BTS of #OutlanderBehindTheScenes w/Courtney Williams

It was a no brainer for me to ask Courtney to be my next guest with The LOVELANDER Project. I have a crush on her. She’s smart, she’s got dimples for days and her blue eyes…you can swim in ’em ! Holding a conversation with her is easy and exciting. She is the one who is used to doing the interviewing, so I knew she was going to be hard to pin down, she was but I got her! Here she is, Courtney Williams from Outlander BTS.

Thank you, Courtney for giving me your time and being a part of this passion project of mine. Sher, I think you do great interviews, and I love the spirit of your LOVELANDER Project. As you know, I’m usually the one asking the questions, so it took me a bit to get in the right headspace to be the interviewee. Thank you for inviting me.

You are literally the “Behind The Scenes” of Outlander for thousands. They rarely get a true look at you. Tell me what makes Courtney – Courtney. Alrighty, I’m mostly of Irish and Italian descent with some other stuff mixed in. I’m from Texas, the youngest of 3, two older brothers – all close in age. I was a tomboy, liked to be outside most of the time, (still do), and was a little toughie. I left home at 19, and the adventure began. I’ve lived all over the Washington DC area, Madrid, San Francisco, and the Denver area. Today, I’m a wife and mom, I love my family, being with my horse, beach time, reef swimming, and nature hikes/runs.

What do you think it was from your world that helped you become the producer of OutlanderBTS? The pieces of what it takes to produce my blog have always been in me. I’ve always been a writer. Journaling, writing down thoughts and observations. As a child, I kept diaries, and later, before iPhone (notes), it would be on napkins and receipts, ticket stubs, magazines, etc., whatever was around. I love to travel. When I was little, we would take family car trips, leaving before dawn; Dad says the boys would go right back to sleep in the back of our station wagon, but my little bobble head would be wide eyed, looking out the windows, pacifier plugged in. I traveled in Europe for two months in my 20’s, with a Eurail pass and a youth hostel card, and I was absolutely in my element. I became interested in photography and photojournalism as a kid. Dad had an old manual 35 mm camera that I taught myself how to use. I liked photographing nature and people – Candids. Faces. I would write stories about trips and experiences with photos I’d taken, and gift those to people. And doing interviews- ha, as a little kid, I used to interview my friends using my tape recorder with a little microphone!

I remember doing the same thing with my friends, as a military brat we moved around and I wish I could have held on to the tapes to have at hand now. The relationship with your Dad sounds so strong..and stands out to me. I still have some of those tapes, they are hilarious. Yes, I love my dad. I started running with Dad when I was 13 – he’d wake me up before the sun, and we’d go run under the stars. I loved the fresh morning air, the aliveness of my senses in the dark, the silent, one-on-one time with Dad. The only sound was our feet on the pavement; we were in a quiet, rhythmic bubble. At the finish, the sun would be coming up, we would speak, and the spell would be broken. We would laugh and joke around, and the day would’ve started – I felt strong and happy. He’s 88 now, and still a lot of fun. I get my irreverence from him..

The man that made the marvelous Courtney!

It truly is a extraordinary thing to have a close relationship with a father, you are blessed and the way you speak of him, I can see the influence on you and know it is appreciated by those in your world. Tell me more about what makes you tick. Hmm, well, I like to learn, I like to understand why, I like people watching, and I like making connections. I speak Spanish fluently – I graduated from the U. of Maryland, and lived in Spain 6 months, doing a semester at University of Madrid. I’ve worked since the age of 15 doing lots of different things, from waitress to corporate wellness manager, to software project manager, to guest ranch wrangler, and lots of other things. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and have done lots of fun, interesting entrepreneurial things over my lifetime, my blog being the latest. I’ve traveled a lot, to Canada, all over the US, Mexico (repeatedly), Europe (repeatedly), Australia, Japan, and Africa. I like long decadent meals with people I love, or at least interesting people *smile*. I love the beach, and I love water – oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, puddles – any water. And I like riding my electric bike around town.

All of us flying through this Outlander universe have a story of how we were pulled into it’s orbit. What is yours?I loved the books; my mom introduced them to me in 2006, just after my 2nd baby was born. In 2014, while checking out at my local grocery store, I noticed the TV Guide, with Sam and Cait in character as Jamie and Claire on the cover. I thought, “That’s gonna stink, I’m not watching it.” You know how the movie’s never as good as the book? Well, these are my favorite books, so I didn’t want to spoil them with a crappily done TV show.

My kiddos were 8 and 11, and one day I was home alone with spare time (which didn’t happen much then). I plopped down on the couch and started flipping through channels, also rare, as I’m not a big TV watcher. I came across Episode 101, Sassenach, for free. So, I thought, what the hell. As I watched, I noticed how well done everything was -the casting, sets, costumes, Scotland, Jamie, the authenticity of it, the Gaelic, etc. I became really excited. I found Starz and watched Episode 102, Castle Leoch, soon after that. A defining moment for me with the show, was when Annette Badland walked out of Castle Leoch as Mrs. Fitz. I thought, damn, they’ve nailed it again. I was worried Mrs. Fitz would be played by Cameron Diaz in a cleavage dress (it is Hollywood, ya know). I knew that if they’d be willing to get Mrs. Fitz right, the rest of the show would be fantastic. I was sold, hook, line, and sinker.

