FACES WHO TUBE: An Interview with Artist, Writer, and Professional Nerd James Farr


In a galaxy Farr Farr away, right where Gary Busey grew up, lives a talented thirty-something artist who’s “obsessed with Pac-Man”, who “watches videos of cats fighting with lightsabers”, and who made a cameo in the first Transformers movie. His name is James Farr, and this massive dork (according to his wife and son) calls Tulsa, Oklahoma home.

You may not know this professional geek by name but you certainly fell in love with some of his “nerdy, nostalgic and ri-freaking-diculous” work like the Super Mario Busters series that seamlessly mashed up the world of Super Mario and Ghostbusters:

Or how about his Xombie and Trains-Formers web series, both of which raked in a more than an impressive 100,000,000 views combined. (The second series isn’t available anywhere, but you can watch the former in its entirety over and over again on YouTube).

Mr. Farr gets the chance to play make-believe every day on a professional level; he has developed comics, television features and other oddities for Hasbro, TokyoPop, Dreamworks, Studio B, and New Line Cinema. But, luckily, he does find the time to create his own personal projects and share some of his labor of love on his self-titled YouTube channel. Blink to the Future is a good example:

His channel might not have the largest following (~77 000 subscribers), but it’s top-notch and an essential for every sexy geek out there. And with the recent release of the third installment of the colourful serie Super Smash Wars and its grand finale, and upcoming cool new bits of original content that will live both on and off YouTube, it grows steadily as amazing mash-ups keep coming.

Through exchanged emails, we were able to ask James a couple of questions about himself and his YouTube channel:

As an all-around artist, what’s the place of YouTube in your work?

“I think of it like an open mic night on a global scale. It’s a place to hone your skills, try new things, and potentially bring others together in a fun and positive way. I also really value the immediacy of it. Whereas TV, film and even comics can take months or years to complete, the typical YouTube video is a much lower impact project, and has a potential to find ten times the audience if done correctly.”

You started sharing videos on the web before the creation of YouTube. Do you see yourself as a precursor/pioneer?

“In a very small way, sure. Newgrounds.com predated YouTube, of course, and was pretty much the online nexus of animated shorts. I love the Newgrounds guys and had a really good run with Xombie. I’ve been considering resurrecting that for the YouTube crowd once the channel reaches around 100,000 subscribers.”

Was it an audacious move or was it the only one available?

“Both. I had just turned 23 (in 2003) and was coming off the sale of my first cartoon show to Simpsons producer, Film Roman. This had opened up some doors, and allowed me to pitch Xombie all over town. Ultimately though nobody bought it, citing that zombies couldn’t be featured in a kids show. So, instead of being rational and developingg something they wanted, I stubbornly decided to make the whole thing by myself. It took me until 2007 to finish that series. So possibly not the smartest decision, but hey…it once showed up beside The Avengers on Netflix. :)”

What’s your main goal? Directing a motion picture or you just plan on having fun no matter what is coming your way?

“One of the projects I’ve always chased is a feature length version of the “Pac-Man” fan film, which I wrote and directed two years ago with the support of Steelehouse Productions. (Which is on the Machinima channel.)”

“I’m a little bit obsessed with Pac-Man, and of somehow convincing a major studio that a Pac-Man movie could kick unbelievable ass. The short was an attempt to show, in the fullest way possible, what a moment from that film could be like.”

(Please! Please! Please Hollywood! Make him do a Pac-Man feature film!)

Do you watch a lot of videos online? What kind?

“I am a huge fan of British panel shows, SpeedDemosArchiveSDA, and behind-the-scenes documentaries. Or as my history would seem to indicate, cats fighting with lightsabers.”

Who are your favorites YouTubers?

“I watch a lot of video game walkthroughs, as I’m usually too busy animating games to be playing and/or finishing them myself. As a result, JackSepticeye and TheRadBrad are permanent fixtures in my studio.”

(Isn’t it great that he doesn’t really have time to play video games? We have the chance to entertain ourselves with his amusing work and our enjoyment is never game over!)

P.S. You can follow James Farr on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, jamesfarr.com and of course his YouTube channel.

Bonus points: The best geeky spots in Tulsa and all of Oklahoma according to James Farr are the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History (So geeky I got married there!), the Toy & Action Figure Museum in Paul’s Valley, The Max Retro Pub & Arcade, and Wizard’s Asylum Comics in Tulsa.

By ‘Xim Sauriol (Corrections by Adriana Sgambetterra)