Fish & Chips for the IRC International Rescue Committee - Fred & Eric

Fish & Chips for the IRC

When Pal Studio contacted us, their brief was - 'Gary Lineker having a conversation with a battered fish….’ It piqued our interest immediately! The project in question was a TV spot for the International Rescue Committee.

International Rescue Committee (IRC) commissioned this short charity awareness film to highlight how important refugees have been to Britain as we know it. Told through a comedic short history of fish and chips!

Fred & Eric collaborated with International Rescue Committee and Pal Studio. They shot the live-action sequence featuring TV's Gary Lineker conversing with a static plate of fish and chips... Our job was to design and animate the film’s unexpected heroes: Fish (voiced by Jo Brand) and Chip (voiced by Yasmin Kadi). Together they chat with Gary, explaining the story of our quintessentially ‘British' cuisine’s refugee past.

Our Process:

Task one was to design Fish and Chip. The main challenge was to give them a strong personality using only facial features. We'll share a character animation tip with you... Eyebrows are key to creating expression. Especially when confronted with a lack of limbs! Here are the first set of characters we designed:

International Rescue Committee Charity Film: Character development for Fish and Chip

The final designs featured a combination of 3D eyes with 2D cut-out eyelids and mouths. Creating a mixed media style for the film's unlikely heroes.

Final character designs for Fish and Chip

With the restrictions of minimal body movement, we created a bouncy and choppy mouth set-up to keep things interesting. Animating small movements on Fish and Chip's bodies enhanced the comedy and dramatic expression in their performances. While adding gentle shadows and layering helped the characters blend into their environments. We finished by lip-syncing the voices of Jo and Yasmin; their final transformation from humans, to Friday night takeaway favourites.

Fish's mouth animation setup
Fish's body setup

The film's release was timed to coincide with National Fish and Chip Day 2020, shared on national TV and widely through social media. Highlighting the International Rescue Committee's campaign to draw compassion and awareness to their critical work in responding to some of the world's worst crises. Delivering aid that saves lives and paves the way for long-term recovery.

Read more about the campaign here.