That first taste of bacon - Motion Designer Devon Moodley

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He’s now based in Amsterdam, but South African born Devon’s freelance story kicked off in New Zealand, where he worked as a motion designer and videographer for a church.

After one of the congregation offered him his first freelance gig, Devon was hooked. “It’s like that first taste of bacon…” he says, “I got the bug.”

Devon freelanced on the side for years while working full-time at Xero in Wellington. When he and his wife became restless, they decided to hit the road and move somewhere new.

They spent a year in Australia, where Devon finally took the plunge and went freelance full-time, and then settled in Amsterdam.

Devon chats to Steve about how the move affected his client base, how he balanced his time while freelancing and working a full-time job, and how he finds clients and makes time for fun now that he’s working for himself.


Steve Folland: How about we get started hearing how you got started being freelance?

Devon Moodley: Sure. I originally first started doing motion graphics at a church in New Zealand in Auckland. I was doing the motion graphics for them. I find churches these days are very in with the technology and they love being able to do notices or conference promos or anything that's related, but they use a lot of video. I got hired as the sole motion graphics/videographer for this church, and was doing it for a couple of years, and then someone from the congregation approached me and was like, hey, we love seeing your videos. Do you do this for freelance? That was my first introduction to going freelance, and it was insane. It was absolutely insane. They wanted me to do this crazy 3D video, which was totally out of my depth, but I said yes. And that's also how I learned how to do 3D, was my first freelance. Yeah, and then it's just been absolutely nuts ever since then.

Steve Folland: So you were actually hired, as in you were employed by the church.

Devon Moodley: Yeah, I know, crazy thought to think that churches employ people like myself doing creative stuff. But they do, it's a huge industry. It's a massive, massive industry.

Steve Folland: So suddenly you've got your first freelance client, but you're still employed presumably by the church.

Devon Moodley: Yeah.

Steve Folland: How did it evolve from there?

Devon Moodley: Can you remember the first time you tasted bacon?

Steve Folland: No. That sounds like such a good line from a film, by the way.

Devon Moodley: So that's kind of what I think it was like. It's like the first time you tasted something that you really loved and you really enjoyed. The first time I started doing work on the sideline and realised that I was actually getting paid for this, I kind of got the bug. I was smitten by the fact that I could be my own boss and do my own thing and work with a bunch of clients. But also I'm quite a people person, so the fact that I was doing stuff with the new people in a different organisation, meeting a bunch of people from different organisations was just mind blowing to me, because it gave me a sense of, hey, you could actually do this, this is something that you could actually do on a full time basis. So yeah, it was insane.

Steve Folland: I've just realised that my, when did you first taste bacon, for me I think it would be, when did you first taste Ben and Jerry's cookie dough?

Devon Moodley: See?

Steve Folland: I distinctly remember that experience when I was like 19 and my girlfriend at the time getting this tub and just my life changing.

Devon Moodley: But it's so true, right? It's so true, because you hold onto that, and then anything else you taste does not come close to that. How much work I do being full time employed, that voice of freelance kind of calls out to you like, hey.

Steve Folland: Although Ben and Jerry's Phish Food did come a close second. I can just eat it from the top with a spoon as well, I even remember that.

Devon Moodley: It's the only way to eat it. It is the only way to eat it. If you're one of those people that portions that out, you're a psychopath. Just eat it by the tub.

Steve Folland: It's already portioned out into a whole tub.

Devon Moodley: Exactly. One tub per person. You got to read the fine print.

Steve Folland: So other than that first client that found you, how did you go about finding your first clients? And how long did you keep doing it, presumably on the side, of that full time job? I continued to do freelance for about five or six years on the side while doing full time work. I was only at the church for a couple of years, and then I applied for a job down in Wellington, which is another part of New Zealand. It's kinda like the Southern most city of the North Island, and got working for a company called Xero. I was there for almost three years. During my time of working there and being in a new city, I got to meet a bunch of really cool and really awesome people. Wellington is very creative. There's lots of stuff going on and there's lots of things that involve the arts, and so if you take that and you mash it up with the good part of San Francisco, I think you have Wellington. So being a bunch of really awesome, really creative people, people were like, hey, do you do this freelance?

