IMDB = The Ultimate Poser Filter
A long long time ago in a galaxy far far away, when I first got into filmmaking, IMDB was in it’s infancy and was not the industry standard it is today for confirming movie and television credits. For those of you who don’t know, IMDB is the Internet Movie Database. IMDB is a tool people use to check others’ professional credits. I remember sitting in a film class and showing the teacher a film I spent all weekend working on. He critiqued my film and told me how I could’ve done it better. I thought to myself, F#$% you! Let me see your credentials if you think you could do better.
Well back in those days there was little or no resources for me to easily check out what he’s done. I had to take everything he said at face value and assume he was an expert or commit myself to an arduous process to confirm his bona fides. I remember attending networking functions and meeting a whole bunch of people I never heard of before. I remember them talking about how many films they’ve done and all of the big names they’ve worked with. Once again there was no easy way for me to corroborate any of their credits so I just had to go with what people said about themselves.
IMDB was started in the early 90s but became the standard for checking credits in the 2000s. Now everyone has the ability to check someone’s official credits immediately. This is very important because a lot of people you will meet are full of BS. IMDB gives you the ability to not waste your time with someone who is obviously not who they say they are and move on to someone who can actually help you realize your project. This is an invaluable tool for small-time and big-time filmmakers for hiring cast and crew. Honestly, why waste your time interviewing someone who only knows how to make movies that only Youtube could love?
The great thing about IMDB is it has a very strict adding policy so posers can’t just add themselves. The people who manage the database actually do their homework and check peoples’ credits. They don’t let people add their films onto the database unless they have been screened at festivals or have distribution deals. Both criteria are difficult for people who aren’t serious about filmmaking to accomplish (*cough*Youtube*cough).
I’ve worked in the industry for a long time now and have met many posers. I once asked myself why there are so many people who pretend they do what I do for a living. The answer is quite obvious. People like the perks but don’t want to pay their dues. Also people have this natural interest in the entertainment business. Don’t believe me? Watch how many heads turn if you’re ever at a party and say you work in the film industry. People give you a certain amount of respect if you can make a living in the film industry because everyone knows how tough it is.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t look down or think any less of people who don’t work in this industry. It is a very tough business and I often ask myself why I even do it. The paydays are few and far in between. The hours are long and inconsistent. Even with so many reasons why not to do this I still see why there are so many people who pretend this is what they do. They want the same respect that the people who did what they couldn’t do get. People who work in this industry are people who let go of the safety net and took the plunge. We closed our eyes and leapt after our dreams never caring if we land safely or plummet to our deaths.
Because we took that plunge we were able to live the lives people only dream of. We got to rub elbows with famous people. We got to work onset with the sound stages and bright lights. We got to see our work or ourselves on the big screen and in our living rooms. We got to build a body of work we’ll always be remembered for and continue to be prolific. And if you don’t believe me, you could always check our credits to see if I’m bluffing.
Victor Phan & Clark Jones
Torture Chamber Productions
December 2, 2009