Video Update

This is why I never upload anything. (In other news, I smack my copy of Clockwork Angel approximately six million times during this video.)

Merchandise Follow-Up #2

We're officially on Redbubble! I'll let you guys know when our initial line of merch is ready to go.  (So much for taking a day off, eh?)

ETA: I'm planning to release designs inspired by our BTFAs, but I need to wait on those for a few months for three reasons:

1. I'm swamped with other UBC-related improvements.
2. I haven't finalized our newest BTFAs yet. ;)
3. I need to renew my Illustrator subscription. Vector files are good, mmkay?

General Updates

Hey, guys! I'm taking off most of today to work on personal projects (i.e. design work and my book). In the meantime, please leave a comment if you have suggestions for either of the following:

  • Which book bloggers/vloggers do you think we should reach out to?
  • Do you have any additional suggestions for BTFAs? (Remember that they need to have been optioned within the last 6-8 months.)
You can view a list of the adaptations currently up for consideration here.

P.S. I've decided to go with Redbubble (thanks for the suggestion, Gabby!) because they're cheaper than Zazzle. Unfortunately, I'm having some issues with file uploads and am waiting to hear back from tech support.

Merchandise Follow-Up Post

Based on the maximum prices you guys said you'd be able to pay for a t-shirt, I don't think Zazzle is going to work out.

Based on my calculations, I'll need to bulk-order somewhere between 30-40 of them in order to make a profit, cover shipping and handling, and keep the selling price at $20. Unfortunately, this requires me to spend $200-300 upfront on shirts that have no guarantee of ever being purchased.

These are the two styles I'm considering. Given the upfront cost and time/expensive to ship these myself, I think selling just one shirt design and nothing else for now would be reasonable.


Let's talk contests.

  • Jan, July: Voting Cycle Set #1 (Max Ride, Uglies, M14)
  • March, Aug: Voting Cycle Set #2 (GONE, TBA, TBA)
  • May, Nov: Voting Cycle Set #3 (TID, TBA, TBA)
  • April, Aug: Original Web Series Content
  • Feb, June, Oct, Dec: Scene Contest

Here's what each contest will entail.


The Original Web Series Pitch Contest will take place in April and August. To participate, users must first critique fifteen BTFA audition videos during the month the contest takes place*. (You will need to verify this when submitting your entry; a simple "I critiqued fifteen videos prior to sending you my submission" would be fine.)

Users will write and submit a 250-word pitch for an original web series. The pitch with the highest number of votes will win the following:

  • A featured video on our main Youtube channel that will include your pitch, an interview, and any information you wish to include about casting and deadlines;
  • Your own group on User Based Casting to aid in the development of your web series;
  • Shout-outs on our social media accounts for casting calls and whenever a new episode is available;
  • Discount code for UBC merch;
  • A custom logo and Youtube intro provided and chosen by me. (Not sure if this is really a reward or not—ha!)
By winning, you will have full access to all of our actors on UBC. Using your group, you can hold auditions, share ideas, keep track of deadlines, and ultimately begin putting out regular episodes. You can have as many or as few episodes as you would like; either way, User Based Casting will feature interviews with snippets from each episode on our Youtube Channel for a full six months after your first episode debuts. (Note that it will be your responsibility to remind your cast about filming and sending me their interview responses.)

Anyone can vote in this contest. Unlike our Voting Cycles, this will be based entirely on popularity. Ask your friends and family to vote often!


BTFA scene contests will take place in February, June, October, and December. The premise is simple: collaborate on a scene from one of our featured BTFAs with at least one other UBC member. Voting will consist of two rounds:
  • Round #1: Submissions are categorized by adaptation (i.e. Maximum Ride, Uglies, etc). Voters go on to determine the Finalist for each category. 
  • Round #2: Finalists from each category compete with one another. The submission with the most votes is declared the winner.
The overall winner will receive the following:
  • A video on our main Youtube channel that will include snippets of your winning submission, an interview with you and your cast-mates, and a link to view the full submission on your channel;
  • Your video featured on our main page;
  • Special still-frame edits for use on Tumblr and Pinterest;
  • Discount code for UBC merch;
  • Shout-outs on our social media accounts.
Runners up will be briefly featured in our Finalist Results video (wherein I'll reveal the nine entries that are moving on to the second round). As with the collaboration contest, this will be a popularity contest—ask friends and family to vote often.

Well, there you have it! That's the plan. If you have any objections or suggestions, let me know. 

*So back in, oh, '11 or '12, we had an interesting "problem" emerge: web series.

As far as site activity went, things were actually at an all-time high. I won't deny that. There were people online at all hours posting audition videos for each other's web series, writing scripts and filming scenes in their free time. It's that level of dedication that became the problem, though: it was at the expense of everything else. UBC had slowly come to revolve around original web series instead of Voting Cycles—and that sure as hell wasn't what I signed up for. To keep the situation from getting any worse, I banned original web series from User Based Casting and haven't looked back since...until now.