Steve Folland: I'm like, yeah, I definitely shoot videos and make motion graphics freelance. So if you want a job like, that'll be awesome. And so slowly word of mouth moved around and one client led to the next and another client would lead to another one. It was literally people emailing me saying, hey, I worked with Steve, or worked I with Mike and they said that you're a really fun guy to work with, so we'd love to bring you on board. I'm like, this is crazy. They haven't even seen my work. So yeah, that was how in the beginning I managed to get the majority of my freelance clients. It was just people telling other people, telling other people.

Steve Folland: Amazing. Did you have a website? You said they hadn't seen your stuff, but obviously we can go to you now and go to your website. Did you have something like that at the time?

Devon Moodley: Back then I didn't. Back then was all Vimeo videos. I had a cargo collective, if people who are my age know what cargo collective is. I used to have a cargo site and that was kind of horrible. I used to have a freelance page portfolio, but that was horrible as well. But yeah, it was all Vimeo. People would be like, hey, what kind of work do you do, and then I'd send them a link to my showreel.

Steve Folland: An interesting point here though is the fact that you've got, first of all with the church, but then with Xero doing in house production, so you've got a full time job.

Devon Moodley: Yeah.

Steve Folland: How did you fit in the freelance work? How did you cope balancing that?

Devon Moodley: I would work one to two hours almost every night after work. As soon as I'd come home, for instance, I'd finish up work, I'd go to the gym, get a little bit of fitness and come home, make dinner and hop straight to my computer and just work. If it wasn't doing freelance work, it was doing tutorials to figure out how to get better. I think I realised that ... I got to a stage where clients were demanding more out of projects and I just wasn't able to deliver. So I thought to myself, well the only way I'm going to get better if I'm not learning stuff at work is learning stuff on my own dime. So every single night, man, I would go home, I would research tutorials or figure out stuff or see something and try and replicate it, just so I could get better, so when a client approached me I could have better design solutions to give them and not just be like, oh yeah, cool. We'll just do whatever you want, but build that relationship with them and be like, hey, that's cool that you want this, but we can also do this. That was a huge bonus for me.

Steve Folland: How about the weekend?

Devon Moodley: The weekend was was good. Wellington is a party city. It is amazing, so I'd always do things on the weekend, which was fine. But I tried to make sure during the week I was focused on learning stuff and doing things. Sorry, I should say, this wasn't my mentality the whole time. When I first started off at my job, it was amazing and I was doing a lot of cool things. But once you're in a job for a little bit too long, you start to feel stagnant. And I felt that within about maybe a year and a half in, and I wasn't doing stuff that I was initially hired to do. So just that itch to create more motion graphics became bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, and I would see things that my peers we're creating and I'm like, oh my gosh, this is so cool. I want to be a part of it.

Devon Moodley: So it was definitely that feeling of, I don't know, I think a little bit of FOMO as well, that you're missing out on being able to create good work. You'd speak to any artist and they'll tell you, fair enough, money is good, but at the end of the day if you're not doing anything satisfying with your career, it just doesn't feel fulfilling. It really doesn't. It really, really doesn't. So I needed to do something that would fulfil my creative itch.

Steve Folland: How did you cope with anticipated timelines of what people were asking for? Given that you're saying, I'm going to work for a couple of hours a night. I'm not going to work six, I'm still going to go to the gym. I'm still going to party. I'm still going to sleep. Yeah, did you just set expectations as to how long things might take?

Devon Moodley: Oh my gosh, there was no balance at the beginning when I first started this off. I Was a crazy kid, man. I think the longest I've been awake was 76 hours straight. Please, I don't endorse doing this because it's really dumb and really stupid, but I would go to work, do my eight hours or whatever, go to the gym or go for a walk or whatever, come home, start freelance work. Then sometimes depending on the client, they might even be Australian clients, so the time zone's a little bit different. They'd be like, hey, can you get this done as soon as possible? So I would try and negotiate timelines. They're like, it's actually kind of urgent. A part of me would be like, well I could say no and that'll be that, or I could say yes and do something stupid and test myself to see if I can actually do it. So there was a lot of risk involved at the beginning when I was doing stuff like this, but I managed to pull it off, which even to this day I'm just like wow, that's ridiculous, dude.

Steve Folland: Okay, so at what point did you go full time freelance?

