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Updated 25-November-2021

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Getting started

In general, the plot explains the sequence of events that takes place within a scripted, or non-scripted narrative.

On IMDb, there are three plot types - OutlineSummary, and Synopsis and these all provide details relating to a story, but vary in length and depth. 


General guidelines |Outline | Summary | Synopsis

General guidelines

Before providing specific guidelines for Outlines, Summaries or Synopses, there are some general rules that apply to all submissions for things you should, and shouldn't do:

 Write in a sentence case (i.e. don't capitalize every word in the plot)

 Check your spelling

 Start with "This film is about..." or "This is a story about"

 Include the title's name at the start of the outline ('e.g. Star Wars' is about)

 Include analysis or personal opinion (e.g. "This film is one of Hitchcock's finest.")

 Use quotes from the title (these should go in Quotes)

 Use block capitals or short-hand 'text speak'

 Use line-breaks, these will be merged together on the website

 Submit website URLs in plots or By: lines (These must go in External Sites).

 Copy from other websites - which includes blogs or official sites, unless you can prove ownership. 

 Copy from other locations - plots must be your original work & all copyrighted material is excluded from the plot summaries database. This includes movie guides, newspapers, and even the blurb on the back of the Blu-ray case.

If your submission contains any items from the Don'ts list then it may be rejected by an editor upon review - let's look at the more specific guidelines by the type of plot.


Outline specific 

Outlines provide a brief description of the storyline to help inform people of the events taking place in the title.

A maximum of one outline is allowed per title and locale - rather than deleting the live one and/or adding a new one, please modify the existing item instead.

Should be shorter than 239 characters - any longer and these will automatically turn into summaries. 

Should not include spoilers
Should not include actors names

Unlike most other data types, they can be submitted in a range of different languages via IMDb Answers or the normal contribution experience explained below.

Update (November 2021) - Author bylines are no longer available for plot outlines.


Summary specific 

Summaries provide a much deeper description and analysis of the storyline from start to finish. 

IMDb reserves the right to select which plot summary to use. Up to five summaries per title may be kept, but only if they present a differing viewpoints.

Write in English, regardless of the language of the original film
Should be longer than 239 characters - any shorter and these will automatically turn into outlines.
Do include actors' names, but only for principal cast members and only for completed titles. Best practice here is to link to the Cast name page. This policy is voluntary (i.e. summaries can still be submitted and accepted without actors' names).
Do keep your By: line consistent if you write more than one summary. You'll never make it into the top 20 if you have 5 variations of your name/email address. You may enter Anonymous (or, leave it blank). We recommend the format Your Name <> if you want to include your email address, although please note it will be published.

Do not include full spoilers. (Some very small spoilers will be allowed).
Do not overwrite By: lines if you make corrections (spelling, grammar, etc).
Do not substantively change summaries if you disagree with them - instead please submit a new one with your own byline.


Synopsis specific 

A synopsis should be a detailed description of the entire plot of the title, including spoilers, so users who haven't seen a movie or missed an episode of a series can read everything about the title.

Write in English, regardless of the language of the original film
Do feel free to include spoilers.
Do include principal cast members names if you want - best practice is to link to the Cast name page
On a parent series, provide an overview of the entire series followed by any main events per season under season headings.

Do not include commentary along with the exclusive details of the story of the film.

How to

As with the majority of data types, you can submit plot updates via the    button at the bottom of a title  page.

From here, find the heading Plot & Quotes from the list, and use the drop-down option to choose if you'd like to add, update, or delete some information. 

Submitting a plot via submission form

Once you've chosen everything you'd like to update, scroll to the bottom of the page and press  to progress onto the next stage where you let us know the actual information you're trying to add. 

After submitting your request, it should take between 12 - 48 hours to appear on the website - you can track your request from your contribution history to find it's current status and estimated completion time. 

Submitting multi-lingual plot outlines

You can submit multi-lingual plots via IMDb Answers or the normal contribution experience mentioned above - here are example quick links for popular movies missing plots:

Frequently asked questions

When will my update be added?
It's been ages but my update hasn't appeared on IMDb, what's happened?
I've submitted a plot for my language, its been approved but I can't see it?
I keep going in circles on the contribution form but can't submit - help!
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