Once again: we are not deliberately trying to make it hard for you to submit new credits. In fact, we'd love it if everyone could get it right the first time without running into difficulties or delays: when accurate credits are processed smoothly and quickly, everybody wins. On the other hand, when someone has trouble submitting new information and has to contact us for help, it creates a lot of work for everybody.
Adding a credit to a paper resume is usually as simple as typing a line of text and printing a new copy: you add the title of the film you worked on and the job or role you performed, and that's all there is to it.
However, adding a credit to the Internet Movie Database is a little more complicated than that. Every single piece of information is linked to another: every name is linked to a filmography, every title is linked to a page with full details on the film etc. Credits don't live in a vacuum: we can only add credits if they fit our eligibility criteria and match our existing data.
In order to add a credit, we need to know the exact title of the film and we need to be able to match it to one of the titles listed in the database. We need to know exactly what was your credited occupation or role, and we need enough details to be able to verify the credit. If you don't supply enough information for us to do all of the above, we can't add the credit. If we can, we have to get back to you and ask for more details; worst case scenario: we have to reject your addition altogether.
Here is a hypothetical and completely made-up example to help clarify our position. For the sake of argument, let's say your name is Jack Smith. You are an actor and you appeared in an episode of the hit TV series "ER" as a truck driver. Your resume has a line that reads: "ER - truck driver" in the Television section. So it's only natural to assume that we'll be able to add this credit if you email us a message that says something like this:
"Hello, my name is Jack Smith and I'm already in the database but you forgot to include one of my credits. I was on ER with George Clooney as a truck driver. Please add this to my page. Thank you".
Sounds perfectly reasonable, right?
Now, let's examine the above request from our point of view. First of all, we list over 30 different people called Jack Smith in the database. Which one are you? And were you credited on-screen as Jack Smith or under a different name or spelling?
How about ER? George Clooney appeared in two TV series with that title: did you work in the one that ran from 1994 to 2009 on NBC, starring Noah Wyle, or the earlier 1984 CBS series starring Elliott Gould? What did you mean by "as a truck driver"? Were you an actor (i.e. you played a character who drives a truck) or were you an actual driver (i.e. a member of the transportation crew)? Did you appear only in one episode, or for a whole season or for more than one season? On which episode did you work? When did it air? What was the title of the episode? And so on...
You probably think we're exaggerating, but this is far from being an uncommon occurrence: we receive dozens of requests like this every day and, believe it or not, most of them provide even less details than our above example. With over 3.8 million different people and over 1.7 million titles in the database, chances are that either your name or the title of the film you were in (or both) are not as unique and easily identifiable as you think. And that's assuming you volunteered them in the first place: as a matter of fact, we get at least one request per day where the person doesn't even specify his full name or the exact title of the film or series he worked on. In a perfect world, we would be able to follow up immediately on each request, email back the person asking for more information until he/she provides enough details to accurately identify and verify the credit, but this would be a daunting task even if we had ten times the staff and resources currently available to us.
That's why we strongly encourage people to submit missing credits (or updates to existing ones) through our automated web-based system. Yes, it's extremely picky and requires you to follow a very strict syntax, but as you can see there's a good reason for this. We're not trying to make things difficult for you: we're actually trying to make it possible for your credit to be processed and accepted quickly and without errors. If you supply good, verifiable and clearly identifiable names and titles, our staff can process your request easily and smoothly. If not, we are likely to be forced to discard it for lack of valid information.
We face a similar problem when the new addition is for a title that we don't already list. We give the highest priority to new title submissions sent by IMDbPro subscribers and eligible titles are usually added to the data base within 9 days, the key word here being eligible. Again, there's no such thing as too much information: most of the time people omit valuable details because they they just assume that they're redundant or not important, but this is not the case.
If you don't provide enough data for our staff to verify your film's eligibility, it will be delayed and kept on hold unless we receive enough information that will enable us to verify and accept it. Please note that being able to verify that a film is eligible for inclusion is not the same as verifying its existence. There are plenty of titles whose existence can be easily verified, but that still may not qualify for a listing in the database without further information. For a more detailed look at how to make sure your film is accepted, see our separate title eligibility FAQ page.
To learn how to help us process your submissions more quickly, you can start with our help page explaining what kinds of credits are eligible to be included.