Every day movie fans all over the world turn to the free Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to look up details of who, what and where on movies. No more need to fight over trivia at dinner parties.
But Hollywood insiders pay to dig deeper into IMDb’s premium subscriber service IMDbPRO, launched a decade ago, which offers up inside intel on contact listings, in-production information and what’s in development. And while many casting directors already use the service to find actors for their movies–Rob Pattinson was famously discovered for “Twilight” via such a search for the right actor in the right age range–they should be happy with a nifty new set of Pro Casting tools that goes along with a speedy consumer-friendly revamp of the site. “Our goal is always to help get people informed and connected,” said IMDb CEO Col Needham at SXSW. “We come from Amazon’s customer-centric culture.”
Gone are the days when casting directors must carry around thick binders full of casting intel. “IMDbPro is probably the single most helpful tool in the tool box when I’m casting one of the leads in a movie,” said casting director Richard Hicks (“Gravity,” “Zero Dark Thirty”). “There’s nothing better. It’s the encyclopedia of actors.”
IMDb, always vigilant about finding ways to serve their global readers, has created a set of new tools for casting directors that launches March 11. In my SXSW demonstration, consumer products exec Jack Bernstein showed me how he could cast his own biopic. He went to the IMDb Pro Casting tools page and fed information into My Casting Breakdown for a tall dark handsome man between 25 and 35, slim build, speaking English, with basic baseball skills, brown hair color and eyes for a movie shooting the next day in Los Angeles. The top choice on the STARmeter top 100 list to play Bernstein? Channing Tatum.
Per IMDb’s press release:
These new casting tools give any casting director an easy way to find the right actor for any role while helping actors get jobs. Pro Casting will simplify and enhance the process by which casting directors and filmmakers find the right actor for any role while making it easier for actors to discover and apply for casting notices.
Using Pro Casting’s suite of frequently requested casting tools, casting directors and filmmakers can post unlimited casting notices, leverage IMDb’s proprietary search technology to narrow submissions by specific criteria such as performance skills and physical attributes, add promising candidates to a personalized list and share their list with anyone via social networks and email. Casting directors can also easily gauge how an actor’s popularity has trended over time via IMDbPro’s new, interactive STARmeter graphs and receive recommendations of actors similar to the ones they are currently viewing.
With Pro Casting, actors will benefit from new tools designed to help them find their next role. Actors can conveniently update their IMDbPro profile page (their industry resume) with headshots and demo reels and share their page with anyone via social networks and email.
Actors can also browse and filter through casting notices, apply directly for roles by submitting their customized IMDbPro profile page, and add any person or project they are tracking on IMDbPro to a personalized list.
“With the new casting features,” said Carrie Audino, casting director of “Mad Men,” there’s the potential to really discover new actors from IMDbPro. These tools will change list-making forever.”
“Of the new Pro Casting tools, the thing that excites me the most is the list-making capability,” added Bialy, “because one of the jobs of a casting director is to present ideas to the producers and directors, and the ability to easily attach a picture and a couple of credits can make all the difference in the world.”
Watch a series of original interviews in which leading casting directors discuss their work and give career advice to actors, here.
Of course if this works as well as IMDb hopes, more movie job search tools are on the way.