Once upon a time Ryan, Ian, and Brad created Glee, a show about (mostly) outcast students who were members of the New Directions glee club at William McKinley High School in Lima Ohio. The show as super popular, but they realized that they could not have the same actors playing the same characters forever. They had to graduate eventually, and part of the appeal of the existing cast was that they were relatively unknown actors, and they utilized traits of the actual actors in the characters that they played making them more real.
Season One was lightening in a bottle, and almost all of the cast proved to be loved by the fans, and came back for season 2 (poor Matt!). However, some of the actors hired to supplement the cast during season two didn’t go over as well as they had hoped, so they decided to hire people that were not regular actors at all and write characters around them. Ryan, along with Casting Director Robert Ulrich decided to open up casting to literally the entire world through an online audition process, and large open casting cals in several American cities; and The Glee Project was born.