Welcome back to How I Made It, Metro.co.uk’s weekly career journey series.
This week we talk to augmented reality (AR) designer, Doddz.
The 28-year-old has made a career out of working with some of the biggest names – from Drake to Dior, Amazon to Adidas, and many more – tapping into AR when he was new.
Now earning a six-figure salary, Doddz’s struggling days at school are long behind him.
First he fell into graphic design by accident, then he bribed a guard to get access to a high profile businessman’s pitch, which resulted in a job, then he moved on to reality increased.
It’s been a fascinating journey for the creative designer, so here’s how he did it.
Hey Doddz, so what got you into creative design?
Honestly when I applied to college I needed a fourth option and nothing piqued my interest my dad suggested graphic design which I thought was carpentry and I thought , Yes why not.
Before that, I had never done anything creative.
I’m pretty sure I was asked to quit art class at school and made to take German instead.
You failed your A-Levels – that clearly didn’t hold you back.
An A-Level is a certificate that indicates that I have that level of knowledge on a certain subject or program but, in my opinion, there are several ways to show that you have that level of knowledge in a certain area outside the system educative.
If you can show that you’re the kind of person who went above and beyond to learn in a certain area, then you’ll seem more passionate than the person who just showed up to class and can remember things. things from a textbook long enough to write in a review.
You are also open about dyslexia – does it affect your work now?
When I went to college, I decided to take the test for this.
Sure enough, the results came back as “extremely dyslexic but with unique qualities” and I always chose to focus on the latter.
I don’t know any difference in reading or writing so it doesn’t affect me too much – but my university gave me around £1000 to spend on books while I was there which which always struck me as ironic as someone who couldn’t really read.
What was a great career moment for you?
Working for Steven Bartlett [a businessman] was part of the trip, and I went from my old job, doing posters for Vodka Revolution on Wednesdays, to meeting Connor McGregor [a mixed martial artist] on Saturday and fly to New York on Monday.
I got the job by being creative to get Steve’s attention.
I bribed the building manager Tony with four beers to let me fly a 6ft remote controlled inflatable fish through the front door with a USB attached, which had a video of me explaining why I thought Steve should vlog every day and why I was the person to do it.
I also said I was looking for a business mentor. This led to a lawsuit, and then they offered me the job the same day.
I quit my job and started filming Steve for the next three years.
Did you do a lot of videography?
I had never done videography before working at Social Chain for Steve, so it was really hands-on.
You’d be surprised how quickly you can pick it up when shooting and editing a 20-minute video every day.
How did you switch to AR? Are you completely self-taught?
In an effort to take my artistic career more seriously, about four years ago I tried to make my work stand out from the many other artists and create something that no one had ever done before.
This decision was based on feedback and rejections I had received while seeking representation.
This led me to experiment with all different types of media, which for me was a really fun and free number of creative years where no idea was on the table.
In order to create something no one else had done before, I thought of using technology that hadn’t been around for a very long time, and it only made sense that there wasn’t a lot of AR art. because it is still in its infancy.
As soon as I experienced AR, the reaction was significantly different (in a good way) from all previous attempts, so I doubled down and here we are.
Having no technical background, I learned by experimenting with software and watching YouTube videos – at a time when they were in foreign languages as there were no Western tutorials available at the time.
How long did it take to get to six figures?
Eight to 10 months if I remember correctly.
However, I think it would have been sooner because I didn’t understand the true value of AR for brands – so my initial costs were too low.
What was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome?
The fear of finally taking the plunge to quit my job and become a full-time artist in the midst of a pandemic.
I slowly lowered my days from five days to four, then three and two, and finally put off my leave.
There is never a good time. I didn’t know if it was going to work. I trust myself to give it my all, but that was definitely a big mental hurdle.
An average day in the professional life of Doddz
7am: Doddz starts the day with a workout – sometimes even working out on a treadmill.
He says, “The morning routine adds some structure to what is usually a hectic day.
Time in the gym is a time when I can mentally prepare myself for the day, making sure I start to get turned on but more importantly, if I don’t go first I’ll find an excuse not to go. during the day and never get there.
9:30 a.m.: The working day begins with a meeting with his girlfriend Steph and the COO of Doddz LTD to go over the plans.
9:45 a.m.: The day is split evenly between business work and personal projects, so mornings are usually spent working with big brands, creating AR experiences for upcoming campaigns.
2 p.m.: Time for lunch and watching a YouTube video.
2:30 p.m.: Unless a deadline is looming, make way for personal products. These are usually works of art that showcase some of the capabilities of augmented reality. Not only do they serve as art, but it’s where 100% of Doddz’s new business comes from.
5:30 p.m.: Work is done for the day, although sometimes the answer to a problem will come to Doddz in the evening.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
I tend to jump from idea to idea, so learning to focus on the larger goals I have and staying consistent has really propelled me.
If I’m being honest with myself, AR is the number one thing I’ve stayed focused on – I haven’t shied away from other areas like NFTs just because everyone else is doing it (not that I’m against NFTs).
I stayed in my lane and it paid off.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Freedom. Me, my girlfriend Steph and my French bulldog Louie can work anywhere in the world.
The rest of our team is distant and we are now in a position where we say no to brands more than we say yes as we try to find a better balance between commercial work and our own personal projects.
What’s the worst?
A bit boring answer here, but the steepest learning curve has been the business side of things.
As you can imagine, I feel like spending all day on something creative, but sorting out employee issues, putting out fires, dealing with tricky customers, VAT receipts, etc. is all part of the job. .
I wouldn’t change a thing though.
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