As some of you may have already understood, I am a writer. I like to write. I have a passion for it. I write from my soul. I write every day. And every day I think I'm getting better and better. Including gradually becoming better at withstanding and surviving the constant barrage of evil doubts, rewrites rewrites, ruthless rejection and self-flagellation that comes with this loneliest chase. So why is it that I, and so many other seemingly healthy people on this planet, do this for the love of shit? There are no easy answers. At least none that I found anyway.
What do you say about this? We just do. Hey, who says writing always has to be deep?
Filmmaker Natalie Rodriguez is a writer. She composes original stories for the films she also directs. His latest effort, “Howard Original,” explores the screenwriter's world in a decidedly unusual and provocative way. I saw "Howard Original". And for the second time now, I have had the opportunity to speak with Rodriguez about his work.
"Howard Original" is about writing. Inspiration. Creative influences. The process. Satisfaction. Pride. And, alas, the pain inherent in relentless rejection and frustration. Share with us why you are writing, Natalie. What prompts you to write?
When Kevin (Michaels, co-writer and star of "Howard Original") and I first met, we always talked about the writing process as a freelance director and writer for a studio. That's what ultimately created and built the story and world of HOWARD ORIGINAL - those thoughts, worries and fears of being successful and not successful in the entertainment industry. Just like HOWARD, what drives me to write is really the joy of creating this world, whatever it is. As we also see in HOWARD ORIGINAL, these characters and the world of the story are certainly part of the life of writers; we care about the characters and want to find out their reasons and goals in life. This is what we felt when sharing HOWARD's story - why he was so frustrated and wanted to finish his long overdue screenplay.
The actress' audition scenes in "Howard Original" are uniformly engaging and hilarious. We have a feeling that, although on the scandalous face, it is probably not too far removed from "real world" experiences. As a filmmaker and active professional participant, is what we see here on screen what you regularly experience in audition rooms?
We had a lot of fun working with the different actresses that day. Sadly, I can say that many of my peers - both actors and actresses and behind the scenes of people like me - have heard stories of casting calls gone bad or many producers faking casting calls to get a date (you understand) with some actors. It's really disgusting how many stories me, me and I know Kevin has heard over the years. Usually when I ask some of these peers, who have experienced racism or sexism in a casting, what they do after or during the audition (s) itself, most of them respond by "Nothing". The saddest thing is how many actors are even told by their agents and managers, or by Hollywood standards, to “shrug their shoulders” and simply “take” these kinds of inappropriate comments or suggestions. I certainly think that is changing, especially with the pandemic that many unions are looking to lock into specific rules and regulations, which should have happened years ago.
** Also, many thanks to Space Station Studios for allowing us to film at their location; they unfortunately closed due to COVID-19 **
Darianna Parra is pretty good at playing your alter ego in “Howard Original”. The film also reveals that she is also an infernal dancer. So we are all curious. Does the talented Mrs. Parra do justice to your own moves, Natalie?
Darianna was FANTASTIC and we were lucky to have her on the HOWARD ORIGINAL team. These dance movements were a mixture of improvisation and choreography. The dance was choreographed by MS. DARIANNA, KEVIN and I kind of suggested what HOWARD would do. As you always hear with most feature film productions, that shoot date was the critical time, and in fact we were losing the sun quickly and being outside we had maybe about an hour to go. enter this dance sequence with (the characters of) RODRIGUEZ and HOWARD. I wish I had been a dancer, but unfortunately I am not - I really need DARIANNA to give me more clues. I remember when we shot the dance sequence, Daryl Hall, who's also our film editor, and I sort of danced around DARIANNA and KEVIN during the dance sequence. Most of the time I would stand behind DARYL and hold the back of his shirt so that our shadows weren't reflected in front of the camera. It was also my first time doing a dance sequence, which I always wanted to do 🙂
I have now seen your two feature films, having reviewed your first treatise on mental health, “The Extraordinary Ordinary,” earlier this year on this link:
They are two very different stories, and show a specific range of topics that interest you. What other areas of our human condition are you studying for future releases?
