Full Metal Rant: Add One More To The ebaY Dishonor Roll

I can believe that the following incident happened, I simply cannot believe that the following happened so *fast*.

VDO’s sister Elizabeth (henceforth EDO to save bandwidth) gives acting workshops in various places (mostly in the USA) from time to time. One of these is based on her techniques for handling cold readings for auditions (for non-actors this means that the actor or actress has not been given time to study the script being used in the audition, they just have to go ahead and read plus perform the material unprepared or ‘cold’).

One particular workshop EDO gave happened to have taken place in New York City, and VDO happened to show up with some of his students. Someone (I’m presuming EDO) had the foresight to film this class, EDO had DVDs of this workshop made and EDO is selling this DVD via her website.

The real *authorized* DVD can be purchased here (for $25 including shipping if you are in the USA):
Cold Reading Techniques for Audition Workshop

Note that these DVDs are really more useful to people who are studying acting than to casual VDO fans. In fact EDO had to go through all kinds of crazy security precautions to screen out VDO’s disruptive fangurls and make sure only legitimate acting students were admitted to the workshop. That’s bad enough for EDO and for people who are just trying to study acting with her.

Now some cretin has made a bootlegged VHS of this workshop DVD and listed the very first fake copy on ebaY (listing #250002430604 which has already sold. For $60. Before shipping.).

Granted this lowlife at least threw in a copy of the UK gossip magazine Hello! from 1995 that contains a dubious article describing the breakup of VDO’s marriage to Greta Scacchi. I doubt that the issue of Hello! is an unauthorized photocopy. But it’s clear to me that the seller wanted to make as much as possible on a bootlegged VHS tape (and probably also overpaid for their copy of the Hello! tabloid).

Words cannot describe how completely disgusted I am by this. But I’m going for it anyway…

I am sure that VDO came to EDO’s workshop in part to support his sister in her teaching venture and in part to work with his own acting students. It is not in VDO’s power to control some of his more disturbed ‘fans’ anymore than he could control being related to EDO. So should VDO happen to read this, I am sorry that too many of his ‘fans’ are so clearly unworthy and meddlesome.

To EDO’s credit, she is an actress in her own right. Granted her acting resume doesn’t boast as many big credits as her brother’s but that could have a lot to do with 1) her life priorities — she did curtail her career for family reasons 2) her gender (and the fact that big Hollywood is hellaciously hard on women, especially as they age, more often than not denying them roles in front of and behind the cameras) and 3) VDO’s luck relative to EDO’s (there is a lot of luck to getting big fame-creating parts regardless of one’s gender age and talent).

Moreover EDO is doing something positive with her abilities — she’s out there trying to teach her craft to others. She’s putting in the effort of organizing classes, trying to spread the gospel of giving good performances (and we all know what she’s up against when Paris Hilton can keep getting her TV series renewed). EDO’s likely not making a living at pursuing her calling (and even her brother is in limited company — something like 3% of all US actors make $30,000 or more a year at their craft while the other 97% have to find other sources of support). But at least she’s putting in her own efforts.

I’m sure this seller thinks of herself (or himself) as one of VDO’s *real* fans. I’m sure this ‘fan’ also thinks she/he’s being extremely clever by getting someone else to pay for her/his DVD (a mere $25) by committing an act of copyright infringement.

I wonder how she/he would justify this to VDO (or for that matter to EDO) in a face to face meeting? “Hey although on the one hand it looks like I’m ripping off your family, it took some real effort for me to hook the DVD player up to the VCR and besides I threw in a legitimate copy of a trashy tabloid that probably includes lies, half-truths, and other nonsense that serves no purpose but to cause more pain to your family”.

Does that sound like a winner to you?!?! I didn’t think so.

I have railed against bootlegs (and trashy tabloids) before. But this one is especially low because it’s not ripping off some huge nasty nameless faceless multi-national corporation which can do unto others before they do unto it. This ripped off one of the underdogs, someone who is more like the rest of us nameless faceless folks than this cerebrally-challenged ‘fan’ gets. While I might call a corporation crass, this seller is just plain odious and should be forced to work the drive through at McDonalds for every lunch rush for the rest of her/his life for *zero* pay.

Thanks to her/his selfishness, someone who wants to study EDO’s acting techniques but can’t get to a workshop may have to do without a DVD for a while (and *nothing* gets me riled like a person interfering with another person’s education, be it formal or informal), not to mention how much hassle this type of thinking and behavior causes the workshops and classes yet to come.

Finally we get to me the collector who hates having my time taken up when I bother to go to ebaY to look for things to collect and see brain-dead crapfest listings like these instead of worthwhile legitimate things to add to my collection. And worse, if and when the ‘winner’ of this auction reads this rant and contacts me, I get the unpleasant task of comforting her/him and trying to reassure her/him that all ebaY sellers aren’t as low as this one (although it’s looking like they’re racing towards the bottom as fast as they can).

So for now I’ve said my piece. To all the injured parties you have far more of my sympathy than this seller has of my contempt.

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