Don't get me wrong: I've always thought web series are awesome, and I will be happy to start allowing them again as long as we don't lose sight of UBC's goal. Ok? Ok.

What UBC Means to You: Video Collaboration!

Some of you took it pretty hard when UBC went offline. The messages you sent me via Facebook about how much UBC meant to you were utterly heart-melting and awesome and asdjflskdfksd THE FEELS.

Because of that, I would like to start off this whole Youtube channel revival thing with a collaboration. The premise is simple: in a minute or less, tell us what UBC means to you. If you have them on hand, feel free to also send me one of the first and last videos you posted to the site so that I can show how far you've come as an actor or actress.

I will accept clips in .mov or .mp4 format up until February 28th—that's two days from now. Please email them to

(Also: Please vote in the Audition Video poll if you haven't done so already!)


In an effort to raise some funds for our site overhaul, I'm going to start selling UBC merchandise.

I've been reluctant to sell UBC shirts because the LAST thing I would want is for some creep to visit our site and search for you because they saw our URL on your t-shirt. For that reason, no products will have our URL on them—just logos and tag lines. (In response to Gabby's comment—I can totally incorporate our BTFAs into the merch designs!)

So tell me: what types of items would you buy? What's the most you would be willing to pay for them?  (The ones pictured above totally have my vote!)

You can view a full list of Zazzle products here:

Audition Videos (Follow-Up Poll)

Thank you all so much for your feedback on my Audition Videos post—your comments were very insightful! However, I must confess that I still have no idea what to do about the number of videos featured on our voting pages. Let's take a vote, shall we?

Option #1: Participants edit their final takes of their character's two Required Monologues together (along with their slate) for the Voting Cycle.

  • Having one video per person on our voting pages would be less intimidating for voters.
  • Voters would still have the benefit of viewing two contrasting monologues for each character.
  • Because many can people gauge the talent of an actor within seconds, the second monologue could serve as a potential tie-breaker for voters struggling to choose between several candidates.

  • As Raina pointed out, Casting Directors are unlikely to watch more than a few seconds of your video. 
  • Many of you also stated that you wouldn't watch all the way until the end. (I've never required voters to do that, though—it shouldn't take more than 10-20 seconds to figure out how good of an actor someone is!)
  • Not all members have access to a video editor and would need to make arrangements with other members (i.e. swap a video edit for X number of critiques).

Option #2: Participants film and upload their final takes of their character's two Required Monologues separately. (A slate would be required for each.) Both are used for the Voting Cycle.

  • Voters would continue to have the benefit of viewing two contrasting monologues for each character.
  • No editing required.
  • Having two videos per candidate per character may intimidate and scare off potential voters.

Option #3: Participants film and upload their final takes of their character's two Required Monologues separately. (A slate would be required for each.) Only one—selected at random—is used for the Voting Cycle.

  • Having one video per person on our voting pages would be less intimidating for voters.
  • Voters and Casting Directors will be able to gauge your talent quickly and may not even need to see a second video.
  • No editing required.
  • Easiest option for me! ;)
  • Voters wouldn't have the benefit of viewing two contrasting monologues for each character.

Vote away!

Intro Sequence for Future Youtube Videos

This is basically what the intro sequence for our Youtube videos will look like—I just need to make sure the video and images are HQ for the final version.

Audition Videos

Two things:
  • All characters will have 1-2 Required Monologues per Voting Cycle.
  • Those Required Monologues will change after each Voting Cycle.

Please let me know your thoughts on the following points and if there's anything you would like me to add to the list. I'm not an actress, so I'd really love to hear from people who know the industry and what Casting Directors would prefer to see.

  • Should participants be required to begin their audition videos with a slate? (This involves stating things like your name, age, city, and height.)
  • Because there will only be two Required Monologues to film per character, should participants be required to edit their final takes together into one video (along with their slate) for use in our Voting Cycles? 
    • The thinking behind this is that having one video per person could make the voting process seem less daunting to voters. It would also make it easier for me to work with your videos when editing Finalist interviews and running promotions.
    • You'd only need to edit/slate your best takes of the two monologues required for the Voting Cycle. Videos that you add for critiquing purposes will remain informal.
  • Should I require participants to add a pre-made, five-second intro containing the UBC logo and our URL to the beginning of any videos used for our Voting Cycles?  I just made the aforementioned intro and I think it'll make more sense to use it only for videos uploaded to our official channel. Perhaps I'll just ask you guys to link to UBC in your video description per Gabby's suggestion!
    • This would be a great way to advertise ourselves on Youtube without being obnoxious.
  • Should participants be required to use a reading partner? No reading partner it is!
  • Should participants with poor lighting or audio be disqualified?
  • Should scenes filmed professionally/on location be admissible in a Voting Cycle, or would this be an unfair disadvantage for those who lack the resources to do the same? I'm leaning toward Gabby's idea of featuring location scenes on the main page and requesting that videos entered in the Voting Cycles be filmed against a solid background.
  • How should videos with excessive ad-libbing be handled?

