Conor Hamilton, a reporter for TRTÉ’s elev8, is sending out a call to the under-18s in Ireland (a demographic of 1.2m) to film a short video of themselves on 25 September as part of a nationwide project to document the lives of Irish children today.
The Life’s Like This project comes as part of the RTÉ Young Peoples initiative. The aim is to produce a collective documentary from submitted contributions from kids across Ireland ahead of the country’s first-ever referendum on the rights of children on 10 November.
The completed documentary will be broadcast in late autumn on RTÉ Two – but, first, the content is needed. Under-18s are asked to film a two-minute video of themselves and what they get up to on 25 September. They can film it however they like – on a smartphone, compact camera, camcorder or whatever recording device they can get their hands on. They can then upload their contributions to the Life’s Like This website.
Hamilton, a Dubliner, will be filming his own contribution for the project and he thinks plenty of his peers will, too. “I think lots of kids will have an interest in it because it’s what’s going around now: kids making videos, the internet,” he says, pointing out that this is the right time for a project like this to work. “If it was about two years back, I don’t think kids would have enough knowledge about it. The way it is now, all the kids know how to make videos and they know how to upload to YouTube and different websites, so I think it’s a good idea at the moment.”
Talkin’ ’bout my generation
When asked how different things are for his generation compared to those that have gone before, technology is a key factor. “A lot more technology has come out since back then,” he says. “In the last couple of years you’ve had the iPad, the iPhone 4S, the Siri thing that you talk to your own (iPhone). All this really high-tech stuff has come out so it’s going to be a lot different and kids are able to do a lot more, like put different effects on the videos.”
Hamilton himself has made and uploaded his own videos before and a couple of his friends do the same, too. He embraces new technology afforded to digital natives as an outlet for this brand of creativity. “I use the iPad maybe twice a week, trying to make new things and take photos of cool things,” he says.
Though we expect most teens today to be social media obsessed, Hamilton admits, “I haven’t got a Twitter account, I’m not really big into Twitter.” However, that didn’t stop actress Jessica Biel from tweeting about her encounter with Hamilton on the red carpet at the premiere of her latest film, Total Recall. “The best interviewer on the red carpet and a gentleman,” she wrote in a tweet that also included a picture of her and the young reporter.
“She was very nice to me!” says Hamilton of the encounter.