The Secret Life of 'LonelyGirl15'


She intrigued the hearts and minds of millions over the Internet. Sixteen-year-old Bree -- screen name Lonelygirl15 -- talked candidly to strangers by webcam from the comfort of her own bedroom.

She spoke about her strict parents, about being homeschooled, the guy named Daniel who liked her, and she even quoted the poetry of e.e. cummings.

She made faces like a goofball and adored both her purple stuffed monkey and astrophysicist Richard Feynman. All these details made her an Internet soul mate for the Web-bound around the world.

To read more of the story of Lonelygirl15, click here.

She was the girl-next-door with depth and enough warm vulnerability to push atop the clutter of YouTube. And the moment she appeared, thousands reached out just to be her friend.

Little did her fans know, Lonelygirl15 wasn't real. Bree was complete fiction.

Bree was actually Jessica Rose, a 19-year-old fledgling actress from New Zealand. Her character was the creation of a doctor, lawyer and screenwriter, and her bedroom confessional was inside a Los Angeles bachelor pad.

Lonelygirl15 was not just a hoax or a cynical marketing ploy. These guys actually set out to redefine entertainment in the digital age.

Much the way Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" used the new technology of radio to grab an audience, the three minds who created her wanted to explore the storytelling possibilities of this new medium.

"There was something really compelling about somebody sitting in front of the camera and talking about their life, and I thought about sort of the constraints of that medium and the opportunity to take a traditional narrative story and split it up over multiple videos in the life of a video blogger," said Miles Beckett, a former doctor and business partner of Lonelygirl15.

Their vision: a tense mystery in the vein of the TV hit "Lost" that would play out over months in the form of short video monlogues and online chats. They wrote a script, arranged a casting call and in walked a girl who had only been on two auditions in her life.

"When Jessica walked in the door we knew we had our Lonelygirl," said 27-year-old Mesh Flinders, one of the creators of Lonelygirl15.

When Rose heard they were looking for an actress to do a movie on the Internet, she said she wanted to just drive away.

"It was tough. It was funny because at the time nobody really knew about YouTube and of course Internet video. What the heck is Internet video? It didn't really exist in any capacity at that time," said Beckett.

Rose said he assured her that they weren't scam artists and they weren't doing porn.

But it was the lowest of low-budget Hollywood. Beckett said he spent $130 on the first Lonelygirl production, the cost of a webcam.

They rigged up a broken desk lamp for light and searched thrift shops and Target to turn the bedroom of a 27-year-old guy into that of a 16-year-old girl.

Describes Her First Blog

Lonelygirl's first blog was more than just raw and unscripted. It was rough and needed a lot of work. "Hi guys, um, so this is my first video blog, um. I've been watching for a while and I really like a lot of you guys on here."

Two weeks after her debut, Bree went from a pretty face to a real person, describing the heartbreak after her parents refused to let her go for a hike with her friend Daniel.

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