LG15: Outbreak…or Jenni Returns to Her Roots

lg15 Outbreak - blog

Those who know me well know how I got started working in web video. For those who don’t know me that well, here is the Cliff’s Notes edition so you can now say you do know me well!

Back in 2006, a friend of mine had seen some videos on YouTube that were causing him some concern. There was a young home-schooled girl that had gotten a camera and started to video blog. He didn’t think much of it except for the fact that she was apparently preparing for some kind of ritual associated with the religion she was a part of. She didn’t talk about it specifically, but on further inspection he noticed she had something resembling an alter in the background of her videos containing a picture that looked like it could be Aleister Crowley.

The girl was Bree and her YouTube account handle was lonelygirl15.

“This a show, right,” I asked. He wasn’t convinced until several weeks later when The Creators (as they are called in the lg15 community) let the cat out of the bag that this was a scripted show trying to take advantage of YouTube as a form of storytelling.

By that point, I was already hooked. I spent the next several years getting to know Bree and her cast of friends, enemies, love interests, siblings…but I also was getting to know people that were going to mean so much more to me and who would change the course of my life forever.

They were: The Community.

It started when I went from heavily participating in the OpAphid ARG that formed around the lonelygirl mythology to producing a fan parody series of lonelygirl15 called LonelyJew15 (”What if Anne Frank had a webcam?”). Besides walking a very thin line where I was afraid I’d be struck by lightning by a higher power at any moment, something completely opposite of that began happening: fans of both lg15 and my fan-created project began reaching out to me wanting to be a part of the show. I found parts for as many of them as I could and ended up producing over 60 episodes of the parody over a span of a little over a year. And then Amanda Goodfried, one of the C’s, asked me if SHE could have a role on the show.

And the rest is history. Amanda ended up inviting me to join the crew of lonelygirl15 as a production assistant (which they had been working without up until this point, with Amanda pretty much holding 75 percent of the crew roles herself). It had it’s ups and downs, producing content at a rate of 5 videos a week on an extremely tight budget and a crew of four (the director, the director of photography, Amanda producing and myself PAing) was often nervewrackingly exhausting. But in the end, I probably learned more about production (and I mean ALL production…I’ve worked in film and television as well over the years) than any other project I’ve worked on before or since.

Okay, so that Cliff’s Notes version got a little long…so here is The Point:

The lonelygirl15 Universe is about to embark on it’s newest journey. Helmed by an extremely talented filmmaker and member of the Community, Austin McConnell, Outbreak is the winner of The Show is Yours 2: a contest created by the original Creators of lg15 where they ask a fan to continue the mythology of their world by giving them the opportunity to produce and run an 8-week series.

So The Point my friends is I AM PUMPED. Knowing Austin personally and having witnessed his talent and tenacity, I think he’ll be a perfect match for tackling the not-so-easy task of pleasing a not-so-easy-to-please audience who have shared going on 4 years (!) worth of story together. And here is what I think can be so special about Outbreak: I think it can stand alone and bring in a whole new audience that could revitalize the brand that began with just a lonely girl with her web cam.

Yup, I said it: I THINK YOU SHOULD ALL WATCH THIS!

If you’ve stuck with me up until this point and you’d like a little more convincing, I’d like to send you over to a place I spend a great deal of time. It’s a blog called LG15Today and it’s a real testament to what a community of viewers can do if given the opportunity to do so. It’s not always pretty and sometimes the discussion can get downright cruel…but in the end, opinions are respected for the most part and it gives a group of individuals who have been through a lot together a place to relive past experiences and plan for what comes next.

Oh and Modelmotion, the bot behind it’s creation, is one smart fella.

So check out his Open Letter to the Web Series Community and please check out the premiere of lg15: Outbreak tomorrow, January 11, 2010. And come back here and let me know what you think!

105 Comments

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