I love that you got sucked in that way. I had no idea. Tell me more… I saw somewhere, maybe Facebook? That Sam and Cait would be doing a Twitter Q&A, so I joined Twitter, and followed Diana, Sam, Cait, Terry Dresbach (Seasons 1-4 Costume Designer, wife of Ron D. Moore), Gary ( Seasons 1-5 Production Designer), et al., and started meeting other fans from all over the world. I’d never been in a fandom before, so this was all new to me. I read and watched interviews and enjoyed discussing the show and books online. My husband was working internationally at the time, so I arranged to tag along on a trip to London, and then hopped over to Scotland by myself. That was November, 2014; no one in Scotland had even heard of Outlander, the show, only the books. Season 1, Part 2 wasn’t even out yet.

I have a friend in show biz, who got me tickets to the Paleyfest premiere of Ep 109, The Reckoning, in LA, in March of 2015, and then I went to a local event where Diana was speaking and met her for the first time in April of that year. This kind of thing continued, and I wanted a place to write about all the Outlander adventures I was having. I also found the mainstream media coverage at that time to be unfulfilling, and I knew from discussions that others felt the same way. I was in conversation on Twitter about that with several people, among them, Terry, and she said (or wrote) to me: “Do something better.” And, I thought, OK, yeah, why not?

That is as good a reason as any! My wee blog, Outlander Behind The Scenes, went live on April 6, 2016. Funny story, the night it went live, my little family was crowded around me in bed, watching Google Analytics for the site on my laptop (thrilling!). There were two people on the site, and one left, and my then 10-year-old said, “Don’t worry Mommy, Grammy probably just had to go to bed.”*laugh*

With the support of my husband, my web designer, my Patrons, and lots of other people, the blog has continued to grow ever since. It really has been a fabulous journey.

You are such a natural when working with cast in panels and interviews, there is an ease and intelligence that people are drawn to. Can you contribute this to something in particular? I prepare a lot for my interviews and panels, but in the moment, I let the conversation have space to go where it does, naturally. I’m genuinely interested in the people I’m interviewing and what they have to say (as a fan first). I’ve been around celebrities from a young age, enough to know they’re just people like the rest of us, and usually appreciate being treated that way. I also have some stage experience – I’ve acted and danced in a couple of theatrical dance companies. In one show, my character became tempted by and discovered drugs, partied her ass off, became addicted, overdosed and then died. Good thing it was all a dream….  I’ve also performed with an equestrian dance company, on horseback. So, maybe my (limited) performance experience helps me relate somewhat to those I’m interviewing.

Ok…add graceful AF to the list of “Reasons I love on Courtney”

My crush just keeps getting bigger n bigger. If I had more time I would start a Courtney fan club.Part of your work on BTS is breaking down the episodes. Can you give me a synopsis of how the show has done so far, for those who may not be 100% familiar with your thoughts. Season 1 exceeded my expectations, in all ways. Season 2 exceeded my expectations, in some ways. I absolutely love the first half of Season 3, and then… there was a phase I didn’t prefer between Episode 307 and Episode 501. *smile* No, there are some good episodes and moments in the second half of Season 3 and in Season 4, but I did feel things went off the rails a little during the transition from Ron D. Moore to Matt B. Roberts and Toni Graphia. To be fair, most of the original writing team left at that same time, and those are the two seasons they did back to back with no break in between (S3 and S4), so it was a tall order for first time showrunners. Maril Davis and Matt Roberts were at the helm for Season 5, Sam and Cait came on as producers, the writing team for that season was much stronger, and for me, that season put them right back in the flow. I enjoy creative adaptations, I do like the characters to stay in character, especially Jamie and Claire.

You not only attend Outlander events, you also moderate events with cast members. How did that come about for you? I started interviewing cast and crew members for my blog, and I chose to do video. Most of the Outlander folks are in the UK, so I started using Google Hangouts back in 2016. When I started my episode discussion group with the wonderful Karmen Schmidt, Antoinette Simmons, and Catherine Toomer, I got more into moderating – hahahahaha. Hosting a lively discussion between four women is different than a one-on-one interview(and harder to edit)! I was invited to be a panelist for Denver Comic Con in 2018 and 2019, by Desirre Andrews (A Dram of Outlander), so I had that experience. My first live interviews were with Sam and Caitriona for the Season 3 premiere on the red carpet in NYC in 2017. That came together at the last minute, and was a sink or swim moment. In 2019, I’d applied for The BTS Lasses to do a fan panel at Wizard World NOLA, and I was contacted by Wizard World to help design content for Sam’s panel, which I did. During those calls, they ended up asking me to host, which I did. That was live in front of 1,500+ people. After covid hit, in April of 2020, Wizard World approached me about moderating a live streamed Zoom panel with Season 1-3 cast, which was great fun. I think I just started doing the work, saying “yes,” even when I was thinking, “whaaaa?,” and doors would open. I’d say yes again, and gradually I built a body of work, which then helps you get more work.

With so many events and experiences you have been a part of, I am sure its hard to narrow it down to your favourites but do you want to give it a shot?

OK, let’s see. Meeting Diana for the first time. 

Meeting Diana for the first time. April 30, 2015

Watching Episode 109, The Reckoning, as it premiered in front of a live audience. Going to my first performance at the Royal Lyceum theater in Edinburgh, meeting Bill Paterson (Ned Gowan). 

Dinner with Graham McTacvish in Cologne, Germany. 

Fan dinner with Graham in Cologne, Germany, March 2016, The Gathering fan Convention

Seeing Terry’s Season 2 costumes live in the windows at Macy’s in NYC with my mom. 

Season 2 Premiere week, April, 2016, NYC, costume display at Saks 5th Avenue, with Terry Dresbach. Press line.

Photographing Cait and Sam for the first time at that same event (Cait is stunningly beautiful). 

Season 2 Premiere week, April, 2016, NYC, costume display at Saks 5th Avenue, with Caitriona Balfe

Meeting and getting my first hug from Gary Lewis, and meeting all the “guys” early on. 

