It's always been a lifelong ambition for me to work in the animation industry. Saturday morning Disney cartoons fuelled the fire and sparked a love for the medium that's still with me.
It wasn't for lack of trying, but I was never fortunate enough to be able to work on a genuine animated movie until a couple of years ago.
Unless you live in a city with a dedicated studio and an abundance of ongoing projects it's tough enough finding any suitable animation job opportunities at all.
On top of this, animation is a relatively small industry compared to financial and corporate markets. Despite being a multi-million dollar industry, animation jobs are limited to the best of the best.
When I discovered a Spanish language film was being co-funded and produced in my home town here on the Isle of Man you can imagine I was quick to jump at the chance to apply for a position.
The offshore financial industry is a booming business on the island but we've also had a recent surge of film companies choosing us as a place to make movies thanks to our wide range of landscapes and varied locations. As a tax haven it's an attractive prospect for many production companies too.
The movie I was lucky enough to work on was called Chico & Rita and I was one of nine colour artists based on the island.
Every day we were allocated a number of hand drawn frames from the movie which had been scanned for us to clean up and colour. Each frame had been vectorised in a program called Toon Boom which allowed us to neaten and sharpen the lines on the computer as well as remove any ink dots or bleed on the image.
Stage 2 was to obtain the correct palette for the scene in question and use this to colour the frames as you would with any other paint program by referring to a master image.
As the project progressed my responsibilities increased somewhat and it became my job to convert many of the master images into colour values for the other members of the team to use during the colouring process. This essentially meant finding the colour value figures on a Photoshop image and typing every one into Toon Boom to assemble the colour palettes.
The entire project took about 15 months and once our contract was finished the relevant teams in Barcelona and the UK went about polishing the film and finalising marketing and promotion leading up to the films release.
I loved working on the project. Although the work we provided was relatively straightforward and specific, the thought that we were part of a bigger picture drove me. Working on something that I knew I'd hold in my hands one day as a DVD was an exciting prospect.
I didn't have much of an idea at the time how well the film would fare in a market that pushes out multi-millon dollar movies from huge studios that dwarf our own tiny office.
There was never any doubt in my mind about the quality of the animation, music and story but being a relatively small film in comparison to other animated features I had no idea of the success we'd go on to achieve.
Having packed up the office a good 18 months ago I was amazed to hear Chico & Rita was nominated for a 2012 Academy Award. Even more incredible when I saw the films we were up against for Best Animated Feature.
It was always going to be a challenge winning over the panel when we were competing against films like Puss in Boots and Kung Fu Panda 2, another independent film called 'A Cat in Paris' and Rango which the Oscar went to.
There's always a tiny but of a disappointment when you don't win but just to be nominated was reward enough for me. I'm really proud to have worked on the feature and only hope I can use the experience I gained to work on something just as exciting in the future!