Why Lonelygirl15 is a One Hit Wonder

I was reading this article in the current issue of Wired about one of the guys who created Lonelygirl15, Mesh Flinders. For those who don’t know of this character, she was a fictional girl that posted a video diary (vlog; such a crappy term) on YouTube. I watched about half of one episode and was thoroughly bored by it, not to mention the creepiness issue of why adults would want to watch a 15 year old talk about crap. But my tastes by definition do not define the leanings of society at large. My lack of televsion is proof of that.
As I was reading the article, I learned that this fellow who did the writing had actually written this some time ago. He was pulling on a lot of past material that had defined his growing up. It was this salient point which told me that this is his 15 minutes. Yes, he’s got an agent and all eyes are on him, but this is typical of the one hit wonder. Essentially, he’s taken years to create this insipid cultural incident and in theory to duplicate this will take a great many more years. He might create something faster, but I promise it will be crap. We’ve seen this many times in all of the performing arts.
People never want to pay their dues (especially these days) but there is a lot to be said for this because it forces you to hone your chops and get your work tight. I’ve been working on a script for several years and it really only gets better as time goes on because I keep editing it and adding better elements to it. Sure, I’d love to produce it someday, but if I were given first crack at it once I wrote it, it would have sucked. Such is the prediction I have for Flinders.
There are those who will do well by this. YouTube has done quite well in getting bought out by Google. Google has done well in getting YouTube, as well as more free publicity (keep in mind that Google doesn’t advertise, much like Sierra Nevada Beer showing that quality is often found, not forced.) In general it has also made the TV networks, corporate giants, and others realize that the web is definitely not going away being the force that it is to reckon with. Will there be other Lonelygirl15’s? Sure. I just doubt we’ll see anything worthwhile from their creators once they get that hyper-accelerated first big break from the web. As seen over the last few years with Project Greenlight producing no successes, this is a downside of things we’re getting from the web and something to think about.