Devon Moodley: About three years working in to Xero, maybe two and a half or three years. I was kind of over my job, because I wasn't really creating any motion graphics. I was doing a lot of video and a lot of photography work, which was amazing because it really refined my eye for that kind of thing. And both my wife and I decided we needed a change. We've got some really awesome friends who are based here in the Netherlands who at the time were in Wellington and said, hey listen, we're going to be moving to the Netherlands. We said, well, out of a joke, can I follow you guys? We decided to follow them. Prior to actually being in the Netherlands, there was about a year of us being in Australia, and that's when I went full time freelance, just working my butt off.

Steve Folland: I see. So it was that, okay, let's do something different with our lives. Let's go live somewhere else. That was the moment when, okay, well I'll work remotely and be freelance.

Devon Moodley: Yeah it was getting to the stage where I was getting enough freelance clients where a part of me was like, maybe I don't really need my full time job. But also at the same time I was getting very restless in my full time job. When you know that there's another option for you to do, especially when you're getting restless, it just calls to you even more. I was like, man, if my wife doesn't get a new contract, I'm going to leave this really well paid, really well paid job to do something really stupid and ridiculous. A friend of mine's mum was having a chat to us one weekend when we were discussing this with her, and she was like a bit of a mum to us as well back when we were living in Wellington. She said something that really struck a chord with me, was you could always make money but you can't always make memories.

Devon Moodley: Even to this day, whenever I'm assessing anything, I'm like, okay, fair enough. Am I going to make money on this? Okay, yeah, whatever. But am I sacrificing a memory for it? At the time I was like, let me just do something stupid. We'll just do something and I look back on this day and if I fail at it I can say, yep, I tried it and I failed. And I can always go back to doing another job. If I don't get a job doing design, I can always go pack shelves. I don't care what I do, because you can always make money. But I don't want to look back when I'm 60 and be like, oh my gosh, we could have done something really ridiculous and we didn't do it.

Steve Folland: Nice. Yeah. Just to put this in perspective, by the way, when did you move to the Netherlands, and then everybody else can do the math? Working backwards from that.

Devon Moodley: We moved to the Netherlands about literally three years ago, so now fourth year.

Steve Folland: So in 2016. Suddenly, okay, so you're living in a different part of the world, which does actually mean you are living in different time zones that have previous clients that you had did. Did that make a difference?

Devon Moodley: Massive. Massive difference. A lot of my clients would tend to be like, hey listen, I'm sorry but the time zones are too rough to work in, so we might need to shift and move to working with other people that are local. And that was perfectly fine with me. I didn't really mind. But I had some clients that I've worked with for a while that are like, hey, we don't really care about the time zone. We love your work and we love what you do, so if you can help us out, that'd be great.

Devon Moodley: That was a huge bonus. Even moving across, it's so insane. I had a computer ... I'm a windows guy, but I also use Mac as well. But I had a computer that I built in Wellington. No, I built it in Auckland. I broke it into pieces, moved to Wellington, bought a case, put it together; broke it into pieces, moved to Australia, bought a case and a screen and a palate supply, put it together; broke it to pieces again and then moved to the Netherlands, put it together, and then worked. When we moved I was working within a day and a half of moving here, because I had projects crossing over. Yeah, it was insane. Super insane. So crazy.

Steve Folland: You obviously found the community back in Wellington, important.

Devon Moodley: Super.

Steve Folland: I know you've clearly moved over here with friends and your other half, but what about instilling yourself in that new place?

Devon Moodley: I think it was super hard to start off with because we were already here on a one year working holiday visa. The stuff I had to do in order for us to stay here along meant that I needed to go out and I needed to meet people I needed to do things that would really get me out of my comfort zone. The tough thing about being in another country that English is not its first language makes that a little bit more difficult. But I'm so thankful that Owen and Fem were here. They really set the foundation for us in terms of our friends pool. They introduced them to a ton of people when we first got in, and that really set the stage for us. Prior to that, I have a lot of friends online, but that were based out in the UK, and so finally being in a time zone that I was actually able to chat with them and talk with them made so much of a difference to my work. It's also making more contacts as well. That was super, super beneficial to me.

Steve Folland: I see. So other motion designers perhaps, in the UK?

Devon Moodley: Yup. Motion designers, illustrators, animators, all these people that I've been following online that I've been absolutely following for years. Last year I got to meet Simon Tibbs, who is an amazing animator. Him, Fraser Davidson, they all used to have a studio back in the day called Sweet Crude, which has now sort of formed into Cub studio.

