Rural life through a lens
The issuing of the Leaving Cert results led to much focus on CAO points and college offers over the last week.
However, the journey taken by Dylan Fuery is a reminder that there are other ways to pursue an ambition.
The 21-year-old (pictured above) from Rooskey, Bealnamulla, sat his Leaving Cert at Coláiste Chiaráin in Athlone in 2018.
After developing an impressive talent for photography and videography during his teenage years, he decided he wouldn't go to college but would instead start his own media production business, DFY Media.
"I had made a decision, near the end of sixth year, not to go to college and spend the four years investing the time and money I would in college into building the business," he explained.
He has been working to develop a client base across the Midlands and received good news recently when drone footage filmed by DFY Media at M&J Dunning agricultural contractors in Athlone was purchased for use in an upcoming episode of the RTE show What Planet Are You On?
About 20 seconds of Dylan's aerial footage is due to be broadcast in an episode of the programme which airs this Sunday, September 20.
"I'm very excited about it, because if your content is good enough for RTE it's hopefully good enough for plenty of other people as well," he said.
Dylan, son of Catherine and John Fuery, first developed his interest in media production when he entered the BT Young Scientist competition in 2014. Along with two classmates at St Aloysius College he created a virtual tour of the school in a project that won a display award at the competition.
Dylan decided to capture his experience at the Young Scientist exhibition in video form.
"I went around interviewing different people, just testing it out. I actually started out using an iPad, which is a bit basic compared to what I'm using now, but everyone has to start somewhere!"
Hailing from a rural background, Dylan farmed with his uncle, Francis Duignan, while he was growing up. Creating eye-catching videos of agricultural life is one of his talents, and DFY Media was due to have a stand at this year's Ploughing Championships before the event was called off.
"(Agriculture) is a nice area to capture, because farmers don't normally get to show what they are at," he said.
His DFY Media business specialises in photography, video and graphic design. In addition to agricultural content, Dylan does wedding photos and videos, promotional content for businesses, aerial photos of buildings, commercials, music videos, and custom projects.
He is particularly adept at aerial footage, using a drone, which is perhaps not surprising given that he was a member of Athlone Model Flying Club, near Brideswell, for a number of years.
"I built and flew model aircraft from sixth class in primary school to about second year in secondary school, so taking up the drone was second nature because it's basically just a model plane with a camera on it."
Several of his videos can be viewed on his YouTube channel (Dylan Fuery). He edits footage using Apple's Final Cut Pro X application, and uses a particular colour grade to maintain a consistent visual theme throughout his work.
Dylan said he watches very little YouTube content himself, though he does admire the work of two videographers in particular, Sam Kolder and Christian Maté Grab.
While DFY Media has been going well so far, Covid-19 has had an impact, and the amount of work coming in week-to-week can be inconsistent.
"I hope to go full-time (in media production) eventually. That's the aim, but at the moment I'm working in Aldi in Athlone because I need 'x' amount of money coming in every week.
"Starting out, as a start-up, you're not going to get a set amount of work every week. You could get five jobs one week, none the next week, and then one the next week. There are no guarantees with it, so I'm working in Aldi until I can have the business going full-time.
"Obviously Covid had a massive impact on everyone, but we're pushing forward and I remain optimistic. I want to keep going and see what I can do.
"It's all about adapting, because although we are social distancing, a lot of people will want to use photo and video to see products and places.
There's going to be a huge dependency on that now, and I'm going to try to promote it and see what way I can make the best out of it."
One thing that's clear is that he has a true talent and passion for this type of work.
"It's not really work if you enjoy it," he said. "I could sit down to edit a video, and the next thing you know you've been at it for eight hours! You don't even realise it.
“It's only when you start to get hungry that you then realise you're eight hours into it!"