Unfiction Is Chewing On Something

It's a bit early to say, but worth a look...

Caution: Stay skeptical please. I can't tell you how sick I am of seeing that fan art of the 'possible' monster (you know, the whale w/legs). It just won't die, and it got its start thanks to a few overzealous fans.

Tagruato Un-Hacked (Again!), and Man Do I Need An Editor

Edit: "oblige", "rip".

1-18-08 Is Dead, But Cloverfield Is A Lion

In a word, "Whoa!"

Note the "1-18-08" trend's failure to rise as it did back in July before the movie was given a proper titled (i.e. "Cloverfield"). In addition, the citations are up, significantly.

And based on the direction of the viral updates, a new trend worth watching.

Finally, Yahoo has taken notice.

Tip: I've been doing these Viral Trend updates for some time. If you click here, you'll be taken to the full list. With a few exceptions, I've embedded the url of the trend generating site in the graphs. That means, if you click on any of the graphs, you'll be taken to where I got the graph, and the site will generate a new, up to date graph. From there, you can input your own parameters--from changing the search terms to drilling down to specific time periods. Happy hunting.

Tagruato Hacked (Again!)

Same as before. Click on the image for the large version. My guess is someone is trying to tell us to focus ».

Edit: Did a bit of collecting. Here are some of the highlights already unearthed:

I. Tanner Crab
II. Irukandji Jellyfish
III. Dumbo Octopus
IV. Ogre fish
V. The Wave, which is similar to Hokusai's "Great Wave Off
" (神奈川沖浪裏)

Sources: CC, UF,

Tagruato Investing News

Two new items in the Investing News appeared yesterday. They are:


In a move surely to shake up the world of physics, Bold Futura has recruited one hundred of the top physics majors graduating from universities around the world. Most highly sought after was Johan Hedberg from Sweden. His internationally-acclaimed thesis on the intricate ecosystems of deep sea crevices landed him immediate tenure at his university but he turned it down for the opportunity to work for Bold Futura. “They offered me free reign to do whatever I want as long as the board approves and oversees it, “said Hedberg at Futura’s November press conference, “Plus I’ll have comfort and security for a long, long time.”

It is unclear what Futura’s expectations are for these young minds. The company is cheerfully vague regarding their intentions for the new all-star quantum squad.

“With those young, fresh minds working together, anything is possible. I’ve watched these new graduates - they have ideas on everything from creating new energy sources to starting us down the road to teleportation,” said Tokyo-based Professor Akira Okinawa. “As a citizen to Japan and the human race, I cannot think of a better place for their ideas to flourish. Bold Futura is cutting edge and innovative. It has a plan for us all.”

Ganu Yoshida is the CEO of Bold Futura’s parent company, Tagruato. When asked about this “quantum coup”, he answered, “Now that we have all the best minds, we won’t need to worry about competition. This is what the industry needs right now: a company focused not on what its competitors are doing, but instead what it can do to make the world a better place.”

American Mike Siegel graduated last May in a cap and gown. Now he’ll be on the other side of the world in a labcoat. He won’t miss home though. “They offered me a chance to make history and to work with the best in my field. How could I turn that down?”

Through its Bold Futura subsidiary, Tagruato successfully launched its first geostationary satellite “Hatsui” yesterday afternoon. At first, the launch was thought to be rescheduled because of poor weather conditions. Yesterday morning brought heavy rain and lightning strikes near the launch pad. Despite this adversity, however, the abort command was overruled by CEO Ganu Yoshida. After a five minute delay, the launch went off without any disasters.

Mission Chief Kenji Matsui claimed, “At first we thought the lightning might strike the satellite. It could cause a fire to catch within the electrical systems. It would have been seven years of hard work and sleepless night wasted.”

When asked why he overruled the abort command, Yoshida said, “Because here at Tagruato, we don’t let lightning stand in the way of achieving our goals. In this case that goal was reaching for the stars.”

Yoshida could not be more specific as to what “reaching for the stars” entails, but assured us, “It will be big.”

Bold Futura recently announced that one billion Yen will be allocated towards space research. “The future of man depends on our ability to spread outwards into the universe. At Tagruato, we want to be the first to take you there,” Yoshida added.”
Thanks Dennis for the heads-up. And here's the relevant thread in Unfiction.

1-18-08 Blogs Feed Issue

Apologies for the strange content. I've taken measures to correct the problem, and it should clear up soon.