The first Starfury Highlanders convention, London, August, 2016 “the guys”

Interviewing Sam and Cait, live, for the first time in NYC and then seeing Ep 301 on the big screen with a live audience

Season 3 Premiere in NYC, September 2017, Red carpet interview with Sam Heughan 

Meeting Gary Steele for the first time, in Glasgow. Seeing Laura Donnelly in The Ferryman with my mom in London. Gillebride MacMillan singing The Woman of Balnain to my mother, acapella, in a large empty room with amazing acoustics, in Linlithgow, Scotland. 

Sam’s first MPC Gala at the Kelvingrove in Glasgow with Mom.

Kelvingrove art gallery and museum, Glasgow, UK. First MPC Gala – September, 2017. Courtney and her mom. You can see where she gets her SHINE from.

Kelvingrove art gallery and museum, Glasgow, UK. First MPC Gala – September, 2017, Sam Heughan.

 A special night out with the BTS Lasses in NYC 

First weekend all 4 of us met live, NYC, Season 4 premiere, October, 2019 – Where’s Karmen?? 😂 I see her glassesish

All the people I’ve interviewed, but Gary Young (Mr. Willoughby), is a standout.

Standing backstage with Sam, as he watched King Fireman’s tribute to Jamie video for the first time, at Wizard World NOLA, and then interviewing him.

January, 2020, Wizard World NOLA, Sam Interview, Photo by Far, Far Away site

Doing our Wizard World NOLA BTS panel.


Wizard World NOLA, Jan 2020, OutlanderBTS Fan Panel

And, our fan gathering afterward – seems like a dream now! No masks! 

Fan get together after the day at NOLA, at the Omni Riverfront in NOLA. With Tammy.

It is lovely to know that it was the BTS chats and moderation with Antoinette, Catherine and Karmen that developed into this wonderful world for you. Those chats do have quite a following in the fandom, what is it, do you think, that draws people to your discussions? Thank you. Based on what people tell me – they like our familiarity with the material, our love for each other, our humor, our ability to discuss intelligently, and disagree civilly, our diversity, and the subject matter expertise of each person. And, we’re fun. We go deep, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

All of that is true. I like to add my favourite bits of the episode chats. From my perspective, I view Outlander in a really weird bubble, I always am disagreeing, agreeing, having wtf moments and laughing my face frozen. It’s the ability to know that you are all coming from a place of kindness, respect and love of the product that makes it a great place to hang out, virtually.

You have a great grasp on the content of the show, I am very curious as to what your vision is for the future of it?My hope for the TV show is that they’ll do all 10 seasons. As long as the audience is there, and I believe it’s still growing, and the core team is willing (Matt, Maril, Caitriona and Sam), I think they’ll continue.

Of course, there is no show without Diana’s books…what is your expectation there? … gosh. I get teary just thinking about the story ending. I know it has to, at some point. We’ll get Bees very soon, and then there’s one more book. I don’t want to know the ending until I read it, at the end of that 10th book. I think I’ll have to have Outlander sitting next to me when I finish it, so I can start all over again and not be consumed by my grief! *wink*

So polish off that crystal ball a little more and tell me how you see Outlander playing out. Plot wise? Well, Sam just let us know that the Christies will be in Season 6, and I’m pretty psyched about that. I just finished re-reading ABOSAA – there is so much in that book. It’s the longest one of all (so far). If it’s well done, and I expect it will be, it’ll be great TV (as Antoinette would say) *smile*.

Let’s hope it is delish!

How about the books? Any wishes that way? And as for Bees, I don’t try to guess ahead. I’m a fan first, and I love just discovering everything as it happens. When Bees comes out, I expect I’ll drop everything and devour it, like everyone else, and I look forward to that. I hope Diana figures out an endless loop type situation for Jamie and Claire, so they’re always alive!

Me too…me too.

That is the dream! Funny, it is what I have been saying the same for years. Great and twisted minds…Speaking of that mind of yours, what are the things you do to relax and escape? I do most of my relaxing offline. I wasn’t able to read for leisure for 2+ years due to a vestibular injury, so I started using audible. I listen and read now, and love both. I take long walks and runs with our dog, Mocha, in nature. I take Epsom salt baths, I drink chamomile and green tea, and I take naps in a sunny window whenever possible. One of my favorite ways to relax, is hang time, hand grazing or grooming our horse.

I find so many of us in the Outlander Universe are like minded so getting referrals from one another is something I love encouraging. How about books, what are your shares? Funnily enough, I’m reading a book recommendation from Laura Donnelly right now – Shuggie Bain, and I’m loving it. I’m always re-reading an Outlander book – I just finished ABOSAA <sigh>. I recommend The Obesity Code, by Jason Fung. This one’s not an easy read, it’s almost written more for doctors, but it’s worthwhile. I gained a lot of weight between 2016 and 2020, due to illness and injury, and this book helped me understand how to lower my insulin levels. How about movies or binge-watchers? Movies I’ve enjoyed lately with my family are “Ocean’s 11,” “Ocean’s 12,” and “Casino Royale.” I’m not a very good binge watcher, but the closest I’ve come lately is “The Crown,” “What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali,” and re-watching all seasons of “Seinfeld,” over many weeks. *SMILE*

This is turning into an awfully long Droughtlander thanks to Covid-19, one I am ok dealing with if it keeps people safe. How are you holding up? Thanks for asking. This has been a challenging year for our family, but also one of tremendous growth and healing. And I agree with you, Sher. Safety, and getting through this as humanely as possible is what’s important.

