Fundraising Call! Activist Filmmaking!

With the political, social, educational, and artistic goals for my debut feature film, instead of traditional investors, we are raising production funds through our fiscal sponsor, From the Heart Productions (Tax ID Number 95 444 5418), making your charitable donation tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed​. The 501c3 From the Heart Productions was itself established in the early 90s and is dedicated to helping independent filmmakers with unique films that contribute to society get their films funded. There is nothing more “from the heart” than Acid Test.

Fundraising Call! Activist Filmmaking! from Jenny Waldo on Vimeo.

Based on our award-winning short film that is still screening in festivals nationwide, the feature film Acid Test follows Jenny as she turns 18 and grapples with what it means to be an adult in the early 90’s. Steeped in the aesthetic of punk music, we watch Jenny discover a new aggressively feminist perspective inspired by the Riot Grrrl – girls in punk – movement. Along the way, she experiments with LSD and begins to question all of the rules and truths she’s lived by her whole life. Set against the backdrop of the 1992 Presidential Election and themes of civic engagement, Jenny launches a rebellion against her family, against the patriarchy her father represents, and tumbles into a new sense of self.​

The feature film is an activist film. With a female lead of Mexican descent, our story showcases much-needed diversity on screen as part of a need in the film industry and film market for more diverse content. We are also showcasing that diversity behind the camera: as a female writer director, it is vital to me to be part of the changes needed in my industry in hiring women and people of color in crew positions.

Please join me in rebellion by becoming Acid Test’s Donor. Your help is needed to spread the word and be part of the change in the film industry we all want to see!

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20 Year Anniversary

20 years ago, this month, I had my first internship in the film industry. Twenty. Years. Ago. For what it’s worth, I wanted to put that journey down into words because I have no idea what to make of this amount of time and what I’ve been able and unable to do within it, but I recognize it as a milestone and an accomplishment.

When I entered Oberlin College in 1995 – still seventeen years old – I thought I would be a math and dance double major because I loved them both but I had NO IDEA what kind of a career I could make or would want other than the fact that I didn’t want an “office job” and I had a strong anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment streak coupled with a desire to do something “important.” At the time, Oberlin’s recruiting posters boasted a picture of the globe and their tagline “Think one person can change the world? So do we.” And so that was what I was there to do, without any form to that desire.

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Why this project? Why now?

There’s a lot of work that goes into making a movie – short or long – and I know it’s a choice I make to do it, especially when it’s outside of my day job that keeps me and my children alive. Yes, I would love to be able to do this as my job full-time, but it’s also incredibly freeing to choose which projects to do and when. And no matter how much is going on at my day job, I am constantly, constantly, working on a creative project. I don’t see filmmaking or writing as “work” even though it’s hard. I don’t see it as work even though I know sometimes I’m sucking at it. To me it’s like breathing – it’s part of my autonomic system. It’s in my DNA.

The cover for my journal when I was 15

That knowledge was something I discovered when I dropped acid as a teenager and came home after a concert with hours more to go in my trip. All I wanted to do was write things down. I was a wildly moody teenager (or maybe that’s just being a teenager) and writing about the world and about what was going on in my head helped me survive from one day to the next. I truly believe that writing saved my life, and as it saved my life it became my life. So no matter what I’m doing, every day, I’m writing or reading or watching something that expands my knowledge of the world, of myself, of people, but mostly of storytelling. The goal changed as well from simply surviving to the next day to producing something for someone else to enjoy.

Recently, I wrote a short film about this moment in my childhood. ACID TEST will be in production at the end of January. So the question is: Why this project? Why now?

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Support Short Films! ACID TEST

We are producing the upcoming short film ACID TEST about a teenage girl who drops acid at a concert only to go home and confess to her parents what she’s done with four more hours to go in her “trip.” Set in 1992, the story is about teenage rebellion and parents’ unconditional love and was inspired by difficult personal experiences.

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Movie Mondays

I’m starting a new initiative to get this website rolling!

Welcome to MOVIE MONDAYS!  I will also be having WRITING WEDNESDAYS and PHOTO FRIDAYS.  Check in each week to see new posts regarding these topics.

So for my inaugural Movie Monday post, I want to focus on learning to make movies at film school versus on the job.

Today, August 5th, is the first day of a Teen Filmmaking Camp run by the organization I work for Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) which is a great resource for indie filmmakers and people who want to see independent films and support indie filmmaking.  It’s a 5 day intensive program for kids ages 13-17 where Day 1 the kids learn the basics of story and come up with their script, Day 2 they break down the script into what they need to shoot the project and who will do what,  Days 3 and 4 are production, and Day 5 is post.  They screen the films for family and friends at the end of Day 5.  Phew!

On top of all this, my alma mater, USC, was just ranked the #1 Film School in the country by The Hollywood Reporter, a Los Angeles “trade” publication.

This all got me thinking, what is the “best” way to learn how to make movies?  Ultimately, there is no best because what’s best for me might be the worst for you or impossible to do because of money or family or whatever.  But people still argue the point and I’m sure with this list of film schools, there is further argument as to why USC is “the best” and the others are somewhere else on the top 25 list, or not on it at all.

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