Steve Folland: Oh wait, yes. Yeah, yeah. Because we had Fraser Davidson on the podcast once.

Devon Moodley: Yeah, exactly. It kind of blew my mind a bit to know that, I've been following this guy since like 2009, I was actually able to share a beer with him. So that like for me I was like, oh my gosh, this is so crazy. Don't fangirl out. So yeah, I think it's so important. I thought to myself and I realised before I moved, I need to make these online friendships as well because it's so easy to travel in Europe, we're bound to cross paths at some stage. So yeah, it was awesome.

Steve Folland: You've been here a few years now, so you obviously have managed to find enough work and enough new opportunities. How have you managed the business side of being freelance? You worked for Xero. Did you teach anything there? How have you found that side of it?

Devon Moodley: It's been so insane. My role at Xero, because of the role I was in I was bouncing from all these different departments and I got to spend a lot of time with the C levels, so the CEO and chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, all these guys. You pull up these little nuggets of how they run business and it's pretty ruthless, but at the same time when you realise that things get exchanged for money, you can be as kind as you want to be, but you also got to be a little bit ruthless with things. I'm finding even now within my ... Coming up into my fourth year that I need to be a little bit more ruthless than the things that I do, especially from the business side. It's taught me that you can definitely be nice and you can definitely be very kind, but at the end of the day, the clients really needs to know, this is the deadline, this is the schedule that we're adhering to, and things need to be paid at a certain time.

Devon Moodley: I keep on thinking about if I was to have staff for instance, and if clients were paying late, that would just totally throw my staff upside down. So I try very, very hard to be ruthless, but also very kind with my clients, especially when it comes to the business side of things.

Steve Folland: Oh, I can't imagine you being ruthless now.

Devon Moodley: See, lots of people say that, but then my wife for instance tells me like if I'm hangry, which a lot of people do get, if I'm ever hangry, she's like, you become South African. I don't really notice it. I don't really notice it, but she'll tell me and I'm like, oh my gosh, that's so true. That's exactly what I do. I really become South African if I'm hangry, or things are not going the way that I want it to. It's hilarious. I become like a Jekyll and Hyde situation. It's nuts.

Steve Folland: Yeah. And by the way, just because I know that people listen to this who aren't necessarily English speakers, you're saying hangry, right?

Devon Moodley: Yes. I'm so sorry. Yeah,

Steve Folland: No, no, no, no. It's a lovely phrase, which is a mixture of being hungry and then getting angry because you're hungry. A very particular type of hangry, this. Actually from a financial point of view, you feel like you've been doing it right.

Devon Moodley: I think I'd be doing it right for myself. Because of the situation that we were in when we moved here ... Both my wife and I don't have any ties to the EU, so in order for us to live here, we had to go through this super ridiculously stressful process of getting a visa, and the requirements in order for you just apply for the visa, it's just ridiculous. I had to have a 26 page business plan with market research, two year a prognosis of profit and loss, letters of reference, letters of intent. And this is as a freelancer. You don't know when your next job is going to come through or if a client is going to decline on you. There was also a salary target I needed to meet in that first year, so it really pushed me to be like, dude, you're not a freelancer, you're a business. Work like a business. You have to work like a business.

Devon Moodley: So that sort of set my mind in a way that, okay, I need to get a proper accountant, I need to get an accounting platform that I can use, I need to send proper invoices, I need to track everything. But having a good accountant, man, saves you a massive headache. But I'm a weird one, Steve. I'm in this weird place where I have to have all these things. I'm actually going through a visa process again in order for us to be here for the next five years. And so again, they've requested profit and loss statements, they've requested summary of earnings, all these crazy things. So yeah, I've been forced to be onto it, whereas I think if I wasn't forced, I don't think I'd be as business minded as I am right now.

Steve Folland: How interesting, the way that made you focus on that. You did mention at one point there, if you were to hire staff and the cost implications of cash flow and stuff. Is it something that you've considered?