What have you been doing to stay sane-ish? To stay sane, first, I acknowledge that we are in a unique time, and I try to cut myself and the people around me a break. I go back to the basics, as much as possible. I realize my energy is finite, so I nurture it, and use it for my priorities – my health, my family and loved ones, and my work. Those are my top 3. For me, my health starts with my thoughts. I try to focus on the outcomes I want vs my fears. When I have conflict with someone, I try to work through it consciously, and own my part. I try to practice compassion and forgiveness, and also gratitude. The key word is practice – I’m not always successful, but I don’t beat myself up about it. I get outside and move my body as often as possible. I limit my exposure to news and social media. I have a few reputable sources I go to for updates, and then I take breaks. I avoid going down my habitual mental rabbit holes whenever possible. I work on our home space, continually, because we are always here right now. I’m mindful about what we eat. We started using a local CSA (community supported agriculture), and I have a new love for fresh vegetables. I prioritize my sleep. I cultivate quality time with loved ones, in the house, and afar, and I balance that with alone time. And, I take one day at a time, and give myself permission to rest when I need to. Other than that, we wear masks in public, wash hands, and pretty much stay at home. As my very beloved sister-in-law used to say, “this too shall pass.” I think of those words often.

It is official, my crush has just leveled up. The words you have shared are truth. They are open and kind and I know will help many people find a balance where they may have been falling over. Thank you for them.

Time to give yourself a Tagline, Warning Label and a Theme Song.

OK this one was so hard for me!!!

Tagline: “Smart, fun, and gets it done.” This one was so hard for me! You would not believe how long it took me to come up with that, and it’s just OK.

Warning Label: Spicy when hot

Theme Song: What a Feeling, by Irene Cara

What a feeling is right. This fandom is much more than blogs, podcasts and fan groups. It can be a community of like minded people sharing things they love, bringing laughter, comfort during difficult times and being a family to one another where one may not exist. People like Courtney are at the gooey center of that community. Always a warm, welcoming presence and a place to get great Outlander content. If you didn’t know a lot about the person behind the scenes of Outlander BTS, I think you are the better for it now that you do.

Until next time, stay safe and much love, The Beav SHER

Have you missed Previous editions of – The LOVELANDER Project – Edition 1 Vida/Blancklanderz  Edition 2 Erin/Three if By Space  CastEdition 3 Vincent/Supporting Artist  Edition 4 Tracy/Outcandour CastEdition 5 Nell Hudson/Laoghaire Cast Edition 6 A Quickie w Kikki Fleming/ Lesley Edition 7 Koko/Outlandish Vancouver Cast Edition 8 Paul Gorman/Josiah and Kezzie Beardsley Edition 9 Chas/ Outlandish Scotland Edition 10 Barry Waldo/ Writer, Producer & husband of Jon Gary Steele Outlander Production Designer Cast Edition 10 Stephen Walters/Angus Mhor

ABOotlander LOve – Previous Interviews –  Julia LeBlanc/VideoQueen  Summer & Ginger from Outlander Podcast  CastDr.Joe Abernathy/Wil Johnson  CastAdrienne-Marie/Suzette Beth Wesson/@PixieTwit  Connie Verzak@ConnieBV  Karmen @OutLandAnatomy  Jane @RRankinFans  CastSera-Lys McArthur /Johiehon CastCarmen Moore /Wahkatiiosta CastKikkiFleming/ Lesley

The Weight of Guilt. My ‘not a recap’ look into Ep05 of #Outlander. Perpetual Adoration.

Outlander continues the story with another fast-paced and visually interesting episode and the whole thing is POPPIN’ for me.  The combination of Perpetual Adoration’s softness and grit was something I found all together satisfying.

This episode was alive with undertones I could have chosen for this blog.  Normally I gravitate to what sits beneath the surface and give it a tug. This time guilt pulled at me from every corner.

Every human (who is not 100% psychopath) is familiar with that feeling. No matter how righteous, how good or well-intentioned we may be, we’ve all felt guilty about something.  Guilt is shown in different ways, as we saw in our characters and we know by looking at ourselves, honestly.

The story of one man’s death encapsulated the episode for Claire. There was a heaviness she carried when Graham Menzie’s died, which spurned her actions to head to the UK and interestingly enough, into the past.

She, of course, couldn’t have predicted his death as all precautions had been taken.  We can’t count on logic to keep guilty feelings at bay, the gut/brain connection just doesn’t work that way.

Plenty of us sit with those feelings. What could we have done? If we had only…the should’ves, could’ves and would’ves that we think may have changed the trajectory of what might have happened.  We hold them over our heads with guilt because we didn’t take the actions that we have had all the time in the world to contemplate after the fact.

It’s really unfair, this game we play. No one ever wins. We can replay as many scenarios as we want, that particular moment has passed. We humans need to learn how to forgive ourselves as fast as we have taught ourselves to take on unnecessary guilt.

When Claire was speaking to Joe, it was apparent. She blames herself for getting attached to her patient and like a good friend, he smacks her with a reality check.  Our lives would be much less complicated if we cut ourselves a break, especially with those things that we can’t control. Particularly after the fact.

Pain is to the body as stress is to the mind, and guilt is to the spirit.

One of the characters I have come to truly love is Brianna. In her, I see the combination of the above quote so clearly, especially in this episode.

She literally feels her guilt, whether it is something we believe she should be feeling, she does. When something is said to her that strikes her deep, she folds in on herself. It’s as if something knocks her in the belly. Next time you watch, you will see Bree react physically to the words that connect to those feelings if you hadn’t picked up on it before. (Kudos again to Sophie Skelton for making those subtle yet strong notes for the character)

Ofttimes when we feel guilt it isn’t because we have done something against someone intentionally.  We end up in a space where we see our choices, as innocent as they may have been, caused pain to someone when we didn’t intend them to.

