Great Scot! Outlandish Mutual Appreciation Society – 2nd Outlandish Adventure – Day 3

So…I woke up extra early this morning to watch a little TV. Everyone does that at 5 am, right? Luckily all the technology gods smiled on me and I was able to watch Outlander episode 115 – Wentworth with no problems. Hmm, maybe on second thought that wasn’t the best way to start the day. Going back to sleep afterwards wasn’t really an option either. Haven’t completely decided if that was due to the bright sunny skies or Black Jack Randall. Either way it looks like I’ll be facing the day on about 3 hours sleep. Oh well.

Since I was up (and hadn’t had a chance to stock up on any food), I headed out to Crieff bright and early…about 8 am. It was such a beautiful morning that I couldn’t keep from snapping a few pictures of Loch Faskally and the local pet pheasant.

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I headed out towards Crieff and made it through at least two weather changes as I went through Sma’ Glen and by the time I arrive at the Hydro it was raining pretty good. My stomach reminded me that I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I stopped into the Winter Garden cafe for a pot of tea and a slice of millionaire’s shortbread. So maybe that wasn’t the most nutritious choice, but it sure hit the spot and the view was lovely.

After breakfast, the first item on the agenda for the UK Outlander Gathering was the morning Fayre where many vendors were set up to display and offer for sale goods based on or inspired by Outlander. There were also several areas set up with demonstrations and other goodies. More on that in a bit. The first person I had a chance to speak with was Gillebride MacMillan, otherwise known in the Outlander world as Gwyllin the Bard. I had the opportunity to meet Gillebride last October when I was last in Scotland. I screwed up my courage and greeted him a hearty ‘Ciamar a tha sibh?’ He responded that he was well and then told me that my accent was wonderful, whereupon all the other Gaelic I knew promptly left my head. Probably just as well, I mean why screw up a perfect record?

Next, I spoke with Mr. C. of Acanthus Pies who supplies the lovely meat pies to the Outlander production. We had a great time chatting and looking at the lovely pies he brought. After the Mr. C, I had a chance to talk with the lady who runs the Mary Meander Tours and Outlander Dinner experience in Linlithgow. I’m greatly looking forward to a chance to attend one of their dinners in a week or so with the Outlander Podcast girls and I expect many pics and stories will follow. Lastly, I also got an awesome hug and picture from Ronnie Goodwin who was looking mighty fine in his kilt. Ronnie, whom I had also met last fall, was one of Dougal’s Highland lads in Outlander and many of you may have caught a glimpse of him in the last episode – The Search.

Now on to the different demonstrations going on. There were several different things going on demonstration-wise. First, there was an area set up with a wool waulking table and person teaching Gaelic waulking songs. I somehow neglected to get a picture of this though. :-( I’m sure that was partly because I spent so much time looking at the Outlander Costume area. Terry Dresbach had sent several of her team members to demonstrate and talk about techniques that they used in created costumes for Outlander – including Liz Boulton who many of you likely know from Twitter. Liz talked and showed samples of several of the different embroidery techniques she used in creating costumes.

About this time, I noticed a bit of a stir near the entrance to the room we were in. I couldn’t believe who had walked in. None other than Ron Moore and Terry Dresbach, live and in the flesh. They very graciously spent the next couple of hours mingling with fans — talking, signing autographs and posing for photos. And no sooner did the shock of that wear off than I started noticing other familiar figures including Maril Davis (Co-Executive Producer), Ira Behr (Writer/Co-Producer), Toni Graphia (Writer/Co-Producer), Jon Gary Steele (Production Designer) and Michael O’Halleran (editor). All were speaking with fans and posing for pictures. I even spied a few of the Outlander Drivers as well — Kenny and Davey. I took the opportunity to speak and get a few pictures with most of them. It very much turned into a mutual appreciation society as they warmly expressed how much they appreciated all the support from Outlander Fans.

I have to take a moment a talk just a bit about Terry. As many of you may know, I help admin Terry’s blog and it is something I am very happy to do. It was so wonderful though to finally get a chance to see Terry in person and collect on the big old hug I told her was the only payment I required. As you can see from the pictures below, it was well worth the wait. I was also able to hand off the 7 lbs of stone ground grits I had brought her from the US to her designated carrier (Ron ;-) ).

Eventually, most everyone had a chance to speak and get pictures and then everyone headed upstairs for a casual lunch.  After lunch, we trooped downstairs to hear talks about Jacobite history and some special presentations from Terry, Ron, Maril, Ira and Toni. It was all simply fascinating. Terry even brought some of the costumes for attendees to get an up close and personal look at.

