GIPHY Studios Presents: Out of Office
“An absurdist side eye to office culture”
Last year, the team at GIPHY Studios partnered with Amplify Pictures and Director Todd Strauss-Schulson to bring to life a short film about navigating the anxiety-inducing formality of job interviews.
Our goal with this project was to not only collaborate with outside creatives we admire, but also to experiment with building a long-form artistic and unique narrative that could be broken up into smaller parts, discovered, and shared throughout the GIPHY network. We view this as a natural progression in the evolution of original GIF-making, and of short-form content.
Director Strauss-Schulson said he couldn’t resist the call when GIPHY approached him to direct a project that would incorporate GIPHY Clips — a new type of looping video with sound. Upon accepting the challenge, Strauss-Schulson says “I asked myself, can you make a short film where each shot is a self-contained GIF or GIPHY Clip?”
Once Strauss-Schulson read the script, it helped solidify his vision and approach to directing the piece. “It was a sort of theater of the absurd idea. And so it was like… well let’s do something very theatrical with it,” he says.
Shot on a sound stage set as a stark waiting room, the film features two of our favorite comedic actresses of the moment: Patti Harrison (I Think You Should Leave, Together, Together) and Mitra Jouhari (Abbott Elementary, Three Busy Debras).
“GIFs are like photographs, so I thought, what if we fused the theatrical approach with a hyper cinematic photographic style?” Strauss-Schulson says. In order to achieve this, he brought in Jill Greenberg and her expertise in photography to stylistically shoot and light the film.
Greenberg says that she based the lighting for the short film off her personal photography. “I have been using colored light since the 80’s! I love color and light and have always been inspired by both concert stage lighting and, of course, the films of [Rainer Werner] Fassbinder.” she says.
To put our GIPHY Studios stamp on it, we also included animated reimaginings of what the characters might say and do, pushing the feeling of fantasy further in the piece and introducing the idea that characters born in a short film can take shape and evolve within the GIPHY Clips format. The cherry on top was provided by musician and comic Whitmer Thomas (The Golden One, Shrill), who wrote and performed the original soundtrack for ‘Out of Office’ to reinforce the frantic, dreamlike feel of the short film.
Out of Office GIFs on GIPHY - Be Animated
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For more about how GIPHY Studios Art Director Tianna Harvey and Producer Marina Campana transformed Fiona and Mitra into animated characters with the help of an international team of animators and illustrators, read more here.
Directed & Edited by: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Executive Producer: Joe Lewis
Executive Producer: Ken Franchi
Executive Producer: Brad Zeff
Executive Producer: Alix McAlpine
Associate Producer: Kelsey Gilchrist
Director of Photography: Jill Greenberg
Production Designer: Paris Pickard
Colorist: Alex Jimenez @ Color Collective
Titles: Daniel Spenser Levine
Sound Design: Tom Ryan
Music: Whitmer Thomas
Animation Art Director: Tianna Harvey
Animation Producer: Marina Campaña
Projection Design: Dimitri Simakis