Student profile: Rodrigo Tasca

Name:  Rodrigo Tasca
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Age: 29
Job title: Video producer

For much of his life, you’d have been more likely to find Rodrigo Tasca in a kitchen than behind a camera. He worked in the hospitality industry at a top resort, at a catering company, and, most recently, as a private chef in New York City. Video had always been a hobby, but he didn’t think he could make a living that way.

The demand for videographers in New York was considerably greater than what he’d seen in Florida, where he grew up. “When I realized I could get paid to do video, I had to try. Why not do something I loved as a full-time job?” Rodrigo says. Still, he lacked the fundamental skills of professionals who’d gone to film school or had been working in the field for a long time. “I didn’t know the ‘rules’ you get taught in formal education programs.”

While he continued as a private chef, he investigated his options for going back to school for film, but it just wasn’t going to happen. He hadn’t been a state resident long enough to qualify for discounted tuition, and full-time school was too hard to juggle with full-time work. He next turned to the Internet, and after some frustrating online searches, he found Udemy instructor Jordy Vandeput on YouTube. Rodrigo had come across teachers who knew their subjects, but Jordy also had lots of passion — and that was irresistible. “You learn so much more when someone’s so enthusiastic about sharing what they love and wanting you to learn,” Rodrigo says.

Rodrigo saw Jordy’s link to “Learn Video Editing with Premiere Pro CC for Beginners” and bought it the next day, even though he wasn’t sure what to expect from Udemy. He still wasn’t convinced he even needed to pay for content, given the ubiquity of free online material, but he liked Udemy’s layout and lecture formats as well as having access to instructors who were really engaged and involved and took time to answer questions. Though his girlfriend thinks it’s a bit corny, Rodrigo appreciates Jordy’s on-screen encouragement and personal touch (“he’ll say, ‘you’re awesome!’”) and finds it motivating. He’s now taken courses with other instructors, such as Jerad Hill’s “Photography: Ditch Auto – Start Shooting in Manual” and Phil Ebiner’s “Complete Adobe After Effects Course: Make Better Videos Now!” and “YouTube Masterclass – Your Complete Guide to YouTube.”

Since discovering Udemy, Rodrigo’s mindset has changed a lot. He’s supporting himself doing video, photography, and web design and development and is working on building a clientele in Florida so he can move back (“I don’t want to be cold and miserable”). Meanwhile, his colleagues and clients have no idea he’s been learning on his own; they just think he’s been in the business a while and knows his stuff. “The more I’m learning, the more I can offer my clients. I’ve never been this enthusiastic before,” he says. He’s glad he didn’t go back to school because he actually feels like he’s getting paid (by his clients) to learn on Udemy. UDEMY_1

For example, Rodrigo was recently able to build two websites using skills he learned on Udemy. The client, a makeup artist, loved his work so much, she hired him to do a photoshoot for an editorial layout and has referred him to others. “Udemy’s given me the freedom to learn, and with knowledge comes power,” Rodrigo says. What might’ve been a small gig for the makeup artist turned into additional work because “now I can do that all by myself.”

Another unexpected upside of learning — Rodrigo can educate and upsell clients to hire him for additional services. That’s partly how he’s generating work for himself in Florida, by helping businesses understand what it takes to market themselves successfully in the digital age and the role of content like brand videos and well-designed web properties. Tutoring has become another revenue source. At the time of this interview, Rodrigo was at someone’s house teaching them how to use Adobe Premiere.

For Rodrigo, being able to support himself by doing what he loves is his American dream come true. He came to the U.S. from Brazil when he was very young and always imagined he’d go to college and follow a traditional path. Instead, 28 years later, learning on Udemy is what ended up changing his life.

“It’s something I want to do for the rest of my life; I enjoy it and would do it for free,” he says. Now he tells everyone he knows that they need to go and learn too. “No matter where you’re from or who you are, you have to be willing to embrace learning. I try to motivate people to follow their dreams because that’s what I’m doing now.”