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.

This short charity awareness film was commissioned to highlight how important refugees have been to Britain as we know it. Told through a comedic short history of fish and chips!

The spot was made in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and produced by Pal Studio. When the folk at Pal contacted us, they'd already shot the live-action sequence featuring TV's Gary Lineker conversing with a static plate of fish and chips... Our job was to breathe life and character into 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 (and eyelids) 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. 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; broadcast on national TV and shared widely through social media. We're so proud to have been part of producing this film, and helping the International Rescue Committee's campaign to raise compassion and awareness of what it really means to be a refugee.

Read more about the campaign here.