Just a heads-up for our regular visitors – Scream-Trilogy.net may experience downtime from December 19 onwards. This might not be news to some, as many months throughout 2012 have seen disappearances of the website, and with this upcoming one seeming lengthy, possibly permanent, I wanted to address this.
The outages have always been cost-related. Our server costs cycle over on the 9th of every month, at which point we get a 10-day grace period to renew our plan. Many times we have some of the amount raised by the 19th cut-off period, but not enough, so we pass into offline status and our data is locked in holding by the webhost, and you get those ugly “site unavailable” white screens, such as have happened on many past 19ths. If I were to let more days lapse after that, they would go ahead delete everything – the space has to be allocated elsewhere, to – you know – p0aying customers. That would be a huge problem. We do regular backups, but for a site this large the restoring process is lengthy and problematic, as proven to various successes and failures in other quarters. So what happens every time the website goes offline is, I have to scramble to borrow money so we can get back online and avoid deletion. But paying back the short-term loans facilitate the cycle of being short for the following month’s renewal. Rinse, repeat.
We are now at a crossroads now because of Christmas. My borrowing possibilities have dropped to zip – rightfully so with the expensive process of holidays and presents in pretty much everyone’s lives – and to be honest I would really like to start the new year fresh without constantly chasing my own tail monthly to keep this hobby (obsession?) going.
Looking back at 2012
Having lived through the past iterations of the site as they hit the period post DVD release (Scream 3 in 2000, Cursed in 2005), I was well aware when we enter the “radio silence” period – news dries up, and casual fans move on to the next big thing (probably Hunger Games this time?). This is the third time, so it’s nothing new and generally not a problem – it gives website editors and writers a chance to either retire or recharge.
I had hoped to recharge, and had grand plans, in the absence of Scream 5’s forward momentum, to instead look backward and write about what makes the four films so cool, at a more relaxed pace than the multi-daily schedule of Scream 4 updating we gave you through a large chunk of 2011. I run this website because I love Scream, and wanted to express that in the real ways I never had time to while keeping up with the breakneck pace of Scream 4. Unfortunately the financial renewal cycle dominated the time and energy I allocated to this site, so in order to deal with that I entrusted others with taking care of the news, community and security aspects of the place. This would ultimately prove to be a bad choice, as some of these helpers were not ready and became overwhelmed, in over their head. That was my fault, not theirs. Ideally with more time I would have better trained them, and defined the boundaries and opportunities of their roles.
In the past few months I have taken the necessary steps to get us back on track. I quickly eliminated major security and spam issues, and began writing new articles and working on new features of the website. One of which was an upgraded design, which I’ve implemented today. Hope you like – if not, I’m sure you’ll let me know. (let’s face it, Screamers are some of the most vocal and passionate franchise fans there are). The ever-present problem remained, of possible deletion due to non-payment. Because of this, I was hesitant to add the new material because I never knew if we would be around beyond 3-4 weeks into the future. There hasn’t been any real news, but I’ve popped up here and there. Consider the revamped design my early Christmas gift.
So What Next?
If we are to disappear on the 19th, I will take that as an opportunity to move on. I don’t want to spend next year trying to retrieve and restore massive amounts of data in addition to the monthly spin-cycle of server renewal costs. That’s just not fun, guys and gals. I would rather be having fun by writing about the things I find fun. Like Scream. And this was going to be my outlet for that. And my major regret will be the more elaborate stuff waiting in the wings I wasn’t able to get around to finishing as of yet. We (and by me – I mostly mean – you) can help grease the wheels in making our voices properly heard by the powers that be about Scream 5. I’m not talking lame online petitions and social media bombing, I’m talking more intricate, concentrated plans to galvanize the fanbase towards a common goal in innovative ways. We have more work to do. So… is this the end?
Apart from being a possible goodbye for the website, this piece today is also about asking for help. Running a website is a thankless task. Most of the time, the only feedback you get is when someone doesn’t like what you’re doing. So there’s some reluctance to reach out… but I’d really like to keep Scream-Trilogy going and I need some help.
There are two ways to help. One is, if we can keep going, we’ve got to step up and diversify our content. As much content as can bring to the site, it will always be just my thoughts, just my style, just my areas of interest. So I am on the lookout for volunteers with a high excitement Scream. Graphics artists are needed, but writers are key. Scream-Trilogy should be a wild mix of different personalities… more than just one person. To that end experienced web writers who are also accurate, diligent, and efficient are encouraged to make contact via email on email@example.com and introduce themselves. Links to prior work should be included, as well as what you’re interested in writing about. As stated, these are volunteer positions. If you work your way up, you might someday be in a position for some of the perks I’ve received but… gosh, you do it for the love of Scream.
The other, more concrete way to help is to drop some finance our way, no matter how small. Every dollar counts toward another month – or hopefully months of remaining online. We are hosted on a private server shared with other websites, but Scream-Trilogy is the largest, so to avoid outages (ironic, hey) we switched to a VPS partition with variable costs based around bandwidth overages. It’s not so much the number of visitors but the memory used and amount of files and images downloaded. We have been a multimedia intensive website. Our massive Scream 4 news archive contains historical content on the production from greenlight to release, and that’s where most of our bandwidth has been going whereas previously it was other areas like the forum weighing it down. It sure would be nice to be able to relax and not worry about raising funds for our webhost for a while.
Paypal works best – drop some coins to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the button below. Again, thanks for anything. You might all tell me to go to hell… or, we might raise some dollars yet fall short of renewing one month’s worth since we’re so close to the endzone. So please only donate if you’ve gotten any enjoyment out of this website in the past and can afford it. This is a last ditch effort but worth it either way – I’m glad I was able to have this long, rambling heartfelt chat with you folks. I swear I’m not drunk. Thank you!
Update #1 (Dec 20): Enough donations came through to cover another month. Thank you to all who donated so far.