The masterminds of the Lonelygirl15 videos are Ramesh Flinders, a screenwriter and filmmaker from Marin County, Calif., and Miles Beckett, a doctor turned filmmaker....Did you watch these videos? I watched the first one and thought it looked too well done and too conspicuously designed to appeal to people who were not me. Fan quoted in the article: "she’s really not into Feynmann and Jared Diamond! (I’m heart-broken...)."
“We were all under N.D.A.’s” [software engineer Grant] Steinfeld said, referring to non-disclosure agreements the cast — and their friends — were asked to sign to preserve the mystery of Lonelygirl15. “They had a lawyer involved,” he said. “My first impression was like, wow, can this be legitimate? Is this ethical? I was very concerned about that in the beginning.”
I like the way this illustrates the two sides of web behavior: individual users plunge into solo voyeurism but also coalesce into networks and perform intense investigations:
When Mr. Steinfeld’s dummy site, which had been set up before the first Lonelygirl15 video was even posted, struck users as suspicious and unsupervised — Mr. Steinfeld says he grew tired of running it, and dropped out of the project — fans set up their own site devoted to Lonelygirl15, which soon attracted more than a thousand members.So, did the filmmakers succeed? Do you care about their project? Or do you feel defrauded and one notch more suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true?
Both sites drew contributions from novelists, journalists, academics, day traders, lawyers, bloggers, filmmakers, video game designers, students, housewives, bored youngsters and experts on religion and botany. In the cacophony of conjecture, analysis, close-readings, jokes, insults, and distractions, good information sometimes surfaced.
Last month, a Lonelygirl15 fan discovered and posted a trademark application by Mr. Goodfried, which seemed to prove that the videos, which presented themselves as nothing but a video diary, were at least in part a commercial venture. Then, last week, three tech-savvy fans, working together, set up a sting on the e-mail being used by “Bree”; the operation revealed to them the I.P. address of Creative Artists Agency.