A newer version of IMDb Pro allows for more personal information, helping actors break into the industry and make connections that replicate some aspects of popular social media sites like Facebook and Google Plus.
IMDb has been a launch pad for struggling actors in the past -- like Robert Pattinson, said Col Needham, founder and chief executive of IMDb.
Summit Entertainment was trying to find an actor for the role of Edward Cullen in “Twilight.” Casting directors for the film looked at IMDb profiles when Pattinson's name was mentioned for the part, Needham said. Pattinson had previously played a nonstarring role in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." For the actor, the franchise gave him a break into the industry. The five movies in the "Twilight" franchise collectively made over $3.3 billion worldwide.
“IMDb helps people in the industry find jobs and connect people together,” Needham said.
IMDb became a website in 1993, the end result of Needham's “obsession with film, TV and entertainment.” In 2002, the online database offered another version of its site, IMDb Pro, which was built to allow professionals in the industry to connect. IMDb currently has more than 160 million unique users.
For actors, IMDb Pro can be used as a resume. IMDb would not disclose how many people use Pro or how many actors have posted resumes. But it appears to be a growth area for the company. An updated version of Pro was offered at the beginning of this year. It has a new design, stronger search capabilities and more detailed profile pages. In some ways, IMDb Pro acts like a social media site.
“The more info an actor provides, the more likely they are to progress through the industry,” Needham said.
IMDb also posts a weekly STARmeter, which ranks actors and actresses based on their popularity. STARmeter rankings are derived from page views of actors' profiles. The STARmeter can be a useful tool for casting directors because they can keep track of an actor's popularity, Needham said.
Romel De Silva, a young actor living in Los Angeles, uses an IMDb Pro account for his resume and skills. He was in NBC’s “The Office” series finale and on the first episode of Netflix’s revived “Arrested Development.” He said professionals have told him that they look at IMDb pages and the popularity meter.
“Many things on an actor's page including the STARmeter popularity rank and credits can make or break a casting director's decision,” De Silva said.
De Silva said he also used IMDb to research agencies, production details and other actors.
“Young actors and actresses should use IMDb so they can know who they are working with,” he said. “It really gives new meaning to the phrase "In this industry, it's who you know."
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