Danny Winn-An Acting Master Class A-Z, IMDb Influence
- Written by Danny Winn
Time again for that wonderful dose of reality, joviality and teachery with some strategery. #lmao. Perhaps with a bit of wisdom mixed in as we broach the subject of the actors IMDb profile. This is another fun topic similar to my article on Guilds a few weeks back. In the sense that there is much misinformation and or misunderstanding of the subject among aspiring actors. Let us discuss now the IMDb influencer, influence, and how influential it is or is not.
By now you have taken your training and knowledge of my previous articles and have landed a gig. #yesyoulistened. It is actually a production that is organized enough to have an IMDb profile and you are listed in a credit as a cast member. That being what may, there is now a profile on you that you can work with or can you? You wish to get on and apply a photo, a resume and informational tidbits about you that no person knows unless they are in the know with you…lol Not so fast as many of you already know. In order to edit that subject matter, and many other features you must sign up for a paid membership. I believe this runs about 159.00 per year these days. Now that you are a member, you are free to edit at will. You may also begin a profile on your own before any credits have been listed by a production. This can be a great marketing tool to help productions see your photo’s, resume, and hopefully some reel of you. Simply remember to do this professionally as an actor, and not like a social media site. Many A and B list actors do not carry memberships as society and many other entities will edit, add and subtract from your IMDb in your stead. I feel that it is a good idea to always keep a membership even when you hit the big time. It enables you to retain the quality control of the content. Unless you are Liam Neesan. When he did not like the profile pic on his page, he simply told one of the owners of IMDb to change it when they met at some soiree. #nice
In setting up your IMDb, pick out about two or three various headshots to post. Select some that will show a variety of looks and attire. You may post one as your main photo that would encompass perhaps many character brands in the expression. If you are branding yourself as one character type, then keep it in the scope of your brand. As you grow tap your main photo with a fun pose shot or a public appearance shot. I presently have a fun in studio shot from my new in-home studio which was virus inspired. #ugh. Refer to www.IMDb.me/DannyWinn . Please do not fill up your photo album with headshots over three. This will make a production feel that ‘I am a beginner vibe, and I have nothing to show but all my various repeatedly similar shots’. Hence, like a social media site. If you are fortunate to have production stills, then please do post those. That shows that you are a working actor who has production value shots. This can be from any size film just be sure that they are advancing your look and not detrimental in quality. If you do not have any that is fine as well. Perhaps you appeared at a red carpet opening…. No, it does not have to be big. Perhaps a local short film. Posts such as this are great also, but again do not fill it up with headshots. In this case less is more. Trust me on this. It may not matter to small productions, but it does not represent well to the larger. After all that is where you want to be right? Oh, and please, keep the BG poses off as well. Dressed as a character is not the same as being in character. If you have a video clip of your acting, then do please post it in your demo reel/video area. Keep your video clips short and under a minute to a minute and a half if possible. Productions are not always in the mood for the three-to-five-minute reels. IMDb can also be awfully hard/slow to load at times. The short clip bursts are better to load in that regard. This is a great idea on your breakdown service sites and submissions also. Keep them under that 1.5-minute window in consideration of breakdown services like Actors Access and others. When submitting in these services, the actor with more clip’s submitted will float to the top of the submission list automatically. Several one-minute clips will get you to the top of the view better than a long demo reel clip. #justsayin. More reality on reel. I am often asked that if the actor has no video clips, would it be helpful to post a monologue or a past self-tape audition. Yes. If it is of a worthy quality concerning both acting and taping. First and foremost be sure your acting is of the posting quality. Be sure that the video and sound is clear as well. If it is a past self-tape be certain that you have an experienced reader that enhances your performance and that you have followed industry norms/expectations of the self-tape. You can find much of that subject in my previous column of ‘D’ for Demo Reel. I have also seen some clips of high-level stunt choreography reel. I think that is helpful also but again, QUALITY. Check out actor Philip Bushman and his stunt reel on his IMDb. Assisting him is stunt coordinator Gary Choi. Phillip is lit up by Gary and all a flame. Bushman proceeds with acting out the screaming and emotion of his burning desire. #amustsee. That is the type of quality I am speaking of. Ha ha…not the setting on fire people! The point is that it looks like an actual stunt set up and not two guys wrestling on the living room floor. #smh. You get the picture?
Credits, credit and no credit. I always fit the no credit column on the account that know one gives me credit for anything…Ba ha ha ha. My advice is to let the production list you per their timetable. If you are uncertain if the production will allow you to post the credit early, then simply ask them. Some productions may forget to list you so again ask them. Please do remember the difference between asking and demanding though, ok? As for BG work, I would not suggest listing your Background work as this is another move that shows you live in the novice world. However, there are some grey areas of exception in my eyes. If you performed a BG and you are directly featured with a principal actor, go ahead and list it. Understand that I am not speaking of that passing in focus glance as an actor passes you. I am speaking of direct interaction with said actor. Also, if a scene is built around your BG character where there is almost a story but no lines then list that as well. Do not list the rest as it will harm more than help your career. I know you like seeing your name up on a credit even if it is uncredited, but it will have no credit to your resume if not properly credited. With all those credit references perhaps it is time to apply for a loan? He he. A load of uncredited credits may fool the inexperienced film production but will only bring laughter and head shaking to the larger CD’s and Producers. IMDb also allows you to create you own resume of all work and qualifications you possess. This is a great area to list your theatre work, commercials, training/teaching as well as skills. My advice is short and sweet on this as you have most likely created your own industry proper resume. If you have not, then you will need to wait until I reach the ‘R’ in my A-Z. #grin. That being said, keep it real and do not post skills such as having a driver’s license…lol
Now comes the fun part on influencing the influence. Or shall we be honest and say manipulate the ranking of influence. All of us actors wish to see that low number on the IMDb ranking. Ah the closer to zero the better we feel. We group click to get that number lower and lower in hopes that this will get you cast in a film easier than not. Well, not really. Although a low number usually does represent well for you, productions will look at more. They will also look at your credits and past filmography, and clips from said filmography. Was the film you are credited in ever produced. Was the film ever distributed or did it go to festivals. You see, it is not about the number of credits or simply a low IMDb number. It is about the quality of the production credits, and the popularity of the film. Was it a network/cable series or was it a web series? A lower IMDb number will have no affect on casting unless there are the skills and credits to represent that number. While a fresh novice production may be impressed. An experienced group and studio will not be. I have seen actors cast in great parts for large studio productions with a 200 G and below ranking. In the end it is all about the experience, skills, notable credits and releases. Keep your ranking grounded. While casting I have seen some doozies. A 5 G IMDb and two short film credits, or a 20 G with no film releases, press, etc! #NOT #keepitreal. A good rule of thumb that productions will look at with vouching credits that represent is as follows. 150 G or less is a booking actor (you have the credits to show you have another job and can part time act). 50 G or less is a full-time working actor (you have the credits to show you pay your bills as a full-time actor). 5 G and below you better be a known face in the B to A actor column. Let us try and keep a nice ranking number but keep it real because we are fooling no person that matters but are maybe fooling ourselves and our vanity. Also, I do not suggest going to paid ranking services. These are usually scams and the IMDb algorithms are clever constantly changing cats. Keep it grounded among friendly actor groups who help each other, and you should be fine. Do not overmanipulate as it will bite you in the bottom. Spend most of your time training, honing your skills and promoting to get that wonderful number down. That will have a more noticeable long-term affect for your career. Be sure to enjoy the rise and fall of the IMDb endeavors along the way as that will be the only constant.
Feel free to consult, concur or debate with me at the following links. Go out and reap the wind my lovely actor friends! #micdrop