Perception and Prejudice

Each person that reads or watches or experiences something, brings a lot of themselves into the process. How and where they were raised, their spiritual beliefs, education, the people they spend time with, the other books they read, movies they watch and things they study. All of these factors are mixed into to whatever an individual is currently ‘experiencing’ and colors it to their unique perception and prejudice.

So we can hope to come at this blog from a similar direction – here are some definitions:

 

Perception: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression; intuitive understanding and insight

Selective Perception: Selectivity of information that is perceived. Process in which people tend to ignore information that conflicts with their values while accepting other information that agrees with their values.

Prejudice: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience

 

When I write my fiction, I tend to go lean on details unless I need the reader to grasp something specific. For me, not having each thing spelled out for me (as a reader) allows me the fun of having my own view or perception of a scene. A field of wildflowers in a passage may give me a totally different image (coming from the Pacific Northwest) than someone reading the same passage that grew up in the mid-west or on the east coast or in Switzerland or New Zealand.

Take this bit from the book I’m currently working on:

            Jasmine felt as if she was being turned inside out then found herself swaying slightly in a well-appointed sitting or living room. It had a look and atmosphere of old-world grace and money, but she didn’t have time to study it. She turned quickly as the enemy placed her soul sister on a plush sofa.

 “There should be a blanket in the chest just there, why don’t you get one so we can cover her.” Nicholas watched this woman carefully if discretely. She was struggling – fighting a war within herself – and if she was who he suspected, he could only imagine how abhorrent this situation was for her.

            Jasmine flipped open the cedar chest and found a soft, light blanket. Cashmere? Quality, as everything seemed to be here, and stepped over to cover her friend. The temptation to just cover her face and kill this arrogant aristocrat was hard to resist, but she needed Sunny in her life almost like air or food. Since she had lost her brother, Sunny was the only thing that had kept her at least somewhat sane. She had to strike out somehow and since she had promised not to kill him – words were her only option.

 “Nice place, Vlad. Lots of color, very few cobwebs – I’m impressed.”

 

I have a very specific picture of this place in my head as the author. The furniture I picture, the colors, the fabrics, the trinkets or priceless pieces of art that may be present. I asked my partner what he pictured and it was similar but not identical to my thoughts. Not surprising since we have been mostly together for over 20 years and come from somewhat similar backgrounds growing up. But ask yourself what you pictured? How might your partner or best friend picture the same scene? None of the ‘visions’ is more right than any others, they are just different; colored and nuanced by each individuals myriad of experiences.

Prejudice, at least how I want to talk about it here, is a bit more complicated.

While where prejudice comes from holds true for all the same things as perception, it’s how it applies to reading a book or watching or movie or dealing with a different culture that I want to address. People tend to judge things, be prejudiced for or against them, based on their perceptions – but they often neglect to take into account the differences from where the thing is coming from.

 

Take the novel Outlander for example. People tend to judge/be prejudiced about the characters based on current time perceptions. You really can’t do that. To say something that was a cultural norm several hundred years ago was ‘wrong and/or out of character’ based on current ideas and perceptions robs the person experiencing the work of inherent lessons, insights or differences. While we as a modern society may not agree with something done in the 1700’s for a variety of reasons, you also can’t just dismiss them as wrong. Understand where that particular ‘norm’ came from and why. How was it important to THAT time and place? Embrace it for how it is different from current thinking and so expand your vision of things outside your own actual experiences.

This is true of almost any work set in times and places different from what we know and are comfortable with. While some readers may vehemently disagree with the scene in which Jamie thrashes Claire for her blatant disobedience and endangering of their party; others understood where/when it came from and, while they may have found it distasteful, didn’t let that one scene ruin the whole book for them. Some, not so willing to step outside their own perceptions and prejudices, put down the book at that point never to pick it up again.

Some people are very uncomfortable reading explicit sex scenes – this can be due to many factors. They can skip past such things or let it ruin the entire story. That is a choice. While I don’t judge people for their comfort levels, I take real issue with people that will go through library books and black out things THEY find offensive not giving others a chance to decide for themselves.

