|Also known as||LG15
|Genre||Video blog, drama, comedy|
|Created by||Miles Beckett
|Directed by||Marcello Daciano
|Starring||Jessica Lee Rose
|Voices of||Kevin Schlanser|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||547|
|Executive producer(s)||Amanda Goodfried
|Location(s)||Marin County, California|
|Camera setup||Amanda Goodfried
|Original release||June 16, 2006 – August 1, 2008|
|Followed by||LG15: The Resistance|
LG15: The Last
lonelygirl15 is an interactive web-based video series that ran from June 2006 to August 1, 2008. Developed under the working title The Children of Anchor Cove (by the creators of what later became EQAL), the show gained worldwide media attention when it was outed as fictional in September 2006.
lonelygirl15 focuses on the life of a fictional teenage girl named Bree, whose YouTube username is the eponymous "lonelygirl15". However, the show did not initially reveal its fictional nature to its audience. After the fictional status of the show was revealed in September 2006, it gradually evolved into a multi-character series 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 had achieved massive popularity on YouTube. The show was eventually proved as a hoax by suspicious viewers who identified the actress playing Bree as 19-year-old American-New Zealand actress Jessica Rose.
The three creators of lonelygirl15 were Mesh Flinders, a screenwriter and filmmaker from Marin County, California, 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, eventually at a clip of four to five a week, first on YouTube and lg15.com, and later on MySpace. As of July 2008, the series had more than 110 million combined views.
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 Studios became EQAL in April 2008, with receipt of $5 million in venture capital to expand their offerings.
Since 2009, EQAL has aired two more spinoff series which are produced by contest winners, including LG15: The Last, which started airing in January 2009, and LG15: Outbreak, which began in January 2010.
A Polish lonelygirl15 spin-off under title N1ckola started in January 2009.
Cast of characters
- Jessica Lee Rose as Bree Avery (a.k.a. lonelygirl15), a bubbly teenage girl whose trait positive blood makes her the target of a dangerous cult called the Order. She gained a large following on YouTube due to her quirky video blogs.
- Yousef Abu-Taleb as Daniel (a.k.a. Danielbeast), Bree's best friend, who only wishes to protect her, but is often distracted by romantic engagements. He can often jump to conclusions, and battles with an alcohol addiction along with his parents.
- Jackson Davis as Jonas Wharton (a.k.a. jonastko), a boy who meets Bree online and discovers that his family has more ties to the Order than he realizes. He can be too willing to trust others, which often leads the TAAG (Teen Angst Adventure Group) into unfortunate situations.
- Alexandra Dreyfus as Sarah Genatiempo (a.k.a. theskyisempty99), a misunderstood 19-year-old who develops a crush on Daniel and travels with TAAG. While she struggles to figure out what to do with her life, she harbors a dark and dangerous secret.
- Becki Kregoski as Taylor Genatiempo (a.k.a. soccerstar4ever), Sarah's younger sister who has impressive computer hacking skills. A passionate soccer player, she has more social skills than the rest of her family and is often upset by their actions.
- Maxwell Glick as Spencer Gilman (a.k.a. LAlabrat), an employee at Neutrogena with connections to the Order's science division. Chosen as a good role model for Bree, he sets out to help engineer a Trait Negative Serum.
- Katherine Pawlak as Emma Wharton, Jonas's trait positive younger sister. She grows up significantly during her battle for her life against the Order, and goes out of her way to try to protect her friends.
- Melanie Merkosky as Jennie, a former Lullaby Project employee who becomes friends with Sarah. She begins a romantic affair with Jonas and gives the TAAG an insight on how the Order's structure works.
- Crystal Young as Gina Hart, Bree's trait positive older sister who was taken from her at birth and used as a lab rat most of her life. She is quiet and reserved, and feels more comfortable with art supplies than with other people.
- Raegan Payne as Sonja, A member of the Hymn of One who tried to recruit Bree and eventually left the Hymn after she was badly beaten. One of the last videos in the Lonelygirl15 series suggested that Sonja had returned to the Hymn of One.
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 began a discussion at the previously stagnant www.lonelygirl15.com message boards and raised an all-out investigation into the who, what, and where was 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.
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 blogger 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 19-year-old actress Jessica Rose.
Media sources seized upon the story, covering both the search process and the eventual "outing" as a fictional series.
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, California, 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 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[when?] 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 discovery of the hoax
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 puppetmaster 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 based on the lonelygirl15 phenomenon. The episode "Weeping Willow" featured a blogger named weepingwillow17, played by Michelle Trachtenberg. 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.
Awards and recognition
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.
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.
- Gentile, Gary (September 17, 2006). "She fooled fans ... and is now famous". NorthJersey.com. Archived from the original on Nov 16, 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
- "SVW Exclusive: The identity of LonelyGirl15". Retrieved 2007-08-14.
- Heffernan, Virginia and Zeller, Tom (2006-09-12). "'Lonely Girl' (and Friends) Just Wanted Movie Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- Sternbergh, Adam (2006-08-28). "Hey There, Lonelygirl". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- Cook, Lee (2006-09-29). "LonelyGirl15". Alternate Reality Gaming Network. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- Flemming, Brian (2006-08-21). "Lonelygirl15 jumps the shark". Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- Trademark Application
- Rushfield, Richard and Hoffman, Claire (2006-09-08). "Mystery Fuels Huge Popularity of Web's Lonelygirl15". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- "lonelygirl15 revealed : jessica rose aspiring actress". Top of the Tube. 2006-09-12. Archived from the original on November 7, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- mgpapas (2006-09-12). Lonelygirl15 a.k.a. Bree a.k.a. Jessica Rose Exposed (YouTube video).
- Foremski, Matt and Foremski, Tom (2006-09-12). "SVW Exclusive: The identity of LonelyGirl15". Silicon Valley Watcher. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- Foremski, Tom (2006-09-12). "The Hunt for LonelyGirl15: Life in a blogger household . . .". Silicon Valley Watcher. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- Foremski, Tom (2006-09-12). "How the secret identity of LonelyGirl15 was found". Silicon Valley Watcher. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- Rushfield, Richard and Hoffman, Claire (2006-09-13). "Lonelygirl15 Is Brainchild of 3 Filmmakers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2006-09-13.[dead link]
- Suzanne Vranica (2006-10-09). "U.N. Enlists Internet Star for Antipoverty Pitch". charity (Wall Street Journal – online). Retrieved 2006-10-09.
- Stand Up Lonelygirl15 Youtube.com
- lonelygirl15.com[dead link]
- Vh1.com: Big in 06 Awards – It doesn't get any bigger than this! VH1.com
- cnn.com[dead link]
- Heffernan, Virginia (27 March 2007). "SCREENS; YouTube Awards the Top of Its Heap". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
- Frankel, Daniel (2007-10-04). "LonelyGirl15". Variety. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- Gentile, Gary (August 3, 2007). "Web drama wraps groundbreaking first 'season'". USA Today (Associated Press). Retrieved 2009-10-13.
- Richards, Jonathan (2006-08-19). "Worldwide fame for a lonely girl". The Times. Retrieved 2006-09-20.
- Glaser, Mark (2006-09-12). "Matt Foremski's Sleuthing Leads to Jessica Rose". Mediashift. PBS.com. Retrieved 2006-09-20.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lonelygirl15.|
- YouTube: Lonelygirl15
- MTV Interview With Jessica Rose
- Video interview of Lonelygirl15 creators by Zadi Diaz of EPIC FU, weekly web show that covers online pop culture (September 23, 2008)
- lonelygirl15 at the Internet Movie Database
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