For all the ill will IMDb got during the recent lawsuit that accused the website of fostering ageism in Hollywood and the reveling personal details, it’s worth noting that The Los Angeles Times did a recent article about how IMDb Pro has helped actors profoundly in the past.
The prime example used in the article is Robert Pattinson, a virtual unknown before being cast in the starring role of the Twilight film series. When looking to cast the part, Summit Entertainment’s casting directors browsed IMDb when Pattinson’s name came up and based on the information on there decided to contact him. $3.3 billion dollars in box office money later, Pattinson is no longer an unknown.
It’s something that IMDb founder and chief executive Col Needham points out that his website offers that social networks cannot. He explains, “IMDb helps people in the industry find jobs and connect people together,” adding that an actors IMDb Pro account serves as a resume that anyone with the service can view, and the on-site ratings system STARmeter can indicate how popular an actor is based on page views of that actor’s profile.
Another actor who attests to what IMDb Pro has done for his career is Romel De Silva, who has appeared in The Office finale and in an episode of the Arrested Development revival. After noting that he was told by casting directors that they browsed his profile, he says, “Many things on an actor’s page including the STARmeter popularity rank and credits can make or break a casting director’s decision. Young actors and actresses should use IMDb so they can know who they are working with. It really gives new meaning to the phrase ‘In this industry, it’s who you know.’”
But going back to the ageism lawsuit, it’s important to note that actors have to be careful not to reveal too much personal information on their profiles. For instance, the youthful-looking De Silva does not reveal his age on his IMDb profile — and he’d probably be wise to keep it that way. After all, casting directors are watching and one never knows what — whether its age or anything else — might make them pass an actor over for a choice role.