Assorted problems, inconsistencies and contradictions with Cast/Acting credits guidelines

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Cast/Acting credits guidelines have quite a few moments which could have used at least a bit more explaining and in some cases, I believe, re-writes and maybe even a bit of a change to the rules. That is, of course, not for me to decide and I will be glad for any corrections/explanations to my notes from staff and users alike, but at this point I felt like compiling a master list of evident problems and inconsistencies could be more useful then small case-to-case threads on situations. 

A. General notes suggest: "Animals and inanimate objects (i.e., Wilson the Volleyball) can be listed as actors if they appear in the credits as cast members. Please use your best guess as to gender. (After the new name page is created, you should probably also include a biographical trivia note (i.e., "Is a dog"). Exception: Corpses, paintings, still photographs, mummies, etc, should not be listed as cast members in any title". At this point exceptions (by the way why it is not plural in the original text?) could use more specifying, possibly even to the point of a new whole paragraph.

Firstly, it is not stated what exactly should be done in cases when still photographs, corpses, mummies or paintings actually merited the credit. So far, unwritten rule is to have those listed as "(credit only)" (examples include: Louis Scutenaire on my own webisode credited for appearing on a painting; Don S. Davis on Part 9 of "Twin Peaks" for appearing on a photograph), but what should we do with the cases when movie practically consists of still photographs? Such cases are seldom, but there are quite a few including La jetée (1962) (in which only Hélène Chatelain actually has one non-still-photograph shot) and London After Midnight (2002) (which attempts reconstruction of a lost movie using the still photographs). Plus there are other borderline cases including photographs being animated and manipulated to appear as footage, as well as appearing on monitors and screens (which effectively strips them of object/photograph status). As far as my experience goes, both of the latter cases are usually listed as just cast credits. 

Secondly we still have problems with many proven cases in which photographs were actually taken for the movie, with actors being paid for that and devoting their time. I have already elaborated on that once, but considering we already have "photographic model" job attribute in "miscellaneous crew" and we are listing photo doubles, poster models and other people who are usually not even seen in the movie (and are more often then not uncredited), what stops us from listing there such appearances as Bruce Davison's cameos on numerous photographs in Willard (2002) or appearances by Alfred Hitchcock in Lifeboat (1944) and Dial M for Murder (1954) as "photographic model: specific role"? Moreover, some of similar appearances are still added to "Cast" and are, from time to time, reinstated even after being deleted due to not meeting the guidelines. I believe that having the ability to list such appearances elsewhere will make the situation slightly better. 

C. Cast attributes I can say that "(deleted scenes)" is a bit of a problem in itself, because many actors have a perfect reason to be frustrated: there is no way to list their work if they were deleted AND uncredited (that is one of the reasons why many productions do credit deleted scenes anyway). However, again, there are borderline cases. Some of such I've already tried to handle with varying degree of success: Eric Stoltz, while being famously recast with Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future (1985) could be seen driving the car in one shot which more then merits him a "stunt driver" listing (however I later discovered that he is actually in at least one additional shot, not driving, but qualifying as stunt anyway so I don't know whether that should be expanded). There are much, much more cases like that, though. Just one example: Shailene Woodley was originally cast as Mary-Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), a role which was mostly deleted. She is actually seen in one shot (from behind, during a shot inside a café as Rhino prepares his attack), which was proven a few times in commentaries and via set photographs. 

D. Voice credits It is specified clearly that "Dubbing credits for foreign languages are currently not eligible to be listed in the database". I would not elaborate how much of a problem that is, considering that we have numerous (quite possibly - a few thousands) such credits added anyway but the fact that USA and UK English releases are eligible makes it a bit discriminative considering how much users around the world IMDb has and constantly grows to achieve. It probably could be solved by introduction of "localized versions cast" (which could also sometimes include full new scenes such as Harry Dean Stanton in the US televised version of Fistful of Dollars; which was in his filmography for years but got deleted recently), but that, of course, could take years. I am well-aware that this problem is too complex to give a small outline, so I mainly featured it because it correspons with the next one...  