I guess what I hope to accomplish with this post is to get people to think a little bit. To, perhaps, listen to another’s viewpoint without judgment to maybe expand their own thinking and ideas. Even if it doesn’t change your mind, you’ve been exposed to other ideas and, hopefully, won’t berate another for their perceptions. You and they are coming to a specific experience from (possibly) vastly different directions and so your perceptions will not be the same.

I saw this during the recent upheaval with the political race and it is so appropriate.

perception1

Both people in this picture are right – they are also both wrong. It is a matter of perception.

My fervent wish with future posts is that people will keep this in mind while reading what I write. I come from my own unique place and so my ‘view’ will be different from anyone reading my thoughts. It may be only slightly different or a huge swing towards one side or another. It doesn’t make me right and anyone else wrong – it’s just a different perspective. My hope is that my own ideas and perspective might allow someone else to see the same scene or book or character in a slightly different way and so, expand that experience for them with a different facet to and already precious ‘gem’.

It is also my wish that – especially here – discussions are conducted in a respectful manner to expand each person’s experience rather than dismiss their perceptions as irrelevant.

Cheers!

 

 

 

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Healing Hearts

That title can be taken a couple of ways – and both are accurate.

There are people that have ‘Healing Hearts’ – they reach out to those hurting and act as a soothing balm to help ‘heal’ hurts.

There are also hearts that are in the process of healing. People suffering from physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual attacks, injuries and pain.

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The entire country (U.S.) has just finished a very nasty campaign process for the Presidency. Friendships and families have been ripped apart for taking opposing sides. Half the country will be breathing a sigh of relief, gearing up for the next steps – while the other half will be feeling totally betrayed by the system, terrified of what the next four years will bring and lots of anger. (Maybe not a 50-50 split, there are many that hate the choices all around, already feel betrayed and angry and just want to do the best they can with what they get).

No matter who voted for who – we are ALL Americans and, once the election is over – need to have ‘Healing Hearts’ in both directions. Working together to make the best of however the election turned out and bust ass to make sure we are never in this position again. Putting aside differences to make a better future for the whole country.

Enough politics.

Exactly what I said above – but insert ‘Outlander Clandom’. The ‘shipping’ war has caused some really bad feelings/hurt/damage not only by/to the ‘super-shippers’ but by/to the ‘super-truthers’ as well. In my opinion, this is a very small contingency of very loud, rude, obnoxious people on BOTH SIDES of this conflict. It really is time to put the nastiness aside for the betterment of the entire fandom. For the ‘super’ fans on both sides – I think the vast majority of the fandom would like you to ‘take it outside’ and leave the rest of us in peace. Same goes for those who can’t discuss logically what they do/don’t like without resorting to nastiness, name-calling and generally being vile.

I can’t tell anyone what to do – wouldn’t want that responsibility. When I write a blog like this I am giving MY opinion and observations. That’s it. MY perspective. Do with it what you will. Take it on board and adjust actions/thought process or don’t. Use any suggestions I might make here or don’t. The only person that can do anything about YOU is the person reading this.

That having been said, a few ideas.

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Do your best to have calm, in-depth discussions with someone whose views oppose yours on a regular basis. Expand your thinking and get different perspectives. You may not change your mind about the given topic, but it might help you understand where the other person is coming from and find important common ground.

If another person is being rude, disrespectful, mean or attacking – disengage or do not engage. Engaging at that point gives them a platform and outlet for being nasty. If on social media, something truly offensive, should be reported. Take that step with calm thought and some checking. You may have just caught them at a really bad time and it was a one off lashing out rather than a consistent pattern of behavior. I’m sure there have been times when people have been kicked out of/blocked from social media platforms simply because someone was angry rather than for good reason.

Don’t be easily offended. Don’t take everything as a personal attack. Really look at it, examine how this person is with others, examine past interactions. If this person is truly a bigot or sexist (or whatever offensive) – walk away. Or, if the situation allows, have that discussion and exchange of ideas. Perhaps they do not realize what they are saying is offensive. (Yes that IS possible). Perhaps no one ever really discussed it with them. If you can’t do that calmly – don’t. Walk / scroll away and don’t engage that person. Block/mute them from your social media. This saves you getting frustrated/angry with them, and them getting frustrated/angry with you.

