About Tod Todeschini
About Tod Todeschini
If you are here, you will be familiar with at least some of what I do, but I get up to a few things and you can find links to them here.
The story of Tod
I am 53 and jumped around a lot, so its not going to be short – you have been warned.
It is rather tricky to put together a history of yourself assuming the world is interested in you and clearly it can be seen as extreme vanity and to be honest, I am rather uncomfortable doing this. However, as I regularly put myself up on YouTube, I can’t be that shy so I will get over that and from some of the comments and questions it is clear that there are at least 2 of you who are interested in who I am and how I got here.
At this point, I know two things for certain. I have had an interesting and varied career (I was there, I know) and that I am currently in a place where I am having great fun, learning loads and making nice things that people cherish, meeting some extraordinary folks, working in an area that fascinates me and making a living doing it. That is a rare and lucky thing indeed and if there is anything you see in my journey that helps you, that would be reason enough for this vanity project.
The story starts before I was born. My father grew up in war torn Italy, bunkers and munitions were left everywhere and these became the playthings of his youth. The family then moved to the South African bush where he went off on camping trips with his younger brother and a rifle.
There was nothing, nothing that I could suggest that was more dangerous than his childhood and he had a simple workshop; perfect. Even better, this was the 1970’s and you could do ‘interesting’ stuff then.
My father raided building site skips and brought back boxes of nails and scraps of wood and so on and I kept making. My parents gave me real tools for Christmas, not the plastic toy ones my friends had and I carried on making. My parents got friendly with the local accident department and still I carried on making.
I loved school, but school was not so keen on me, but whilst there I met my inspirational physics teacher Bob Pomeroy. He was a great teacher, but once in passing he said a few words that utterly changed my life. There are moments in your life where things pivot and this was one.
Bob was at University and his car broke and he could not afford to get it repaired and couldn’t mend it himself. He then realised that he couldn’t because he didn’t know, not because he wasn’t able. So he found out how and mended it. Mostly people can do things with some knowledge and if they can’t, usually they have lost very little but time and learned a great deal in exchange. People say “they can’t do something”, when actually they mean “I don’t know how to do something”. Find out how and then you can.
This 5 minute chat has directed my life ever since. If you want to do it, then do it, if you don’t know how, find out and do it, if you still can’t do it, then try again and if still you can’t, get an expert to do it, but mostly by this stage you will have nailed it. It doesn’t work with everything, so use your judgement, (possibly not for brain surgery), but as a philosophy it has worked for me.
Because of this philosophy I had a cut price car repair business for students whilst I was at college studying Business Studies which paid for my rent and an old Lotus sports car.
When I was leaving college the world was too scary for me, so armed with my “Philosophy of Bob”, I managed to get onto Industrial Design Engineering at The Royal College of Art; a course I was in no way qualified for. Whilst leaving, I met an animatronics engineer from Jim Hensons Creature Workshop who saw something in me and 2 days later I was working there – very lucky again.
I bounced around London for 6 months working in models and effects and collected skills and working freelance, so I immediately had to rely on my own skills to maintain employment past the end of the day – it taught me to not be scared of work and change and to never fail.
Secured a job in a product design job in an agency for a few years, got offered and turned down a job with James Dyson when he had only 4 employees – (bad move), but professionally Industrial Design never really appealed, so I left and went back on the London freelance special effects circuit. Loved it.
I started young, but It was really here that my making career got forged and consolidated. In effects you are always making things you have never made before, with too little time, limited resources and the absolute requirement to not fail. You have to deliver, on time, under all circumstances and are surrounded by the most competent and reliable people you can imagine If you like work and learning it is pure heaven.
I started 16thC re-enacting and couldn’t find knives to buy back then, so started making my own in the company workshops; Again by luck, a guy I worked with knew how. I started selling them and Tods Workshop was founded in 2001. Taught design at Goldsmiths University for a couple of years and appeared as an ‘expert’ on the TV show Scrapheap Challenge (Junkyard Wars).
Finding my re-enacting life at Kentwell Hall was a massive moment for me as it was a driver to make historical knives, but also it taught me to have no fear talking to large crowds, to be a showman and to rapidly move from one thread to another working with the audience – it taught me to present. Again I found the place by luck.
Life really started to move fast around now and I had a growing family, started a website, left my London job, moved out, became a staff engineer on Scrapheap Challenge, met my great friend Owen Bush on the show who really taught me to make knives, carried on with TV engineering and Models and Effects and took up my friend Mikes suggestion to make YouTube films. Built a house.
Meeting Owen and Mike making me a website so early and then pushing me to make You Tube films were all pivotal career moments and once again just luck. Everything started to fall into the pattern it is now, even if that is a rather complicated one as I get up to a few things.