Dancing Fish Productions: What’s in a Name?

Perhaps this should have been our first post, after all, it is often one of the first questions we get asked – sometimes directly, sometimes by way of a confused look. “Dancing Fish Productions…dances for peas?…um…ok?”

I have tried to entertain on occasion with responses such as, “I think it’s trying to say something about the duality of man, Sir.” or, “Would not a rose by any other name smell as sweet?” The truth is not quite so well penned but may still be worth the tale.

So, if you are all sitting comfortably. I will begin.

Long ago (2000), somewhere in the dark and nasty regions, where nobody goes (Norfolk), there stood a small up-start games company. I’m not convinced I can make it that exciting, even if I could sustain the use of random film and cartoon references for the duration of the post. So, I shall instead, just tell it as it was.

I was Lead Animator on a new title, and one day I was informed that we were possibly going to use motion capture. We had been given  a sample file by the Mo-Cap studio and I was asked to run some tests with  it on our game characters. Supposedly this particular sample was taken from the Will Smith, Men in Black music video. During the course of my testing, one of my colleagues, and Norwich City (hack, spit) fan, Greg ‘Bertie’ Barrett (yes, because Barrett is a bit like Bassett (yes, American readers, this is a British thing)) cast his gaze meward and engaged my attention with, “What the hell is that?!”
“Some motion capture file I was testing out,” I returned.
“What is it, it looks like some sort of dancing fish?” responded my confused colleague.
“Yes,” I replied, “it’s dancing for peace.”
“Dancing for peas?!” questioned my weak-eared friend.
“It is a dancing fish, and it dances for peas.” I joyfully concluded.

That pretty much ended work for the day – we weren’t actually getting paid at that point so we were quick to find excuses to down tools – as I was encouraged to draw the said Dancing Fish, dancing for peas. I threw down a quick pen sketch, we scanned it and I went to work in Photoshop. Bertie sent me a random boardroom image he found on the servers and we placed the fish on the table doing what he obviously does best, dancing for peas. I do have the original sketch secured away somewhere but, alas, the mo-cap file that started it all is long lost.

As a side note, our boss saw the image I put together and believed that I must have created it in some 3D package, what with the perspective and the reflection and the peas were so round.

Anyway, some 2 or 3 years later, when I first went freelance, I decided a stand-out trading name was needed and went for Dancing Fish Productions – I considered Dances For Peas to be just too cryptic. However, when it came to purchase a web domain there were already a wealth of Dancing Fish related domains well in use. I didn’t want my site to get lost among the weeds of dance studios, fishing supplies and aquatic pet merchants and so looked up dancesforpeas. Surprisingly not a single available domain extension was taken…odd.

So there you have it, Dancing Fish Productions, dancesforpeas, it all makes perfect and logical sense.

The fish himself has evolved a little over the years, donned the occasional costume and changed colors as he has seen fit, but our logo is still well rooted in the original (below). One day, I will even get him dancing for real.



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