During her childhood, her parents took her to acting classes that they taught because they did not want to leave her with a babysitter. Lively said that watching her parents teach acting helped her learn the "drills" and gain confidence as she got older and entered the entertainment industry. She began her acting career at age 10, when she appeared in the 1998 film Sandman, which was directed by Lively's father. She describes her role as a "bit part". She was initially not particularly interested in acting and wanted to attend Stanford University.