, what are you going to learn from a 25 year old? But I thought, okay. At the time, I was between acting jobs, and I thought that this was something that I need to take financially. It scared the hell out of me! I thought it would be an interesting challenge. So, I accepted it and I quite liked it right away. I really enjoyed being around new actors. People who were super excited about it and really had these raw imaginations and don’t know exactly how to channel that. And I just continued to do it, and eventually I think I kind of learnt how to teach by doing it. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity given to me.

But since then, I’ve really worked to provide some sort of service to the students, and listening to the students. Listening to the individual needs of each acting student, has taught me a lot. There’s a certain part of my brain that is curious about how different people think and how different people work. We’ve been able to provide great opportunities to students since then. I’ve worked at a variety of different places, and each one has been a learning experience. And much like how Anthony Abeson has taught me, I don’t necessarily subscribe to any particular method. I think many of the great teachers that came before me, who are a much more serious teacher than I am, and are more accomplished, I take from all of them, and sort of pass on whatever has worked for me and what seems interesting to me. Hopefully, that is useful to the students that I work with.


Natalie: Alex, what do believe makes for a successful actor?

Alex: That is a loaded question! Probably if you asked a group of actors what they believe makes them successful, you’d probably find that a wide spectrum of answers. I think that if you are happy acting and you’re provided with an opportunity to act, if you are lucky enough to be able to do, whether you’re doing it for a living or for free, that’s pretty successful. If you set out a goal for yourself to be an actor and you get to act, that’s pretty great. If you can put food on the table by doing that, that’s even better. But to me, there are many countries and many cities and many communities where you can sort of have a dream of being something and get to do it. So, I think if you love acting and get to act, that’s pretty successful.

Natalie: Alex, you have written and directed numerous shorts films, where you have provided many of your past and current students with the opportunity to co-star in some of these projects. Obviously, this is an extremely valuable and rewarding opportunity for these aspiring actors, in terms of building their resumes, gaining on-camera experience, and even possibly providing them with much needed exposure.

How important is it to an actor’s career to establish and maintain relationships with their acting teacher or coach?

Alex: I think that it’s quite important. I mean, earlier you were talking about Anthony Abeson. My relationship with Anthony has had a very valuable one. It goes way past just being a student-teacher relationship. He will always be my teacher, but he’s really been very supportive and provided opportunity for me. And I think it’s not only with your teachers, but most relationships in this industry, if you maintain them, support them and cultivate them, good for you. This is a very tightly-knit community. When you’re first getting into this industry, it feels like there’s this huge industry and you’re kind of on the outside of it. And after spending a few years in it, you realize that it’s a tightly-knit small group. And reputation matters and helping people matters, and providing opportunities matters. People will remember that. So, staying in touch with anybody that’s helped you along the way or anybody your can help, is wonderful. And if you can create a community of your own, and help the members of that community succeed, it’s going to come back to you and help you out.

I have directed shorts where I have given opportunity to some of my students, but they’ve come in and done a great job, so they’re helping me. So, besides me helping them, they really are stepping up. I wouldn’t cast somebody in a project that I was directing, if I didn’t think they were good or right for it, so I’m hoping that it helps me but it’s also helping me. If you’re a good student and you work hard and you care about what you’re doing, yeah, I’ll try to provide opportunity for you, because in the long run it will help me. It helps everybody.

 Natalie: Alex, you recently formed the company, For Actors By Actors (F.A.B.A), which is a community of actors dedicated to providing support and help to other actors in order to be able to compete, and ultimately succeed in the Los Angeles film and television industry. In my opinion, I truly believe that the whole concept of your “community” of actors providing a support system to other actors in a very cut-throat business, is such an innovative idea.  What inspired you to create this supportive community?

Alex: I’ve taught acting at a few different places. For years now, I’ve been making a short list in my mind of things that I wish was there for me when I was starting out, and I would make those things available to people who are starting out now. That’s where the idea of For Actor By Actors came from. I wanted a community of people who know what it’s like, who have been through it, who can provide first-hand knowledge to people who are just getting into it now. This idea of really demystifying the collaborative process, allowing the actor to understand what other pieces go into making film and what their responsibility is to other collaborators. And that’s where it sort of came from, For Actors By Actors, meaning actors helping actors.

