New Movies -
Old Movies -
Some self-indulgent and random observations I've made after one year of this (and some answers to a few questions I've been asked more than once)...
I started writing about films online about a year ago (09-23-02), with this much more modest web page, and have since written about 400 reviews. That's obviously averages out to a bit more than one per day (which was my goal for the first year of doing this when I started writing), and I think the longest that I went without writing a review over the last year was nine days, which was during a vacation. Several times I got frustrated and thought I should just stop writing altogether, but it's been pretty fun, to be honest, and the encouragement I've gotten has been cool, so I'm still in it for a while at least. What's interesting is that now the writing process feels almost part of the viewing process for me (even if I don't write about everything that I watch), so even if I did feel compelled to cut down severely, there would be movies that I felt compelled to write about.
I switched over to this slightly fancier site in January of this year, and it's been relatively painless. The entire process of writing about a film, posting a review, and finding/converting pictures to post takes about an hour or two, so it's not that massive a time commitment (though it certainly takes some time). Really, watching the films themselves generally takes longer than writing and posting about them. Of course, there are harder reviews that take longer to write (incidentally, the most challenging for some reason, was Time Out, mostly because I didn't feel I had anything of note to say about it), but generally what you're getting is a combination of the thoughts behind some quasi-detailed note-taking while watching the film and a stream of conscious flood of ideas when I sit down to write. I often don't even refer to my notes when I write... just scribbling something down makes it more concrete in my mind. I don't want to make it sound like I don't put any thought into what I do... I just generally don't agonize over what it is that I do. The great thing about writing online is that I can always go back and re-read stuff a few days later and correct glaring errors painlessly. Smaller errors, and embarrassing reviews, I leave up though. I do think my writing's improved a bit over the time I've been doing this, and it's almost gratifying to look back at something I wrote a year ago and be mortified by it.
The amount of web traffic that I get fluctuates pretty wildly, based on the topicality of the content that I put up it seems, though I notice that I seem to get more visitors each progressive month. Whether that increase has to do with a growing readership or more casual hits because the number of posted reviews keeps increasing, I can't really say, but either way I'm pretty happy about where I stand. Last January, when I registered this domain name and switched to the slightly spiffier site design, I was getting about 2,000-3,000 visitors a month. Since then though, I've built up to about 30,000 visitors a month (though I've already surpassed that figure for September). It's relatively modest when compared to bigger behemoth sites, but for one dude's effort it's not half bad, and seems a bit humbling to me, honestly. Just for fun, because 2 people have asked, and I assume more might be curious, here are some random stats (all stats below are only measured since May... my old stats were lost in a server upgrade or something):
Most popular reviews:
01. Spirited Away
02. Minority Report
03. Lilo & Stitch
04. The Piano Teacher (written before May)
06. Shaolin Soccer
07. Ichi the Killer (written before May)
08. Punch-Drunk Love
10. Solaris (written before May)
Generally, it looks like the average review I write generates about 500-1000 hits, though these top ones generated as many as 5,000 or more. I'm not certain what it is that makes some stand out above others but that's what I've found.
Since May, my web stats say I've attracted about 135,000 visitors. The average visitor views 3.0 pages and spends 1 minute, 30 seconds visiting my site.
If you assume each film I've seen is 2 hours long and it takes me exactly 1 hour to write and post about each film, I've spent about 1,200 hours on this site, which is about 30 work weeks, which qualifies this as a part time job that I don't get paid anything for. I'm not complaining or anything, though. At least I get to see a lot of free movies.
About 35% of my web traffic seems to be referred from either Rotten Tomatoes or the Online Film Critics' Society web site. Another 10% comes from links at the IMDB, with about 7% of visitors linking from the MRQE. Search engines seem to account for about 5% of traffic collectively, and the rest of you seem to arrive out of the ether (or else they type my address in directly). Wherever you've come from, thanks for coming.
I'm considering starting making an entry in a web-blog-style page whenever I see a film, just for the completionist in me. I'm worried that this might make me lazy, however, since I might write short reviews where I should be writing longer ones. Do you have any thoughts on it or anything else? As always, let me know by e-mailing me.
Let's hope the next year works out as well...