Just like I review movies, I’m going to review last year as well in terms of the progress of the blog, rankings of the movies I’ve watched, just my year-long review of what this blog has become in the year 2020.
So let me start from the beginning.
The Conception of IMO
So I started the shadow of this blog on a free WordPress website in the summer of 2018. I would watch many movies and then later when someone would bring up the movie I would forget ALL the details. All I would remember is either I liked it, I loved it, it was meh, or I hated it but it bugged me how I put so much time into TV and movies and at the end of the day, had nothing to show for it. Had nothing to say. Couldn’t remember the character or the plot or anything significant.
So I started a little spreadsheet listing out my likes, dislikes, important takeaways, and ratings for each movie. After some time I attempted WordPress and didn’t get further than my Welcome post. The website was called inmyopinion(a bunch of random numbers I don’t remember).com. I’ve deleted it. RIP. But I didn’t get the hang of WordPress at that point and once that summer was over I didn’t have a lot of time with school and everything.
Sometime in 2019, a friend of mine and I started a shared google doc noting all the different movies we’d watched and comparing our ratings and reviews. Whenever I took the time to watch a movie I would usually put my thoughts in that document although I noticed I would censor myself a bit or not say completely everything I meant or try to sound more knowledgeable than I really was cuz I knew I would be watched and potentially judged for it. So I still kept my spreadsheet from the summer and updated it from time to time with my honest reviews. I also noticed that I was way more into writing some detailed reviews than my friend so I might as well have been writing to myself.
Also, my friend mentioned we should start a movie blog together which I was like, yeah! I’ve attempted that before. It’s definitely something I’m up for but at the same time boo! Group work. I’m so much more comfortable, efficient, and unrestrained when I’m able to work alone. So when I eventually started the blog up this year 2020, that’s what I did. I worked on it completely alone.
I unofficially started the blog on June 2, 2020, through a free Wix website, the idea birthed after watching Jeffery Epstein: Filthy Rich. The documentary just overwhelmed me with things to say and lessons to learn which is not a rare occurrence for me. I often write A LOT because I’m overwhelmed A LOT. Whenever my mind is racing with so many thoughts and observations and I just write up a Word Document essay and have it sit and collect dust in the corner of my hard drive until a couple of months later, as I sifting through my files trying to clear up space on my laptop, I find it again. But I really wanted this essay to have the potential to be seen. I do everything in the dark, by myself, but I wanted this work to be seen.
So, this movie blog was born officially on July 20th, 2020. It is a newborn, only a few months old. Can’t even walk on its own two feet. This is very evident because there has been very little growth and mobility in terms of how far this blog has reached.
And when I say officially I mean I dropped my first coin, invested real American dollars into building a website that could eventually turn a profit.
I started investing financially into the blog because I had just finished college and the big burning question, the heavy boulder that sat on my shoulders 24/7 was what are you doing with your life? What are you going to do with your life? You hate the 9-5 life and don’t have the self-confidence enough to believe you can thrive in the creative world. I have the workflow, patience, spontaneity, unboundedness, the mind of a free agent. A business owner.
So I was on a YouTube binge trying to figure out money stuff and life when I came across a video of a person telling how they make a six-figure income through blogging alone. That’s when I thought if she can do it, why can’t I? I’ve been writing all these reviews, and there are tons of people who make a living just by giving their commentary on things. Why not I? So I took the leap and put like $75 into a real WordPress website and that was literally the easiest part of the process. The real struggle was building the website itself.
Oh my goodness I’m getting heart palpitations just thinking about it.
Never have I ever had a greater appreciation and reverence for computer programmers and web designers. Never. Like there is so much intricacy to it it’s crazy. And I’m a big picture kind of gal. I have to be obsessed with something to worry about the intricacies — so good thing I was obsessed with building this website.
I can’t even tell you the amount of Youtube videos I watched, articles I read, phone calls I made to make my website resemble the vision I have for it. The amount of times I had to do the same process over and over and over again because I kept failing to get things to line up correctly. Having to break everything down and start from scratch again and again.
And I cannot ever forget the day that I spent 12 hours straight, no food, no breaks, trying to change the font of the word “flicks” in my header. As you can see, the font of flicks is the same as the rest of the header and I wasted 12 hours of my life and 1,000 cc’s of my sanity.
I didn’t want to spend more money than I had to and I also really didn’t want to outsource so much of my website that I didn’t know how to handle it and adjust it and design it myself. Also, because I’m a little bit of a control freak, I like things the way I want them and I don’t mind compromise cuz I’m a person of peace but I’d rather not, you know? I’m glad that I was able to wrestle through the endless hours of mania and crash course lessons on coding because now, I can really have fun with, adjust, and mess around with my website whenever and however I please. Thank God for plugins and the internet. I would not be here without it.