Tagruato Headlines Updated

As noticed by bmoney999 in Unfiction. The new headline reads:

Smilers at the Animal Control Center!

Tagruato’s troupe of Slusho! Smilers! struck again last Friday, this time at a remote animal control center in Takayama. Bearing armfuls of Slusho! happy drinks for all the lower wage workers, the girls also organized a Slusho! drinking contest for two dozen of the center’s caged puppies and kittens.

“Kittens love Slusho! It reminds them of mother’s milk!” grinned Smiler! Mayu.

The workers whooped and cheered as the animals swam and drank their way through a 40-liter trough of Blueberry Zoom. After twenty minutes, Pickle, a spotted Labrador pup, was still happily lapping Slusho! “This one will come home to Ganu!” said acrobatic Smiler! Yuuka as she clutched the lucky puppy, “He just couldn’t get enough Zoom!” With the center in Takayama, the girls completed their nationwide tour of Japan’s animal shelters. While all the shelters received a generous donation from the Tagruato Cares! foundation, the centers with the most Slusho!-friendly animals were purchased and welcomed into the Tagruato family. These centers will undergo a full renovation in the next three years, making way for modern facilities with up-to-date research, technology, and rehabilitation equipment.

“Tagruato is working so hard to ensure a prosperous future for humans,” said company spokeswoman Suzume Soga. “We want that future for small animals as well.”

Herding Cats, Moving Not (Yet) Shaking

Apologies for the thin updates of late. I'm only one guy, and as I'll explain, I've been spread a bit thin. But first, a quick rundown of the in depth I've just been skimming.

Slusho! was on Heroes again last night. Cloverfield Clues has a thorough couple of posts on the topic, and Semidi--I like--calls it "product placement."

The Tagruato hack is history, but there's more to the hacker's art work than initially meets the eye. Both Cloverfield News and Cloverfield Clues have good posts on the subject.

ParafFUN recalled, and again, Dennis has capably put together a concise synopsis of the whatfor.

Finally, what's to blame for my failing the multitasker test? Tagruato Corp., or more accurately, The Effect. The idea behind the blog is as a place for the fans to play along with the fiction, or to put it another way, our attempted contribution to the Cloverfield universe. For the who, what, when, where and why, read the Unfiction thread that got the ball rolling.

Tagruato Fights Back

Or more accurately, starts picking itself up off the floor.

Cloverfield Monster is... Aphynos

I wrote an article back in October where I hypothesized that if the Cloverfield monster becomes iconic like Godzilla or King Kong, that we the fans, the early adopters, are contributing to the monster's lore. That is to say, in 5, 10, 20 years, our contributions will be an important part of the modern myth. A bit lofty, and for sure we're just having fun, but still.

So I was betting on the movie's title being the monster's name. A bet I lost. Nevertheless, the monster has to be called something, and that something will eventually be what everyone calls it, and the movie(s), and the merchandise, and the fans, etc. That's my take anyway. And with that in mind, I've been keen to spot the name of the monster. With this past update of Tagruato, I couldn't help but zero in on Aphynos. It was a unique term. A term for an animal. Now I know that it has since been argued that Aphynos was a misspelling of Aphyonus. Because a misspelling would be consistent with past grammatical errors of in game sites, it's even more likely that Aphynos is a purposeful misspelling. Purposeful being the key word, since these aren't really English-as-a-second-language-people writing this stuff. On the contrary, they are "writers", and therefore deliberate in their errors.

So Aphynos is a purposeful new word. The question is how much purpose to attribute to it. Just a misspelling designed to contribute to the allusion that English is a second language of the fictional Tagruato personnel? Or more, a coherent use of that established idiosyncrasy as a way to give a unique name to the Cloverfield monster? Who is to say the beast isn't the evil Dr. Abe's experiment gone wrong? Debatable, all of it, and I'll admit . . . unlikely.

However, I see here an opportunity to flex our collective contribution. We are, after all, putting in a hell of a lot of time and effort into the project. No one has said that JJ Abrams and Co. will give the monster a name. And if they don't name it, who will? Why not us? What I'm saying is, if we want to, we can be responsible for naming the monster. That assumes, of course, that the powers that be don't name it. But if they don't, if they leave it an open question, the people will eventually christen it ____________. So I think that should be us. If nothing else, we've earned more right than the Johnnies-come-lately, or the overpaid critic, or the crackpots.

