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News In Brief

Actors, writers guild fight IMDB over display of age

Melissa Kaplan Jun 22, 2010

Hollywood is a place where youth is king — and if you’re “over the hill” (i.e., 40) and working in entertainment, getting another gig can be a royal pain. Which is why the Writers Guild of America is having issues with IMDB, which displays the birth year of everyone listed — from actors to writers to that second production assistant/key grip.

The Internet Movie Database is a very handy resume tool for employers in the film and TV industry as it traditionally lists every production a writer, performer or crew member has ever worked on. Which is great if you’ve got a promising laundry list of work behind you, but can also put a bullet in your job prospects thanks to a lingering industry-wide age bias. And as many jobs are project-based or short-term, your reputation and the hiring process become very important.

The WGA notes that when it gives member information to the IMDB, it does not release age data. The information the site does receive is also not always correct, and can be very difficult to remove once it’s been posted.

The WGA isn’t the only guild upset over the profile information. The Screen Actors Guild is also actively fighting potential age discrimination and has approached the IMDB asking that all age information be optional.

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