“I remember when I first quit my job, I would walk around the lake at 1pm on a Monday while everyone else is working. I would reflect on how blessed I am to be able to enjoy the sun on a beautiful spring day while everybody else was at an office working their shoes off!”
In the second of our Quit Your Average Day Job Series, we meet Elements author – CreativeLab, based in Belgrade, Serbia. Being in the motion graphics industry for the last 10 years, he’s incredibly passionate about his work and continues to build his professional presence and learn as much as possible from his work and community.
Check out his story from where he first started to where he is now, on Elements!
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you’ve been up to.
My name is Aleksandar Dzudovic and I am the Director/Founder of Second Unit (formerly known as Creativelab Workshop). We create After Effects templates, Premiere Pro templates and we also do all kinds of custom motion graphics for various client all around the world.
Recently, I have been working on a Social Media app called InnerQuest (available on Apple and Google Play). It doesn’t have anything to do with my motion graphics work, but nevertheless I’m also so passionate about InnerQuest and it has been big portion of my life lately – check it out!
How did you first start selling on Envato Elements – what was your first job and where were you working previously?
It started as fun for me. In 2001, I opened Adobe Premiere for the first time and started editing the various 2Pac clips (I am a big fan) for the music video “Ballad of a Dead Soulja” that was later featured on several 2Pac fun sites. People loved it, even though it was amateurish work. After this, one of my friends came to me and said, “Why dont we buy a camera and start shooting music videos”.. (and he was a teacher at the time).
So we started shooting music videos and progressed from low budget local rap artists to major local pop stars. Then we filmed a documentary and later, a feature film. Serbia is small and still developing, so I first started working for several local production companies and TV stations. For some time, this was my only taste of the real job experience.
Throughout this time, I also started studying in college and learned lots more theoretic stuff that I couldn’t learn through my projects.
When and why did you decide to take the plunge to work online? Did you have dreams or goals of eventually quitting your average day job?
One of the production company’s that I was working for were purchasing templates, so that was my first introduction into the online marketplace. When I figured out that I had the knowledge in this area, I started selling on the Revostock marketplace (it doesn’t exist anymore) first, and later I join the Envato as well. For the last 5+ years Envato was my major selling marketplace.
When I started selling online, I was still working full time locally and so, after work I was still doing another 3-4 hours building templates.
What has working from home/online with access to a global customer base enabled for your business?
Serbia is still an undeveloped area with small portion of video production requests. So, by accessing the global network, you are not forced to work locally and you are limited only by your talent.
What was the very first item that you sold? Tell us about the story!
At the time, I couldn’t quite grasp it. It was mind blowing to me at the time. I was very excited about that. I even set the mail notification specially for marketplace emails, so when I heard sound of opening the cash register, I knew even without looking that someone had just purchased my item!
Can you imagine working in a regular job now? If not, why?
I get to work at my own pace and I have been working this way for so long that going back to regular 9am-5pm job would probably be living hell for me.
I remember when I first quit my job, I would walk around the lake at 1pm on a Monday, while everyone else working. I would reflect on how blessed I am to be able to enjoy the sun on a beautiful spring day while everybody else was at an office working their shoes off!
What have you learned since switching career paths?
I’ve learned a lot, but I’m still learning. From the time I started selling online, I learned a lot – production wise. Repetition of some procedures help you to understand basics of this job and by trying to offer something new, you are taking on new challenges with every template.
It’s all about trying to transform an idea into a physical form by using the software of your choice. Sometime it goes great, and sometimes it fails, but then you get up, you learn and hopefully you will be better next time.
What tools and resources (online or offline) do you use?
My main working tool is still Adobe After Effects. I use all the other Adobe tools like Photoshop, Premiere, Illustrator etc. Adobe is generally great tool package for every motion graphics artist. Also, my choice for all 3D work is Autodesk Maya. I use 3D Max for a couple of years, but at some time I switch to Maya and still holding to that.
There are also lots of other useful tools like Autodesk Mudbox and Motion Builder, and for Adobe After Effects plugins, Trapcode and Video Copilot plugins are great choices.
Also, what are you best selling or favorite items to create now?
My favorite template is Industry Leader. It doesn’t have lots of sales but it’s still my favorite. To create this kind of 3D realistic look inside AE with help of Video Copilot Elements 3D plugin.. I think I’ve done a pretty good job here :)
How does your environment affect your productivity?
I found out that working from home is truly a creativity booster. The freedom that you have helps you to give 100% of your productivity. You can set up the environment as you wish and you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone.
So you can go and sit on computer chair right from the bed if necessary, or you can be dressed in sweatpants 99% of your daily time. You can work on hot summer day just in your swimming shorts, and every hour or two, take a short break and go outside to the swimming pool. You can even go back inside still with wet shorts and just sit on the chair and continue working.
Come on, that’s great. I don’t think there is a company where you can find that kind of freedom.
What inspires you about your space or living where you are?
Since I work from home, I’m spending 10-12 hours a day working, so I am always there. With this sort of freedom, I can be at home with my daughter and I’m blessed with possibility to watch her grow everyday.
I put her to bed twice a day (afternoon and night), I play with her, she can call me whenever she needs me and even when I am working, I still have that feeling that I’m close to her all the time.
Besides that, I am a huge motorcycle fan. I have Kawasaki Versys, so I sneak away from time to time and enjoy the ride. Two years go, I had an accident on highway on 120 kmph, broke my arm and went through an operation and a long recovery period – but I still love the bike and really enjoy riding!
What’s most rewarding aspect about your work, now?
The most rewarding aspect is that you get to keep your freedom. You are still working as hard as you can but you are working for yourself and you don’t have that feeling (like on regular job) where are selling your time for money. You get to choose what you do and how you do it, and this is priceless.
You can check out CreativeLab’s full Elements portfolio here. For more details on the Do More of What You Love Campaign, visit the pledge page here and continue the conversation on our dedicated forum thread now.
If you’re interested in becoming an Elements author and taking the next step, apply now! We can’t wait to see what you can do.
*All photos have been supplied by Elements author, CreativeLab.