Bree’s guilt comes from not telling Roger the truth about the visit with Bonnet and all that came with it because it was a lot. Did she have good reason to not tell him?  Yes. Did the guilt gnaw at her? I think that was apparent.  Unburdening ourselves of the things we feel guilty about doesn’t always make us feel better though.  That, my friends, is life. Guilt causes internal pain because it’s messy and complicated. As with all other hurts, it takes time to heal.

Bree’s regret was evident. Telling Bonnet he was Jemmy’s father was something she now wished she could take back. She thought he was going to die and take her words with him.  Since he didn’t, she now must live with him knowing this information she doesn’t want to be true. More often than not, with regret comes guilt. It’s painful seeing her go through this as Brianna deserves to be free. SunnuvaBonnet has done nothing to deserve all the space he takes up in her world. 

How much guilt should we feel when we do something we know is wrong?  Is there a scale? Should others tell us the appropriate amount of guilt we should exhibit by the level of our misdeed?  Also, should we project that guilt for everyone to see?  If your neighbour knows you did a baaad baaad thing – do you make sure you look really guilty or do you walk around like you haven’t done a damn thing? 

We are now talking about Jamie.  He obviously did a pretty bad thing by killing Knox. Did he have a good reason? He thinks so (I agree). He was going to be handed over as a traitor to the Crown, likely hanged and his family/those on the ridge removed to frig knows where. It was kill or have everyone you love scattered three sheets to the wind AND be killed. 

Jamie is no stranger to the murder game. He started his career as a ‘bloody man’ pretty young in life. He killed his own uncle when Dougal caught him being a ‘traitor’.  Traitor might be Jamie’s trigger word. Call him that, he is going to turn off your lights for you.

He has killed his fair share of men in the service of protecting his family and his beliefs.  Does he feel guilt for it?  I don’t think he feels great about it however, I think Jamie compartmentalizes it. Guilt does exist for him but it’s the guilt he uses as penance. He knows what he needs to feel in order to pay for what he has done.  It is a logical pain that he carries with him. Will he show it the same way that Brianna/Claire/Roger does? No, because he married this particular kind of guilt early in his life. If he allowed it to affect him with great waves of emotion it would stop him from doing the things he needs to do. We don’t always need to see someone’s guilt to know they carry it. We only need to know they are a decent human being. 

There are plenty of us out here that have done things, admittedly on a smaller scale than, you know, murder, that we keep close to the vest. We know that our guilt may be the price we pay for the action, the secret or the lie.  That is ultimately our choice and it isn’t always a bad thing. 

People may like to believe the only way to be a good human is to be 100% honest with everyone and share exactly how we feel at all times.

That isn’t the most fitting method for everyone. Once and a while, the best people keep their mouths shut and what they are feeling to themselves. It’s almost a superpower.  

Ultimately, we determine the weight of the guilt we carry. We can also bring in someone to help us lug it around just by talking about it.  It doesn’t have to be someone involved. It can be anyone to help us take a load off for a while.   

That is why Claire had Joe, Brianna had Roger and Jamie had Adso. I mean, that kitten was pretty conveniently placed, wasn’t he?

jamie

Adso, Jamie’s immediate emotional support animal.

And you…me…we have each other. Many of us are spending much more time at home these days so I encourage you to check out other points of view about Outlander. I find other’s views of the show fascinating, especially when put together in a way that is respectful to others and spoken from a place of sharing. These are some of my favourite people who do this in the land of the interwebs, check out their websites/blogs/vlogs/chats.

Outcandour gives a brilliant, deep dive into the episodes. There is always something about the way she dissects the episode that resonates with me. I don’t tap into the same spaces she does, I end up reading them twice. I ALWAYS end up watching the episode after reading her blog, I then read it again after watching. It’s like a loop! So if I seem dizzy, blame it on T. 😘

Beth’s recaps/reflections are very different from my ‘not recaps and I love them because of that. So well written and I adore how she explains her views, helpful for those who see things from other perspectives. To me, that is the point of sharing our thoughts, not to be an echo chamber for people who agree with us but to help one another stretch a little.  Not necessarily to change people’s opinions but to have them see things from another person’s lens. I get to do that a lot with Beth and I admire her.

Erin from Three if by Space covers so many great shows so Three if by Space will keep you busy if you want busy. It’s her reviews of Outlander that I read most of course. I don’t read many reviews bc as you all know, I’m a happy finder. I want happy happy happy, even though Erin doesn’t pull any punches in her reviews, she writes with integrity. I don’t always see eye to eye with her (not just cuz she’s tiny…she IS tiny) but that isn’t the point. She expresses herself with honesty and isn’t a dick about it. I really enjoy smart people. So…I enjoy Erin, very much. 

Blacklanderz ~Vida puts together some wicked conversations, in print, between members of the Blacklanderz community. I find them fascinating. Not only do I see things from more than one perspective but I often learn things. I don’t claim to be anything other than who I am. I am a middle class, privileged, white woman. That is the lens I see through. Do I try my damned best to listen and be an ally to POC? Yes. Do I always get it right? Nope! Sitting with the community that Vida has created here, is pretty damned impressive.

Courtney and Company, from Outlander BTS. Oh, they make me smile.  They are another group of really friggen smart women that get together to talk about the episodes. I don’t always agree with them but holy shit, do I respect them. The beauty of their video discussion is they don’t always agree with each other and like the adults they are they keep the discussion going. I’m not relegating anyone here…Courtney has the most adorable dimples to go with her delightful brain, you just get the best of all the goodness.

