Click here to go to a little FAQ page. It was created by Marisa, who very kindly let me copy this to my website.
HOW TO GET SHOWS
Let's start on how to acquire your first videos. You can:
a)try to film some shows, but that requires guts, a nice camera and knowing how to use it properly
b)buy some shows
c)ask traders to gift you some shows and audios in order for you to trade them, saying you're a new trader and asking for help to start building your collection
Going back to the b) thing. There are people who sell their shows, you could buy some (specially the rare ones) and trade them. If you can buy something there, I highly recommend that you do it, because very few traders buy their stuff, so, if you have something new, something almost no one has, you'll be able to trade it for lots of stuff! And you can always buy it from traders: many (including me) sell their videos, so you could contact them.
Pretty much every 2018 video is rare, specially the ones that are still NFT (I'll get to it later). Again, if you can, I highly recommend you buy one or two dvds. It's just $22 (which isn't cheap, but it surely isn't expensive) and will certainly help you get a lot of videos, videos that you like and videos that might come in hand for another trade! Or you can buy from traders too. We usually sell at cheaper prices. I've bought videos from traders for $10, but I've also bought videos for $25. There isn't a rule, it all depends on the trader and on the video. If you want to buy a show to start collecting but have no idea what to buy, let me know and I can help you (e-mail me with what kind of shows you like, favorite shows, etc). Another good thing about buying shows: getting new shows becomes easier. Let's face it, no one likes to spend months and months 'hunting' for a show.
NFT shows are shows supposed to be not for trade (hence NFT). When you buy a show from a master, he asks that you not trade it for some months, so they can sell some copies of the video. Some masters say their videos are NFT until a certain date, which means that after a certain date you can trade it; some masters say their videos should always be NFT. But they can't make you follow this rule. If you want to, you can follow it; if you don't want to, you don't have to. It's all about respect to the master, I can't force you to have it. For example, I follow the NFT rule when I get the video from the master as an act of respect, but some people don't, and there's nothing I or anybody can do. The 'easiest' way to acquire a NFT video is by buying it.
VOBs are files that can be burned into a DVD. They are the files that a DVD contains, that's why they can be burned to a dvd. For example, if you have the vob files of Next to Normal 07/18/2010, you can use some programs, such as Ashampoo (the one I use), and burn it to a dvd. That way, you can delete the files from your computer, you have the video 'saved' in a dvd and most importantly: you can watch the musical on a dvd player, and not just your computer. Every DVD has the following files: the video itself, which are some .vob files that are about 1GB, each named something like VTS_01_1.vob or VTS_02_1.vob; and the small files, files such as VIDEO_TS.ifo that are about 64kb (though it can be more than 10MB some times). In order to burn it in a dvd, you need these two kinds of files. Note that a .vob file can be part of the set of small files, but the name is a little different: VIDEO_TS.vob, usually.
HOW TO ACTUALLY START TRADING
Go to http://musicalexchange.livejournal.com and announce you're a new trader. That's a livejournal where some traders announce their websites (I highly recommend that you get one. It's really easy to create one on weebly, even if you have zero experience on creating websites!), announce their wants, bad traders and other things. There are some new traders there, so you might get in contact with them!
Some people prefer not to have websites, and that's fine (this will keep their collection more private, but it will also make it harder for someone else to try and set up a trade with them). But what you should do is have a list of every video and audio you have. It doesn't matter if it's in a Word document, if it's a pdf. Just have a list, so you can show other people. Don't try to set up trades saying what you want and what you will give the person, it's rude. Show them your whole list! Even when people say they're only trading for wants, I show them my whole list. What is very advisable is to point out what wants of theirs you have.
Also, be patient. We all have lives. I, for one, am not a machine that can answer emails whenever they arrive. I go to university, have a job and volunteer. There are people who work 10 hours a day. You never know what's going on in the other person's life, so it might take some time for you to get an answer. Wait a a few days before sending another e-mail. Of course the other person might just have forgotten to ask your email, so I recommend that you send them another e-mail after a little time (I usually wait one week and then send another e-mail).
Don't be upset if someone says they don't want to set up a trade with you. Maybe they don't have the time to upload videos, or they already have pretty much every video you have, or you don't have any video that the other person wants. It happens. My advice is, make your collection bigger and try to contact other people. Apart from unreleased videos, there isn't a single video that only one person has. So you can always try to find other people to trade with.
Never rely on links! Links die, so you should download your videos asap. If your computer lacks space to store all your bootlegs, you can either buy external HDs or -what most people in the trading community do- you can burn your shows into DVDs. VOB files come from dvds after all; so they'll be playable in any dvd or blu-ray player. Not only that, but HDs crash, meaning you will lose hundreds of shows. I myself use DVDs and external HDs: I have back-up HDs in case something happens to my HDs. If you use back-up HDs like me, then it's more expensive than doing dvds, but you save a lot of physical space in your house.
SOME LAST TIPS
Do not post shows on youtube and give away free links. It might attract attention to the trading community, and that's the last thing we want. Remember that bootlegs are illegal, so theater producers might want to sue everybody who trades/sells/records bootlegs. Even if they don't, people who record shows will record and release fewer bootlegs, if they don't stop recording at all.
And one last tip: always be polite and completely honest about what's going on. Honesty and politeness can get you very far! There are people on this community who I don't trade with because they've been extremely unpolite or they haven't been completely honest with me; and there are people here who I am more than happy to trade with, even give videos, because they've had really good manners with me :)