I first stumbled across Screen Rant in the spring of 2008 - at that oh so happy time of mass recession, in which I had the added good fortune of being a graduate student studying writing, of all non-money-making things. I had been working as a part-time film blogger and editor for a startup site that was promptly dumped when the recession hit (R.I.P. Critics Rant); I stumbled across Screenrant.com through a random link while hunting for new work, and liked the site's aesthetic - particularly its use of dark background and white text (a departure from the norm). I reached out to the owner to discuss an idea for a new type of fan blog I had been envisioning. He was gracious enough to take me on as a writer - though he warned that his blog (which had been operating since 2003) was more hobby than venture, and that I should temper my expectations. Not to be deterred I jumped in and got started, writing and editing for the site.
Within a few months of becoming a Screen Rant editor, I was joined by a passionate student from Ontario, who left so many great comments on the site that we finally just brought him onboard. That kid was named Rob Keyes, and within our first year together as editors, we were able to bring hundreds of thousands of new readers to the site, and establish Screen Rant as one of the fan blogs to read in the late '00s, through the phenomenon of The Dark Knight, the beginnings of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and so many other milestone moments for TV/Movie geeks.
With the promise of a successful venture now in front of us, the owner re-invested in our editorial efforts, allowing me to pull in other talented writers and editors from my grad school acquaintances (Ben Kendrick, Benjamin Moore), as well as other talented individuals who came to us through the Internet (Sandy Schaefer, Anthony Ocasio, Paul Young) - and who I often didn't meet in person until years after working with them! With a great team behind us, we built an even more successful site to carry us into the 2010s and the coming of The Avengers, the era of Avatar 3D, and the new billion-dollar standard in the movie game. Beyond the site, we started a popular podcast, The Screen Rant Underground, which only helped to propel the great personalities and critical-minded appeal of Screen Rant further along, bringing us into contact with fans all over the world who are as passionate and dedicated as we are.
In the last year, there have been many changes at Screen Rant as the former owner has moved on, and a new team of owners has come onboard, with the desire to take the site to even greater heights than it's achieved so far. As part of those changes, I, too, will be moving on after this week - leaving the site in the hands of great and talented editors (Ben, Rob, Sandy, Hannah, Dyce, Kevin) that I have had the pleasure of training and working with for over half a decade (in most cases). As an Editor-in-Chief, there is no better way to leave than having pride in the team you leave behind, and I can say indisputably that I definitely have that :-)
It's been an amazing and humbling thing to witness: what began as a mission to create a fun and thoughtful home for movie geeks and the average viewer, alike, evolved into a site that has influenced the industry (both the movie industry and online writing), and inspired many people across the world to either take part in the passion and love of movies, or to go out and put their passion into something inspired and creative that they can one day be proud of, too.
I'd like to personally thank every reader and fan who has ever reached out to let us know how much you love or were inspired by what we do (you guys save our souls in ways you'll never understand). I'd like to thank every single Screen Rant team member past, present, and future who has ever hammered away at the keyboard, gotten glam for the camera, or hustled to snag that important quote or interview - all in the name of advancing the site. I'd like to thank everyone who ever gave me the opportunity and mean$ to do something I have truly loved to do as a career. And I'd even like to thank all of you who rained down fiery criticism on the site - day in, day out - if only for keeping us honest, on our toes, and never at all comfortable with the idea that we have any talent at all for this. You were truly the wind beneath my wings ;-)
There are going to be big announcements in the coming weeks for both Screen Rant and myself (not all change is bad change, guys!), so stay tuned for those announcements. You can always follow Screen Rant on Twitter and Facebook (or you know, here at the site...) - and if you want to keep up with me and my next adventures, you can find me on Twitter @ppnkof.
It will be a busy week of transitions, and I don't know if I'll have time to speak to you again through an article or feature, before it's my time to depart. But as the last days roll by, my mind keeps thinking back to a memory I thought I'd share: Comic-Con 2010, Rob and I's first time out to the convention. The Avengers cast brought down the house as they took the stage together for the first time, and Rob and I found ourselves walking into a lavishly exclusive party on the roof of the Hard Rock hotel, with fellow bloggers and celebrities everywhere, and we looked at each other with the same exciting realization in mind: "Wow, we're really doing this."
...And then a huge fight broke out.
It's in no way dramatic to say that this experience has changed my life forever. Here's to an even more exciting future.
May The Force be with ya'll. Sincerely,
Kofi Outlaw, Editor-in Chief of Screenrant.com (2008 - 2016)
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