Devon Moodley: It's definitely something I've tried put into practice, and sort of tried to think about this. It's hard at the moment because I find ... I'm not too sure whether this is with other people as well, but a lot of people I've spoken to in the last six months have said budgets are just getting smaller and smaller. I think that's because of Brexit in some weird form or way. But if it wasn't, man, I just want to find the right project where I could bring people on board and pay them what they deserve, because it's ... Being I guess a freelancer and demanding a good pay, it'd be really terrible of me to get someone in and then not pay them what they're worth, just to make a buck. So it's definitely something I've been trying to look into for the future. If we get this new visa, which will allow us to stay here for the next five years, it's something that I want to look into, either starting a small studio or working with someone to try and make a studio. I find I'm at that stage where I'm too small to get big clients and I'm also too small to bring anybody on board just as yet. So it makes it difficult.

Steve Folland: But your work is still mainly coming like word of mouth?

Devon Moodley: 100%. It's still been word of mouth. I've been so lucky. It's only been in the last two months that I've actually started to advertise myself and of put myself out there a little bit more. Prior to that, seriously Steve, I have not mentioned, hey it's me, I'm looking for work. I've been so blessed and so thankful that I've got a really good network of friends around me that have jobs that they can't do so they pass it along, or recommend me, or someone who I've worked with, even clients for instance will say, hey listen, you got to work with this guy. And that's been a massive saving grace for me man.

Steve Folland: That's awesome. It's a testament obviously to your work, but also the way people work with you and the vibe you must give off to them. What have you doing different than in the past few months? You say you're advertising. As is that as in paid advertising or just putting more effort into putting yourself out there? What are you doing?

Devon Moodley: No, I haven't delved into the realm of paid advertising yet. I'm not too hot on those heels right now. But I've done a lot of, for instance, cold call emails, which I know a lot of people are like, don't do that, it's the worst thing you could ever do. But I've actually gotten a lot of work out of it. So that perspective, you have to try things, and so I'm trying different approaches like cold called email. Instagram has become notoriously amazing on how they advertise stuff to you, and so they always advertise these agencies and studios to me. So I just flip them an email and be like, hey, I've seen your advert and want to know if you guys ever work with motion graphics designers, and if you do I'd love to be a part of a project, or if not I'd love to just grab a coffee. And so I find not just asking straight off the bat, but trying to build a relationship is a little bit better than just being like, hey, I want to work for you guys. And that's been awesome. I've had a a few freelance jobs in the last month that have come just me cold emailing, and yeah, it's been, it's been crazy.

Steve Folland: What is your work life balance like now? There was clearly this point where you were working full time and then working in the evenings or learning in the evenings. How about now?

Devon Moodley: I think I'm still trying to find that sort of balance, because I'm ... I don't know, I come from an immigrant family, so my family moved to New Zealand with basically nothing from South Africa. I've always got this sort of guilty conscience that if I'm not working, I'm not advancing, which is a really stupid outlook. But at the same time it's pushed me to achieve things. And so now, my wife continually tells me, hey, you need to make sure you get out of the house today and get some sun. I'm like, okay, I will. I need to be reminded. I'm so thankful for my wife. She's such an amazing person, that really grounds me. She's my balance, if anything. She's the person that really brings balance. She's the one that tells me, hey, you shouldn't be working too hard, or you should be doing things better.

Devon Moodley: I think yeah, I haven't particularly found that balance yet. I do work sporadically, so I've been getting up 6:30 every morning, I do some Dutch lessons and I hop straight into work. And sometimes I'll do eight hours, sometimes I'll do 10, sometimes I do 12. It really depends. Sometimes you get into a flow, a state, and then you it's really hard to get out of it. But what I've found to help that balance is actually structuring in gym time. So straight after this I'm off to the gym, because it's Wednesday and I go to the gym on Wednesdays, Mondays and Fridays. Wednesday mornings I have a coffee group that I catch up with. It's a bunch of freelancers and we talk about random stuff, which is amazing. I started to factor in social aspects, get me away from my desk, because if I didn't have that I would be chained to this thing for a very long time, which is unhealthy by the way.

Steve Folland: That sounds good. What was it, a coffee morning of other freelances in Amsterdam?

Devon Moodley: Yeah. There's a good buddy of mine, Alex [Frangemore 00:25:52], he's a UX designer here based in Amsterdam. He's from the UK as well. Amazing guy. Really, really amazing dude. We get together with a bunch of freelancers. It actually started off as just me and him grabbing coffee on a Wednesday afternoon, because it's like Wednesday afternoon, three o'clock, you're not doing any work. It's the middle of the week, it's ridiculous. So we would literally just go grab coffee. He lives six minutes away from my house, so we'd just go up to local cafe and get a coffee. Then we started getting more people involved, and then we started putting it on Wednesday mornings because we tested it and trailed it and realised that the feeling you get from being around other creatives so early in the morning really drives you and makes you feel inspired to go and create stuff.