When you come here, you’re not going to run into someone who doesn’t understand what an actor goes through, judge it or be insensitive to it. While at the same time, we’re very honest about the current conditions, the current climate of the entertainment industry. That’s really where the idea came through. It was a cumulative process of thinking of all the different opportunities that I wish I had, and getting as close as I can to providing those opportunities in a supportive environment. And I’m very lucky to have a great staff here. You guys can visit our site:, and then click on the faculty page, and you’ll see that we have a really beautiful staff. I’m very grateful to have all these actors who resonate with my way of thinking and come here and really create this educational, fun environment.       


Natalie: There are so many acting schools in Los Angeles, which can often make it difficult for a performer to be able to select a good school. What sets F.A.B.A apart from others?

Alex: There are some amazing schools here in Los Angeles. I think actors should probably explore many different opportunities as possible. Don’t just settle on the first one. We are a little different from most, because For Actors By Actors was formed as a community of actors helping other actors. All the employees we have here, the instructors are working professional actors. And when you have somebody teaching who’s actually out there, auditioning on a regular basis, spending time on film and television sets, they’re more aware of the fast pace changes that occur in this industry. They know what the most current opportunities are, what are the most current casting styles, set experience, what the different communities are doing out there.

We’re teaching much more from experience, rather than from theory. We do bring in techniques and exercises from very old, very traditional teachers. However, we’re also teaching what’s happening out in the industry right now. We’re teaching a lot about the business of acting. I find that there are many wonderful schools around America and probably worldwide, that equip their students with great craft techniques, so students really know how to be a good actor. But they don’t spend enough time on telling them how to apply that to booking actual work, to actually getting a career started, so that you can provide for your family as an actor. Our focus is really on that, and once you are a student here, there are all sorts of opportunities for you to have this amazing, what we call “creative mash-up” which you will find on our website, which is free. And it’s just bringing writers, directors, casting directors, musicians even, together with our students, and seeing what can creatively come from that.

In addition to acting classes, we do all these different events that are designed to demystify the collaborative process of filmmaking, so it doesn’t feel whatever a casting director does, whatever a producer does, that’s foreign to me as an actor. The goal is the same, whether you’re a casting director or producer. We’re all just trying to tell a story, put that project together. It’s important for actors to know what those other people do. And so we differ from most other schools by really combining all of that, really giving the actor an education not only what the actor’s responsibility is to themselves, but what is your responsibility to the writer. What is your responsibility to the director, even the editor. This way, I think you get a more rounded individual and an artist. These are the kind of opportunities we try to create. We have a film festival as well, which we’re involved with called Hollyshorts. Earlier, I was talking about the importance of actors creating their own projects, and I provide an avenue for actors to actually show their projects. We are affiliated with the Hollyshorts Film Festival. For the second year in a row, we teamed up with the Hollyshorts Film Festival which is held at the Mann Chinese Theater in Hollywood, to screen films made by our students. There was a red carpet event, publicity, and a lot of industry folk came. We encourage people to create their own projects, and then we try to help them build up those projects up on their feet and then have an avenue in which they can screen that project as well.

Natalie: Prior to forming F.A.B.A, you were the Creative Director of the Acting Studios of Beverly Hills, where you were responsible for creating all the programs and curriculum, which ultimately lead to many success stories in film and television, and commercials.  

How have you drawn on your previous experience as a Creative Director in running F.A.B.A.? 

Alex: Absolutely. When I was the creative director of the Acting Studios of Beverly Hills, it was a really big school and I had an opportunity to really see a very diverse population of actors with so many different goals and ideas. It’s really where I got my education as to how to treat each actor individually. All the curricula I wrote there, is bleeding now into what I’m doing with For Actors By Actors. We’re trying to be innovative here. We’re trying to invent brand new ways of thinking.  Yes, my previous jobs and previous opportunities are a big predecessor of what I’m doing now.

A lot of the students that I had at the Acting Studios of Beverly Hills, are now with us here at For Actors By Actors. You mentioned earlier how important it is to keep your previous relationship with your teacher. I think that this is a great indicator that people do feel that once they find a common language, and once they find somebody there to genuinely help them, they tend create a relationship and maintain that relationship. The things that I learnt at the Acting Studios of Beverly Hills, have proven to be very helpful in the creation of what I’m doing now at For Actors By Actors.  

The F.A.B.A. faculty

The F.A.B.A. faculty

Natalie: Alex, in the short time that F.A.B.A has been operating, what opportunities has the company been able to provide students with, thus far?