I know there are many others, if you have a favourite, please add them to the comments. I think it would be nice to support one another in our Outlander adventures rather than get all wrapped up in things that might not bring us joy. The world is going all kinds of everything out there – we know it, we are doing what we can to stay healthy- maybe this will help us stay sane(ish).

Be well – virtual hugs…6 ft apart eh?

Sher xo

Don’t forget to live tweet with us Canadians while watching W Network at 7pm MST, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN

 

 

 

 

Better Late than Never. Outlandish Vancouver delivered – Big Time!

I decided to take a bit of an extended vacation after my adventures with Outlandish Vancouver. That is why I am a little late to the show., plus, it’s me. You are used to it.

I decided I was going to do two blogs about my time at the Outlandish Vancouver event. One, overall, about my experience, some highlights and observations. Another to cover a uniquely mind-blowing life-altering magical moment that I couldn’t have predicted. No one could have possibly predicted.  Here is a hint – Ed/SomeStuff/Me. That’s all I’m sayin’.       giphy

My fellow ABOotlander Admin, Lee and I decided that we have had enough of watching others have all the fun at these big Outlander events. With our group being based in Alberta, a trip to B.C. was pretty do-able so we made plans to attend Outlandish Vancouver, obviously the closest Outlander fan/cast event to us. We did so, in style. Lee hooked us up with matching T-shirts with our lovable mascot, Toger the beaver, emblazoned on our chests.                                                                             leeme.png

He ended up getting quite a bit of attention over the wknd, being repeatedly mistaken for my beaver. So many jokes.

You are all going to have to wait for that story.  It’s a gooder, watch this space.

I am not great with huge crowds, have newly forced mobility issues and to be honest, am apprehensive about any kind of ‘convention’ thing.  My dear friend, Cat, VideoRecap/PhotoOp Convention expert, assured me this particular event was not only small (about 100 attendees) but was a smooth-running machine. This eased my anxious nature of not knowing wtf was going on being sent into overdrive. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have people in your bubble, that have experienced MANY events who can let you know what to expect without blowing smoke up your ass.

KoKo, Pippi, Hey, You! (I am sure there are other things she was answering to over the course of the weekend) the event coordinator, as busy as she was – never made me feel like I was a bother. Even though, I was. I gots the mobility, dietary issues and well…I’m just annoying, you all can tell.

.giphy-2

Koko made every effort to be sure EVERYONE was feeling good about their experience. Her team (seen below with the Outlander talent) was extraordinary. If one was asked a question they didn’t know the answer to – they knew who would know and never left you hanging. They worked with their cast members closely, keeping them on top of things and happy. What a delight to see.

OVteamcast

Photo Courtesy: Outlandish Vancouver – Front row/left to right: The OV Dynamos – Karin, Christine, Koko and Samantha. Back row/left to right: Braeden Clarke, Keith “Kikki” Fleming, John Bell, Carmen Moore, Trevor Carroll and Ed Speleers

I may not have attended an Outlander cast event before but I have been to a plethora of events in my lifetime and this crew, this event, had it down. They knew their stuff and the best part was how obvious it was they were enjoying themselves.  If they were stressed or panicked by any problems, in particular, their guests never knew it or sensed it. THAT’S HUGE.  From the outside, it appeared they were experiencing others have a fantastic experience. Fans AND talent, alike.

The Outlander cast invited were meant to bring OLD and NEW world together were and brilliantly selected. They played off of one another, getting along fabulously, it was pretty special to be a part of.

20191026_211102

Yes, there is a lot going on in this photo. Carmen was embarrassed for us? Or to be with us? The answer is most likely, yes.

Let’s talk about the cast who attended, in no particular order.

Carmen Moore (who I previously interviewed for this blog), was as bewitchingly intense as I had hoped she would be. She has such an incredibly kind and open heart. One thing I admired about Carmen, her understanding of self and willingness to share this path of growing into the warrior she is.  We were honoured to hear about her latest work making the film festival circuit. Rustic Oracle, a story told from the perspective of an 8 yr old girl when her older sister goes missing. By exploring the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous girls and women, it is receiving powerfully positive reviews.  Carmen and her young costar, Lake Delisle have already won awards for their portrayals in this groundbreaking film.  Please watch for its release in a theatre near you, March 2020.   *warning- have tissues handy*

As the only woman from the cast to be present at the event, Carmen wasn’t at a loss for entertainment or topics of conversation. It seemed to me that she and her costars are as equal as it gets with their respect and banter with one another. Carmen has a certain way of carrying herself that says very clearly, “I belong here.”  I admire her self awareness, her willingness and desire for constant growth. Those striving to learn about themselves and the world they live in, are the most interesting kinds of humans. I thought myself lucky to have interviewed Carmen all those months ago, now I feel blessed to have hugged her lots (I’m not a big hugger) and to have gotten chances to chat with her one on one. I do love a good side-eye over breakfast. I hope Carmen finds herself in Edmonton one day, with a little extra time on her hands – she knows she has a place. ❤

Carmen Moore Warrior

photo credit: Carmen Moore Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pg/therealCarmenMoore/photos/

I can not say enough good things about Braeden Clarke. Those in attendance were privileged to meet the other side of this dynamic young man.  Onscreen in Outlander, Braeden played Kaheroton, the dark yet vivid war chief of the Mohawk Village where Roger is being held captive. The flip side is this entertaining, engaging and wildly energetic yet compassionate young man.  Braeden is obviously a natural-born actor. His enthusiasm for creating a scene that is not only believable but sincere comes straight from his guts.  He most certainly gets lost in his role which creates nothing less than magic.

