We Saw Ourselves Dreaming

Two fish out of water mimes strive to live their dreams in a hyperreal Hollywood. 

GOAL

As an allegory for our own journey as artists, the story of We Saw Ourselves Dreaming spills directly from our hearts and onto film. We hope to captivate a diverse audience of makers, thinkers, adults, and children alike.

By use of practical production design, effects, makeup, a dedicated score, and analogue film techniques, we hope to both showcase our artists’ talents and to challenge the direction of the contemporary film industry to create a world that is entirely our own.  In utilizing mime to tell this story, we hope to both contribute to the great history of mime and to inspire folks to take up interest in this vanishing artform.  

Most importantly, in times of smothering darkness, we strive to motivate our viewers not only to maintain hope, but also to take a looking glass to their dreams and embark on a creative journey—to make their lives a beautiful adventure. 

 
We Saw Ourselves Dreaming original  storyboards by Giraffe Studios 

STORY 

Two Mimes, their dog, and part human part camera chaperone come to  tinseltown with open hearts and big dreams to produce their visionary film, We Saw Ourselves Dreaming.  A film about the last standing theatre in America and the Mimes’ determination to keep it and their artform alive. Despite their effort,  the Mimes’ creative aspirations and gung-ho naivety quickly fall victim to a whirlwind of scams, close encounters, and an overtly corporate climate of a hyperreal Hollywood.  

Through a theatrical display of slapstick comedy  and heartbreaking tragedy, this film becomes self-reflexive as it  holds a mirror to our own experience as young female directors, navigating the unintelligible path to create and showcase our art within an increasingly virtual and superficial world. 

Photograph by Marshall Langohr

WHO ARE WE? 

Giraffe Studios Imagination Emporium, Los Angeles is an immersive, full-service, in-house studio run by directors and sisters Juliana and Nicky Giraffe. Having grown up in Hollywood, the sisters consider the interdisciplinary nature of classic cinema and the city's surreal landscape integral to their films and fine artworks. Giraffe Studios emerged from their experiences growing up in and around the theatre and from an innate desire to never stop playing.

 

Nicky attended UCLA and Central Saint Martins, London for fine art with a concentration in photography and experimental film. Juliana attended Art Center College of Design for cinematography. Both left university early in pursuit of practical experience, creation, and adventure. One of the first products of this effort was their short film El Camino Real, which was awarded Best Experimental Film in the Los Angeles Film Festival of Hollywood in 2014. Separately, Nicky was awarded an Arts Council Grant to create her first publication, On the Road to the Sea, which won an award for Best British Book Design in 2015. Nicky has exhibited her fine artwork in galleries and publications in the USA, Europe, and Asia. Juliana is a musician who released her first studio album entitled Saturn over Sunset in 2017 and has performed for audiences in the USA and Europe.

 

 

Commercially, Juliana and Nicky have worked with musicians, record labels, and fashion brands to create visually striking and unique content. They are involved in every aspect of the creative process—from storyboards to costume/set design and fabrication to post-production and editing—and strive to develop a profound artistic connection with their work and the worlds they create. Through elaborate art direction, psychedelic colors, and original choreography, they facilitate an innovative space that allows their subjects and artistic sensibilities to shine. Giraffe Studios strives to take on each commercial project with the utmost artistic integrity and professionalism.

 

 

Additionally, Nicky and Julianna moonlight as professional mimes. Their mime troupe, The Invisible Women, has performed alongside the historic Bob Baker Marionettes and alongside other vaudeville acts in Los Angeles. 

WHAT WE NEED 

Since this project’s conception, about two years ago, we’ve worked with and met with a handful of editors, producers, film programers, and collaborators to figure out a way to get this project off its’ toes.  After many conversations, it became evident - we must do this on our own. 

 

This process has not been in vain, through it  we’ve gained a better understanding of the industry, our work’s message, and have developed supplemental materials (storyboards, lookbooks, production sketches, budgets etc.) to back us up. 

We are as prepared as ever, however, the reality is in order to make this project we need financial support. 

 

With so many larger causes, asking for your contribution is a very difficult task for us. However, we truly believe that the art that we make will not only make us, but will showcase the talent of our dedicated collaborators and friends. 

Now it’s your turn to imagine! 

Your money will help to erect a gleaming circus in the middle of Los Angeles, where a handful of passionate creators will get together to exercise their art and perpetuate the magic of cinema. 

We truly believe that by completing and showcasing this short film, it will guarantee us and our team the necessary stepping stone towards larger projects (including the feature length version of this film). 