So I say we take matters into our own hands. Think of it as a grand experiment. Simply start referring to the monster as Aphynos. That's all you have to do. If someone questions it, be honest. It's our name for the monster. So that's a plan. Maybe it sounds stupid. I don't know. I lack objectivity (read: see Aphynos). But I have to say that right here, right now, it sounds like it's at least worth a shot, given the potential payoff--to have named a legendary monster.


Strange turn of events. Not sure how long it will last, much less what to make of it, but the following image is what you will find if you visit tagruato.jp.

Did someone say in-game malicious hack?

Tagruato Update

jawbone down in Unfiction lays it out like this:

Which leads you here...
to see this..
Below is the scan of the document. Click on it for the larger version.

Official Cloverfield Movie Poster

Via /film.

Edit: Looks like all the larger sites got the same package from Paramount. MovieWeb, however, has provided us with the largest image file.

[Click on image for the large version.]

The Complete "Cloverfield"

"Cloverfield" is the title of the upcoming JJ Abrams produced giant monster movie due out 1-18-08. You may have seen the Teaser in theaters showing before "Transformers". You may have seen the Trailer in theaters showing before "Beowulf". Or you haven't, in which case you can see them online in HD at Apple, or at YouTube. I recommend you watch the Teaser first.

If you haven't already noticed, this column is loaded for bear with links. The reason is simple--this rabbit hole is deep. So the links are in lieu of an encyclopedic dissertation which, if you decide to follow the rabbit, you'll need. Otherwise, the narrative will bring you up to speed and ready to play.

Early July 2007, Transformers opens and premiering before it is a Teaser for an untitled JJ Abrams project that quickly becomes known as either "1-18-08" (its release date and website), or "Cloverfield" (its working title). The Teaser succeeded in generating a huge amount of online buzz. Wikipedia and uncounted blogs soon followed. Some initial confusion lead to the idea that what JJ Abrams had in mind wasn't just your run of the mill viral marketing, but in fact an ARG, and for those of you who don't know about that, there's a standing army of ARGers online and eager to play. So the game was on, and has been ever since, even though no one is really sure what the game exactly is, much less if there even is one.

Nevertheless, the gamers' unique vernacular has proven adept at describing Cloverfield's virtual reality. In particular "In-Game" and "GameJacks" work well to divvy up the Cloverfield inspired sites you'll find. GameJacks are self-explanatory, but for the non-web savvy, there's a lot of money and even fun to be had by setting up sites that pretend to be part of Cloverfield's marketing campaign. But don't be fooled. In fact, be very skeptical, as the GameJacks far outnumber the In-Game sites. In-Game site are similarly self-explanatory, but again due to their strangeness, I'll explain. For a reason as yet unknown, Abrams and Co. have created alternate reality sites. That is, sites that pretend to represent real products, real corporations, real people. They are: Slusho! and Tagruato. Somehow, someway, these sites are related to 'the monster' and the movie. There are also the character development MySpace accounts of the characters in the movie. Get to know them so you care when the monster eats them? Or maybe they know something we don't?

So that's your primer. There's a movie coming out. Its makers are having some fun with it online. A subculture has grown up around the mystery of it all. Said freaks have produced a mountain of speculation over the past few months leaving newcomers a lot overwhelmed. But they needn't be. Go back to Slusho!. That button on the far right, hover your mouse over it. See those Japanese characters that appear on the cup, just below the word Slusho!™? Those characters translate to "Competition". Now click on the button. The speech balloon that pops up says, "WE ARE COMING, WE'LL FIND YOU SOON!!" And there you have it. The game, or the "contest" is yet to be revealed.

So what now? Well, those aforementioned freaks aren't entirely counterproductive. They've been at it for over 4 months--enough time to separate the wheat from the flakes--and I've been watching them the whole time. You have options:

1. Unfiction is the hands down leader of the pack for watching, reporting and deciphering the Cloverfield universe. It's a forum, and takes some getting used to as far as navigation, but well worth the effort.

2. The blogs. There are a lot of Cloverfield blogs to choose from. However, a large percentage of them suck. In fact, the various ways in which the sucking Cloverfield blogs suck pretty much cover the spectrum of ways in which blogs can suck. That's not to say that there aren't some good ones out there, and I'll give you those, but it is to say if you ignore my recommendations, don't say I didn't warn you. Here's the short list: Dave's Movie Corner; Cloverfield Clues; Cloverfield News; and 1.18.08.

3. Lastly, a few of the more established sites have adopted Cloverfield as a pet project and, while usually a day late, still manage decent coverage and the occasional leak. They are: /film; Cinematical; and First Showing.

