I have always been the first to say that you should be self submitting on Backstage if you are an actor in Hollywood. There is no doubt in my mind that when you are self submitting, it makes your chance of booking, or getting more agent auditions, way larger. For some reason work begets work. That’s just the way that it is. What I hadn’t realized all of this time is that IMDB Pro had made some major changes to their site over the past few years and they were changes that make self-submitting way more easily accessible. So, of course, I had to check it out and see what this IMDB Pro was all about, and if it held a candle to my beloved Backstage. I signed up for an account (they have a free 30 day trial for those of you who want to sign up but just aren’t sure about it) and am ready to compare the two.
Backstage: I love Backstage for so many reasons that it will be difficult to put it all into one small paragraph. Why I mostly enjoy the use of Backstage is so that I am able to audition for smaller projects. I like having the freedom to audition for things that I know my agent will not send me out on, like an audition for a student film, or a small budget indie, basically anything that isn’t larger scale. I love these auditions because in acting it can be easy to feel like you have to take everything very seriously. When you get a big audition, it is important to treat it like hard work, then suddenly you find yourself treating everything like hard work, and then acting is just hard work and not fun anymore. Auditioning for the smaller scale projects takes the stress off. If I book it, I can decide if I want to take the job or not, and if I do not book it, then my agents and manager never knew I had the audition in the first place and it is not a big deal.
IMDB Pro: This self-submit service is for the bigger projects. I find things on here that I know my agents have access to, but it isn’t for the same parts I would be submitting for. They save the lead roles and bigger projects with bigger roles for the actors and actresses with representation, because they are more reliable. The parts that you can self-submit to on IMDB Pro will be smaller roles in larger films. This can put the stress back into auditions, because you are still going to be auditioning for the bigger projects.
Overall, if you have representation and are just looking to get a little bit more audition action, I would stick to Backstage. It is for smaller projects that will offer you more audition freedom, as well as more audition opportunities. If you are without representation and looking to really build your resume, I would try IMDB Pro, but also go out for things with Backstage first, because you have to be on IMDB to have an account with them!