More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Lonelygirl15 videos not a front
Wed Sep 13, 2006
By GARY GENTILE, AP Business Writer

LOS ANGELES - The creators behind the Internet video mystery teen Lonelygirl15 want their fans to know they are not a front for a big Hollywood studio marketing some upcoming film.

Instead, the three friends began the adventures of the doe-eyed, 16-year-old home-schooled Bree as an experiment in storytelling that they intend to continue on their own Web site that was launched Tuesday.

Bree's inventors went public after fans of the two- to three-minute videos began questioning her existence and expressing disappointment that the seemingly genuine video diaries were a hoax.

The creators identified themselves to The Associated Press as Miles Beckett, 28, of Woodland Hills, Calif.; Mesh Flinders, 26, of Petaluma, Calif., and Greg Goodfried, 27, of Los Angeles.

Beckett, a self-styled Internet geek, said he came up with the idea of using short videos as a storytelling technique while a surgical resident. Earlier this year, he met Flinders, a fledgling filmmaker, at a party.

"I saw YouTube coming about and podcasting and wanted to be a part of it," Beckett said.

Flinders said he had been developing the character of a teenage girl who was more at home relating to adults than with her peers. The character never quite fit into any of his screenplays, but seemed a perfect fit for Beckett's idea of telling stories using video blogging.

The two joined with Goodfried, a lawyer, recruited the actors to play Bree and her dorky boyfriend, Daniel, and began writing the broad outlines of an open-ended plot filled with the kind of mysteries and clues TV watchers know from the hit ABC show "Lost."

The short videos began appearing on the Web sites YouTube and MySpace in June. The creators said Tuesday that they never intended to stage a hoax or trick people into believing their characters were real.

"We never wanted to lie to people," Beckett said.

"Our job from the beginning was not to trick people. It was to create a character that was believable," Flinders said.

The trio began posting individually scripted and filmed episodes online and began incorporating changes based on reactions and suggestions from fans.

The result is part video game, where viewers exercise some measure of control over the characters, and part mystery novel, complete with hidden clues and cliffhanger chapters that left viewers wanting more.

Flinders writes scripts for each "episode" and the actress playing Bree delivers her lines with a persuasive power that still has some online viewers believing she is genuine, even after "The Creators" posted their online confession several days ago.

The three creators declined to identify the name of the actress Tuesday. But amateur Internet sleuths discovered she is Jessica Rose, a 19-year-old actress from New Zealand who recently moved to Los Angeles.

Despite suspicions that the videos were slickly produced, the creators say they use the same tools and resources available to others who regularly post videos on the Web.

The episodes are shot with a $130 Web camera and the lighting is provided by two desk lamps and a window. The sound comes from the Webcam's internal microphone.

"We're fans of this medium," Goodfried said. "It represents a shift from the content being in control of the big corporations to power being in the hands of the little guy who has a Webcam."

"We are the little guys," Beckett said.

The revelation that Bree was fake initially angered fans on YouTube, who suspected Lonelygirl15 was a slick Hollywood attempt to advertise some upcoming movie or TV show.

But since the creators revealed its fictitious nature last week, the number of people subscribing to the Lonelygirl15 channel on YouTube has skyrocketed.

"Just because I know a movie isn't real isn't going to stop me from watching it," Alexandra Inman, a 17-year-old fan from St. Louis, said Tuesday. "I'm there for the entertainment."

Bree's adventures will continue on a new Web site created in conjunction with the online syndication network Revver.

The company helps videomakers profit from their efforts by attaching ads to each video, then burying a "tag" in the computer code that tracks where the video is posted. Revver then shares the ad revenue with the authors.

"The fact that creators are getting paid to make more stuff is a good thing," said Revver co-founder Steven Starr, a former Hollywood agent.

As far as what happens to Bree next or just how long "Season One" will last, the creators themselves are unsure.

The three are represented by Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency, but say they have no immediate plans to make a Lonelygirl15 movie or TV show.

"We're moving forward and we want to keep doing what we've been doing," Beckett said.

