Folks, having done this gig as long as I have, I've been fortunate enough to watch back and watch my readership grow. Granted, it could've grown a helluva lot faster and I would've been helluva lot happier, but it takes time -- as they say -- to 'build it' and 'have people come.' (Hat tip to 1989's Field Of Dreams for the reference.) First, there's figuring out what I wanted to say. Then, there's actually written what I wanted to say. And then, there's figuring out what graphics I wanted to use. And even then, there's putting together what not only looks and sounds good but also serves the central purpose of informing and educating those who come to SciFiHistory.Net for a unique perspective. As anyone who has written will tell you: it isn't always what you say but what voice have you cultivated that your audience appreciates, so I'm always -- and I do mean always -- fighting this daily battle.
Because the readership has grown, I sometimes find that newbie have kinda/sorta missed bits and pieces of the evolution -- the lessons I've learned on the way -- and that's the case with today's question.
"Hey, why is it that you post a film's first release date and then also post other release dates around the world?"
That, my friends, is a very good question; and I have a very good answer.
Back when SciFiHistory.Net began, I didn't post all of a film's release dates. In fact, I only made it a habit to cite the very first theatrical screening release date. My logic here is that -- this being essentially a daily trivia website -- I felt at that time what truly mattered was -- like with a person's birth -- the day a brand new film was released was sufficient enough. It was as simple as that.
Well, a few years after I'd been doing my 'thang,' I received an email from a reader in the great Down Under ... Australia. He was taking issue with a post of mine, insisting that the original release date for a particular motion picture was, in fact, different than what I'd posted on SciFiHistory.Net. I don't remember all of the facts, mind you, but let's say -- using an example -- that I had a film like "Space Dream" (not a real title, so far as I know) and it released in the U.S. on January 5th (just using today's date). So I'd say, "On this day in 2024 (in the U.S.), Space Dream enjoyed its unveiling to the masses."
Well, this Aussie's argument was that I had my facts wrong; and -- according to what he was looking at -- Space Dream was first released on, say, February 1st. I did a bit of research, and I found that, yes, Space Dream was released theatrically on February 1st ... in Australia!
So, I did what any good editor would do. I wrote him back. I explained that my citation was correct as I had clearly indicated in the text that I was using the very first release date and also added -- in parenthesis -- that it was a U.S. release, not an Australian citation.
This fellow then wrote me back, saying, "You don't have to be a f#ckhead about it, mate!"
Now, initially, what I learned from this exchange is that Australians are insufferable rude. (It's OK, Aussies, your secret's safe with me ... well ... and anyone else who reads this.) What I also learned was more of a reminder: we, as film fans, are a global phenomenon.
Talent and films and TV shows are born everywhere, so perhaps just limiting one motion picture -- as an example -- to a single date does a disservice, perhaps unintentionally implying that I'm only interested in some geocentric kind of trivia website. I'm not -- I realize that Science Fiction and Fantasy takes place everywhere -- so I opted to make an editorial change. I'd always reference the very first screening date I could find with some additional flourish, but -- as time permits -- I'll continue expanding the Daily Citation Pages to include all release dates around the world. This way, I'm doing my part to be inclusive to the wants and needs of a global readership.
Thanks to the reader who reached out with the question, and I certainly hope this explains why -- in some small way -- I do what I do.