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lonelygirl15 was an interactive web-based video series which began in June 2006, and ended on August 1, 2008, with a Japanese dub slated for release in 2009.

The show focuses on the life of a fictional teenage girl named Bree, whose YouTube username is the eponymous "lonelygirl15", but the show does not reveal its fictional nature to its audience. After the fictional status of the show was revealed in September 2006, the show gradually evolved into a multi-character show including both character videoblogs and action sequences, with a complex story universe involving "trait positive girls" who are sought by an evil organization called "The Order".

Lonelygirl15 first came to international attention ostensibly as a "real" video blogger who achieved massive popularity on YouTube. The show was eventually proved as a hoax by suspicious viewers as featuring a fictitious character played by Americanmarker-New Zealandmarker actress Jessica Rose.

The three creators of Lonelygirl15, first revealed by the The New York Times, were Ramesh Flinders, a screenwriter and filmmaker from Marin County, Californiamarker, Miles Beckett, a surgical residency dropout turned filmmaker, and Greg Goodfried, a former attorney with Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp, LLP.

The series began on June 16, 2006, and was slated to run through August 1, 2008. New videos appeared, at a clip of four to five a week, first on YouTube and lg15.com, also on MySpace. As of July 2008, the series has had more than 110 million combined views.

Lonelygirl15's first spin-off show, KateModern, ran from July 2007 through June 2008 on Bebo, and took place in the same fictional universe.

Along with Amanda Goodfried, an attorney who worked with Creative Arts Agency (CAA), the creators of lonelygirl15 created LG15 Studios to produce original interactive content online. LG15 later morphed into EQAL in April 2008, with receipt of $5 million in venture capital to expand their offerings.

The Lonelygirl15 series finale took place on August 1, 2008, with three ambiguous episodes. The first showed Danial and Jonas heading their own ways as Sarah films everything and the rest go to the hospital. It was shot on a beach and was the last scene from the previous episode, filmed from a different angle. The scene left several unanswered questions, leaving fans frustrated. The last video again claimed that someone else had taken control, their numbers are growing and on the video clips of Jonas and Sarah said that they have chosen their leader and the first disciple. It also said that 'they' were now controlling and manipulating them. A reference or the channel for the new series that will be taking place in United States with old characters from the series along with characters from KateModern. The finale started at 8am and included 12 episodes released over a 12 hour period in one day.

lonelygirl15 spawned spinoffs such as LG15: The Resistance, which ran from September to December 2008, and LG15: The Last, which started airing in January 2009 and is still running.

A Polish spin-off under title N1ckola started in January 2009.

It has also been announced a new series will take place in Italymarker with a partnership between EQAL and CBS. Also, a Japanese series will take place with a partnership between EQAL and Shinto Tsushin.

History

Lonelygirl15 debuted on YouTube posing as a real 16-year-old video blogger with the eponymous username. At first, the videos covered normal, everyday subject matter, as the title character dealt with typical teenage angst, but quickly morphed into a bizarre narrative that portrayed her dealings with secret occult practices within her family and included the mysterious disappearance of her parents after she refused to attend a "secret" ceremony prescribed by the leaders of the family's cult. In lonelygirl15's earliest videos, she posted video replies to, and dropped the names of popular YouTubers. To further the initial illusion that Bree was a real girl, a MySpace page was set up for her and she began corresponding with many of her fans.At first discussion regarding why they thought lonelygirl15 might be a fake went on in her video comments. In early August 2006, a fan named HyeMew began a discussion at the previously stagnant www.lonelygirl15.com message boards and raised an all-out investigation into the who, what, and wheres behind lonelygirl15. Soon the message board became invigorated with discussion about even the tiniest details in each of her videos, everything from the quality of the lighting to the flora seen in her outdoor videos. Fans used the forum to collect, organize and share their findings, making the investigation a truly collaborative effort. Fans pointed to small inconsistencies within the videos as evidence that the story might not be genuine, wondering if Bree's posts were part of a teaser campaign for a television show or an upcoming movie (similar to the viral marketing used to hype The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield). Others thought that the blog might be part of an alternate reality game.

Bree aka lonelygirl15 in a video blog
Los Angeles Times reporter Richard Rushfield was the first to provide proof of a hoax, when he wrote of Shaina Wedmedyk, Chris Patterson, and an anonymous law student, who set up a sting on MySpace to reveal that the Creative Artists Agency was behind the videos. Eventually it was revealed that 16-year-old "Bree" was played by 20-year-old New Zealand actress Jessica Rose.

Media sources seized upon the story, covering both the search process and the eventual "outing" as a fictional series.

Afterwards, numerous news sources and talk shows featured interviews with the creators and actors of the series itself.

New York Times reporter Virginia Heffernan expanded on the series of revelations on September 12 out with an article which confirmed Jessica Rose's identity, and revealed the identities of her "co-conspirators", Ramesh Flinders, a screenwriter and filmmaker from Marin County, Calif., and Miles Beckett, a doctor-turned-filmmaker. Software engineer Grant Steinfeld was also involved in this project, as a photographer. Amanda Solomon Goodfried assisted in their efforts to hide their identities as well as posed as "Bree"'s online alter-ego. Goodfried's father-in-law, Kenneth Goodfried, handled various legal matters. The personnel involved worked under a non-disclosure agreement, according to Grant Steinfeld. Steinfeld has verified most of this information to the Times, and provided photographs he took of Rose on set of as proof. Also on September 12, the three main creators gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times revealing the third major partner as Greg Goodfried.