On the Net:


Hi everyone,
This personally is degrading to young women. It is not something to promote are teach self respect, self image, self esteem. Even empowering our youth to stand up for the right things in society.
I would like to know what parents would let they teen be exploited this way. I personally find it disgusting.


Hi everyone,
In my opinion the degrading is of young woman (lonelygirl15) it is not a positive educational video, it is poking fun at young women. Not all young woman age 15 are lonely. It is like saying many young girls are lonely at this age.

We do not recognize our youth who do volunteer work, work at a job, in this new era we hardly ever give a positive influence to our youth.

"The trio began posting individually scripted and filmed episodes online and began incorporating changes based on reactions and suggestions from fans."

"The result is part video game, where viewers exercise some measure of control over the characters, and part mystery novel, complete with hidden clues and cliffhanger chapters that left viewers wanting more."

Control over the characters is a way to control the viewers, who could be anyone who access the Internet. Personally, it becomes a way to directly control viewers by using the Internet.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Holly, I really don't know where you're coming from on this one. I don't see this as any different from dozens of TV shows and movies, and I especially don't know of anything in this story that suggests there was any degradation involved.


Hi everyone,
Three men ages 26,27,28, using a webcam with a young girl to get the media to really believe there are story telling, is a red flag for me.
Even one of the post is called house arrest.
"The creators identified themselves to The Associated Press as Miles Beckett, 28, of Woodland Hills, Calif.; Mesh Flinders, 26, of Petaluma, Calif., and Greg Goodfried, 27, of Los Angeles."
Welcome to the website I made for my very favorite video blogger... Lonelygirl15 (and her pal Danielbeast). I think her videos are clever, funny, interesting and inspirational. You never know what she's gonna do next. I hope you enjoy her videos as much as I do!

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I think you are reading way too much into this, Holly. Have you been to the website?

That sounds like the summary of many cartoon shows and TV series popular with kids these days.


Hi Holly ..
It is like saying many young girls are lonely at this age.
Many young girls ARE lonely Holly... I know this from talking to a few of them here in my own neighbourhood. I'm not advocating this site as I know nothing of it. just wanted to comment cause these lines caught my attention.

it becomes a way to directly control viewers by using the Internet.
I believe anyone who plays agame.. whatever it may be.. has a choice.. Play or don't. ppl can switch to another site, just like I can switch t.v channels if i do not like the programme that's on. where's the diff?.

Again i'm not advocating any particular site here.. okay..
and i would be one of the first to condemn any site that uses children as objects in any illicit shape or form.


David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
The girl in question is not 15. She is a 19 year old actress originally from New Zealand and now living and working in Los Angeles. And she is not being exploited - this was a paid acting gig for her.


Hi David.
She is a 19 year old
another comment if i may..
all my children continue to be children in my eyes till they reach 21yrs.. then they are "adults".. chronologically anyway.

oops I had a point and now i seem to have lost it.. sorry.. it will come to me in a few mins i'm sure..


David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Mine too, nsa... :)

I was responding more to Holly's comments - this is not a 15 year old girl being exploited by adult men with a web cam - this is a 19 year old professional actress with a paid gig, playing a role for a script written by the men mentioned in the story.


I think we often see things in a way that is biased, somewhat, by our own experiences. I've seen the site, and I don't feel it was exploitative. For the people involved, it was just story-telling time. However, I can see how some people might find the use of an actress to portray a 15-year-old girl's everyday life experiences to be upsetting, even demeaning. It really all depends on what buttons are pushed within us as to how we take something like this.

It amazed me that the site got so much play. It was cute, to me, but not something I'd normally follow with interest. Yet, many people did.


Hi Everyone,
I personally feel it serves no real purpose for teens online. It personally seems to fall into this fine line of Internet and being creative. At the cost of what really? If the objective of the creators was to get hits to the site it has been achieved. This is what happens is you Google lonelygirl15, one story line is about Bree's daily life. The part of forbidden experimentation with the Internet can lead to activity that may be misinterpreted by others online. It would seem to me that the creators could have found a more productive way to show the daily life of being a teenage.