Alex: On May 24th, we had the second annual Hollyshorts Film Festival screening which is films made by members of For Actors By Actors. I talked a little bit about it earlier. But we’ve definitely provided an urgency and opportunity for our members and our students to create projects, and we’ve created an avenue for them to showcase their projects. We also do agent showcases, and we’ve gotten a ton of our students signed with really good representatives. As a result of that, they’ve gone on to book work in films, television, commercials, theater.

I think what I’m most proud of is our students are now producing their own projects, whereas before it would have been too daunting. They now have the courage to go out there and make more projects, and put it out to the world. I think that those are the kinds of things that can really attract the right representation and create opportunity. You have to go out and make your own opportunities. We have students working in digital television and film and television and commercials and theater. Most of that is due to their own ability to perform and of their own talent. But hopefully, we’ve had a small hand in that as well. We’ve also had quite a hand in introducing our students to the industry professionals, whether it be through creative mash-up or talent agent showcases, or just when we invite industry professionals to sit in on our classes. That’s been very rewarding for me to watch people cultivate these relationships.

Alex with Asha Laroux at the F.A.B.A. Hollyshorts Screening 2014 at Mann Chinese Theaters in Hollywood, CA.

Alex with Asha Laroux at the F.A.B.A. Hollyshorts Screening 2014 at Mann Chinese Theaters in Hollywood, CA.

Natalie: Having trained with you, I can truly say that your style of teaching allows a student to grow immensely as an actor and master the craft. Alex, you are a consummate professional. You offer your students support, advice and respect, thus providing a highly supportive environment.  

Alex, throughout your career and training as an actor, what support, advice or guidance did you receive? And how did this ultimately assist you in your development as a professional?

Alex: This is a competitive industry with a lot of rejection. A lot of politics. And if you don’t really love it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to stay in it. So, the second part of that is if you love it, really go for it. There’s no reward greater than taking a creative risk and then seeing something positive come from that. I’ve received a ton of advice. Most has been very good, some I probably shouldn’t have listened to (laughs). But treating other actors with respect, creating the right air with respect. That means being prepared. That means always being respectful to what the writer has intended. One of the most important pieces of advice is also the most simple, and that is be on time. Always be on time. Never be late to anything. In this industry, that’s a really important piece of information. That’s the least you can do. So many people put so much energy into having a project come together. Just be on time and be prepared. How simple is that?!

Natalie: Alex, you told us about Eternity Hill. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects? I understand that you recently completed work on the film Awakened, which is currently in post-production. Can you tell us more about this?

Alex: Yeah. Awakened is a psychological thriller about people who are dealing with a very real condition called sleep paralysis. A significant population around the world suffer from this, which is a condition where sometimes you might wake up abruptly in the middle of the night and your mind is awake but your body is paralyzed. And it can last anywhere from seconds to minutes to an hour. For centuries, there have been documented descriptions of people suffering from tremendous moments of terror while they undergo this paralysis, for obvious reasons. You can’t move your body. This is a film, a psychological thriller that deals with the medical study of test subjects that have an extreme version of sleep paralysis and then go into this medical study. And then things go nuts. So, look out for that one. That should be out sometime next year.

Natalie: Can you tell us a bit about your character and role in the film?

Alex: I play a man who’s struggling from sleep paralysis, and one of the reasons he’s struggling from this is because of his sexual history. Because of his promiscuity. (Laughs) Let’s just say his love for women. One of his ex-girlfriends had kidnapped him, and kept him captive for a while and the outcome of that is that he’s been mentally damaged. He’s dealing with sleep paralysis and he’s trying to work it all out. So, again, a darker, fun character.

Natalie: You do play some interesting, colourful characters Alex

Alex: I don’t know what it is about me, but some really fun stuff has come my way. Some dark and twisted stuff. I like that kind of stuff. I’m glad that’s happening.

I will be starting a new production, a film in September or October, called Jacob and I. That’s a very interesting drama made by a British filmmaker. So, I look forward to that.


If anybody is curious about what we do at For Actors By Actors, please do visit our website at You can also give us a call at 323-942-9228. We’re just here to help you guys out. We’re easy to find and don’t be a stranger. Come around.



Visit the For Actors By Actors (F.A.B.A.) website for further information

Alex’s Film/TV/Directing/Writing Credits

Alex’s Website


Todd Farmer: The Stuff of Nightmares


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!”


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.





















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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


 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.



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.


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