Eventually though, the Outlander production people had to pack up and take their leave. I can say that I was thoroughly impressed not just by their willingness to come to the Gathering and share stories and experiences, but I was all very impressed by the Gathering attendees as well. Everyone one was most polite and mannerly and there was not mobbing or crowding. Everyone waited patiently for their turn for an autograph or picture. I saw Ron tweet after the event that it was the best fan event he had every been to and I have to agree. The UK Outlander Gathering attendees have done a superb job.

The last event on the day’s program was the formal dinner and Ceilidh. After a quick change of clothing for most attendees, everyone reconvened in the main meeting room to find that it had been completely transformed. Lighted candelabra adorned every table and the covered chairs had decorative plaid bows. The effect was simply stunning. Finding our seats via place cards, we enjoyed an excellent meal of Leek and Cheddar tart, Haggis stuffed chicken breast with potato and veg, and a dessert of creme brulee with shortbread cookies. Finally, hot tea and coffee service finished the meal (oh and there just happened to be some tablet on the tray as well).

Finally it was time to burn off some of the calories just consumed. Scottish band Skipinish took to the stage to play a mix of new and traditional tunes and call some Scottish Country Dances for the attendees. At this point though, my coach was most definitely about to turn into a pumpkin, so after a couple of songs, I said my goodbyes and hopped in the car for the trip back to Pitlochry. The trip was luckily uneventful except for an owl that swooped out in front of the car.

Tomorrow the plan is to head back to Glasgow for a few days of fun and mayhem. Stay tuned to see what trouble I can get way way into (and hopefully talk my way out of). ;-)

Slàn leat an-dràsta!

Hollywood...this is Hollywood!

Never Reckoned on this: Spoiler free reflections on Paleyfest

I really feel that I should start this blog post with a few abject apologies. I know I haven’t really posted anything since my return from Scotland. I blame that completely on the effects of #Droughtlander. You know, this funny thing happened over the last few months. I remembered that I had a life before all things Outlander consumed me for the past year. It was nice to have a chance to reconnect and do some things that had fallen by the wayside.

However, now that the end of #Droughtlander is in sight, I’m ready to get back to it. I’ve truly missed writing these posts and I definitely need to get back in the groove before May. Oh, did I not mention that I’m going back to Scotland in May for the OutlanderUK Gathering and more? Don’t worry, it will be fully covered! Not only will I blog it here on GreatScot, but I’ll also be meeting up and spending a week with the lovely ladies from The Outlander Podcast. No telling what hi-jinx we’ll get up to, but I fully expect it to be covered in two mediums!

Up, up and away

Many of you know by now that I usually start these posts covering a trip with a shoe pic (it’s become something of a tradition because of the pics that Terry Dresbach usually tweets at the start of her trips). However, I’m starting my coverage this time with the airport. Sitting around in the airport in Atlanta is not usually that much fun, but I have come to realize that it pays to keep your eyes open around any flight from ATL to LAX. Atlanta has become a very popular location for the TV/Movie industry with the likes of The Walking Dead and Vampire Diaries filming in the area. Knowing this, I kept my eyes open for any celebrities returning to LA and, sure enough, I was not disappointed. As I entered the jet bridge, I realized that actor John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun, Shrek) was only a couple of people ahead of me. Even after boarding the plane and taking my seat (I was lucky enough to be upgraded to business class), I saw several other people who looked familiar but no one to whom I could definitively put a name.

Eventually (the plane was delayed a bit by an equipment change), I took my shoe pic and then we were up in the air and on our way to the land of movie stars. I don’t usually comment on the flight itself, but I’ll make an exception in this case as it was one of the more bumpy flights I’ve ever been on. We had over an hour of pretty constant turbulence. On our arrival into LA, the bright lights were pretty spectacular. I know the picture I took from the plane is a bit blurry, but I think you get the general idea.

Upon arriving, I was lucky enough to have Candida pick me up at the airport and whisk me off to her house. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again (and probably again and again…), the best thing about Outlander is all the truly special people I have met and the lasting friendships that have been forged. It’s wonderful to have such a great home base for this trip and to get to spend more time with Candida. :-)

The Big Day

After waking up early (thanks to a body still on Eastern Daylight Time), and accomplishing a few work related conference calls, it was time to get ready for the big event.  Thanks to the President being in town to film an appearance for the Jimmy Kimmel show (I’m pretty sure the President is following me as he was in Atlanta two days earlier), we decided we needed to head over to Hollywood well in advance of the 7pm start time for the Outlander Paleyfest panel.

This would probably be a good time to explain Paleyfest for those who may not be familiar. Paleyfest is an annual fundraiser for the Paley Center for Media. William S. Paley was the founder of CBS (a broadcast network in the US) and also founder of the Paley Center for Media. Paleyfest is composed of panel events for selected television shows and it is an honor that Outlander was selected to be included in the event! Continue reading

Credit to @Heughligans for the picture

Outlandish Reflections on a Plaid Carpet Premiere

What a weekend…

Well, it’s been a few days and I’m still not down from the high of all that I experienced at the Outlander Premiere on Friday night. It’s almost hard to know where to begin, but I have heard that the beginning is a very good place to start!