ETA: After reading the comments so far, my idea is this:

When uploading videos for the sole purpose of receiving critiques, no editing or slate is necessary. When you get to the point where your videos are Voting Cycle-ready, you'll need to edit them—and your slate—together. (I'm still thinking about the brief UBC intro; that'll be of more use to us when we lose the ability to do direct uploads later this year.) Gabby is right about privacy issues, so it's up to you on what you include in your slate. At a minimum, I would recommend stating your first name (be it real or fake), age, and country.

Voting Cycles & Finalists


Fang here. Man, I've gotta tell you all about the delicious new sauce I used on my desert rat this morning....

Just kidding.

I started this blog so that you guys can have some idea of what I'm doing to fix our beloved site. I'll be posting my plans for you to critique throughout the entire renovation process. (Don't expect any changes to the site's theme, though—I'll have to do that when we switch to Ning 3.0.)

I want to start by talking about some of the changes I want to make concerning Voting Cycles and Finalists. Please let me know what you think.

1. Voting Cycles. We had too many of them. When you guys told me that a Voting Cycle a month was too long to wait, I overcompensated—and the result sucked. We ended up having so many Voting Cycles that they, along with the Finalist titles, became devalued. It was also particularly easy to blow off signing up when there was another one right around the corner.

So here's what I'm thinking: I'd like to hold two Voting Cycles per year for each of our nine—yes, NINE—book to film adaptations. Those adaptations would, for logistical reasons, be grouped into sets. Our Voting Cycle schedule would look something like this*:

  • January: Max Ride, M14, Uglies (BTFA Set #1)
  • February: Voting Cycle Prep, Other Contests & Events
  • March: GONE, TBA, TBA (BTFA Set #2)
  • April: Voting Cycle Prep, Other Contests & Events
  • May: TBA, TBA, TBA (BTFA Set #3)
  • June: Voting Cycle Prep, Other Contests & Events
  • July: Max Ride, M14, Uglies (BTFA Set #1)
  • August: Voting Cycle Prep, Other Contests & Events
  • September: GONE, TBA, TBA (BTFA Set #2)
  • October: Voting Cycle Prep, Other Contests & Events
  • November: The Infernal Devices, TBA, TBA (BTFA Set #3)
  • December: Voting Cycle Prep, Other Contests & Events

*Note that voting would run simultaneously for all adaptations in a given set.

For an explanation regarding the sets, see #2.

I still haven't decided on the ideal duration—I'm thinking seven days—so please let me know for how long you feel voting should stay open.

2. Finalists. Your titles were devalued and the rewards weren't high enough to make re-filming and trying worth your time.

Because we'd only have two Voting Cycles per book per year, your titles would regain their former significance. Huzzah!

But that's not all. Do you see how I grouped our BTFAs into sets in the Voting Cycle schedule?

  • Set #1: Max Ride, Uglies, M14 (January, July)
  • Set #2: GONE, TBA, TBA (March, September)
  • Set #3: The Infernal Devices, TBA, TBA (May, November)

The method to my madness is to pair a hugely popular adaptation with two lesser-known adaptations. I have two reasons for doing this:

  • A stipulation of this new schedule would be that members can only become a Finalist for one adaptation per set. This means that it will not be possible for any one member to ever hold more than three Finalist titles.
  • Because of my pairing strategy, you won't be denied the chance to audition for our most popular titles (Max Ride, GONE, TID) just because you received a Finalist title in a previous set.

I believe that this method will allow everyone a reasonably fair opportunity to become a Finalist for our most popular adaptations while giving up-and-coming members a better chance at becoming Finalist titles for our lesser known adaptations.

If you are a Finalist for multiple characters within the same set, I will contact you privately and ask you to choose the character for which you would prefer to be the Finalist. You will be ranked second for the character you didn't choose, and the member who ranked just below you will become the new Finalist. (If you think the member should instead be dropped from the Top Five entirely, please let me know!)

I also plan to promote and pamper the hell out of our Finalists. Since the Finalists for any given adaptation will change just twice a year, that stability will allow me to organize cool stuff like Finalist interviews, cool "group" edits, scene name it. (I'll talk about this  in more detail some other time!)

3. Re-Filming. The solution to this one is easy: re-film your Required Monologues before every Voting Cycle. That's it!

4. Required Monologues: There will be fewer of them. They will also change every six months. (You're welcome!)

I have so much more to talk about, but I don't want to overwhelm. Please leave a comment if you have any comments about my proposed changes. Thanks for reading and here's to a better UBC!