On Growing Up and Out

August 28, 2012

For the past three years, I've managed an acting website geared toward teenagers. When I started it, I really had no idea what I was getting into. 3,000 members later, I have my work cut out for me. It's an interesting experience to say the least, and one that I will never, ever forget.

Running such a (relatively) large site without any marketing (all members joined via word-of-mouth) has, for the most part, been a blessing and a very rewarding experience. I've had countless teens message me to say that the website has changed their lives. Be it helping them through a tough time or aiding them in picking acting as their major in college, I should feel pretty good about myself knowing that I've made positive impacts on people's lives. That's a huge deal to me. There's a flip side to all of those positive feelings, however, and that has to do with people growing out of the website.

Nothing sinks my stomach quite like a private message from a long-time member telling me that they've outgrown the site and are moving on to bigger and better things. I don't think it's intended to come off as being pretentious or anything like that, but it hurts. It's a little stab in the gut. When I was sixteen, I thought my website would do great things. Now, I feel like it's merely perceived as a stepping stone; a willy-nilly space to clamber about before deciding to get serious with an agent and a career. When a formerly active member deletes their account on a note like that, I can't help but take it personally. Simply put, it means my efforts as a web master aren't good enough. Over time, I've watched dozens upon dozens of people grow out of the site, and it's finally starting to make me feel as if my website will never be anything more than a playground. It's demoralizing, and it makes me wonder if I should simply throw in the towel and accept the fact that the idea for my website was half-baked and is going nowhere.

What I can take comfort in, however, is my writing. Unlike websites, a book isn't necessarily something you can outgrow. A book stays with you forever. Sure, you might re-read a book as an adult and be at a loss for what made it so great as a kid, but the impact is still there. It did something for you once, and you're not likely to forget it. Additionally, books transcend age. Kids love adult books, and more commonly, adults love kid books. Books are timeless. Like I said, books never fade, and once you've read one, it becomes a part of you until you die. I guess you could say my acting website might stay with some people forever and whatnot, but the big difference between the two is that a book and its concepts are immortal. A website is not.

You can never truly move on from a good book. You may not think about it every day, but it becomes a part of your very being. Unlike a website membership that can easily be canceled and forgotten, a good book is a life-long commitment, and after you've read that book, you'd best be prepared to become a stepping stone for that book's lasting legacy, and not the other way around.

My chin is up. It hurts to see old members go, but it helps to know that there are things I can aspire to do that, if I'm successful, will stand the test of time. Being an inspiration is great, but becoming a lasting inspiration is even better.

I think a lot of people are missing my point with this post. I am not denying that the website has made impacts on member's lives, and I am certainly appreciative of that fact. The part that is hard for me to deal with is that members stop seeing the site as being serious once they decide to get an agent. If people don't stick around to give the site a chance, it's not going to accomplish what it was I set out for it to accomplish. It's great that people are furthering their careers, but the attitude that the website is some amateur thing fit for only the agent-less is going to utterly kill everything I've worked for.  If members don't view it as a potentially viable means of getting casted, casting directors won't either!


  1. beautiful kat this was really cool ... i can think about leaving ubc i mean its such a big part of me it has already changed my life

  2. Kat, you're a big inspiration to me and others. Your writing advice has helped me through despairing periods of writer's block, and your website has helped me through troubling times - it has also given me the motivation and inspiration to become more involved in film-making, including added insight that I would never have found anywhere else.
    So I'd like to take this opportunity to give you a whopping big "thank you." Your efforts have had a major impact on my lifestyle - for the better.
    ~ Kay

  3. This was beautiful Kat, and if i didnt say it before, i say it now. UBC has nade a big impact in my life and i dont plan on leaving....ever. And i agree with what you said about books: Maximum Ride will be a part of my life forever, even if i dont get cast. Im glad i discovered UBC. Thank you for making this website.

    YIYI :)


Comments are appreciated! Please include your URL so I can return the favor.