Results 1 - 10 of about 1,310,000 for lonelygirl15. (0.02 seconds)

The short clips, usually between two and three minutes long, center on Bree's daily life ? her fights with her father, her youthful romance with best friend Daniel, her forbidden experimentation with the Internet. Like most video bloggers, Bree seems shy and cautious as she discusses her feelings. Unlike most video bloggers, Bree has more than 2 million viewers. "Lonelygirl15" has become the second most-subscribed-to channel on


Could you not make the same comments about most of what's on television for teens?

I still don't see why you called it degrading...

Hi David,
I said I personally I find it degrading. It is a hoax, that is part of what is degrading and bad judgement by all involved in my opinion. Can this be degrading to young teens who truly want to make a difference in our society. I personally say yes it could be, we should be role models for our teens, positive aspect of teens today is never addressed.
Part of the problem is what is on television for our teens today.
As a society we do not address most of the violence our teens watch on television. I hope that will change and parents are more aware of this and the hoax's that happen online.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Sudden fame amazes 'Lonelygirl15' star
Thu Sep 14, 2006
By GARY GENTILE, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - Lonelygirl15 speaks! And she says she's amazed at her newfound fame.

I'm trying to deal with it right now," she told The Associated Press in a phone interview Thursday. "I'm not used to this much attention. It's a little bit crazy for me."

The actress who plays Bree on the hit Internet soap opera is Jessica Lee Rose, a 19-year-old who was born in Salisbury, Maryland, and moved to New Zealand when she was eight.

Just three months ago, she was one of thousands of struggling actors in Los Angeles looking to make it big in the movies or on a TV show. Today, she is the unlikely star of a series of short Internet videos posted on Web sites such as YouTube and MySpace.

Rose was identified after fans of the "Lonelygirl15" videos began to suspect that Bree, the 16-year-old home-schooled precocious teen hosting the segments, didn't exist. Some fans who helped boost the popularity of the videos felt betrayed by what they feared was a hoax perpetrated by a big Hollywood studio to promote some upcoming film.

Amateur sleuths unearthed clues, and stories about the show appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and other publications, finally forcing the three creators of the Lonelygirl videos to fess up.

While efforts were made to shield Rose's identity, she made her public debut Thursday.

Rose left New Zealand and returned to Maryland in 2005 after her parents split and later that year moved to Los Angeles to study acting at the New York Film Academy.

After graduating in April she started scouring various Internet sites for auditions and came upon a listing on the Craigslist Web site for a project called "Children of Anchor Cove."

"At the time I really didn't know what it was because there wasn't a lot of details on it," she said. "They just said it was an independent project."

After reading twice for the role, she was offered the part.

The show's creators made her sign a nondisclosure agreement, then told her the project was not a film or a TV pilot, but a series of Internet videos.

Rose became suspicious.

"I was hesitant because it's something I've never really seen done before," she said. "I just finished film school and had been taught to be careful of all the scams in L.A. and all the scary people and don't trust people. I was a little nervous."

Rose said she had never checked out YouTube and never watched a video blog. She began looking at the site after she got the part and became more comfortable with the project.

"I figured, what did I have to lose?" she said.

Rose said she pays close attention to comments made by fans and especially the angry response videos posted on YouTube after it was revealed that the Lonelygirl15 videos were not the authentic musings of a teenage girl.

"I can understand their disappointment," she said. "I'm sure they did invest a lot of time in the Lonelygirl15 videos. I feel bad that they invested in it emotionally and were disappointed.

"But Bree is still a character and she's still going to continue with this online series and they can continue to watch if they like. You can't make everybody like you."

Rose said she still does not have an agent and has not yet been offered parts by big Hollywood studios. Her favorite actress is Nicole Kidman and she says she would love to make the kind of movies made by another role model, Cameron Diaz.

"I'd love to be doing fun, goofy movies," she said, "feel-good movies that make people laugh and make people happy. I'd love to do some dramatic pieces later on."

But she vows she will stay with Lonelygirl15 as long as the project continues and won't leave to chase her newfound fame.

"I won't leave it. I won't leave them," she said.
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