Lonelygirl15: A Likely Scenario

Posted by: Jon Fine on August 27, 2006

So late last week I made a bunch of phone calls and sent a bunch of emails and youtube messages regarding the ongoing soap opera of lonelygirl15—the allegedly home-schooled 16 year-old named Bree whose channel on youtube is, as of this writing, the most-viewed on the entire site today.

Judging from the comments of more than one person (and, though I’m sorry to add to the layers of murk here, each refused to talk to me if I quoted them), a likely scenario goes something like this:

Lonelygirl15 is not “real,” but, contrary to some early speculation, the videos are not part of a viral marketing campaign dreamed up by some major advertiser, nor some music marketing company, nor a promotional stunt set up by one of the Viacoms or NBCs of the world.

Rather, it’s the product of a coterie of smart and not-yet-massively-famous performers (and, perhaps, others). These people, or their representatives, have had discussions with at least one major company regarding a deal to produce what I take to be short-form serial stuff on the Web.

And said coterie may be closing in on (or has already gotten) representation from a major talent agency.

Also late last week, I got a very brief email in response to messages I sent to lonelygirl15 on youtube, which was signed Bree and very politely declined my request for an interview. Which came from an email address that had Bree in its name—but showed up in my email box as coming from Jane Jones.

Jane Jones is very close to being a totally ungoogle-able name, and couldn’t sound more like an alias if it was Jane Doe. This may mean nothing, but there’s at least one major theatrical credit to a Jane Jones.

My neck hurts from all the time I’ve spent peering down this rabbit hole. But I would be remiss if I didn’t point to the blog entry the New York Times’s Virginia Heffernan posted last night, which suggests one of lonelygirl15’s sharpest debunkers who’s written some interestingly-worded blog posts (scroll down to the one called “Lonelygirl15 Jumps The Shark” and read the ending) on the matter, the faux-documentarian Brian Flemming, has some interesting ties to all this. For one thing, he has a movie slated to come out next year called Danielle—which was originally called The Beast.

DanielleBeast? Almost.

More to come? Undoubtedly.

UPDATE 8/28: Brian Flemming emails to say “it’s not me,” and provides link to a just-up blog post on which he denies all:

To be clear: I am not involved in any way in LG15, other than as an outside observer. I have no connection to Bree or Daniel or any other performers or creators of the LG15 phenomenon. When I made the comment, I had no intention of soliciting the speculation that has resulted, and I am surprised to see that it happened. Frankly, the last thing I want is publicity for Danielle when it’s far too early for it to do any good for the project. That’s why I’m trying to be an unequivocal as I can be about this: I am not involved in any way. Absolutely no involvement whatsoever.

UPDATE 9/10:”The Creators” out themselves, say “we are filmmakers” and start talking about (sigh) business models.

Reader Comments

Rhea

August 28, 2006 9:06 AM

Unlike "Brookers," who is an actual person who is a YouTube sensation, Lonelygirl appears to be a fake. It's obviously professionally produced. Overall, it's interesting in this age of 'viral' how some people are trying to make the unspontaneous appear unrehearsed and spontaneous and how reality TV is actually largely scripted. Confusing world!

skinkles

August 28, 2006 9:34 AM

milowent

August 28, 2006 11:18 AM

As a self-appointed expert on LG15, I don't think the brian flemming theory makes sense.
If you want to dissect LG15 to til your fingers are numb, go to the lonelygirl15.com forum. that's where the good and the stupid theories are debated.

Jon Fine

August 28, 2006 11:21 AM

Don't know if that's her. But screenwriter Josh Olson, who the LA Times identified earlier this year as Kehoe's boyfriend, has an interesting friends list on myspace: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=2689365

PJ

August 28, 2006 11:42 AM

I think it's simple. Most YouTube users are young nerdy guys without a drivers license. For them, what could be more attractive than a cute pouting nerd captive at home too? Dance videos? Electric guitar virtuosi? YouTube is a high school video scrapbook.

khkkj

August 28, 2006 8:43 PM

remember that amanda congdon chick ....how soon people forget. internet stars are there for awhile
and then the major mags like bizweek hype up a new
hot internet celeb. you must have a huge list in the office.

Tama

August 29, 2006 3:30 AM

It might be worth pointing out that "The Beast" was also the name of the alternative reality game which was run as a promotion for the film Artificial Intelligence!

Details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloudmakers

Heidi Panelli

August 29, 2006 11:26 AM

I agree with you, Jon, more than I do most of LonelyGirl15's critics.

I think we should give LonelyGirl15 more credit than she's been given. I think she's a performer...simply a smart kid with smart friends who are using the YouTube system in a clever way to get their name out there...and it's working!

More power to her.

Jon Fine

August 29, 2006 11:43 AM

Thanks for the tips and comments, all, and thanks for the kind words, Heidi. But I'm not a critic of lonelygirl15. I'm a fan, one that's dying to see whatever happens next in this crazy saga.

