Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hook, Line, and Sinker

Circle the wagons.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee."
Sometimes, we don't know what we want, we don't know what we get, and we don't even care what it is, as long as we get it.
Two months ago, enter LonelyGirl15. She was the most famous act of the circus that has taken the internet by storm. For those of you who don't know, youtube was started by two guys who wanted a place on the internet to keep home videos for free. Today, it is a site that gets a million hits a day.
Lonelygirl15, aka "Bree", was a small-town American girl who kept a journal of her adolescent life on youtube: Complaining about her parents, joking around, behaving like a high-school girl. It appeared to be a very normal teenager documenting her very normal teenage life.

This is her first video-blog entry.

After posting about 30 videos, LonelyGirl15 became absurdly popular. And people got suspicious. Why were her entries so immaculately edited? Why was the lighting and video quality so perfect? Why was her accent so strange?

Things didn't add up, and the conspiracy theorists began to spin their webs. They began to speculate that "Bree" was some sort of new marketing tool, another soulless muse of the never-ending Hollywood corporatocracy. Some claimed it was a movie trailer; others claimed she was a music industry puppet. Many skeptics, including Brian Flemming, found that the evidence was pretty solid.

The rumors swirled.

In late August, the center could not hold any longer, and the levee broke. A couple of "computer geeks" tricked "Bree" into replying to one of their messages, and they traced her IP signal to a computer in California belonging to "Creative Artist Agency."

The gig was up, and a few days later, the "Creators" of Lonelygirl15 came clean on by posting this cryptic message on the web:

Thank you so much for enjoying our show so far. Our intention from the outset has been to tell a story - a story that could only be told using the medium of video blogs and the distribution power of the Internet. Right now, the biggest mystery of lonelygirl15 is "Who is she?" We think this is an oversimplification. Lonelygirl15 is a reflection of everyone. She is no more real or fictitious than the portions of our personalities that we choose to show [or hide] when we interact with the people around us.

"We got muthafuckin' snakes."

Their explanation proved that LonelyGirl15 was a fake, but it didn't answer many questions... Until yesterday. The truth was revealed by the LA Times.

"Bree" was an actress, the whole thing was scripted, and it was all fake.

The "new art form" referred to by the creators of "Bree" was very the web-enforced interactive scheme used by the producers of "Snakes On a Plane."

She's actually a 19-year-old Kiwi strumpet.

Think about all the PR that this is gonna create for youtube.

An idea such as this is only possible with the aid of a universal information exchange platform like the internet. It allows the directors to use real-time fan feedback to change the storyline of the "movie." The actors in it can reply directly to user comments. Or, even more intriguingly, fans posting comments about the films on youtube could really be actors also, used by the directors themselves to propagate scripted conspiracy theories.

This new medium can really smear the line between passive observation and genuine input to the outcome of the story.

Remember, people: This was a first-of-its-kind project, and it was bound to fail. Sooner or later, a few "computer geeks" with nothing better to do were gonna get to the bottom of this, and they did. But here's to hoping that LonelyGirl won't be the only one in this new category of online cinematography.


Post a Comment

<< Home