Wednesday, August 22, 2012

IMDB Starmeter Feels Good Means Little

It can feel very good when your starmeter gets low, and I know when mine went below 1000 it felt very nice. Keep in mind 2 things:

  1. It can be manipulated regardless of the popularity or momentum of a performer's career. It can be gamed.
  2. IMDB is owned by Amazon. There is no evidence that they manipulate IMDB starmeters to sell more movies, TV shows, and stuff. But, making any decision about your career based on IMDB starmeter is turning your business over to Amazon.

I'm not sure being in the top 5000 list on IMDB will do much for an actor professionally. I have heard a rumor that an actress once gamed her IMDB starmeter into the top 100 and got called for a meeting with one of the big agencies. That's all, a meeting. A meeting that did not lead to representation or work. Meeting people is usually a good thing: it can be the beginning of a relationship. But if the first impression an actor gives is of trying to cut corners and cheat the system, not a good first impression. Could be a CLAM: Career Limiting Amateur Move.

Working on the things that get one into that list organically, or worthy of being there is better. Booking notable films and TV, and building a fan base may be longer lasting and more valuable. Actually, the "lists" that casting directors and producers and eventually the audience have in their minds of the actors they love are the lists you want to be high on. Those lists can improve an actor's options, career, income and more. Spending money to game your IMDB starmeter may not be a perfect expense; every penny may do more for an actor's career spent on other things.

But if the lift feels worth it, just to see the number drop, and if that helps keep an actor's spirits and optimism high, then by all means do it. When spending money to game your IMDB starmeter, be careful not to expect it to change anything other than that number. And be sure you can pay your rent or mortgage first.

Casting for the projects you want to do likely won't be affected by your IMDB starmeter. I have seen a casting notice for a project I have never heard of since that wanted only actors with a IMDB starmeter below a certain number. Those producers and casting director decided to let Amazon's computers take many good casting options out of the mix. I have never heard of that project getting completed or released. You do the math.

If you want a numeric scale of popularity and likeability, than look at Q Score. Or stop focusing on numbers to make your decisions for you. As Wikipedia sums it up "Q Score is a measurement of the familiarity and appeal of a brand, company, celebrity, or television show used in the United States." Companies subscribe to get data that was made by a combination of surveys, statistical analysis and human input, not a machine number that can be so easily gamed. It was first developed in 1963, so has a longer track record than IMDB starmeter, and to use it you or your company must pay for access. Multi-million dollar decisions may be partly made using Q Score: if all the money goes away, the decision makers have a vaguely scientific justification for having made what turned out to be a money losing decision.

In all cases, using ones own mind is probably a better idea. Want to know how the popularity and likability of a major movie star compares to the actor you met at an audition who has been acting for 2 weeks? Safe guess the major movie star is more popular to most of the audience than the new actor, and that the new actor is bigger with most of their friends and family than the major movie star. Want to know 2 stars relative popularity with men 18-25 in Malaysia? A combination of asking any Malaysian contact you have and their Q Scores might be a starting point. A starting point.

The temptation to game one's own IMDB starmeter is real. Just like the temptation to spend a lot of money on many things that offer advancement and accomplish little. There is a huge number of actor products out there that are overpriced or flat worthless. They are selling the feeling of being productive, and are not actually productive. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel like you are making progress. There is something not right about spending money and focus on feeling productive instead of being productive. Like most of life, there are no good short cuts.

Best to use IMDB starmeter as a rough gauge of how popular a performer might be on IMDB this week. Any other use is asking a set of computers owned by Amazon to do your thinking for you. It does feel good to have computers like you. If spending money to get that feeling is something you want to do, no worries. A dollar you spend today can be replaced. A good feeling is sometimes harder to come by.

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this posted by David August at 4:53 PM 

comments: Thank you for writing this article.

# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 8:54 PM  

This may very well be the most uninformed post on this subject I have ever seen. It is as if the writer made up his mind on what he wants facts to be and then wrote it all as if it was facts.

I do not pay for IMDB starmeter services however I spend a lot of my social time getting that number low enough. Its fairly ignorant to say its just a feel good thing when producers want a future project funded and they show the actors they want to use to investors. Investors being bottomline people ignorantly look at an actors starmeter. Like it or not. If a producer sees you have only a 600,000 starmeter then he knows you wont impress with that number. Thats just one example.

I started servicing my starmeter when I lost a commercial due 100% to the fact they could not decide on me and a near twin of me. They chose him by his starmeter.

Like it or not part of the actors job is publicity. Why do you post your work for friends, family and co workers to see? Because you are promoting yourself. Leave it to just that and you may get lucky and succeed.

A tool we have that can be managed is our starmeter. Get your IMDB link out there. Get people to click on it and view you. Get them to make comments. For goodness sakes service this tool. It is leaps and bounds more important than the above author claims.

To say it is not is akin to saying a good headshot means little if you can really act your butt off. It is very important the headshot. As is servicing your promotional arm, Promote yourself in all ways including IMDB.

# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 11:18 AM  

Thank you for your comment, please leave your name in the future (don't comment anonymously), so more discussion can happen.

Perhaps a reread of my original post is in order. I did not, and do not, say that playing one's imdb starmeter is bad, just not as vital as a good headshot, and other elements. If you find solace, or advantage in it, by all means, do it.

# posted by Blogger David August : 12:23 PM  

Good day David,

I'm new this month to IMDb and wonder how my Starmeter jumped up to close to 500,000 points to 249,515 this week.

I changed some info in my biography, made some corrections, and my company added our page (Media Classics) two weeks ago. Curious that the other staff members in the company have had there starmeters go down while mine went up, and they have more industry experience than I do.

Other than these things, nothing has happened to promote my page. I haven't shared the link with anyone or anywhere just yet.

Any thoughts or light to shed on this?

Hope life is treating you well.

Cheers!

# posted by Blogger Val : 4:00 AM  

@Val, imdb starmeters that are very in the 7 digit range can lower quickly from a fairly modest number of views. Whatever the cause, congrats, and enjoy. Not something you need to worry much about, you're clearly doing something right.

# posted by Blogger David August : 3:39 AM  

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