Last week, I presented at the Lincoln Innovation Conference. Over a lunchtime conversation someone asked me what digital content I’ve produced, and it threw me. It threw me because I’ve been creating digital content for as long as I can remember. When I was 11 I tried my hand at digital illustration and Flash, creating an awkward and clumsy website interface with loading animation using Dreamweaver. Later that year I wrote and produced an entirely digital album to commiserate my best friend moving to another city.
My point here isn’t to show off – it’s not like I have the capability to be all that proud of something I made when I was 11, and it’s certainly not anything worth putting in a portfolio. However, it does show a keen and dedicated enthusiasm to creating digital media; a passion that is with me now more than ever, nearly 15 years later. For those of us like myself, who are naturally creative, motivated and grew up with the internet, asking ‘what digital media have you produced?’ is like asking us what meals we’ve eaten. If you’re creatively inclined, have had reliable internet access for most of your life, and you were born after 1985, chances are most of the media you produce is digital.
To celebrate that fact, I took to Twitter with the hashtag #BornDigital to explore the many ways young people have been creating digital media since their early childhoods. A whole load of incredible stories came flooding in, with facts from friends I had never heard before. It was great to hear the many examples of digital creativity, even (and especially) the weirder ones you maybe wouldn’t mention in a job interview. Being able to talk with people about things you created when you were younger (but not necessarily anything you’d put in your portfolio) was refreshing and heartwarming all at once. I even received a couple of inspirational messages from other content creators realising that the media they’ve been producing since childhood is incredibly valuable and indicative of talent and dedication.
I wouldn’t be much of a blogger if I ended this post here. I know what the people want. So without further ado, here’s a list of my (sometimes small, sometimes strange) digital “accomplishments” over the years. They’re (mostly) not the sort of things I would put in my portfolio or CV. You have been warned.
1997 – Age 7
With encouragement from my mum, and wild enthusiasm from my (at the time) 4 year old brother, we created our first ever stop frame claymation – an endeavour that would eventually lead to an unconditional offer from Hertfordshire University’s Media Production course.
2001 – Age 11
Created my first website using Dreamweaver complete with loading Flash animation.
Wrote and produced an entirely digital album, to commiserate the loss of a friend who moved to a new city. Included a cover of Hot Butter’s ‘Popcorn’ and a song called ‘Requiem of Laughter’ which included vocal remixes of my friends laughing. You can here them here:
Requiem of Laughter:
2002 – Age 12
Inspired by the RatherGood.com, I wrote, recorded, and animated a short video series about my brother becoming a snail.
Designed my first emoji set (back when they were called emoticons).
2003 – Age 13
Sub-edited an internet friend’s novel called The Badger Chronicles – communicated entirely via MSN Messenger.
2004 – Age 14
Created a webseries about gamers, starring my brother as the avid Starcrafter he still is today (although these days he’s also living his dream of working at Rockstar).
Started by first blog.
2005 – Age 15
Started a webcomic about my internet boyfriend and his friend from Belgium.
2006 – Age 16
Commissioned by the London Globe Theatre to create a marketing channel for (and using) their merchandise.
2007 – Age 17
Returned to stop-frame animation with The Snake Throws Up (see below).
Started 360 Days of Pictures – a blog where I posted my digital illustrations every day to track progress and encourage myself to create more digital art.
Made my first stop-frame animation using only a mobile phone, Cliche Like Your Girlfriend (see below). This got me an unconditional offer on the University of Hertfordshire’s Media Studies course.
Started making and releasing regular video sketches (albeit very strange ones) on YouTube.
Created a trailer for a fictional thriller called Empire of Dirt (see below). This was scored 100% and the highest mark given to any project in the history of the class at that point.
2008 – Age 18
Commissioned by Long Road Sixth Form College to produce a promotional video of the school (A Day at Long Road, see below), a video tour and film the school’s annual fashion show.
Began making my very own film called ‘Nowhere’. Unfortunately the hard drive my files were on corrupted, and so lost to the wind.
2009 – Age 19
Started teaching myself gif animation and got more than carried away with it (a skill that turned out to be incredibly useful in my internship at Mortons Media Group Ltd).
2010 – Age 20
Built a spoof FaceBook page for the Swiss euthanasia clinic, Dignitas, following an entry for the D&AD awards. It received over 10,000 ‘likes’ until I was sent a kindly worded email from their lawyers, saying they would take legal action if I didn’t remove it immediately.
Started Ghost Review – an online magazine built by students and graduates, allowing them a platform on which to publish their work, thus improving their CVs.
Started GHOTI, a collaborative surrealist dark humour zine.
Started How2Wrestling, a podcast for beginners to the world of pro-wrestling, hosted by Kefin Mahon from the Attitude Era Podcast.