IMDb Fact or Fiction: Joining the club as an Independent Filmmaker

Getting that first credit on IMDb is a great feeling. You’ve made it! You’re part of the crowd, hanging out with the cool kids like Dinero and Bullock. It is proof that you’re working professionally in the film industry and that your movie and the movies you've worked on are “real.”

Until, you realize your name is spelled wrong.

And you’re credited as your nickname and not your professional working name.

AND there are 10 “John Smiths” already on IMDb, plus your credits are spread out among three of their pages.

And your name isn't even John Smith!?!

Alas, it happens. People make mistakes.  Fortunately, mistakes can be easily corrected. Not feeling like asking the film's producer to please spell your name correctly?  Here's the BIG SECRET: you can actually correct most errors on your own. No single individual owns a projects page, IMDb owns the page, and so all edits are run through and finalized by them.

If it comes down to a credit or miscellaneous error, you should absolutely email the Producer of that project to fix it, as a common and professional courtesy. Much like what will be discussed in our newest webinar, the Producers have been setting up the page and all the goods on it, so they should be the one filtering those errors.

BUT back to that BIG SECRET, you should be aware of how to do that too!

                           If we can do it, you can do it!

                           If we can do it, you can do it!

Just to brief any readers outside "the club" general knowledge, IMDb stands for the International Movie Database. It was launched in 1993 and is the world's most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content. The site has since expanded with Publicity Photo Services in March of 2001, IMDbPro.com in January 2002 and now owns Withoutabox.com (From IMDb.com). We'll dig deeper in the webinar, but that's the skinny.

The scenario is different when big budget and studio pictures provide their information to the site, but for the Indie filmmaker like you and me, there is definitely a way to get your films on IMDb before obtaining distribution or having stars. Here is a little Fact and Fiction I've learned along the way:

FICTION: You cannot submit changes to a film's page.
Yes, you can, and its actually quite easy. Lets say your name actually IS John Smith. You see that the film you just worked on is up on IMDb and your credit is there, but it is linking to another John Smith, not you. Again, I would first recommend to write the Producer and let them know of the error, they will take care of it. But, you know your name is pretty damn common, and this unfortunately happens all the time, so maybe you just want to quickly fix it yourself. Go to the film's page, scroll down to the yellow "Edit" and follow the prompted directions. You will be able to correctly link to your page and submit to IMDb to be updated.

Keep in mind though, if you are doing this on behalf of someone else, or are not the Producer, IMDb has the right to deny your update. Because if the update is not being submitted by the creator of the page (Producer) or from your (in this case, John Smith's) IMDb account, then the request looks a little fishy.

FACT: You cannot make your own IMDb page.
To join the in-crowd you need to be credited on a project. Then, once your name is on there, you can spice up your personal page. You have more access to do this via IMDb Pro.

FICTION: Only feature films are cataloged on IMDb.
False, get your short, documentary, web-series or TV-show on there!

FACT: You cannot independently create an IMDb page for your film.
IMDb is very strict about this. They may make it easy enough to edit and add credits to a project, but you cannot just “create” one. They want to make sure that projects are legitimate, since so many films begin in development, and end in development. Here are the most common ways your film can appear on the site:

-You have a top billed actor cast
-You have a mention in a major trade publication (ie, Hollywood Reporter, Variety)
-*You set up the project and credits on withoutabox.com and have submitted it to film festivals
*Most likely course for independent filmmakers

Have all of the above? Great, learn how to fill out a New Submission Title Form.

FICTION: IMDb is easy to reach
Playing chess with a drunk person is easier than trying to contact IMDb. I get it, they receive tons of inquiries every day and need a way to filter their messages so they can actually have time to respond, which is why they don’t have a customer service phone number. However, when you spend a half an hour trying to figure how where the contact form is, you probably could have figured out how to fix the issue on your own. It’s all in the fine print guys, believe me. IMDb is pretty good about laying out all their specifications, but there are still definitely a few things you have to contact them about to get fixed and updated.

Just bookmark this SHORTCUT and make sure you’re signed into your account

Insider's Tip– If you need to contact Withoutabox, use the same contact form.

FACT: You can upload Trailers and Videos for free
So upload them! What's stopping you?

FICTION: You can add photos and posters for free
No, so budget for them in your Marketing line items.

FACT: Festivals take notice of your IMDb Page.
Once your project pops up on IMDb you should be uploading those photos, re-wording that synopsis and updating credits, especially your festival screening history.

FICTION: Your rating score is not important.
It's just as important as how many "likes" you have on Facebook, so make sure you’re letting your fans know they can rate your page! Note: Your film must be classified as “released” before rating can begin.

FACT: Having your film and name on IMDb ups your professional presence in the industry.
Absolutely.

So those are the top Fact and Fictions I’ve come across. At Sterling Rock, we spend a lot of time on the site for our projects, so we've been getting a ton of inquires on how it works. Still have more questions or just want to dig deeper? Join myself and Grace on Thursday, July 10th for our LIVE Workshop on the topic. You can register HERE, but don't wait, space is limited.

We’ll show you how to navigate IMDb and Withabox.com, link your accounts and use our own pages to show you how to edit and make corrections.

Looking forward to hanging out with you on 7/10!
-Liz