Every time I look at my website design I am just so proud of what I was able to accomplish. Lil ol’ technologically deficient me. It’s like my own little cozy internet home and it makes me smile so I just hope that it makes others feel warm and cozy too. The colors of the website were just so innate to me. Movie theatre red curtains, black movie screens, yellow popcorn, it just feels like a home theatre, doesn’t it? It should.
So that’s literally way too much information that no one but me would care about.
Let’s talk about blog growth in terms of followers.
Instagram currently has 85 followers. I started with 0 so that’s an increase I guess.
Mailing list currently has 4 emails and 4 of those emails are mine so… you know… that’s an area that needs more growth. Needs a lil help.
Pinterest has 11 followers. Started at 0. So wow, what a spike in numbers.
Twitter started with 0 followers and now has 1 follower. I’m not a tweeter, never have been, so I’m not surprised. The good news is that our numbers have not hit the negatives.
Pageviews and all that change so much and vary for different reasons and I haven’t taken the time to statistically analyze anything but Google Analytics sum it up well by letting me know that every single page on my blog is worth $0 so that’s promising. Still not in the negatives.
And my biggest flex this year was that I got my first private screening. Someone, a real professional, reached out to lil ol’ me to write a review on their beautiful short film. It was definitely the biggest success of this year for me.
And I just received my second private screening opportunity! What a time to be alive. I love when people find what I do valuable to some extent enough to email me and trust me with their work. It truly means a lot.
As I said in the review, one step closer to getting paid to just watch movies and give my opinions on them.
This year I came to terms with the fact that I am not marketing material. I am not a money-maker, I am not a persuasive person, I’m not strategic with putting a product out there, it’s just bad. A weakness of mine. It sucks because I can’t tell if people aren’t reading my reviews because the right audience isn’t finding it or because they’re just unremarkable. I don’t know.
I’m trying to actively focus on just enjoying this review blog for what it is. At the very least, it’s a fun journal of my movie thoughts and lessons learned. I still enjoy reading my old reviews, they make me smile. And if that’s all they are then that’s all they are. But I never want to fall out of love with movies and reviews because I’m too focused on gaining more followers, appealing to people, burning myself out by pumping out constant low-quality material. Again, I like being in control of my time and not having my time control me.
Real talk though, it’s a little discouraging to spend 6-8 hours on every single individual post spending all this time trying to SEO optimize things and find legal pictures, and graphic design images so that they’re aesthetically pleasing for Insta only for the payoff to be maybe 3 likes on Insta, maybe a follow accompanied by 3 unfollows, maybe 1 page view that lasts 3 seconds. Idk it brings up a lot of feelings of insignificance. Especially in an area of media that is so oversaturated. EVERYONE is a film critic. What can I say that hundreds of people haven’t already said?
So I battle with that a lot. I took a step of faith to allow myself, my words to be seen to some degree only to find out that they never mattered in the first place. Whether in the corner of my hard drive or out in the open for all to see, my words mean nothing.
It’s a harsh reality that I hope is false. I continue to write grasping onto that tiny ounce of hope that it matters somewhere to someone someday.
Top 3 Flicks of 2020
Bottom 3 Flicks of 2020
- Holiday Rush: 2.5/10
- The Hustle: 2.8/10
- Vampires vs. The Bronx: 3/10
I published 43 posts in 2020.
Goals for 2021
So moving into 2021, I genuinely don’t know what 2021 brings. I have no inkling of a clue. I’m not even sure I care what 2021 is, I feel quite numb and indifferent to everything right now. I’m honestly in a state where I’m hesitant to want anything so that I’m not writing out next year’s reviews with my tears. But I’m going to force myself to hope just a little bit.
- I would like a mailing list that consists of people (plural) other than me.
- I would like to be recommended for movie reviews and private screenings.
- I would like to be consistent enough to post as least 4 reviews a month
- I would like a stronger social media presence
- I would like to improve my SEO rankings; optimize SEO further
- I would like to keep up with fun designs relevant to the holidays
- I would like the strength to persevere even when my blog is not getting the attention I wish for it.
Well, that’s a wrap to arguably the weirdest, most complicated, unprecedented year ever. Good riddance 2020. Thanks for the lessons learned and the normality yearned. Hopefully, 2021 is a step in the direction.
Happy New Year everyone!!
Peace, love, and lots of popcorn,