Thanks so much for watching The Extraordinary Ordinary! I am very proud of THE EO and HOWARD ORIGINAL. I love dramas and comedies and really want to keep pursuing both. Earlier this year, I was supposed to immerse myself in directing my horror thriller script, INNER CHILD; but of course due to the pandemic it was necessary to postpone until it was safer to be on set again. Something a lot of peers don't know or could remember, and I'm sure I can say the same for KEVIN too, our shorts and our TV movies and feature films were always different genres. Some of my previous favorite shorts were a series called THE D, which is about men in their twenties and over dealing with the consequences of breaking up. It was also my first time working with a male ensemble. KEVIN was also one of the first people to watch this series. I think that's why KEVIN and I bond on a creative level, because we always want to branch out and try out different genres, rather than sticking to one or something that we are individually known to our peers for. We talked about it not so long ago, always wanting to try something new in the realm of history and keep growing.
Kevin Michaels co-wrote the screenplay for "Howard Original" with Rodriguez and the stars as the titular character. I asked Michaels about his inspiration as an actor for this unusual and expansive role.
Your Howard character occupies a space far beyond obnoxious. Did you bring to your most eclectic performance the characteristics of those you've actually encountered in the biz? I hope not. I anticipate the opposite. ;]
Howard, as a character, is an amalgamation of everyone I've met in Los Angeles. Sadly, there are more villains than good ones, and for acting purposes already caricatures of themselves, so you don't need to adapt much. I saw a lot of rights. Very few people are thankful for having a job. They complain about the wardens, secretly wishing to be wardens. I know it sounds pessimistic about the industry, but that's where Howard is coming from.
“Howard Original” recently had its virtual world premiere at the Silicon Beach Film Festival, streaming on the Roku channel. The film is now screened virtually at the Culver City Film Festival until Thursday, December 10.
Rodriguez says his film is also available for potential screening worldwide by submitting a request through IndieSeats at this link:
I invite you to enjoy all my movie reviews like "The Quick Flick Critic", continuously updated at:
"Howard Original" (2020): filmmaker Natalie Rodriguez on her tribute to the distorted and wonderful world of the writer
- Acting - 6.5 / 10
- Cinematography - 6/10
- Plot / Screenplay - 6.5 / 10
- Frame / Theme - 6.75 / 10
6.4 / 10
"Howard Original" (2020): filmmaker Natalie Rodriguez on her tribute to the distorted and wonderful world of the writer
Filmmaker Natalie Rodriguez is a writer. She composes original stories for the films she also directs. His latest effort, “Howard Original,” explores the screenwriter's world in a decidedly unusual and provocative way.
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The streaming media company is raising the prices on its standard and de haute gamme plans for etats unis customers. Its standard plan is now $14 a month, up $1 a month from last year. Its de haute gamme subscription will go up $2 to $18 a month. Its basic plan remains unchanged at $9 a month.
Netflix’s ( NFLX ) stock rose 5% following the news. The new prices will take effect starting immediately for new members while current members will be notified that their subscription is going up as it rolls out over the next few months.
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Netflix’s price hike, which was first reported by The Verge, is not a huge surprise. Netflix spends billions on content, and this is a way to boost revenue as the ' outlook for subscriber growth is substantially slower in the future than the past, ' according to Bernie McTernan, a senior analyst at Rosenblatt Securities.
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The news comes a week the company posted slowing growth in new subscriptions and lower-than-expected profits. This came after Netflix had a huge 2020 because of people being stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Netflix was asked about raising prices during its earnings call last week.
' The core model we have, and what we think really our responsibility and our job is, is to take the money that our members give us every month and invest that as judiciously and as smartly as we can, ' Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief operating officer, said on the call. ' If we do that well... and make that efficiency and effectiveness better, we will deliver more value to our members, and we will occasionally go back and ask those members to pay a little bit more to keep that virtuous cycle of investment and value creation going. '
Netflix is the king of streaming and the moves it makes, especially in terms of cost to the consumer, reverberates throughout the market. For example, McTernan noted that Disney’s stock had a positive reaction following the announcement of Netflix’s pricing going up.
