Chapter Two: In Which Clark Takes Stock of Things

Well, we made it: the first year of the site's existence has come and gone, and we managed to achieve our goal of publishing a new movie review every single day. There were a few moments when I didn't think it was going to happen – life has a way of interfering with your plans from time to time – but things always worked out in the end. Despite a few moments of stress, meeting the self-imposed challenge was largely a pretty fun endeavor (aided immeasurably by the bits of feedback I received from those of you who actually read this stuff).

It's been fun to watch the site grow over the course of its early days. For the first couple of months, the numbers were very small: a few hundred page views a month, largely generated by people I knew personally. However, things have steadily grown over the course of the past year, and December 2015 was our biggest month yet (over 8,000 page views). Those are still modest numbers (particularly in contrast to the bigger review sites out there), but the growth is encouraging.

So, we now move into Year Two, and the goal remains the same: publish a new review every single day. I freely admit that there were a few moments when I contemplated revising that goal. “Maybe a Monday-Friday review schedule would be okay,” I told myself. That's still a lot of reviews, right? Still, I could never find a way to justify doing that without compromising the site's identity. It's called 365 Movie Guy, not 260 Movie Guy. Without the challenge of continuing to do this every single day, I make it easier for myself to pass on difficult review assignments (when you're writing at this pace, there's no backing out once you commit to spending a certain amount of time watching a film) or sacrifice a pretty big chunk of the site's identity. Additionally, I'd like to give the site another year to grow in its current form. If the readership grows enough, I may look into the possibility of monetizing the site (mostly to justify the amount of time I spend working on it), but we'll cross that bridge when/if we get to it.

There are a few minor issues that still need to be worked out. The e-newsletter never got off the ground, because... reasons. It'll either happen soon or it won't happen at all. There are also a couple of minor technical issues that my endlessly helpful site designer Joe Darnell is helping me sort out. I write all of the content and do all of the formatting, but he's the one who built this place and is best-equipped to handle the big changes. That said, I'm fairly pleased with the way this place looks (and particularly grateful to Joe for ensuring that the site offers a smooth mobile experience – without fail, the majority of the site's traffic comes from people using mobile devices).

If you read the introductory post I wrote last year, you may recall that I mentioned stockpiling some reviews in advance of the site's launch to cover days that got busy. Here's what I didn't expect: that I wouldn't feel comfortable with publishing most of those by the time I got around to needing them. As time passed and a film sat with me for months, I found myself reconsidering aspects of some of the pre-written reviews. I would feel an urge to go back and revisit the movie to confirm or deny my new thoughts, but taking the time to do that defeats the whole purpose of using pre-written reviews. I did indeed use a few of them here and there, but a lot of them were swept under the rug. I'm completely fine with a review remaining untouched after I've published it – they're snapshots of how I felt at the time – but much less comfortable with publishing something old as something new. While I may work ahead from time to time (something I do when my day job gets busy or when I'm going to be out of town), I will no longer be saving things for use at an undetermined date. Will this decision end up wrecking my review-a-day plans? Check the site every single day and find out! Imagine the suspense!

I want to offer my sincere thanks to those of you who have supported the site. Every bit of feedback – whether it's something as substantial as a detailed conversation or something as simple as a “like” or a “favorite” - means something to me. Knowing that people are taking the time to read these reviews makes writing them so much more satisfying. I hope that you're finding some of this stuff helpful, interesting or thought-provoking in some way. As always, I hope to continue getting better at this with time. Thank you for reading. Here's hoping 2016 has a lot of great movies in store for all of us.