Take personal responsibility. If you got/get angry and spout off…own it. Apologize or at least calmly, rationally explain your anger/frustration/whatever. If you have a particularly strong belief, it’s fine to express that but once expressed, if it can’t be discussed rationally without it turning nasty, stop. Own what you do on social media – don’t hide behind fake accounts. I can see some people protecting their professional lives/job with a different persona on SM – but that doesn’t excuse creating an account with the express purpose of stirring up shit then disappearing.

Spread some kindness, peace, harmony, goodwill………….love.

 candles

There are thousands of great memes out there (I found the four in this blog in about 5 minutes plus several more). Make your own. Post them, RT / share them when you see them. Encourage people. Send positive vibes out there. Drown the crap in good energy. One candle lights another that lights another that lights another until few ‘shadows’ can remain.

In the end, we are all in this together. At this point we have this one planet and we – as human beings – need to start taking better care of each other. If we can’t do it as a microcosm fandom for some books that have evolved into a TV show – how are we ever going to survive as a species?

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“FAN” as you wish – let me do the same

I’ve done several posts about things I see both good and bad in the Outlander Clandom. I have to assume – since I have zero experience in other fandoms – that these are not isolated issues, but things that are constants because people are people. I’ve also made the comment before that fandoms seem to be a microcosm of the world in general and it has been a very interesting study.

My social media presence has been purposely limited for the last few weeks because I simply got tired of all the election issues. (Also, I tend to inhabit Twitter more than anything else for reference.) What makes me both sad and angry about the election isn’t the candidates (they both SUCK) but how everyday people are treating each other. We all have our histories, experiences and beliefs shaping each decision we make; meaning we will often disagree about topics that are of particular importance to us. Discussing ideas and philosophies to gain a better, broader understanding of any topic is a good thing – but it seems far too often people go at these situations with closed minds and personal attacks.

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The same thing is going on within the Outlander fandom. The conclusion I have come to is that the vast majority of the ‘Clandom’ are good people that just want to enjoy the show, discuss it, see what the cast & crew are up to and have a unifying topic to share and have fun with on social media. Unfortunately a few very vocal, nasty, invasive people that tend to attack rather than discuss fill the entire fandom with strife.

I had planned to do a post like this a while back, life got in the way. Here is where it started. I was seeing comments on Twitter and FB about how Season 2 was an ‘epic failure’ and ‘almost everyone’ really didn’t like it. While I had seen some comments about very specific things people were unhappy with, overall I thought the season had gone well and felt that was the overall opinion. So I did a little survey on Twitter. Here is the result:

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I was disappointed that so few responded, but I think it’s probably a pretty accurate representation. I would put out the supposition that NO ONE likes every single moment of Outlander-Season 2 (or any other TV show they watch), but overall felt it was great television. I fall into that category.

If there are things you don’t like about the show, this season specifically, a direction….whatever…that is perfectly ok. DISCUSS it. Explain why you don’t like it. LISTEN to why other people DID like to get a different perspective. Verbally attacking/abusing another person for their opinion/thoughts/ideas is just wrong. I get really angry with people that say nasty things about Ron Moore and his direction for the show. He sees it with different eyes from long time book readers – he is not out to ruin a favorite story. Ron is damn good at his job….he makes good TELEVISION. His vision comes from a very different place and it will not match yours, or mine or anyone else’s. If you truly hate what he is doing, stop watching – just like you would with any other show.

Now what got me busy on this post again today (and I admit several things have given me big pause as I’ve been writing making me re-think and further ponder) was this tweet:

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So….the fandom lost a supporter, someone that just wanted to enjoy the process without all the drama. That is a sad thing. I took this person’s ID off the tweet so they wouldn’t be hassled about it.

