What happens when you drop acid and go home to your parents?
What happens when your family life is already a little bit messed up?
ACID TEST is a short film that explores a moment of teenage experimentation as it becomes a family affair. Set in the 1990’s, ACID TEST follows a teenage girl (16) as she drops acid at a concert only to go home with her mom halfway through her “trip.” Confessing to her parents what she’s done, she finds refuge in her hallucinations during the ensuing parental meltdown and comes out the other side with a stronger sense of self, and a dangerous sense of rebellion.
ACID TEST is based on my own misadventure as a teen when I dropped acid at a concert and came home to spend the rest of the night staring at the amazing things the carpet did while my parents yelled and threatened me. It’s an absurd story set during a painful personal time. My family life was difficult and traumatizing yet filled with love. With an ambitious visual and aural plan, the heart of the movie lies in this family story and the intimate moments found amidst the chaos of hallucination. A parent’s unconditional love. A discovery of self as separate from family. It is not a PSA against teen drug-use, nor is it a pro-drug movie, but simply a look into a complicated moment drawn from real life.
My amazing crew consisted of local Houston filmmakers. Some I’d known for a while, like my Producer, Jason A. Raschen and my UPM Vincent Drabik. Others I just met, like Sharad, my MUA Amore Monet, and my AD Eddie Rodriguez. Others still were former students of mine from HCC like my Gaffer Kevin Simmons, and my Sound Mixer John Guel. We shot overnight for 6 days. 375 takes. An incredible feat and everything looks amazing. Our cast was also largely Houston born/bred, and we shot entirely in the Houston metro area.
One of the most fun parts of pre-production was re-creating the 90’s. I’d kept everything – band flyers, ticket stubs, artwork, photos, journals, even newspapers. My Production Designer Jessica Flores plastered the walls of character-Jenny’s bedroom with all this 90’s glory. Even the dress the actress wore was mine from that time period and we also used the remaining blank pages on my journal from that year which contains the entry I wrote while tripping. Seeing all my old stuff on the walls of “Jenny’s” bedroom was emotional and cathartic, exorcising the troubled and hurt girl that still lingered and creating something beautiful in the process.
Music was another critical consideration for the film, one we needed to decide on in pre-production because of the concert scene. I didn’t want to license music from the 90’s and hire actors to “play.” I wanted to find the modern equivalent to maintain the authentic nature of the project. A friend recommended the Houston band Giant Kitty, debuting their first album right as we finished production. Giant Kitty captures the spirit of the Riot Grrrl bands of the 90’s that I loved like Bikini Kill. They even pressed cassette tapes of their debut album! We licensed 4 songs from the debut album and Giant Kitty also performed the songs at the Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar for the concert scenes. The lead singer is equally inspired by Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and asked if she could write on her body words like “property” and “slut” for the scene the way that Kathleen did. Our collaboration continued after ACID TEST when the band asked me to direct their music video for “This Stupid Stuff.”
This is not just a personal story, this is a professional push for my career after 10 years raising babies and putting my filmmaking on the back-burner and your support goes directly toward cast and crew fees to maintain the level of ambition and excellence that ACID TEST has benefitted from so far. Fiscally sponsored SWAMP, we were able to raise donations that supplemented private funds for production. We recently completed a successful Seed&Spark campaign for post-production with 135 supporters, but the funds raised are not enough to cover all our projected costs.
Please make your tax-deductible donation to ACID TEST to help bring this project to its audience!
Writer/Director, ACID TEST
Support “Acid Test”
Jenny Waldo [writer/director]
A native from Washington, DC, Jenny Waldo graduated from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts with an MFA in Film Production where she focused on writing, directing, and producing fictional and documentary films. Jennifer most recently wrote and directed the short film SISTERS which screened at the Alamo Drafthouse and produced the short film NEXT EXIT which was selected for the 2015 Cannes Short Film Corner. Previous credits include associate producing THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER, an independent feature which sold to Lifetime, and THE CUTTING EDGE: THE MAGIC OF MOVIE EDITING, a feature documentary on the art of editing. She recently wrapped production on another short she’s producing, MEGGAN’S JOURNEY, about a young woman’s experience with cancer. She teaches fictional and documentary film at HCC’s Audio and Filmmaking Program and will be teaching screenwriting this spring at Houston School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA).
Blogging about books, movies, writing, and photography at http://www.jennywaldo.com, her most recent writing/directing project SISTERS can be viewed here https://vimeo.com/75868982 and her fictional directing reel can be viewed here http://www.jennywaldo.com/filmmaking/directing-reel-usc/
Jason A. Raschen [producer]
Jason A. Raschen is a Houston-based award-winning film producer and a permanent fixture in the Houston independent film scene. He has created an impressive body of work in a very short period of time including Two Star Symphony’s critically acclaimed and awarding winning music video “The Ninth Level,” the web series CLUBMATES, the short film MY BULLY, and Katanah’s very popular music video “Y Aqui Estoy.” Finally, and most importantly, Jason began work on a feature length documentary on his Mother and her experience as the wife of a soldier during the Vietnam Conflict.
Sharad Patel [DP/Editor/VFX]
As a writer/director/DP, Sharad Kant Patel has previously screened experimental and art oriented short films at SXSW (SNAIL, 2008), and Raindance (THE BUBBLE, 2013). He makes a living creating commercial work such as animations, documentaries, and 30-second television spots for museums, and businesses. Sharad recently completed his own first feature narrative film SOMEBODY’S DARLING in 2015. He has taught film and video art at Eastern Michigan University and The University of Houston. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the RTF program at The University of Texas.