Since the fictional nature of lonelygirl15 has been revealed, the storyline continued to develop via new videos posted to both YouTube and Revver. However due to the recent partnership with YouTube and Myspace, videos stopped being posted on Lonelygirl15's Revver account, and now are only viewable via Youtube and MyspaceTV. The relationships between future LG15 properties and various online video websites, what will be shown exclusively on which services etc. is not known at this time.

After the hoax was discovered

  • Jessica Rose participated in a United Nations campaign in 2006, to fight poverty through an online anti-poverty video. Rose portrayed the lonelygirl15 character as she sat by herself in her bedroom talking to the camera. The subject matter in the video focused on poverty relief, which breaks from the regular subject matter of the show. The video was posted on an alternate account, separate from the main channel.




  • On November 20, 2006, lonelygirl15.com announced that the spin-off OpAphid was the official Alternate Reality Game of lonelygirl15. OpAphid began in late September with what many speculated was a well-produced fan effort, and this announcement merges its characters OpAphid, Tachyon, and 10033/Brother, into the series storyline and continuity. In early February 2007, it was revealed that Glenn Rubenstein was the original Puppet Master behind the OpAphid Alternate Reality Game and also the creator of its characters, OpAphid, Tachyon, and Brother. Due to internal issues between the Creators and Glenn, OpAphid is no longer the official ARG.


  • A 2006 episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent was "inspired" by the lonelygirl15 phenomenon. The episode "Weeping Willow" featured a blogger named weepingwillow17, played by Michelle Trachtenberg (who starred in Buffy next to a character called Willow Rosenberg). Willow and her boyfriend were kidnapped by men in black who demanded her fans donate money to a website to save their lives. The investigators did not know if Willow was real or fake. Various other video bloggers were also seen decrying weepingwillow as a fake, just like many did on YouTube. The site on the episode was named YouLenz.


  • On November 9, 2006, DEE, a Montrealmarker artist, released a song and a music video entitled lonelygirl. The lonelygirl music video was shot in an almost exact replica of Bree's bedroom. In February 2007, it was featured by YouTube and got hundreds of thousands of views.


  • Wired magazine ran a story on YouTube titled "YouTube Grows Up" in its December 2006 issue, featuring Rose on the cover.


  • The lonelygirl15 blog won Biggest Web Hit Award on VH1's Big in '06 Awards.




  • In the "Best Series" category of the inaugural YouTube Video awards in March 2007, the series "Ask a Ninja", "Ask a Gay Man", and "Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager" finished first, second and third, with the lonelygirl15 series finishing fourth. The New York Times attributed Lonelygirl's finish to the YouTube community's ill will towards the series.


  • On August 3, 2007, Season One of lonelygirl15 celebrated its finale with an exclusive on MySpaceTV known as "12 in 12" where 12 videos were uploaded over the course of 12 hours from 8 am PST to 7 pm PST, culminating in the highest one-day viewership ever for the series. A "summary" video from the first season was offered as a part of the event, and it logged in over a million views on its own.


  • In the last episode of the Season One finale, Bree's character is killed off by the order during the ceremony in the season finale and her trait positive blood was transfused into one of the order's elders. The reason for her character's death was attributed to Rose not renewing her contract for Season Two.


  • Rose is now going to be appearing in a MySpace show called Sorority Forever, and is now appearing in a new YouTube show called Hookingup.


Marketing

lonelygirl15 was the first Internet series to introduce product integration when the episode "Truckstop Reunion" featured the characters eating and displaying Hershey's Icebreaker's Sours Gum.

In another example of a product integration first, lonelygirl15 landed on the front page of Variety for the integration of a character from Neutrogena in the storyline over the period of more than two months. Dr. Spencer Gilman became such a popular character that Neutrogena made him "Employee of the Month" and gave him his own e-mail account on the company's corporate website.

Trivia

  • The series was developed under the working title The Children of Anchor Cove.


  • lonelygirl15 has various signature items/props that appear in its episodes. Recurring props include a pink feather boa, a safari hat, Bree's beloved puppet Purple Monkey (a.k.a. "P.Monkey"), her teddy bear Thor, and her green, stuffed animal turtle, Owen.
  • Much of the music for lonelygirl15 has come from Magnatune and CC Mixter, and is under Creative Commons licenses. Initial lonelygirl15 videos featured RIAA-controlled music such as Roy Orbison and Nelly, but the series quickly moved to only using music that could be used legally, largely all Creative Commons licensed. lonelygirl15 has since teamed up with Amie Street to sell music featured in episodes.
  • "Weeping Willow", a sixth season episode of the television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent, was inspired by the Lonelygirl15 videos. In the episode, a vlogger named Weeping Willow (Michelle Trachtenberg) is kidnapped during a live Internet video, and the kidnappers demand ransom through additional videos.


See also



Footnotes

  1. Trademark Application
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2ETsRObMQI Youtube.com
  3. lonelygirl15.com
  4. YouTube - lonelygirl15 Song / Video parody / lonelygirl: DEE
  5. http://www.vh1.com/shows/events/big_in/2006/index.jhtml VH1.com
  6. cnn.com
  7. NYTimes.com
  8. reuters.com
  9. Northjersey.com
  10. Open Music Comes of Age - Creative Commons
  11. Lonelygirl15 • Information
  12. [1]
  13. lonelygirl15's Amie Street Music Store
  14. ]


References



External links




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