So IMDb Rankings Actually Matter...
I got my first listing on my IMDb page back in October, and I have been trying to figure out how the STARmeter rankings on the site work ever since. How do they rise and fall? Is there any rhyme or reason to it? And do they even matter?
Earlier this month I went to LA, and I found out that yes, indeed, they matter. Roles have been won and lost simply by IMDb ranking. Allow me to share with you what I have learned about their significance, and what you can do to get your STARmeter ranking higher.
For anyone who doesn't know, IMDb is the Internet Movie Database. It is a database of film projects, television projects, and actors. It is a great collection of information, and very handy to actors. And in a Wikipedia-ish way, it is possible for anyone who subscribes to the service to edit information (although unlike Wikipedia, changed information goes through a screening process before being updated).
While in NYC, I had only gotten into one real discussion about IMDb, and it started with credits. I have done work in television as a stand-in and a photo-double, both of which can be credited under "Miscellaneous Crew", but I wasn't sure whether it was wise to take the credits. On one hand, a credit is a credit. On the other hand, I'd rather my profile was filled with Acting credits than Crew ones. I spoke to another stand-in on the subject, and she said she takes a credit for everything. I asked why, and she said it was to help increase her IMDb ranking.
I was skeptical at that point that an IMDb ranking did anything at all. But she insisted that having a higher IMDb ranking helped her get auditions. Casting Directors could search for her, and see that she has a high ranking, which suggests that people are searching for her often, and that she is in higher demand than people with lower rankings.
Then I went out to LA. Several people I met with out there knew about IMDb rankings and their effect on the business. I actually heard multiple stories (from different sources) involving one actor getting a role over another actor due to having a higher IMDb ranking. Why? Because it was assumed that the higher ranking person had a stronger fan base, and would therefore bring more attention to a project. One guy also said that a Casting Director told him that he would've gotten a role, but his ranking wasn't high enough.
That's kind of insane to me, particularly since IMDb doesn't seem to release information about HOW the rankings are calculated. Also, rankings are reset weekly.
But I've done some internet scavenging, and here are some clues on what seems to affect rankings:
- Page views
- Comments/discussions on your page
- The MOVIEmeter ranking of each project that you've worked on (which is determined by that project's page views, discussions, and news articles)
- Getting added to a List (such as "Great Undiscovered Actresses Under 30" or "Best Homeless Portrayers") by another member. (I've been told it is helpful if the list includes people that are a little more known than you are, as it will draw attention to the list and give you more street cred. But if you go overboard and make a list with Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and you, people will know something weird is going on.)
- Paying for an IMDb Pro/IMDb Résumé subscription (Rumor has it that it makes your ranking jump immediately.)
- Being in a project that is hitting the box office
- Being in a project that makes the news (and hope that IMDb picks up the story)
So how then can you raise your own ranking?
- Ask your friends to go look at your page. (Since rankings reset every week, it's helpful if they can click on your page once a week, but that's a lot to ask of anyone... So maybe do a "look up exchange" with some other actor friends, and agree to all look up each other weekly.)
- Ask friends to Facebook "like" you on IMDb (it counts as a view on IMDb, and it will also put a link to your page on their Facebook wall and news feed, which could lead to more views)
- Join a link reciprocity site. You like people on IMDb, follow them on Twitter, fan them on Facebook, or subscribe to them on YouTube. Then other people do the same for you.
- Pay for a service that crawls your IMDb page to raise your rank. (I don't recommend this. It sounds shady, and it's money that you shouldn't have to be spending. And I've heard it's frowned upon by casting directors... although I'm not sure how they know the difference between you doing this and anything else.)
- Ask your friends to look at the page of whatever projects you have that need promotion.
- Ask a friend to make a List of actors that includes you (suggest that they do it in a way that is helpful for your marketing, like "Great New Ingenue Faces" or "Great Theatrically-Trained Character Actors")
- Ask a friend to start a discussion on your page (perhaps saying that they saw you in a short film, and you were terrific in it.)
- Subscribe to IMDb Pro/IMDb Résumé (which is helpful to actors in other ways, as it helps you learn things like what shows a Casting Director works on, or what clients an Agent has.)
- Link to your IMDb page on your website, your Facebook page, your Facebook fan page, your Twitter, and anywhere else you can think to put it. You never know when someone might click that link.
Do you have any other advice on IMDb rankings? Leave it in the comments!
(Photo courtesy of Dove Consumer Services. © 2012 UNILEVER)