I’m sure there are some (if they even see this because they have me blocked…oh wait…blocking ME doesn’t keep them from seeing what I post, just keeps me from seeing what they post) that will be saying, “But we have the right to express ourselves and fan as we want to! You can’t drive us away!”…..Ok….but that works both ways. Take the shipping war as an example (since all know about it). If you want to ship, fine – but don’t attack people that don’t agree with you or insist that you are better/truer fans than anyone else. Same goes for the non-shippers. No attacking, name calling or running to WS or Sam trying to get people in trouble.  I happen to disagree with ‘shipping’ real people that have stated they are NOT a couple; I have laid out my reasoning in at least two previous posts: Why I Hate RL “shipping” and Serious Line: Fan to Fanatic. However, while I don’t like the practice, I don’t attack the people shipping. If someone feels I have actually attacked an individual, please show me and let me know so I can apologize as that is never, ever my intention.

Voting is another area of contention. Some people love to vote on these polls. Some don’t. Some really can’t for a wide variety of reasons. ALL these things are valid. Not voting does not make you less of a fan. Those that vote need to ask politely for votes – and let people decide for themselves. Give fans the information to be able to vote quickly and easily, find fun motivation in memes or comments and let people make up their own damn minds! Would it be easier to win some of these competitions with more fingers working? Sure! Some people don’t like the process or the time it eats up from other things or have computer access issues or many other things and so not voting is a perfectly valid choice and they are still a fan. Everyone has the right to ‘fan’ as they choose – but not cram what they feel is right down anyone else’s throat.

Am I doing that here? I suppose it could be viewed that way. The difference is I’m not brow-beating a specific individual or a few people with it. I’m not personally attacking anyone, calling anyone nasty names, belittling them, or trying to get them in trouble with anyone – I’m stating my position. Like it or not – that is on your head. Discuss your views with me – I’d love that!

My suggestion for people struggling with nastiness in the Outlander fandom is to limit who you follow, be willing to unfollow people that just don’t mesh with you and use the mute option if it really gets to a place you can’t deal with it. Don’t give up something you enjoy because other people need to mature a bit. Speak out if you feel up for that – but against the action/practice not people. Expect to take some hits if you do. Totally up to you how you handle all this.

The one thing I have asked for many, many times in my blogs that I will continue to ask for is this:

Courtesy

 

Differing Opinions: Books vs TV Series

I have said many times and will keep saying it: I love discussion. Differing opinions and asking questions is what helps us all come to better understanding of any given topic. Being able to grasp another’s point of view gives us new insight and expands our thinking. This is good.

What I get frustrated with is complaining/whining/griping/bashing. There is a big difference and it’s all in how it’s presented and, going forward, discussed. A topic came up on social media today that really brought this into focus for me. It’s happened before but I managed to catch this one from the beginning and, for a change, am not mulling it for days before writing. The idea came easily how to present this so here I am.

Now, I am not saying what branch of social media this came on, nor will I name any names as I’m not trying to get people in trouble or start a war. If they want to make themselves known that is their prerogative. 

cuts-of-remembrance

This is what the discussion was about. The fact that ‘The Team’ chose not to include this scene in the television production. What sort of set me back was the original post which I will quote here:

“Still irritated they did not cut there initials _ rather Claire gives Jamie a big amber rock instead”

My first thought was, “Why STILL irritated?” The decision was made, filmed and it’s long passed. It can’t be changed, why complain about it now? And – to me – making the statement this way IS a complaint. There is no question trying to understand why this decision was made, no discussion for options; just irritation. My alternative to this might be. “Too bad they felt this couldn’t be filmed. Perhaps it could be incorporated in the future. Fans love it!” 

Please understand, like most fans of the books this is a favorite segment of mine! It’s something I might do myself and it comes across as so raw and real. This is also something that comes up over and over in through the life of the story. It’s a poetic and beautiful thing woven into the fabric of Jamie & Claire’s love story.

However, I can also look at it from the perspective of it being a great enhancement, a special touch whenever it comes up, it is not a critical piece to move the story forward. Given the time constraints of the series versus the books, I can easily understand the decision to leave this bit aside. Here are my thoughts on why the decision went as it did. Maybe. I have no inside info, just experience in theatre and my own thinking with some common sense.

The initial filming would have taken a great deal of time. Camera angles, how to make sure the ‘cuts’ are consistent over multiple takes. How to do the blood to be consistent and not mess anything up between times. If I remember right (and I may not) filming was already going long because of weather issues.

