Lonely Girl 15, Part 2

The genius of Lonely Girl 15 is its simplicity, directness and interaction.
Every show is shot with one camera. The actor talks directly into the camera. The eye contact is with you. The emotion is shared with you. You become directly involved with the character, the intrigue. It’s myspace exhibitionism to the max.
As I said before, Bree evolved from a silly, cute girl with eyes as big as a Japanese anime, in her bedroom talking to her camera. Millions of kids do it. Before we know it Bree, is running from The Order, living off garbage. And she’s still sharing her life.
If she and Daniel walk, the cameraman walks. If they’re in the car, the camera is in the driver’s seat shooting the driver, or Bree in the back seat. There’s no apparent extra lighting and no external microphones. There’s some basic editing but it’s done in a way that makes the edits obvious.
The other two main characters, Daniel and Jacob, speculate, confess fears and quandaries to the camera, to you. In the January 15 posting, “Bree and I Hook Up,” Daniel tells the viewers about his night with an upset Bree who needs comfort. It sets off a firestorm of debate about what really happened and whether it was good or bad for Bree and Daniel.
And it finally occurred to me that, my God, the Creators are seeing the thoughts, feelings and speculations of their viewers. In nearly real time the producers are literally reading the minds of those watching. What better way to get to know your audience?
Seems to me this is part of what Web 2.0 is all about. The Creators create the initial product but in total, it’s a collaborative effort. From viewer comments the Creators know when the audience is getting antsy, or bored, or doesn’t buy into a particular direction. They know how viewers feel about the characters, when they feel suspense and when they’re happy with a character action or plot twist.
They can direct and redirect the plot based on audience feedback.
The creators have shown us that almost anyone can do this. But will we in higher ed?
Entertainment laced with information? Human intrigue? Emotional involvement?
I hear a collective shudder among America’s higher education administrators. Emotional involvement? That’s so anti-intellectual!
How do we remain politically correct? What if we offend someone or some group? How do we guarantee representation from all necessary factions?
Every student on our campuses has a story and yet we never use their very human sagas. What we do is a quick interview and boil it down to some bland testimonial about how great the campus or a professor is.
Video and audio are perfect media for letting students and faculty tell their own story in their own words.
The real Lesson of Lonely Girl 15 is that with nearly 7 million views and around 1,000 comments per show, she really isn’t lonely.


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