'Lonelygirl15' about to get its own spinoff
Published Tuesday, June 12, 2007 5:21PM EDT
BANFF, Alberta - The wildly popular Internet phenomenon known as "Lonelygirl15'' is about to get a spinoff.
It was a year ago that the world was introduced to 16-year-old Bree in a series of what appeared to be online video diaries known as "Lonelygirl15.''
The short videos began appearing on the websites YouTube and MySpace and told of her strict upbringing by parents involved in a cult. In a number of episodes Bree talks about her parents, her dorky friend Daniel and her "religion,'' which includes a mysterious ritual Bree had been selected for.
But there were suspicions that the videos weren't the genuine ramblings of a teenager.
An all-out online investigation eventually outed Lonelygirl15 as New Zealand-born actress Jessica Rose and revealed that the entire production was an exercise in new forms of storytelling.
And now, after more than two million fans have tuned into the show, it is being spun off, says the founder of "Lonelygirl15.''
"My next thing? We have a show we're doing on Bebo (a social networking site) called `Kate Modern' and that's launching in July and it's a London-based show and it's a spinoff of `Lonelygirl,' '' said Greg Goodfried, founder and executive producer/director of "Lonelygirl15,'' appearing on a panel at the Banff World Television Festival.
"This is a show, this is a fictional character, but we're still going to tell it in the same way that when you're in the world of `Kate Modern' we treat it as 100 per cent real,'' he added.
"We've created this evil secret society called `the Order' which is after these young girls for some evil purpose, so now we have a new character in the universe,'' Goodfried said.
Production of "Lonelygirl15'' is fairly simple. The script is written one week, the show is shot the next, and a week later it is uploaded.
"We shoot the entire thing in my parents' house. We shoot it on hand-held Panasonic and webcams, and it's very easy to be reactionary,'' he noted. "I go on the website every day and I hold chat sessions with fans, so we are 100 per cent in constant communication with the community.''
It may be unlikely that anything will come along in the immediate future that will garner the same kind of attention at "Lonelygirl15'' but even things as simple as a cooking show can become an Internet hit, said Goodfried.
"Pick up a camera and just shoot it. You get it up there and you can get millions of eyeballs on it,'' he said. "If it's good and sustainable and you continue to build on a fanbase, then you can monetize that.''
In fact, it's never been easier to become a star in the Internet, according to an official with a U.S.-based file sharing website.
"Video cameras, HD cameras are now $1,000 and platforms like ours are free,'' said Peter Bradley, vice-president of business development for Azureus Inc. who was on the panel.
"MySpace is very popular. We've seen how it's extraordinarily powerful, much more powerful than any ad or marketing dollars you can actually spend,'' he said.
Online is no longer having to take a backseat to mainstream media such as television, said Claude Galipeau, senior vice-president for Alliance Atlantis, also on the panel.
"There is a tendency to say this platform is basically a farm team for the big show,'' said Galipeau. "That, I think, is both elitist and paternalistic.''