First of all, for those who are a bit wary, this is not going to be a recap of the actual first episode, so those who are determined to be unspoiled on August 9th need not worry! There are some excellent episode recaps out already that have that covered. What I am going to do is give you a window into my experience. Hopefully, this will allow everyone who wasn’t able to attend to feel at least a part of the excitement.

Tell me if you’ve heard the one about 6 women trying to get ready in a single hotel room…

That’s right, you heard me. Before we could go anywhere, it was necessary for 6 of us to get dressed, hair styled and made up. Not that easy as you might imagine. Especially as all of us had brought more than one outfit and it was necessary for each of us to try everything we brought on and get the consensus of the group on THE outfit that should be worn. Through that process, we took the time to order in a lunch as we feared—and were correct—that this might be the last meal of the evening.

Appetites dealt with, it was time to begin the shuffling required to get everyone shower, mirror and straightening iron time. Luckily, we had our own personal stylist on hand. It’s always nice to be friends with someone with red carpet experience. And while there may be no ‘Words heard on set’ tweets from Maril due to the filming hiatus for the premiere, I can report that the following words were heard in our hotel room:

Suck in…Lift your boobs….do you mind if I stick my hand here and adjust this…

And the best of all…

I usually get dinner first before I let someone do this.

But, right on time, we were tweaked, looking perfect, and all ready to go! We requested our UberXL vehicle and headed out for our special night.


Pinch me…

I think all of us were still pinching ourselves that we were really going to the Outlander Premier as invited guests and we really had no idea what to expect.  Soon enough, however, we pulled up to the Spreckels Theater to join a line of others waiting for the Will Call lines to open. Coincidentally, a band of kilted men came by to help us pass the time. I mean, really, what could be more fun and appropriate! I couldn’t resist having my picture taken with them and was given an Outlander bandana of my very own.

I won’t show a picture, but I was amazed to find that even two of Diana Gabaldon’s children were waiting in line behind us. I figure they are in store for a pretty interesting evening since I’ve heard Diana say that they have never read her books as, in the words of one daughter, “I don’t want to read sex scenes written by my mother.” However,  it doesn’t surprise me at all that Twitter0c2dc2ethey didn’t expect any special treatment.

Pretty soon it was 6:30 and the Will Call line began moving quickly. I made very sure that I stuck close to the lucky girl who actually won the tickets as I knew my +1 status was dependent on her!

Once we had our tickets in hand, we walked behind the Step and Repeat Backdrop and Plaid Carpet the stars would soon walk and entered the atrium of the theater. It was a wonderland of trees, stones and kilted men. I truly felt I was walking through the trees at Craigh na Dun. Once in the theater lobby, we were able to peruse a selection of blue vases—a la Claire’s shopping in Inverness.

I can’t begin to list everyone I met from the Outlander Twitter and Facebook worlds. As with all Outlander-related events, meeting people in person that you normally only tweet and Facebook message with is one of the best parts of the evening.  I quickly ducked into the actual theater for a moment to see where my seat was. Turns out it was in the Orchestra level in Row S. This was one of the last rows in that level of the theater, but the venue was so small and intimate, I was sure I would have no problems seeing anything on stage.

Keeping my eyes wide open…

I then went back out to the atrium to people watch as others arrived.  I had the immense privilege of speaking with several key executives including Chris Parnell (Sony) and Karen Bailey (Starz). However, the highlight by far was the chance to speak with Bear McCreary. He graciously stopped and spoke with me for three or four minutes. I wish I could remember in more detail what he said—or what I said for that matter. I do remember telling him how much I admired his use of instrumentation in his work and he said how amazed he was at all of the support from Outlanders so far. I’m also crushed that I didn’t remember to have someone take my picture with him but I did get some video of him with Kathy. I also spotted Zac McGowan, Luke Arnold and Jessica Parker Kennedy from Starz’s Black Sails walking through as well. Last but not least, I also had the opportunity to speak briefly with Jolie Lash of Access Hollywood. She is the one who has put together some of the funniest cast interview filmed during her set visit to Scotland back in February, including the “Sexiest Gaelic Words” and “What is it about a man in a kilt” videos.

At this point, the greeters started clearing the lobby for the big arrivals. One of these days I’m going to learn that sometimes it doesn’t pay to always follow instructions, but alas this wasn’t the day, so I took my seat.  Others who didn’t follow directions got some great pictures. As I stated earlier, there are no bad seats in this theater.

It really starts to get real or should that be reel…

I had just settled in my seat when I noticed a bit of a buzz. Ushers were escorting the cast to seats among the crowd in the Orchestra level. I would never have expected that to happen. I managed to get some video of them but I apologize for the quality and the sound as I was just a bit excited.