20191026_122747_capture

All actors know to ride horses – on their CVs. He also catches rolling babies. Good times!

He relayed to us, during a take (as he watched the woman he loved, Johiehon, walk into the flames that engulfed the man she loved) the director asked him to bring his emotions up to the point of just about to break – but – don’t break and HOLD. Of course, that was much harder said than done but he held it, barely –  so when the director ended the scene he had to get away from everyone to let it tip over the edge. Taking it to that point, he couldn’t swallow it back,  it could only come out. The dam needed releasing, so to speak.

Oh, and a fun take away from this guy – any life hacks you need when you don’t know how to do something, or maybe you stretched the truth on a CV – “YouTube that shit.” Great advice! Know why? It’s true. Literally…everything!

Braeden

Braeden Clarke “really” acting and the “real” Braeden Clarke. This young man is F’AWESOME!

Trevor Carroll who played, what some may consider a small role, Otter Tooth joined us. Many fans that attended Outlandish Vancouver have also read the books, so Trevor’s character has deep meaning. His haunting portrayal of Otter Tooth, a man with a foot in both worlds, believing he is capable of changing the tragic fate of his people may have been short on screen time but it won’t be forgotten.

Trevor was asked, not surprisingly, as an Ojibway man, would he take the opportunity to go back in time to change the fate of his people? He diplomatically made it known, he probably wouldn’t have done things as Otter Tooth did, but being an Indigenous person, wanting to change the past for his people, would be the only option. Both of his panel costars emphatically agreed with him.

20191026_121556

What might be a “wouldn’t it be cool” question becomes an -if it were possible it might stop a genocide- reality.

Trevor is clearly a family man. He lovingly spoke of them a number of times. It was heartwarming to see how protective of his family he is.  Protectiveness is a running theme in his life, it seems. He has a passion for mixed martial arts, his involvement in Battlefield Fight League brings this to light. Also a creative artist as well, you can find examples on his website, Reverie Arts.  His art shows more of his soft-spoken and intent nature.  He is definitely not a simple man but one of many talents and tastes.

Most were saying how very different he looked from his character. I guess it’s true what they say, “A smokey eye can make all the difference.”

trevor2.png

photo credit: Outlandish Vancouver/Trevor Carroll

For our UK cast, let me start with Keith- who goes by- KiKKi, Fleming…the ill-fated Lesley. Who believe me, when you get to hear his views on a) politics b) his fellow castmates c) politics d) food e) politics f) great places to visit close to home, he is filled with fantastic quips, quotes, jokes and antidotes that will make you think, smile and laugh out loud. Ummm, Koko, we didn’t talk about politics!

Fear not, he also isn’t bitter about being killed off. Not even a little. 👌 Pretty sure we fans, after the weekend was over, were far more upset about that than he. kikkied.png

Kikki is a very engaging human. He had his fellow entertainers in stitches a great deal of the time. You can tell he is a born storyteller and really, onboard for just about anything. When asked to perform the lament he sang in Episode 401, he was bashful for all of 2 seconds, cleared his throat then sang it loud and proud. It was a treat for all.

Why we thought it was fair to caterwaul the Skye Boat song back at him, I’m not altogether sure. 🤣🤔Never let any good deed go unpunished or something like that?  Braeden took a video of us- I thought at first “It must be because we are SO awesome.”  Then, I looked at my picture really close…

20191027_142122

This photo clearly says – Braeden takes out his phone to video the torture he is clearly being put through. John laughs because he had the balls to do it in front of everyone. Kikki is stunned by the pain of his bleeding eardrums and Ed tries desperately not to make eye contact with anyone in hopes they will stop this unbearable noise they call singing.  At least that is what it looks like it is saying to me (maybe I have a GREAT imagination 😜 maybe I’m an expert people reader)

As a Scot, the man can spin a yarn and it isn’t because of his accent you sit spellbound. It is because he is funny AF and damned interesting.  We all enjoyed a fun recounting of a table read re: Jamie/Claire sex scene where his internal dialogue was having the best time making fun of things and he had us ALL in stitches. Those sitting on the panel included.  It is really easy to see why he stays friends with many of his fellow cast members. When you can delight so many, so easily, they want to be around you.

boysgif

Thank frig for photobursts! GIF this for days. ❤ happy.

Kikki made my face spasm more than once.  There was a LOT of beaver talk. Sorry, not sorry, you will have to stay tuned for the Ed Speleers-n-Me blog for THAT whole story though. There I was, poor Lil Bell’s Palsied face me…laughing so hard my face seizes up in its fool hemifacial spasms – I tell ya, it’s a cute look absolutely NO ONE EVER said, so for our selfie (that wasn’t a selfie) we decided to see who could look serious for longer.

20191026_144124.jpg

Me n Kikki. We behaved for a whoppin’ 1.3 seconds

I believe John Bell might be the sweetest, most charismatic and genuine souls- ever. As an outgoing, silly and wonderfully accommodating person as he was – the 3 or 4 minutes on a quiet balcony where two introverts got a recharge from the chaos, was probably my favourite time with him. It was simply he and I…some quiet thoughts about the importance of alone time and just ‘being’.

John truly loves to make people smile, he enjoys giving fans “their moment.” All you have to do is check out the photos from those who attended the wknd. Every photo with John, that smile – catches his eyes. As a young man, he is incredibly mindful of the people around him, he has a deep understanding of their desire to be around him and puts it into its rightful place. Where it could be misunderstood, it isn’t and he continues to be grounded (because he does the worm like a master) To be completely transparent, I don’t think there is ANY dance move that guy can’t do.  It’s impressive and entertaining!

giphy-3

Yes…yes you were…are (source)

He has been acting since he was 8 but it is very obvious the young man was born a star. There is a light in his eyes that simply shines through. Which is noticeable the first time you speak with him. Funny enough (not funny 🤣 but funny 🤔), when he spoke about Young Ian’s arc to come, he knows how changed Ian will be. John wants to be sure Young Ian always has that *twinkle* in his eye.

