I really don’t understand the purpose of shills. According to Wikipedia, a shill is described as an associate of a person selling goods or services or a political group, who pretends no association to the seller/group and assumes the air of an enthusiastic customer. As a poster on the Chud message boards for the past seven years, I have seen many shills come and go and none are ever taken seriously. Most are banned in short time but some actually stick around and continue to shill their products endlessly.
I will be the first to admit, I am my own greatest shill. My message board screen name is my movie production company name (Starving Dogs Productions). At one time I followed the lead of a former poster named Bill Johnson, a effects guy in Hollywood who posted some of his stuff under a thread with his name in the title. It was pretty cool and the group of posters who frequented the Budding Filmmakers forum at that time really dug the stuff he showed us.
Following suit, I started a Starving Dogs thread where I talked about whatever movie we were shooting at the time, showed some stills from actual footage, talked about casting and the day’s shoot. It was what the forum claim to be about:
Do you have a project coming together? Are you not a shameless self promoter and actually wanting to discuss the process? Here is where you and Uncle Mitch can!
At the time it was popular with the regular members as well. I will be the first to admit though, while I did want to discuss the process and was there to answer any questions someone passing through had about the process, I was and am a shameless self promoter. I don’t post in that thread I created anymore because there are now two great threads in the forum for that talk, one over filmmaking and the other over screenwriting. I don’t post there as much as I would have a few years ago, but I still talk about my stuff as much as I can in to as many people as I can.
Understand, I know why people want to shill their stuff and how important it is, but there is a group of shills that really make even me shake my head.
Bad Shill #1: This guy goes into a forum about general movie discussion and talks about how cool the new Alien vs Predator movie is. He goes into detail about how he knows someone who knows someone who saw the rough cut and it makes the original Alien look like Mary Poppins!!! He purposively misspells words or uses “cool” internet lingo and by the time he is done pimping the movie, you want to hate it even more than when you originally heard it was being produced. Then the same guy turns around and talks about how awesome that new movie No Country for Old Men is. Once again, he seems illiterate and stupid and begins to sour the taste of a great movie before it ever hits the screens.
I hate this guy more than any other. this is more than likely a studio plant trying to raise interest of a movie by annoying the fuck out of everyone who reads it. IT DOESN’T WORK! Maybe in some cases it is a psychotic fan who wants to make everyone understand his LUV for the movie. Either way, I want them to die.
Bad Shill #2: This is the guy who is actually someone like me. The problem is they don’t understand there is a place to shill your movie. It’s called Shameless Links and Self Promotion. This stuff is expected there. If you have a movie you made about some amateur porn star killing people, post it there. That is where it would be welcomed. It doesn’t go under Buddng Filmmakers. You aren’t talking about the process of making the film. You are trying to make people want to buy your film. That’s not the place to do it. Don’t shill DVD General Discussion. You are advertising your movie and should not expect a discussion to start in that forum. That’s not even where you talk about movies – Films in Release or on Video is where you do that. Seriously, is the forum descriptions that hard to fucking read?
I know the movie about a man killing amateur porn stars is old news, but what brought this to a rise was the latest addition to the Reader Reviews forum. Someone reviewed a new movie called Wrestlemaniac. The reviewer has one post. Try to convince me the reviewer is not one of the filmmakers or their friends and I will invite you to an exclusive dinner at McDonalds where the Coen brothers will tell you how all their movies connect to each other. Not gonna happen. DON’T REVIEW YOUR OWN FUCKING MOVIE! Wouldn’t it be easier to send out copies of your movie to various websites and let them review it for you? Unless you know your movie sucks, that is. We shall actually know the answer to this question soon as I am scheduled to review Wrestlemaniac in the near future. I would guess that if the filmmakers are so worried about their movie getting noticed, it can’t be that good.
That is where my confusion about the purpose of shills comes in. When I see someone shilling a movie, I automatically think it must suck. It is just my gut reaction that if someone sends out a shill to message boards, the movie needs help and I want to see it even less. I could care less about seeing the movie where an amateur killer hunts porn stars. Why? Because the guy who made it shilled it so much, it made me hate the movie without ever seeing it.