Jay

August 29, 2006 3:41 PM

Can you elaborate on "Judging from the comments of more than one person (and, though I'm sorry to add to the layers of murk here, each refused to talk to me if I quoted them), a likely scenario goes something like this:"

Is this your brother? Girl friend? The guy that runs a Web site? Hollywood agents? Representatives of a popular internet site that allows users to post videos?

I'm aware of obligations to protect a source's anonymity. This seems excessive.

Eric

August 29, 2006 5:07 PM

This is how we know there isn't enough going on in the world right now, or that the stuff that is going on has outlived its media expiration date. I'm including myself but I mean, jeez!

the patriarch

August 30, 2006 3:53 PM

No, I think Jon's onto something, here. This is the Watergate of our generation and Jon is either the Woodward or Bernstein we've been waiting for. I smell Pulitzer. No wait, sorry, that was my dog.

ChoCho

August 30, 2006 10:09 PM

The latest video has a song from "The Jane Doe's" how strange is that!?

Nobody

September 2, 2006 6:06 PM

WITHOUT BREAKING MY ANONYMITY, LET ME TELL YOU THIS ABOUT LG15.


What if I told you we could reach a male 18-34 demographic on their own turf, in their own medium, and I could deliver to you, for under $100k a reach that would cost you somewhere in the neghborhood of 10MM if our agency did a traditional media buy? Would that be something you're intested in?

What if I told you the whole thing would be produced by only five people total at the agency, and that all of them were willing to sign a very high-stakes NDA to not talk to anyone about it?
Would that be something you're interested in?

What if I told you that the viral marketing real estate we're developing with this idea would be extremely equitable in the cable TV world and most likely go to series if the buzz got as big as we predict, bringing even more equity to your brand in the process? Would that be something you're interested in?

On top of that, what if I told you the data capture alone would deliver close to a million email addresses to you via register-only forums and a faux fansite?

What's the catch? Why only 100k for all of this? You, the client, agree that we own 50% of the entertainment side of the property that we develop.

Deal?
Deal.

LonelyGirl15 will be the first spokesperson to sell America everything from soda to skin care without ever actually touching a product. Mark my words.

publiceye

September 4, 2006 11:43 PM

Well, there's little doubt now that its fake. The question now is - has it truly jumped the shark now that it has revealed itself for what it is - or is the true fun in the reveal itself?

confused

September 5, 2006 2:55 PM

Such a massive internet following yet no-one on the entire internet who's seen these vids has come forward and said "I go to school with him / her" or "I live on the same street as him / her"
The world simply isn't that small anymore.

Also, what was the originating IP address for the email that came from "Jane Jones"

Al Rarow

September 7, 2006 10:33 PM

"The Beast" (as in "DanielBeast") may also be a reference to Alestair Crowley ("The Beast 666") - OTO founder and magician of which "Bree" has a photograph on her wall above her ALTAR.

Rebecca

September 8, 2006 3:13 PM

If you look through her myspace (www.myspace.com/lonelygurl15), she has some pretty interesting connections. Her #1 friend has had the following jobs: "Co-Executive Producer, Co-Editor, Video Production Unit, Actor, Producer, Director, Editor, Composer, Co-Chairman, Co-Head of Social Affairs, Administration" at various production companies. If you want to see the specific companies, here is his myspace: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=34022918

Her number 6 friend lists "Film- Visual Effects- Animation." under his "networking"....
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=96024651


She also has friends on her page from Austrialia and the UK, both of whom list her as friends too, and have exchanged comments with her. The UK friend has "Junkie" by the Jane Does on his myspace as well (the song playing in the "swimming" video). In her blogs, she mentions having lived in the vicinity of both of those areas, so this could be true.

Maybe she really is a real person with some talented friends.

delisfar

September 8, 2006 4:32 PM

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

"Jane Jones" is a crucial name in the movie "Closer," and is part of the central theme of identity. That might be why your emailer chose that name.

Tara

September 8, 2006 8:16 PM

I have been meaning to conatact Bree via email, but I can't seem to find it.Does anyone have it?

sintetizador

September 8, 2006 11:58 PM

I've watched this lady with fond anticipation, but still have to ask... What was good about her in the first place? Have heard comparisons to The Blair Witch Project. If that's the case, good luck LG15.
Blair Witch was the worst excuse for a movie of all time and you're about the least entertaining chick I've ever seen!!!!!

Jessica

September 9, 2006 9:35 AM

this is in regards to the comment posted by confused. You mentioned about someone not stating that they went to school with "Bree" or anything else like that but I do recall a video from the other day stating that this guy who was featured had gone to school with "Bree" but referred to her a Jenn or Jen. If I can find the link I will share it with you.

