Tadhg, a star on the rise

With hundreds and thousands of video views to his name and over 10,000 likes on his Facebook page, social media star and Ballymac native Tadhg Fleming tells Fergus Dennehy about his unexpected success, his inspiration for his videos, what his family thinnks of his antics and his aims for the future

Tadhg Fleming
Tadhg Fleming

He might be one of the fastest rising social media stars in the country, but even that doesn't guarantee Ballymac's Tadhg Fleming good phone reception it seems.

"I was here running around the house, I thought I had no coverage out here in Ballymac so I'm here upstairs in the attic now and thankfullly we've got full bars," he laughs, talking to The Kerryman last Wednesday.

With over 10,300 likes and counting on his Facebook page and hundreds of thousands of views on his videos over the past three years, Tadhg, still only a young man of 27, is one who's star is firmly on the rise, although, when talking to him, the man of the hour doesn't see himself as such.

"If I didn't already know that you worked in The Kerryman, I thought that this whole interview would be someone else messing with me.," he says to me, laughing again.

"This is the first time that I've an interview about what I've been doing with my videos so It's all a bit mad. If someone came up to me and said 'oh, you're the guy that makes the videos', I wouldn't know what to say back to them. I'm actually kind of shy about the whole thing."

If you've been anywhere near Facebook or the online versions of the national papers aswell over the past few years, you're bound to have seen one of Tadhg's creations.

His video about his father asking him to cut the lawn back in May 2016 is one particular example of this, with this video alone getting almost 400,000 views.

"That video just took off! I did a summer camp in America and I met people from all over the world there and so when I made that video and it went viral, I got a message from one of the girls I'd met at the camp and she said, 'I'm here in Australia looking a video of your head sitting on top of a lawnmower'," he chuckled.

"So it really went across the world. It's absolutely crazy at times. Whenever I put up a video these days, I have a lot of the national papers onto me straight away asking my permission so that they can use the video. If anything in my videos is trendy or topical, the nationals jump on it," he continues.

Having started out his video making career on a now defunct app called 'Vine', an app where users could upload short six-second long clips, Tadhg says that it has all taken off from here, with a little help along the way from his family, friends and girlfriend of course.

"I just downloaded that and I just kept making these quick sketches, this snap humour and through this, I got over 2 million on the videos that I was doing there."

"Senan Byrne - he was another big Vine maker around aswell and honestly he's just brilliant and hilarious and he creates such excellent and original content. He's a part of this comedy group called the 'Fupin Eejits' and it was through Vine that I met him and was able to make a video with him."

"I just kept going with it then and through this then, I had this big portfolio of videos lying there on my computer and I was wondering what to do with them. It was my girlfriend Alannah that actually told me to said up a Facebook page where I could upload them and just see how it goes and sure it's just all taken off from there," he continued.

"I can make videos about anything - anything that pops into my head really. I could be walking into town and I'd see something and think 'that would make a good video, oh and that too'. How it works then is that I can see the finished product in my head and then I just start putting the camera or my phone in all these different positions and just work from there."

"I'd have an idea, I'll sit down and sketch out where I want to go with it, what's funny, what's not and it can take a while but when I do get to put it out and people are laughing at it and enjoying it, I get a great sense of accomplishment."

Central figures in Tadhg's mad cap and often random videos are his family and more centrally his father, Derry. Far from being confused or questioning his behaviour in his videos, Tadhg says he gets all his enegy, wit and weird sense of humour directly from his family.

"I get it all from then. They're all a bit mad, they all have the weirdest sense of humour. I mean, I have videos of my dad laughing at his own jokes for about a half an hour down in the kitchen. So it was all definitely in the way that I was brought up - with this sense of humour and this wittiness and the ability to come up with something out of the ordinary you know."

"I'd come home and they'd all be sitting around and they'd be asking me 'so what are we going to do today' or 'what video are we making?'I'd say that if they could use a smartphone, they'd be dangerous, they'd have their own pages up and running."

Tadhg's father Derry plays a major role in many of Tadhg's videos, often times with hilarious results - so what does Derry think of his new found 'celebrity' status?

"Oh it's gas, he works inside in the Credit Union and he'd be serving somebody and they'd just start laughing out of nowhere and I mean, he obviously knows what they're laughing at aswell, so it's great, but he wouldn't know what to say to them about it."

"A lot of my videos are with my family and I think people can relate to that and see their own families in their aswell," he contiued.

While Tadhg, who is now enjoying a career as Social Media Manager for B-Mobile here in Tralee, has always enjoyed the process of creating videos, he says that he found out the "hard way" that there was a career behind his creative outlet.

"I never knew that I could a living out of making and editing videos and I suppose I found out hard way really. I went through college twice, did a PLC and all that. It was only around the time that I was working in Lifestyle for four years that a chance encounter gave me the spur to go study video making properly."

"A woman, Rebekah Wall I think her name was. She came up to me and said 'what are you doing working in here?' and I mean, I had never met this woman at all before this and she came up and shook my hand and she said 'will you please go do work in something creative and in the media?'

"Now I had never really thought about this but eventually, I went off and did a Digital Media Production course in the Kerry ETB and since then, everything has made sense and things have fallen into place you know?"

"My job with B-Mobile has me coming up with all these different social media slogans, campaigns and ideas and I absolutely love it. I'm very happy there - who knew that I could make a career out of this?! he laughed again.

The future is indeed bright for this driven, ambitious and highly creative young video maker, but what does the man himself see happening for himself in the months and years ahead?

"I have notepads full of sketches and ideas and I'd love to focus more on making mike a proper YouTube account or maybe just even on my Facebook page - maybe upload a video a week or something like that?"

"That's the middle-term-isah goals right there to get a more scheduled approach to everything I'm doing. Who knows after that?" he finished.

Anyone looking to check out Tadhg's videos or to get in contact with Tadhg himself, they can do so by search for 'Tadhg Fleming' on Facebook.

With star firmly on the up and up, this may have been the first newspaper interview that Tadhg has done, but one things for sure, it cetainly won't be his last.


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