HOW TO CONTRIBUTE 

Our fundraising goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of January 2020. We've decided to go with the Indiegogo platform for its reputability and ease.  There, we have provided our contributors with rewards and incentives. In addition to cash donations we are looking for resources, support, lended time to help make this dream a reality.  Please help us share ! 

If you have any questions, or if you would like to get involved, do not hesitate to  contact us directly giraffestudiosla@gmail.com. 

A SHORT FILM WITH DREAMS OF A FEATURE

This short film version of We Saw Ourselves Dreaming was developed from a feature length script by the same title.  Upon completion and showcasing of this short project we plan to use it as a proof of concept for creating a feature length version of the film. 

We Saw Ourselves Dreaming original  storyboards by Giraffe Studios 

PRODUCTION & COSTUME DESIGN 

 

The stylized world of We Saw Ourselves Dreaming will be brought to life by considered and theatrical production design, costumes, and make-up. 

 

Drawing from the silent film era, our sets and props will be fabricated and constructed in-house to our scene’s specifications.  In doing so, we can experiment with color, pattern and scale to heighten the drama/comedy within the frame. Always eco-conscious, we strive to use primarily recycled and reusable materials. 

 

Costume and make-up design will be of grave importance to this theatrical affair! We are so lucky to have the  unfaltering support of our talented mother, Monica, whose dazzling work is also showcased in the video above. We will work with Monica and our make-up artist to design and create unique and spectacular looks to bring each character to life. 

We Saw Ourselves Dreaming teaser 16mm film stills 

CAMERA WORK

We Saw Ourselves Dreaming will be shot using a mixture of 16mm film and digital video, further extending the self-reflexivity of the film. By using tangible analogue processes, we will touch on themes deeply rooted in the heart of the film

SOUND DESIGN / SCORE 

As much of the film is void of dialogue, sound will be the primary narrator of the mimes’ adventure.

Filling the silence will be an original score by composer Max Whipple and sound designer Greg Hartunian. A taste of Whipple’s talents is featured in the video above.

Photograph by Marshall Langohr

THE MIME APPROACH

In a world ever-more-saturated with the commercial and virtual, how will we, as artists, have our voices heard? 

In this case, without words at all…

Mime, the oldest form of storytelling, uses emotional and physical specificity to speak broadly. Thus, it provides endless possibilities for individual connection and interpretation across cultures, eras, and subjective realities.

Silence is the most eloquent of languages. 

We Saw Ourselves Dreaming teaser 16mm film stills 

VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF WESTERN MIME 

With origins in the 16th century, western mime is an artform birthed from oppression. In an attempt to censor political commentary, Renaissance kings banished speaking roles in theaters across Europe. However, this effort only set the stage for pantomimes like the Commedia dell'arte to grow and spread as dynamic entertainment, bringing common citizens together across the continent. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, avant-garde mime developed thanks to the contributions of Deburau, Jean-Louis Barrault, Étienne Decroux and Marcel Marceau. Each school married drama and dance to communicate the truth of the human experience.

 

With the passing of Mr. Marceau, the public's interest in modern mime theatre dwindled. There remains little documentation of the rich history of contemporary American mime theatre, particularly of women in mime. In creating this film we hope to introduce mime to a new audience and to create archival material that documents gifted mime artists of our time.

 

Though mime is the film’s specific focus, the story opens its valves in hopes of communicating the larger human experience.

We Saw Ourselves Dreaming original  storyboards by Giraffe Studios 

RISKS & CHALLANGES

As a small and growing company, we have lots of experience managing our budgets and running  a tight, tip-top, and timely ship. With nearly 50 music video and film projects under our belts, we are no stranger to hiccups, uncooperative miniature horses, and astrological catastrophes. As always, we will prepare a back-up plan, and never take a risk outside of our financial means.  By shooting the bulk of this film within the controlled environment of our studio, rather than at rented locations, we can ensure our budget and shooting schedule’s flexibility. 

Photograph by Marshall Langohr
Photographs by Marshall Langohr

THANK YOU

We would like to give special thanks and credit to the following artists who worked on our 16mm film trailer. The talent, dedication, and passion of these artists is unprecedented. We can only dream to work with these individuals (and many others) on the next chapter of this project. 

The Staff and Volunteers  at The Amargosa Hotel and Opera House (Location), Alvin Octoman (Steadicam), Anna Geisslinger (Art Dept.) , Billy Wesley (Art Dept.), Ben Grenrock (Script Editor), Gabe Sanchez (Coloring, VFX) , Greg Hartunian (Art Dept.) , Marshall Langohr (Production &Photography), Mark Rowlands, Max Whipple (Music), Michael Justin (Assistant Camera) , Monica Adriana Rowlands (Costumes), & Tyler Weinberger (Cinematography)