Who am I to comment?

Was pondering some things I wanted to write about Outlander: The Series (watch this space) and realized some people probably wonder who the heck I think I am to have any right to voice an opinion …..usually a lengthy one.

First, I am a person with thoughts and opinions. Like anyone else, I can and do share them. I put them out on a public forum partly because it’s a compulsion to write and partly because I like the interaction that can be obtained from comments about my thoughts.

Second, I have chosen to write (at this point) mostly about books, television and movie stuff which I have a bit of experience with. This is what I thought might be a good idea to share, this experience, so perhaps it will make it easier for people to understand where I’m coming from. Maybe. Hopefully I won’t bore you to death.

I am an avid reader (though I’m in sort of a dry spell just now). Was reading from the time I could (4-5), had gone through the entire Nancy Drew series by 9-10 years old and was bored with them so didn’t continue on to The Hardy Boys. I’ve read across most genres – easy to difficult; fiction and non-fiction. Don’t do much straight ‘horror’ – though I’m somewhat obsessed with vampires. (Salem’s Lot was great.) There are so many books still to read and more coming out all the time. YEA!

In early primary I had a very ‘out there’ sort of teacher. Very unique that went way past the standard curriculum. I was in a 2nd/3rd grade combination class (so 7 – 9 year olds depending on birthdates) and we made a 7 minute animated movie. We all participated and worked through the process. It was fascinating! Now keep in mind, this was also around 1972…..so….no computers, no digital cameras. We had our character – picture – move a fraction – picture – move another fraction….and so on. Took us weeks to do it all but so much great info – background, movement, lighting, measurements, color, story, and working together as a team.

Late primary I got selected with a group to do a project that was fun. A college class for TV production (I think – long time ago) wanted to do a ‘production’ of “The Gong Show” (man am I dating myself or what) using kids. It was cheesy and fun, but while we didn’t have to do much but sit or stand and say our lines (I got to ring the gong) we got to sit and watch all the work THEY had to do setting up cameras and getting the lights right and tweaking costumes that didn’t work on camera, etc. Again….too early for digital and computer help.

I took theatre classes in high school and participated in several shows – both straight acting and musicals. I was also a member of both an acapella choir and a jazz choir. Mostly stuck with on stage stuff during this time….however…a movie was filmed at my high school and since they wanted to use our newspaper office for a scene, those of us that worked on the paper were tagged to be background in it if needed. We got camped out in the theatre for the day waiting for our call. It was annoying, but necessary and since it was just the six of us that day we got to have lunch with the cast/crew. THAT was cool, entertaining and quite informative. The subject of sex scenes came up and our ‘keeper’ said most people – cast and crew both – hate having to film them. Very difficult as it is supposed to be this intimate thing with people standing around watching. I was the only one tapped for the walk-on bit which ended up being a sit down pretend to be typing bit in a hideous pink sweater (and the scene never made it into the movie). The completed scene took 2 – 3 minutes MAX and we worked on it for about 3 hours. Matthew Modine is a very nice guy by the way.

There was also a program in my home city called “Catch a Rising Star” for teachers to nominate what they considered ‘exceptional’ students to be featured on. Combination of academics, participation in extra-curricular events and community involvement. I spent a day with three people following me all over the school with a big-assed camera and light, asking questions and generally making life complicated. It was cool and many people wanted to talk to me and congratulate me – but others slung a lot of nastiness and hate at me for being singled out. C’est la vie.

College – ah college. Music theatre where I had small parts and helped backstage with lighting and sound mostly. Every one of my elective classes over five years (don’t ask) was theatre/acting oriented. I’m sure had the college offered such a thing I would have had a minor in it at least. It was also my ‘work-study’ program for four years. Students ‘work’ on campus to help pay their way. I did a bit of everything: working with the directors for all sorts of things (some of it quite weird), advertising, house management, properties, lighting, sound, make-up and costumes. I didn’t do much set design/construction mostly because the lead there and I – well we worked best if our interaction with each other was kept to a minimum. He had a great team anyway and I would have been more a hindrance than a help. The last two years I was lead on costumes – yikes. At the same time, I was in the traveling troupe that went around to schools and churches doing skits and programs. As a group we wrote and submitted scripts to the director. We had to come up with outfits for the troupe that were sort of a uniform, but still plain enough to work into each skit (no time or place for actual costume changes). We had to think through what ALL we needed for props and costume that would work for multiple skits and all fit in a single trunk.

It was an amazing time and I loved all of it.

After college, I moved to the small town of Sitka, AK where she who became my best friend (ended up being matron of honor for my second marriage) was also THE director for the towns community theatre. My first show with her was Angry Housewives – what a KICK! If you can ever see that show, do. Couple of moms who need money enter a punk band contest because 1st prize is $500. Considering my highlight song was “Eat Your F*cking Cornflakes”…..gives you some clue as to how funny it is. Did a few other shows, but my second guy had a infant that needed a mom so I made a choice. Now I write.

I don’t relay any of this to brag or say how great I am. What I want to get across is that I have at least a TINY, real experience inkling of what it takes to do a ‘production’. Theatre and TV are completely different animals, yet you have to do many of the same things. It’s really an amazing process!

So, this is my background when I blog. It isn’t ALL my experience or background, but since books/television/movies seem to be my focus at this point, this is what is most pertinent. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments – I love stimulating interaction!

A final, fun – maybe scary – thought:





2 thoughts on “Who am I to comment?

  1. Mary King says:

    Very interesting column. I am fascinated by your movie making project with your ‘out there’ teacher at such a young age. What a gift you were given! Thanks for some teacher inspiration!

    Keep sharing your Outlander thoughts. I enjoy hearing your opinions and this posting gives them excellent context!

    • rynawolfe says:

      Thank you for the comment, Mary! The little movie wasn’t anything complicated – but it was a fascinating project. I was raised by teachers and was blessed to have some really great ones going through school. I’ll keep writing – thanks for the support!

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