First up was Lotte Verbeek (Geilis Duncan).

Next, crowd favorite Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie)

And entering to a great ovation, author Diana Gabaldon along with Co-executive Producer Maril Davis.

Also to the delight of the crowd, Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) and Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) were next. After Sam was seated, I realized I had a perfect view of his face in profile from less than 20 feet away. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think I would be able to see Sam out of the corner of my eye while watching Outlander. I could actually see during the screening which scenes he paid close attention to and which were the ones where he grabbed his water bottle.

And last, but most definitely not least, one of my personal favorites, Tobias Menzies (Frank/Black Jack Randall).

Once everyone was seated, the house lights dimmed and out stepped Bear McCreary to give a live performance prior to the screening. He began with a couple of traditional Scottish folk songs: The haunting ballad Loch Lomond and then a fiddle tunes “Clean Pease Strae” and “Comin’ Through the Rye.” Next, was the very first live performance of the theme for Jamie and Claire that Bear wrote especially for the show. It was so haunting and evocative, I swear I could feel the wind from the moor and smell the heather. Lastly, Bear’s wife Raya Yarbrough took the stage to perform the song from the Outlander opening title sequence—a modified version of The Skye Boat Song. It literally gave me chills. I took a few short video clips but you will have to excuse my inability to keep quiet.

Loch Lomond –

“Clean Pease Strae” and “Comin’ Through the Rye”

Jamie and Claire’s Theme

I am also posting a video that someone else took of the entire performance and posted on YouTube. The video quality isn’t wonderful but the sound is pretty good.

Everything I thought it could be and so much more…

Once the live performance was over,  the curtain lifted and the credits started to roll. You could hear cheers and smatters of applause as names we know and already love flashed on the screen. Costume Designer Terry Dresbach received applause and cheers but the largest ovation by far was when Diana’s name was displayed. Thankfully for those not able to attend, Starz has released the opening title sequence on YouTube. Prepare to be amazed by the haunting vignettes and music. I will warn you that it is very addictive though. I’ve been finding myself singing the song for two days now.

I promised no spoilers for the episode content and I will hold by that. If you are interested in reading more about the actual episode, I highly recommend you read Candida’s A True Fan’s Review of Outlander Episode #101: Sassenach. She does a brilliant job and I understand the review has already been read and appreciated by those at the highest levels. As for my own reaction, I honestly can’t think of anything I would have changed. There were favorite lines, surprises, passion, action and humor. All of the things long time fans have appreciated about Outlander since 1991. Perhaps the best summary of my feelings is this tweet I sent to Maril Davis (@TallShipProds).

But wait, there’s more…

Not only did we get to be among the first to see a screening of the premier episode of Outlander, but there was also a moderated panel discussion afterwards. Even though jet lagged and tired from a day full of press interviews and a ComicCon panel discussion, the discussion among the participants was enjoyable and insightful. There were some great moments, especially when cheers went up for Gàidhlig tutor Àdhamh Ò Broin. Also, I think Ron Moore gave the best summary of Outlander Season 1 ever. I predict that the phrase “and that doesn’t go so well” will become a new catch phrase among Outlanders everywhere.

Here is a video released by Starz of the entire Q&A panel discussion.

The Clock Strikes Midnight

All too soon, the Q&A session was over and I knew my magical evening was drawing to a close. After lingering a bit in the lobby, trying to make the evening last as long as possible and speaking to friends, we finally exited the theater to the sidewalk outside. There we were privileged to have the opportunity to speak for quite a while with Karen Bailey, Sr. Vice President for Original Programming with Starz, and her husband, Palmer. It was great to hear some interesting tidbits about things that may be coming up for Starz and its productions.

Waving goodbye to Karen who was off to another event, I and the rest of my party adjourned to the nearby Westin hotel for a drink, some nibbles and the chance to discuss the night’s events. I sent a few congratulatory tweets to those I knew had made such wonderful contributions to the production including Terry Dresbach and Àdhamh Ó Broin.

Finally, even drinks and food couldn’t prolong the evening any longer. We hopped in our UberXL and made the journey back to Kearny Mesa, a tired but thoroughly pleased party. Sadly our group of six wonderful ladies had to split up and go our separate ways, but we have wonderful memories we will share forever. Thank you so much to Marisa, Candida, Darcy, Jen, and Kathy for sharing this fantastical evening.

Watch out world. Outlander is coming!

Credits to @Heughligans (Plaid Carpet picture) and @Candida_LN (Forest Lobby picture)

@TallShipProds reports Gàidhlig heard on set!

We’re sure it wasn’t the first and won’t be the last. A+ grade awarded to Karen Combs for the correct translation.

Gave it my best try at proper pronunciation but had to be corrected by the expert!