I think that may just be the icing that John Bell has put on the Ian of the Outlander TV show.  Yes, Young Ian in the books is an amazing character, always was one of my favourites. John’s portrayal of Young Ian has given us another version of him and I love him equally. I look forward to when and how he returns. John was very tight-lipped and no, the head shave was for him, not the show. He did add, for those in the back, he will be fighting for those face tattoos. He wants them VERRA badly.

20191026_144340

Such a great guy, blocking my palsied side!

And…then…there was Ed. Ed Speleers. I have a lot to say about my experience with Mr. Speleers. You will be able to read about it here, in a couple of days. The truth is, I didn’t “see” Stephen Bonnet in him at all.  That is a good thing – there was none of the ‘slithering’ or the thing sunnuvaBonnet does with his face…you know, that ‘thing’. sb

Ed isn’t shy, he shares openly what he thinks about himself, his previous work. Even the things he may not be so proud of. He also lights up when he talks about projects he has in the works, like Dad Was.  This guy listens when you are speaking not just hearing the words but listens to what you are sharing with him. Ed takes in more than what is immediately in front of him, he seems to have one of those minds that sees what is shown and then dissects all the things beyond in order to truly understand. This is likely what makes him passionate about producing.

It was refreshing and let’s face it, a helluva a time, to talk to someone that is as filter-free as myself.  He has a sense of humour that is can be dark and sometimes as crude as mine, all the while empathy and awareness are right there on the surface. You know what I call that? Well fricken rounded!

20191027_112419

I mean, look at that smile. There’s no SunnuvaBonnet in him.

ed.png

 

 

 

I also had an amazing time meeting fellow fans/friends I have had online but not had the pleasure of meeting in person. In MY like fashion, I got ZERO pictures of us together, not bc I don’t like taking pictures BUT because my mouth is too busy yakking with them to even think of it. By the time I do – the trip is over and I say “Next time!” and then it happens – AGAIN. I’m insufferable. Truly.

Cat has been someone I have played online with forever and to finally have met her was a big ole tick on the ABOUTFUCKINTIME box. This fandom thing is a blessing. It brings us together…over the miles…across oceans and countries…like attracts like.

giphy-4

A flock of nerds is called a fandom…right? (source)

I have been reading and following Erin Conrad from Three If By Space for what seems like forever and suddenly, she becomes our ride or die over a matter of days.  A heart as big as her brain – though I’m not sure everyone is supposed to know that. Too late. Sorry, Erin…now they know. You are going to have to come at me…I will put the coffee on. Alyson was our navigator – she turned out to be a better friend.😜  I feel lucky that Erin and Alyson let me and Lee hang out in their back seat…we can be a real pain in the ass.

giphy-5

Not that bad, maybe. (source)

It was great to sit and shoot the proverbial shit with Karmen of Outlander Anatomy. It’s all kinds of nice to connect with people we have had the pleasure of getting to know online. When we get to see with our own four-eyes that they are what they put out for the world, it’s a comfort.

I only got a smidge of time with Courtney  from #OutlanderBehindTheScenes but you know, a smidge is better than nothing.  The girl knows how to give a hug, I will say that. It was a fairy tale…catching her eye across a crowded boat, running slow motion into one another’s arms.  No. That didn’t happen. We did recognize one another instantly but my hobbly butt was parked in stationary mode.  I look forward to getting to see her again for a longer visit. Until then, we will continue to make one another snort on the interwebs.

giphy-6

snorts, martinis n bunnies – oh my! (source)

There are so many wonderful people I was able to finally meet. Kelly, Linda, Karin, Samantha, Frances ( I am sure I am forgetting names and people because – I forget my own most days) and made new friends too. Zee, Christine, Marcella (others I am forgetting).  You simply can’t be in a group of people who love the same thing and NOT connect with many of them.

The atmosphere of Outlandish Vancouver is one that doesn’t force you to be stampeded or corralled. There is room to breathe and not feel rushed. While making allowances for those in need, there is no playing of favourites for perceived popularity. The planning is down to the minute and anyone that knows event planning, understands when staying within a 15-minute window – shit is under control – and it was always within 5-8 minutes.  Not that I paid attention.

giphy-7

It’s a me problem, not a they problem (source)

The truth of the matter is expectations for attendees are clear. “This is what is happening, aren’t here by this time? It will happen without you”. It is, what I call “respect the event” and as someone that values my time and appreciates other’s efforts, I am so grateful for this. Watching how relaxed others were and how much they enjoyed the event proved I wasn’t wearing first-timer goggles.

As a wrap-up, Outlandish Vancouver suits me, my personality, all of my weird quirks and yeah, those pesky needs.  Everything happens for a reason and well…Outlandish Vancouver and I were meant to be. I don’t think I will be seeking out any other events and will be comfortable saving for this one, right next door, again next year.

I have said it many times already but I think they are due for a public one. Thank you, Koko for all of your hard work and dedication to this event and to me. Your extra care and kindness towards me were most certainly not necessary but it was very appreciated. To the rest of the team, Karin, Christine and Samantha. The venues and the lunches – all went without a hitch.

giphy-8

You deserve this and more! (source)

Do stay tuned.  I am hoping to have part 2 of my adventures published by midweek.

And Lee…you are a spectacular roomie! Love you through the stones and back xoxo

ABOotlanders Blatherer, Sher XO