Devon Moodley: It's been amazing to have that on a Wednesday morning, for me to hop in there, speak to some other freelances, laugh and joke about stuff. It doesn't even have to be about work. We just talk about random stuff and it's just sort of coming home and being like, awesome, cool. My mind is right now. I can start working. I can kick this out of the park.

Steve Folland: That's so nice.

Devon Moodley: Yeah. I recommend it to anybody. If anybody is a freelance, if you're a solo freelancer of working on your own, get a couple of freelancers together, spend an hour, grab a coffee. It's literally the best thing I think you can do for yourself. People shouldn't be working alone. As much as we want to be all these solo entrepreneurs and stuff, I don't think it's healthy for people to be alone. You have to have some community around you.

Steve Folland: You mentioned, I think a couple of times about feeling stagnant in a job when you were working full time. How do you keep yourself from getting that way now that you're your own boss?

Devon Moodley: I think now I choose projects carefully. I check what income I need to make for the month and then figure out, okay, if there's a project coming up and if I've structured properly, am I going to find fulfilment out of this? Perfect. If not, then I'll do the work because I need to make that income for the month, but then I'll do side projects to scratch that itch a little bit more. And that's been awesome for me. I haven't been doing as many as I've wanted to over the last little while because of this visa situation and stuff I've got to do for that. But I feel like having that has been super helpful.

Steve Folland: What kind of thing are your side projects?

Devon Moodley: Oh man, this is a whole new kettle of fish. I do this thing where I reach out to illustrators and because I don't think I'm at that stage where I can illustrate stuff for myself, stuff that I want to animate for myself I will reach out to illustrators that I love their work and be like, hey, I really love your work. Would you be keen for a collaboration and can I animate your stuff? Some of them are really open and like, yeah, awesome. Some of them just never get back to me, but the ones who have gotten back to me, it's been phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal.

Devon Moodley: One of the guys I work with, I have worked with before, is Mark Conlon. He's an amazing illustrator based out in Australia, and I've done some really cool work with him, but all collaborations, nothing paid. That's been really cool because it's challenging me to think in a different box, especially when it's different illustrators with different styles. It makes you go, okay, how are you going to make this work? How is this going to animate? It stretches my mind a little bit more. Whereas I find with paid projects, depending on what the timeline is, there's only one solution that might work or one solution might be perfect for this project. It doesn't really allow you enough time to experiment with things. Whereas with collaborations it's like, there's no money involved, so it can take time and you can play and have fun.

Steve Folland: That's brilliant. And then that goes in your portfolio, gives you stuff to share on I know you're very social stuff as well?

Devon Moodley: Yeah, so a majority of the stuff that's on Instagram for instance right now is all just fun collaboration stuff that I love ... I love how illustrators work. It's mind-blowing how someone can capture an image and just turn it into this beautiful illustration. Yeah, it's just been so cool to be able to see something that's been static and then come to life. And also the expression from some of these illustrators that, their minds are blown because some of them have never, ever thought they could see stuff like that, their illustrations move. So it's fun. It's really, really fun for me.

Steve Folland: Do you do any other side projects beyond motion design?

Devon Moodley: Yeah, I like to shoot videos, and that's been quite fun for me. Whenever I go and travel to a new place, I try and make a little video off the place and what we've mean getting up to. My wife and I, we love photography, we love shooting videos, and that's a really cool side project. I find that as I'm getting older, my memory is not as sharp as it used to be. I'm only 33, but still, you're bombarded with so much stuff that you mind is not as good as retaining information. So I try and shoot as much video as I can and make these fun little videos of us in Bruges or us in Paris. I can look back on that and go, oh my gosh, yeah, we did that, or we had croissants out by the waterfall here. Yeah, it's super cool.

Steve Folland: If you could tell your younger self one thing about being freelance, what would that be?

Devon Moodley: Don't take life too seriously. Really don't. I think you'll have all these weird encounters and you're going to miss out a lot on life if you take it too seriously. Just enjoy it.