F. Character Names If English versions are preferred ones as seen in the previous rule why we have another rule which specifies "For descriptive character names (i.e., Mayor, Man #1), they should generally be entirely in the language of the original version, but English can be used if the original is not known"? Despite the fact that I do know at least three languages, I can attest that users for whom English is not the original language really don't know what to do with that. Credits get translated, trasncribed and left as is from case to case rather chaotically. In my humble opinion the rule should be to have descriptive roles listed as either "Translation (Original)" or just translated to English, because having descriptive roles in original language sometimes obstructs quite  neccessary edits (roles get confused, misplaced, incorrectly written etc.). Speaking from experience: Soviet and Post-Soviet movies often have very vague end credits which end with a non-descriptive and outdated mess of a section named "V epizodakh" (literally "in the bit parts"; I've seen quite a few times when such cases were added with erroneous "(episode)" attributes). There are no roles listed, so it usually requires some research to confirm whom exactly the actor was portraying (and sometimes even more research to know whether it is a correct actor because first name is usually shortened to initial). Moreover if they should be transcribed then we should list some of the known characters with names like "Sherlok Kholms" which will seem ridiculous for both English-speaking and Russian-speaking users. Both therefore will likely try to correct that and that is exactly what happens in most of the cases.     

In conclusion: I am not complaining. It's just that adding and correcting something on IMDb on a daily basis makes you encounter these problems more and more and you can't help but wonder whether something actually could be done about that to ease the experience for users and contributors alike. Or at least could situation be specified a bit more in the guidelines to omit some of such problems.   
 
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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Posted 1 year ago

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Eboy

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Quite a long post to answer, but my thoughts briefly:

C) Cast attributes. I would say that there shouldn’t be ”(deleted scenes)" or ”(scenes deleted)” type of attributes. This info belongs to Trivia section, that’s why it’s there. In trivia section you can also explain why some scenes were deleted (if that info is available in some audio commentary, interviews etc).

In my opinion, it’s also a bit stretch to submit these ”stunt driver” -type of credits or try to give (filmography) credits to people who may vaguely appear in some shots (even when the craracter was recast etc). I mean where does it end, where to draw the line? Hands of the director (quite common probably) are on a close-up, so director is also added to ”Actor” category? It’s a can of worms if everybody should be added to ”acting” category, even if it’s some person’s back briefly on the screen, some eye on a close-up, or a toe on the edge of the frame.

IMDb simply can’t credit everyone or everything that may (or may not - how many threads about Stallone’s possible uncredited appearances we have had?) appear on the screen in some form or another.
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Peter, Champion

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"Scenes deleted" is only intended for actors who were credited in the cast, but were cut from the actual film, a fairly rare occurrence. It arguably helps keep users from trying to delete such credits because they did not see the actor in the film.
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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Eboy, adding to what Peter said, "(scenes deleted)" is indeed very useful. That situation occurs very often on some really famous  movies (Pulp Fiction and Escape From New York come to mind immediately), so attribute notes people that certain actor was credited for a scene which was cut. 

As for cast and crew credits for appearing in weird orphaned shots, being mostly replaced etc. - I'd say it's great that we have most of this on IMDb already. That information should be known and available. Appearances in goofs usually don't merit for a cast credit, although I added one which I believe to be an exception: David Lynch in the Pilot of "Twin Peaks", because he is in the shot for more then a minute and with Lynch you'll never know whether it was on purpose or not. 

Also, as an independent filmmaker I feel like I should confess: I used shots with my accidental appearances such as reflections and hands as cameos numerous times. It helps that in one of my web-series I basically portray an amateurish camera operator who is prone to make such mistakes on a daily basis. And yes, director cameos were always eligible for cast, as far as I remember, especially if they are seriously confirmed. Dario Argento's appearances as murderer's hands in his giallo movies are quite legendary.  
(Edited)
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Michelle, Official Rep

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Hi Nikolay -
Thanks for addressing these cast credit guidelines, and thanks also Eboy for commenting.  You have valid points here and some good examples that I can pass along to our data editors, I have filed a ticket for the team to take a look at, and as soon as they follow-up I will let you know here. 
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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Glad to be of any help! 
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Jaime, Employee

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Hi Nikolay,

Thank you for your detailed question, and apologies for the delay in our response - we'll do our best to acknowledge your queries in full.

People who appear in photographs, video and other similar media types where
  • The content was created specifically for the title and
    • they do receive an on screen credit then they should be credited as reflected on screen.
    • they are not credited they can be listed with the 'uncredited' attribute (as defined in the guide 'I worked on a title but did not receive a screen credit. Can it be listed on IMDb?') This should be submitted as Photographic Model in Miscellaneous crew.
  • The content is not explicitly created for the title and
    • they are credited should be listed with the 'credit only' attribute (as referenced in the guide)
    • they are not credited, then they are not eligible for listing as a filmography item, but can be submitted as “Bio: Other Works” or “Title: Trivia” (as long as it adheres to our Trivia policies)
This policy also applies to titles which predominantly consist of still photographs, videos and related media types.

