By Riley Phillips
There are many people throughout the school who play sports, play in the band, or participate in Scholars Bowl, but there aren’t many students who can say that they created and paid for a website all on their own.
Senior Hunter Hotaling begs a differ. Hotaling created his own movie review website slowly but surely over the span of about a year. It is a space that he can freely post his opinions and get feedback from others on his opinions. He started the creation of his website around October 2017 and began adding articles and jotting down ideas as he went.
“I think I wrote about 15 articles before I created my website.” It was no easy project as he said he was constantly playing around with the website, changing things, and editing the appearance. Once he was finished and the website was ready to be publish, Hotaling stated that the website looked nothing how it did when he started in October.
It is his love for movies and his motivation to create his own website helped make all of this possible. “I am a humongous movie nerd and I need to be able to vent my ideas somewhere without annoying people,” said Hotaling. After a long road of saving up his money to pay for the website, which turned out to be around $550 after adding up publishing costs, social media promotions, and adding on different widgets to enhance the websites visual appearance.
Time was also a major factor for Hotaling. “Once my website was published and fully up and running I was spending about two hours a day on the website seeing that I still had to create my SEO(Search Engine Operator) so my website could be found on google. Back then I spent a lot more time on it than I do now.” Hotaling now spends around five hours on his website per week writing articles and editing the software to make it better everyday.
Social media has played a major role in bring people to his website and seeing his articles. “Most of my audience comes from Facebook and Instagram seeing that’s where my ads and articles get posted and or reposted. Many people will leave comments or send me emails stating whether or not they liked the review or telling me to take down my review because it is not the same opinion as theirs, but its my website, but I’m not taking down my review over the opinion of a stranger,” he said.
Hotaling does his reviews over a wide variety of movies ranging from comedies to political movies such as “Vice”. “The review that I did over ‘Vice’ was by far my favorite seeing that the movie is about former Vice President Dick Cheney because there was a big political argument going on in the comments section which was really fun,” he said.
The Lansing senior plans on doing something with the entertainment industry with a critical journalism twist in the future as a career. Hotaling’s website is not associated with the school whatsoever and he plans on keeping his website around for while and hopes to take it to an even bigger spectrum as time progresses. His website is linked here and at the top of the article. Go check it out.