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The Writer of Jason X Ended Up Living In His Car Last Year & Just Wrote About The Experience

Posted on the 04 March 2015 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

Mine is one of the many sites you’ll come across if you Google the phrase “13 things you didn’t know about Friday the 13th.” Turns out a lot of other people had the same idea as me. Darn. Well, I wrote a trivia article for every single Friday the 13th film, relying heavily on the fantastic doc Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th and its corresponding coffee-table book. It was a sometimes odd experience watching Crystal Lake Memories’ current-day interviews with the various cast and crew who have filtered through the franchise over the decades. You barely recognize some of the actors, marvel at how remarkably well some of the actresses have aged (looking at you, Jason Takes Manhattan’s Jensen Daggett), and occasionally ponder what these people do for a living now. Are they a horror movie convention warrior now? Or have they long since left acting or anything related to their acting career behind? What of the various screenwriters and directors, most of whom you’ve never heard of before? What became of them after their Friday the 13th?

When I would ponder those things not once did I ever entertain the idea that anyone had become straight-up homeless after their Friday the 13th. However, that’s exactly what happened to Todd Farmer, the writer behind Jason X whose resume also includes the Jensen Ackles version of My Bloody Valentine and Nicholas Cage’s Drive Angry. He just wrote a fascinating essay about his experiences living in his own car while working a normal job at a Toyota dealership, keeping his living situation a secret from as many people as possible. It’s a great way of humanizing box office numbers, reminding us that when a movie like Drive Angry opens to just $5.1 million in 2011 that means the screenwriter with a wife and kid to support is going to have promising meetings canceled and job offers disappear. Farmer explains that’s part and parcel of the peaks and valleys of the average Hollywood screenwriter who always seems to land that crucial next job just in the nick of time.


In addition to writing Jason X, Todd Farmer also has a small role as one of Jason’s victims

However, for the first time in his career that next job never came.  After nearly twenty years of working as a screenwriter for a living he had to take a 9-5 at UPS and then Toyota, supporting his daughter and estranged wife who had moved together to Tennessee. By early 2014, he no longer had a place to live. So, he learned pretty quickly the do’s and don’ts of living in your Prius. For instance, he learned it’s technically illegal to sleep in your car in LA and Ventura counties, but a Wall Mart parking lot is a good place to do it without anyone noticing. He kept paying his gym membership since that allowed him daily access to a shower, and no one at his Toyota job had any idea their 6’4” customer service rep. was pretty much homeless. Of course, he did maintain some streak of Hollywood in him, admitting that even though he was reduced to living in his car he made sure to continue seeing his therapist, who offered to let him sleep in his car in front of her house.

While he was going through this, his former writing partner, Patrick Lussier, was knee deep in the new Terminator with his new writing partner, Laeta Kalogridis.   When Lussier invited Farmer to a birthday party last year he had to face up to reality:

There’s this little Hollywood insecurity that over the years I’ve heard many mention. It’s that feeling that they go through the motions hoping no one realizes they’re faking it, or that they don’t belong or that they don’t fit in. I’m not saying anyone at this gathering was feeling said insecurity. But it is a Hollywood thing. My point is, I’ve never felt it. Never thought it. If someone didn’t like my script, I’d feel bad for them for not getting it. I didn’t just feel I belonged. I knew I belonged.

But not that night. That night was different. I suddenly felt so very… small. Very out of place. Suddenly the weight and burden of my situation came crashing down. My glass half full, shattered. My face turned red and I could feel the tears building. I thanked everyone and departed probably quicker than I should have but I was terrified these people I loved and respected would see me break down. The moment I got outside… well, there’s just no romantic way to put it. I sobbed. One of those deep gasping-breath sobs. I found a quiet neighborhood in Encino, reclined my seat and slid under my blanket. That was a rough night. I’d had previous bad nights. And there were others to come. But that one… that one was rough.

But it was also a turning point. Something changed that night. Can’t put my finger on what it was exactly. It wasn’t that I started writing more.I still wrote as much as my situation allowed. I think it was attitude. I was no longer content to just write and HOPE the Universe would do the right thing. Hope? When had I started using hope? I never used to hope. I had always EXPECTED. I expected Riddle Me This to sell. I expected we’d make My Bloody Valentine 2. I expected Halloween 3D would get made. I expected Drive Angry would be a success. And when those things didn’t happen, no worries, on to the next. But something had broken.I’d lost the faith of expecting. I’d lost faith. I had become dependent on the security blanket that was a biweekly paying job. I had to rediscover my faith.I had to find my way back.

That’s exactly what he did. That next job finally came. And then the next one. And next one. He’s now living in Tennessee to be closer to his daughter, working as a full-time screenwriter again, and traveling back to LA when necessary. For now, this Hollywood story has a happy ending, but the path to get there is not a story you hear told that often. You can read Todd Farmer’s full essay at BadAssDigest.

Source: BadAssDigest

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