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Jack Nicholson built one of his most iconic performances ( he plays the role with “such easy grace that it’s difficult to remember him in any other film, ” our critic wrote ), and won his first Oscar in the process, in Milos Forman’s adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel. Nicholson had plenty of company; this is one of the few films to win all of the “big five” Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, best screenplay and best actress. Louise Fletcher won the last for her unforgettable turn as the steely Nurse Ratched, whose iron-fisted rule of a state mental hospital is challenged by Nicholson’s free-spirited Randle Patrick McMurphy. Ratched was a memorable enough foe to spawn a Netflix origin series, but this is the genuine article.
The Oscar-winning Steven Soderbergh brings together a jaw-dropping ensemble — including George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac and Julia Roberts — for this sly, funny remake of the 1960 “Rat Pack” caper, investing the new work with a “seismic jolt of enthusiasm. ” Soderbergh keeps the basic story ( a gang of con artists robs several Las Vegas casinos simultaneously ) and the “all-star cast” hook. But he also updates the story to acknowledge Sin City’s current, family-friendly aesthetic and invests the heist with enough unexpected twists and turns to keep audiences guessing. ( Pitt also shines in “Moneyball, ” another Netflix offering. )
The unlikely marriage of the screwball-inspired screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and the chilly visual stylist David Fincher birthed one of the finest works of both their careers, a “fleet, weirdly funny, exhilarating, alarming and fictionalized” account of the early days of Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg ( brought to hard-edge, sneering life by Jesse Eisenberg ). Sorkin’s ingenious, Oscar-winning script spins the Facebook origin story as a Silicon Valley “Citizen Kane, ” dazzlingly hopscotching through flashbacks and framing devices. But the ruthlessness of Fincher’s cleareyed direction is what brings the picture together, presciently framing Zuckerberg as the media mogul of the future — and hinting at the trouble that entails. ( Another Sorkin-scripted Silicon Valley bio-drama, “Steve Jobs, ” is also available on Netflix. )
This winking update to “The Scarlet Letter” has much to recommend it, including the witty and quotable screenplay, the sly indictments of bullying and rumor-mongering and the deep bench of supporting players. But “Easy A” is mostly memorable as the breakthrough of Emma Stone, an “irresistible presence” whose turn as a high-school cause connu quickly transformed her from a memorable supporting player to a soaring leading lady — and with good reason. She’s wise and wisecracking, quick with a quip but never less than convincing as a tortured teen.
Stanley Kubrick’s most controversial film, and perhaps his most disturbing ( neither a small claim ), was this 1971 adaptation of the cult novel by Anthony Burgess. Tracking the various misdeeds and attempted rehabilitation of a certified sociopath ( Malcolm McDowell, at his most charismatically chilling ), this is Kubrick at his most stylized, with the narrative’s hyperviolence cushioned by the striking cinematography, futuristic production design and jet-black humor. Our critic wrote that it “dazzles the senses and mind. ”
The director Yorgos Lanthimos casts a dryly absurd and decidedly dark eye on interpersonal relationships in this “startlingly funny” and undeniably acidic satire of courtship and the societal pressures tied to it. This isn’t some gentle spoof, snickering at gender roles or dating conventions : It’s bleak enough to imagine a couple-centered world where revolutionary movements fight unbendable mating regulations. Colin Farrell finds the right tempo for the material as a frustrated romantic in a state of perpetual disbelief, while Rachel Weisz’s hard-nosed narrator and love interest provides bursts of unexpected warmth and plenty of pitch-black laughs. ( Fore more misanthropic comedy, bite up “The Death of Stalin” on Netflix. )
This freewheeling biopic from the director Craig Brewer ( “Hustle
“I’ve always wanted to be in the movies, ” Dick Johnson tells his daughter Kirsten, and he’s in luck — she makes them, documentaries mostly, dealing with the biggest questions of life and death. So they turn his struggle with Alzheimer’s and looming mortality into a movie, a “resonant and, in instants, profound” one ( per Manohla Dargis ), combining staged fake deaths and heavenly reunions with difficult familial interactions. He’s an affable fellow, warm and constantly chuckling, and a good sport, cheerfully playing along with these intricate, macabre ( and darkly funny ) scenarios. But it’s really a film about a father and daughter, and their lifelong closeness gives the picture an intimacy and openness uncommon even in the best documentaries. It’s joyful, and melancholy and moving, all at once.