Why UBC Is Still Closed Indefinitely

One of the questions I received as part of the UBC Q&A video that never came to fruition was this:

"Are you excited to unveil the new website?"

When I arrived at this question while filming, the answer that came out of my mouth completely changed my perspective.

I was not excited about unveiling the "new" site. In fact, I was dreading it.

It took me about a month to fully understand why I felt that way, and what I discovered is that it wasn't just one particular issue that was bothering me; it was a whole batch of inherent complications that I continually refused to acknowledge. I had to finally admit to myself that I was, to put it plainly, smearing lipstick on a pig. What I thought would be a from-the-ground-up fix for UBC's problem still did not take into account faults buried way beneath the metaphorical surface.

User Based Casting has no monetary potential. This is by far the most grating detail I've had to deal with because it means that the site isn't sustainable. Not only does UBC not pay for itself, it's actually something I PAY to do work for on a yearly basis. What I didn't consider going into the overhaul is that while my commitment and productivity would certainly increase, the site's potential and ability to pull in revenue would not.

For those of you who don't already know, I'm actually getting married next month. We're doing everything we can to find stable work that will allow us to save up for a house/provide for future children, and that means…well, it means that I actually have to make some money. The time commitment the UBC overhaul would involve for the foreseeable future was comparable to a part-time (possibly full-time) job for which I would never be paid. I'm sure you can see why this is a problem.

I can't work for free and I can't pay to work. I would hate to ask that of you and I hope you would not ask that of me. The level of work required to run UBC up until now was, while substantial at times, sustainable through high school and college—unfortunately, it just wasn't enough to make the site a success.

I tried to fight my strengths and weaknesses with this overhaul. I thought that I could force myself to do things that cause me distress; consistent social networking, reaching out to professionals in a field I know little about, the kinds of things that give me really shitty anxiety issues. I finally had to ask myself: why force what isn't there? Why should I make myself do things that I don't enjoy doing when I'm not even getting paid to do them? It would be one thing if the UBC overhaul consisted of changes I found personally exciting; instead, it's full of stuff that makes me depressed just from the thought of having to deal with it for years and years to come.

Also, I'm not an actress. I know little about the industry and I don't have any connections (or the savvy to make them) within the industry.  I used to think that I could one day charge Casting Directors for hosting Voting Cycles on UBC, but that was completely unrealistic. What I do has little value because I lack insight and expertise (and let's face it, interest) in the intricacies of casting. I wasn't the ideal person to have created this website for these reasons, and it's our non-existent progress that really confirms that my shortage of acting industry know-how is a problem.

I'm also not sure that YA adaptations are at a stable enough place in the market to adopt, even in part, a User Based Casting process. No one's willing to take a risk this early in the game; that's why we're seeing Chloe Mortez in If I Stay and The 5th Wave as well as Shailene/Ansel in both Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars. Directors are playing it safe, and I can't blame them. Perhaps the industry just isn't ready for us yet…

It's bothered me from the start that we had so many members, yet so few who participated regularly--less than 1% of our total membership, in fact. That's absolutely terrible; a clear indication that I was doing things wrong. What perhaps bothered me even more was that when I first took the site offline in February, I heard very little from most of you; particularly from our Finalists. These are the faces of our website, the people that potentially had the most to gain…and it felt as if they had already moved on. Actually, it felt like 99.8% of you had moved on. I don't say this to place blame on those who didn't react to UBC going offline; I merely want to point out how indicative these numbers are of UBC being past its time. If there was still some value to the site that was worth fighting for, I know more of you would have fought for it. 

I don't know what will happen next. I feel like we've worked too hard on the site to let it close down completely. If I can find an angle that requires less work on my part, I might be able to one day bring it back.

I have to be honest, though: I do think it's probably time to bring User Based Casting to a close. It had its time and at this point, it feels like I'm clinging to a whisper of potential that isn't actually there.

I want to thank you all for supporting UBC's wonderful 4.5 years online. I hope the experience was unforgettable and that you can look back on it as having made a positive contribution to your life.