“Howard Original” (2020): Filmmaker Natalie Rodriguez on her Homage to the Warped and Wonderful World of the Writer
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, […]

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.

Natalie Rodriguez

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

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:

Howard Original | Directly connecting filmmakers and audiences | Independent

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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