The attribute 'scenes deleted' is only eligible if someone receives an on screen credit but there scene did not appear in the final cut of the title:
Someone has a screen credit for a scene that was filmed, but does not actually appear because the scenes were left on the cutting room floor.
https://help.imdb.com/article/contribution/filmography-credits/cast-acting-credits-guidelines/GH3JZC74FVYKKFMD?ref_=helpsrall#general

For cast/acting appearances, you must be identifiable and featured on-screen in the final released cut of the title. In other words, it's not enough to have worked on a production: your scenes must be included in the final cut and it must be possible to easily identify your appearance (i.e. background work as a crowd member or a similar role where it is impossible to recognize the subject are not eligible). If you ended up on the cutting room floor, you are not eligible to be listed. We may ask you to supply evidence of this, so you should be prepared to provide photos/stills/screen grabs to verify that you are featured.

Following this policy, Shailene Woodley is eligible for a credit on The Amazing Spiderman 2 with the attribute (uncredited) as she is identifiable in the film but she is not credited. We have reinstated Eric Stoltz's (uncredited) credit in Back to the Future as he appears and is identifiable in the released footage, but is not credited. If you've identified further eligible roles for him, please submit these for review by our data team.

With regards to your queries on Voice Credits and Character names, this is definitely information we want to capture on IMDb. Unfortunately our data model does not currently support this. However, we are investigating better solutions for representation of localized credits and appreciate your suggestions for this.

We are reviewing our guides in line with these raised points and hope to be updating these soon - thanks for your patience in advance!


Regards
Jaime


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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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Hello, Jaime! 

Great thanks for clarifying! If it's possible may I add/ask a few additional questions and commentaries? 

1) It's great to know that photographic appearances are eligible if made specifically for production. Will move and add known uncredited cases of photographs made specifically for productions in "miscellaneous crew" (examples include, apart from aforementioned Davison and Hitchcock, Stan Lee on Man-Thing and a number of Marvel and Netflix TV series, Tim Sullivan on Jeepers Creepers and Edward Neumeier in RoboCop).

2) Could it be more convenient to have Eric Stoltz's uncredited appearance in Back to the Future listed in Marty McFly (Driving and Punching Scenes) in order for listing not to confuse people into deleting the correct listing? Something similar to how Charles Belardinelli and Jim Doyle are listed for portraying Fred Krueger in certain large scenes of A Nightmare on Elm Street (to clarify, while in both instances they are not easily identifiable, both were confirmed as actors in specific scenes in many behind-the-scenes accounts and interviews and have a substantial screentime).  

3) What should be done with mixed cases of actors deleted from the movie but still appearing on photographs and/or archive footage? I've seen such cases listed in any way imaginable. Just two examples: Liza Minelli has "(credit only)" on The King of Comedy (for cardboard full-sized cutout of her photograph) while she actually had a more substantial part deleted; and Gal Gadot listed on Furious Seven with no attribute, despite her part was deleted and she only appears in the movie in a photograph and archive footage. Deleted scenes are not known to be reinstated in extended cut, so it's unclear what Gadot's listing should say.  

4) It's amazing to hear that you are investigating ways to feature localized versions! Excited for that to come into fruition. 

Yours sincerely,
Nikolay Yeriomin. 
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Marco

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However, we are investigating better solutions for representation of localized credits and appreciate your suggestions for this.
As someone who has first asked IMDb about this 15 (!) years ago, I'm very happy to hear this! Thanks Jaime!
(also thanks to Nikolay for the well-thought OP)
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Jaime, Employee

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Hi Nikolay,

Thanks for the follow on questions.

1) Thank you as always for helping us keep our content up to date and accurate we appreciate any help.

2) Listing the credit with extra details such as (driving and punching scenes) would be duplicating data found elsewhere on the site, in this case trivia.

3) These cases would again depend on if the 'archive footage' was recorded for this title or from another title https://help.imdb.com/article/contribution/filmography-credits/cast-acting-credits-guidelines/GH3JZC... and/or whether the individual was credited, if they were credited, then an archive footage credit would be applicable https://help.imdb.com/article/contribution/filmography-credits/archive-footage/G4X4TVH6HXYBW8WM?ref_...

Unfortunately there will always be edge cases however I am going to end this thread here as we have now updated the guides to address your initial queries.  Any other pressing issues with Cast please open a new thread for discussion.

Best Wishes
Jaime