That pretty much covers it. You are officially up to speed. It's a guilty pleasure that has something for everyone, and an expiration date. It's also going to be a case study in new media marketing, and has the potential--depending on how good the movie is--to be the next modern myth/franchise. In fact, the real prize from the new media standpoint is already known. The movie may be titled "Cloverfield", but the monster remains unnamed. Whether the filmmakers name it, or the fans label it, that unique name will join the likes of Godzilla and King Kong and become a domain name/keyword worth owning.

Well, This Is Cool

Thanks 1-18-08 Blog for finding it and Cloverfield Clues for showing that it could be posted.

Good YouTube Copies of the Teaser and Trailer, and a Host Of Images

The Teaser

The Trailer

Another moving picture of the monster can be found here.

Edit: And here:

Lastly, Dennis over at Cloverfield Clues has captured an expansive series of screenshots from the Trailer. You can find them via his blog here. This is the second such capture Dennis has put together, the first being a collection of screenshots from the Teaser here.

Cloverfield Poll: Which is better, the Teaser or the Trailer?

Both are available here.

I won't get a chance to appreciate the Trailer in QuickTime until I go home to my Apple ready pc tonight (and so, will refrain from voting until then), but I've watched the Trailer enough times on YouTube to begin to question whether it cleared the bar set by the Teaser. That said, I'll be surprised if I vote for the Trailer.

Edit: Parallel poll in Unfiction...

Consider the graph below. It shows the popularity of the search terms "Cloverfield" and "1-18-08". Those spikes in early July were the result of the Teaser appearing before Transformers. The current up-tics are attributable to the Trailer appearing before Beowulf.

While it's still too early to call it, my money is on the Transformers/Teaser duo having the greater impact.

But there are a lot of other factors to contend with. For starters, Transformers' opening weekend take of $67.6 million dwarfs Beowulf's $28.1 million. However, Cloverfield's core demographic is better represented by Beowulf's audience, with Transformers being a more kid/family friendly flick. The result being, a higher percentage Beowulf's audience should have been interested in Cloverfield and looked it up on their computers. The Trailer also had the advantage of being highly anticipated whereas the Teaser was unexpected (read: people didn't go to see Transformers so they could see the Teaser, but plenty of people went to see Beowulf for no other reason than to see the Trailer).

Another interesting graphic will be the number of citations. It's still too early to tell, and to be honest my gut tells me there should be more citations given the "industry" that has built up to take advantage of the interest in Cloverfield, but the early readings suggest citations, like searches, won't match the buzz created by the Teaser back in July.

Not much else to add at this point other than to wonder aloud whether the Teaser will ultimately be the one piece of Cloverfield art worth remembering.

Cloverfield Trailer On Apple


Also, http://www.cloverfieldmovie.com/ has gone live.


Here's Another Better Quality Trailer

Lots of these to sift through on YouTube, but this one is the best I've seen.


Edit: The authenticity of the above YouTube video is questionable (thanks WILLQUICK). But that's okay, since a non-bootleg version is now available here: http://www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=21492.

Edit 2: Trailer also available at Cloverfield Clues.

More Cloverfield Images Coming Online

See the slideshow.

I'm adding them as I come accross them. There's also a thread of screen caps from the second trailer going on in Unfiction which starts with this collection.

If you know of any I've missed, please drop me a note by clicking discuss and leaving a message. Or, you can add images to the pool yourself.

Cloverfield vs. 1-18-08

A Non-YouTube Cloverfield Trailer

At IESB. Not sure if this helps you non-YouTube capable types, but there it is anyway.


Image takes you to interview/article.

Trailer Tracking

More descriptions, confirmations, and some video(s) and images starting to surface. Passive observer today, but I'll be sure to bring you the "quality" stuff when it appears.



Also, for those who can't view it, watch for it on Cloverfield Clues YouTube Account.


Happy Trend

Unfiction and Cloverfield Clues are parsing the new Happy Talk.

In other stuff I've been slow to get to, confirmation of what we already knew: That Beowulf's marketing/buzz benefited from its association with Cloverfield/1-18-08.

In particular, note the sharp upward turns of both trends on Oct 30/31 and their parallel peaks on Nov 1. Now add Beowulf's pre Oct 30 angle of ascent to Cloverfield/1-18-08's post Oct 30 angle of ascent and I'm guessing that combined angle is scary close to Beowulf's post Oct 30 angle of ascent. Looking past the peaks, I'd suggest that the Beowulf marketing folks failed to take full advantage (or perhaps appreciate) the power of the Cloverfield/1-18-08 rumor mill by letting their trend dip before launching their own home stretch marketing blitz.

