LonelyGirl15 is a self-made venture that was produced on a shoestring budget and yet thrust its creators into the limelight. This faux video blog was released at first as individual videos on YouTube. (The series now has its own website.) The project is the joint effort of Miles Beckett, a young doctor who dropped out of his residency program to do something more creative, and Ramesh Flinders, an aspiring screenwriter. The two met at a karaoke bar birthday party and discovered they shared a vision of producing a new kind of entertainment specifically geared for the Internet, one that would use the kind of video blogging found on sites like YouTube, to tell a fictional story and that would seem so real that it would pull viewers into the lives of the characters. Together they created LonelyGirl15, shooting it in Flinders’ bedroom with a cheap webcam, inexpensive props, and unpaid actors. They planned their strategy carefully, giving the episodes a rough-hewn look like other YouTube amateur videos and even having the main character, Bree, refer to recent videos posted on YouTube to make her seem all the more authentic.
Staking Out New Territory
LonelyGirl15 has been a huge hit, and not even the discovery that Bree was not a real girl has managed to derail it. As of this writing, 328 episodes have been released, and Beckett and Flinders are now represented by a major Hollywood talent agency. Interestingly, although they have had meetings with top TV producers, they steadfastly refuse to turn LonelyGirl15 into just another TV series, preferring instead to stake out uncharted creative territory. As Beckett told a writer from Wired Magazine (December, 2006): “The Web isn’t just a support system for hit TV shows. It’s a new medium. It requires new storytelling techniques. The way the networks look at the Internet now is like the early days of TV, when announcers would just read radio scripts on camera.”
Excerpted from Write Your Way Into Animation and Games, edited by Christy Marx. © 2010, Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.
Christy Marx has an eclectic writing career in the fields of TV, fim, animation, videogames, comics, graphic novels, manga, non-fiction books, and educational writing. Visit www.christymarx.com for sample scripts and other files associated with the book.
Posted by Lauren, editorial project manager at Focal Press. Follow me on Twitter @FocaLauren