A HOLLYWOOD animator who studied at Helsby High School is celebrating after making his film debut in Toy Story 3.
Andy Grisdale, 35, who lives in San Francisco, California, studied at the Chester Road secondary school, works for world famous Pixar Animation Studios in San Francisco, creators of hit movies Cars, Up, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc and many more.
“Yes, Toy Story 3 was my first feature film,” said Andy.
“Now I’m working on Cars 2, an action-packed tale of intrigue set on a global stage, which will be out next summer.”
Film fan Andy, who lived in Runcorn, switched Cheshire for California to follow his dream of working in films.
“After leaving Helsby High at 18, I went to study art at West Cheshire College in Blacon, Chester before I left to study animation down in Bournemouth.
“I’d been playing around with the software at home and that helped me get onto the animation course at Bournemouth.
“From there I was pretty lucky to get my first job in a now-defunct games company in London.
“A couple of similar jobs followed and, in the meantime, I’d been making a couple of short films in my own time.
“They proved to be key because they caught the eye of an animation company called Blur Studio in Los Angeles.
“Eventually, Pixar saw my showreel and offered me a job – I joined them at the start of 2009.”
With millions of people across the globe having seen a Pixar film, Andy sheds some light on how the magic happens, adding: “A Pixar film usually takes about four years from the very start to the very end and in the studio there are usually a few films on the go at any one time.
“I work in the layout department where we block the character animation and compose each shot in the film.
“I was really happy with the final film.
“It holds up perfectly-well compared to the other films and it tops off what I think is one of the best trilogies ever made.
“It feels great to be a part of the Toy Story brand – which is what made Pixar a global household name.
“It’s quite an honour to be able to animate those classic characters.
“The best thing about the job is to get to work on something that people all over the world enjoy and are excited to see – and all my friends and family are really happy for me to get such a cool opportunity.”