Jessica

September 9, 2006 9:39 AM

Oh, also... whos to say that the friends list on the myspace accts are not just simply another way to amuse and intrigue viewers into trying to figure out the clues and solve the whole LG15 mystery. I think whoever is involved in brilliant. They give you subtle clues and things to ponder but only enough to make the person come back for more in the hopes that they will find another clue to solve this myster. Kind of reminds me of the whole "Artificial Intelligence" thing they had going on the where you had to find clues all over the internet to figure out the myster. Not sure if anyone remembers that but it was in conjunction with the "AI-Artificial Intelligence" movie.

TD

September 9, 2006 3:54 PM

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=45501182

See friends: Is actress Annie Kehoe linked to Brian Flemming?

ted

September 10, 2006 11:34 AM

"If you look through her myspace (www.myspace.com/lonelygurl15)", .....that's THE FAKE myspace site..notice the spellling?...."gurl"

Rebecca

September 10, 2006 12:54 PM

I do not think this article gives some new information or analysis. Sorry.

Zenophon Abraham

September 10, 2006 1:02 PM

I think Lonelygirl15 is something that should be copied and not damned. I don't think having a "fake" real person is the best strategy.

Here's my video view:

http://zennie2005.blogspot.com/2006/09/youtube-lonelygirl15-zennies-view.html

Zenophon Abraham

September 10, 2006 1:43 PM

I think Lonelygirl15 is something that should be copied and not damned. I don't think having a "fake" real person is the best strategy.

Here's my video view:

http://zennie2005.blogspot.com/2006/09/youtube-lonelygirl15-zennies-view.html

Majortom999

September 11, 2006 6:57 AM

I am quite sure that "lonelygirl15" is the actress Jaclynn Tiffany Brown. In short: -look at IMDB, picture / - "Bree" signed her Emails (REAL EMAILS) with the name "Jane Jones" / and "Jane Jones" was a character in the film "Closer", in which Jaclynn Brown had a role (details on Wikipedia, no space here). I posted the details on the forum on the lonelygirl15 website. OK, it's just my opinion, we will get to know the truth very soon anyway!

Dahamu

September 12, 2006 10:34 AM

I actually got an exclusive interview with lonelygirl15 before all this crap happened she denied being fake. Check it http://topoftube.blogspot.com

GF

September 12, 2006 1:17 PM

CHECK OUT MY VIDEO- http://youtube.com/watch?v=OzGglzD6IXs

LONELYGIRL EXPOSED! I GOT PICTURES OF THE ACTRESS & INFO! SHE WAS PAID $30,000 FROM YOUTUBE TO DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHECK OUT MY VIDEO! CHECK OUT MY VIDEO! CHECK OUT MY VIDEO! CHECK OUT MY VIDEO!

Withheld

September 12, 2006 9:27 PM


This is who she is


JESSICA-LEE ROSE
D .O.B. 26.04.87
Height 5' 3½"
Eyes Hazel

Yuriy Kovalyshyn

October 8, 2006 11:50 AM

----I'm in Chicago il. I planing go to Los Angeles after 3 monts but
may be you
can come
here?

--I have perfect idea about new historical film and i hope,you come to
me and
we decide it.This film be the best after Lord of the rings,or more
best.I have
many kinds of scenario and I trust- you come,sir and your company made
this beautiful film.Pleace I belive-spesialy your company can do it.I
like
New line cinema.Pleace,come to me quickly.

I don't understand,why your company keep silent???
I spesialy come to USA from Ukraine in hope so then you listen my plan.I
swear of my
life,
you don't be sorry.As for this film I have 7 different kinds of
scenario,olso you
can made beautiful separate film.No lose this possibility.This
idea of
all my life.I believe,only New Line Cinema can made best film(or
more).Hope
very much,please,come to me.After Lord of the Rings people want see only
that film.I believe-It's be O'K.Please,come quickly
-- MY other scenario:

In small town liwe priestwith his daughter(or wife),(or
wife&daughter).One day his
wife(or daughter,or both) go visit their friends(relatiwes) in other
town and
has disappear.Across 3 weeks in church come man and tell priest about
his sin.
3 weeks ago he hard kill girl(or woman or both)...(may be many
scoundrels?
On his neck priest see golden cross(priest"s present of she birthday)...
The priest are in front of heavy choice:break of God law and revense
oneself of
bandit(s);or every day see this man(s) who now is his new
neighbour(s)...
I have 8 version of scenario and ower 10 variants of name of film...
Come pleace after 6-30 p.m.,besause from 7a.m.I work in construction.
My dream:you come to me,listen many my ideas and proposals and we
do it together.Please,dont lose our chance-let me work for hollywood...
Chicago illinois Schybert west av.3507

Aleister

November 10, 2006 7:52 PM

check out this exact replica of lonelygirl15 room: www.youtube.com/deemontreal

It is a music video by Dee of a song entitled "lonelygirl"

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