Fun stuff.

Projecting into the future that angle generated by mere speculation, rumor and an uncorroborated eyewitness report of a trailer for a movie that's some 70 days out, and how it compares with Beowulf's multi-million dollar campaign and premier only days away--and I can't help but wonder if Abrams and Co. recognize just how valuable their secret has become.

Trailer #1, V.17

As described by Devin Faraci/CHUD.

By Devin Faraci
I have seen the trailer for the monster movie coming from producer JJ Abrams on January 18, 2008. The trailer, which was dated last week and lasts 2 minutes and 16 seconds, will debut in front of Beowulf on November 16th, and it's supposed to be when the title is announced. The version of the trailer I saw had the title attached at the end, so unless this title card was a temporary placeholder for the real title, this movie is called... wait for it...


Yep, the name we heard from the start. This does make me think that maybe this trailer, marked as Trailer #1, V.17, with "Newest FX Shots", could change between now and the 16th, especially in regards to the name. We'll see. In the meantime, here's a rundown of what I saw in the trailer (based on the notes I took when I was shown a poor quality copy of the trailer. I was only allowed to watch it twice):

It opens with text:

Multiple sightings of case designate 'Cloverfield'
Camera retrieved at incident site 'U.S. 447'
(Area formerly known as Central Park)

Then we see the footage from the teaser trailer, mostly fast forwarded up to the end, with the explosion and the Statue of Liberty's head landing in the middle of the street. Then there's a guy speaking into the camera.

Guy: My name is Robert Hawkins. Approximately seven hours ago, someTHING attacked the city.

There are flashes of chaos. Much of the trailer is made up of split second moments, and when combined with the fact that it's extreme shaky cam style and that I was watching a terrible copy, it can be hard to make things out. There's a helicopter shot of the headless Statue of Liberty.

Guy again: I have no idea what it is. If you found this,if you're watching this thing, you know more about it than i do.

Then there's a shot of jets flying overhead, in daylight.

A title card reads 'From producer JJ Abrams'

There's more flashes of chaos, there's a guy on a cellphone trying to find out where 'Beth' is, and then there's a girl yelling, 'We cannot go in the middle of the city! we've got to get out of here!'

More chaos. More quick shots. I imagine this stuff will be picked apart when the trailer debuts online.

Over this is what seems to be a conversation between an Army guy and a girl.

Army dude: There's nothing we can do right now

Girl: do you know what that thing is?

Army dude: Whatever it is, it's winning.

More flashes. An argument:

Guy 1: We have no idea what's out there!

Guy 2: I don't care what's out there. Listen to me - she's dying!

Then there's footage of army guys running and shadows on a wall. Shadows of a screaming woman being attacked by a small monster (possibly two - either she's being pulled away from the monster by someone behind her or there's another monster behind her). It's confirmed: the movie has a big beast and small ones. Like the American Godzilla.

People are hiding in a store, and there are huge thumps making everything shake. The windows of the store explode in.

The big sequence is next: Army guys running up a street, firing into the air. Tanks come up behind them, firing. Rockets launch up.

We see the big monster briefly passing between two buildings. I couldn't make it out at all, but it appeared to be HUGE.

Characters race down subway steps, there's a giant explosion, the cameraman is down, there's a figure in a tunnel, people are yelling 'Run!' and running through the tunnel.

Outside of Central Park, a horse drawn carriage goes by.

Guy: Are you still filming?

Cameraman: Yeah. People are going to want to know... how it all went down.

Shot of the Brooklyn Bridge. A helicopter taking off. Some chaos. Then inside the copter girls screaming as the copter spins out of control.

Cut to black, then the title comes up: Cloverfield.

Then the text: End of tape

Then the release date: 1-18-08

So the info I gleaned from this:

The title is Cloverfield.
There are smaller monsters.
This movie will quite probably make a lot of people motion sick.

"Trailer #1, V.17" means what Devin saw--while perhaps close to--wasn't quite the finished product. Putting yourself in Abrams' shoes, do you insert the top secret title of the movie in every cut of the trailer you go through, or do you save that for after you're satisfied you've made the final cut?

Can you believe CHUD? Hard to say, but their call during the "W(rec[.])k" fiasco adds to their credibility in my book.

The MonsterS Rumor label is getting pretty big.