It also would have been time consuming as the series progresses due to make-up issues. If they had decided to do this scene, it would be two more scars that need to be consistently applied any time they ‘might’ be in the camera view. They would be on the actors’ hands, which tend to be on camera a lot and noticed. They would have to be consistent in each scene. Hands are not the easiest place to ‘stick’ something and have it stay where you want it due to movement and constantly touching/brushing against things.

The argument was made that, these were small cuts and not often visible so they wouldn’t have to keep doing them. Yet, if they had chosen to do this scene with all the implications, there would be fans furious if they didn’t continue to see these scars on camera. It’s a no win in the long run.

I would imagine, because – while a wonderful enhancement to the story – the scars aren’t a driving component, ‘The Team’ chose to leave this out allowing time (both in front of and behind the camera) for other things.

In listening to / watching many interviews and panels, something that Ron Moore has said many times really resonates with me. He, and ‘The Team’ are trying to make the best TELEVISION they can. It isn’t a book – it has completely different constraints and driving points. Ron likes the material, but ‘sees’ it differently than anyone else because he is using a different set of eyes. He is looking as someone who has worked – very successfully – in making television shows for many years. Producing / show-running good stories that play well on screen and will last. So far, he and ‘The Team’ have done a damn fine job! IMHO

Have I been disappointed in some things with the show?    YES

Have I wished something could have been added that wasn’t?    YES

Were there things the show did that made me say WTF?!     YES

Have I had some interesting, stimulating discussions about all these things? Some – unfortunately on SM it tends to dissolve into argument and I don’t enjoy that.

I’ll probably get bashed for this post by people saying they have every right to disagree and ‘discuss’ opinions about the show. I totally agree. What gets old is the ‘angry’ people that bash and complain; that get ‘irritated’ by a difference and slam the show and Ron and whoever else rather than actually discussing the idea and why it went as it did on screen. I feel sorry for them. Discussing means listening to the POV of others and weighing that against your own ideas.

A last thought…..I can guarantee that there will be X number of people that love something with an equal number that hated it. Every ‘fan’ has their own special things that absolutely should have been on screen – there is simply no way to accomplish that with the time they have. Every single fan is right – for themselves. In the end, ‘The Team’ does the best they can to make good TELEVISION (not a reproduction of a book on screen) and Ron works to keep it faithful to the overall story, while appealing to a television audience.

Let’s be courteous to each other when voicing opinions, asking questions and having discussions. We all have our special bits from the books that are important to us, but we all view the story differently from our own perspectives, history and experience. I really enjoy ^most^ of the differences as it gives me a different view/perspective of the story and so makes it bigger and more rounded for me.

OH! And this discussion today did stay courteous and was indeed a ‘discussion’ as it progressed! The exchange just gave me a clear idea of how I wanted to explain this.

Cheers!

 

Heeeeeeeeer’s Bree!

It’s one of those days that I wonder if it’s worth the effort to be part of a ‘fandom’. So many good things can be going on which can be so quickly overshadowed by negativity. I once heard that it actually takes 10 positive comments to balance out 1 negative comment. Now, this was talking about individuals and self-esteem, but I imagine the formula holds pretty true. We as human beings tend to be very quick to latch onto the negative rather than embracing the positive.

Today, we were (finally) introduced to the very lovely young lady that will be playing Brianna Randall/Fraser. Almost immediately came the:

She has brown eyes! That’s impossible if both parents have blue! How could they DO this?! WAAAAA (it’s not actually but won’t get into that)

She is too short!  WAAAAAA

She’s a Brit so her accent will be all wrong!!! WAAAAA

She looks nothing like I pictured Brianna! I’m SO disappointed!!! WAAAAAA

 

You all get the picture.

Italian mother.png(BTW – for me it would be a German mamma – but the idea is the same and thank you to @CandidKathryn for this meme!)

A few points here. All the negative nellies get to have their say – it’s their RIGHT by god to disagree whenever and however they please. Ok….that means I get to have my say too.

First, The Outlander books are some of the very best I have EVER read! They catch you up and wrap you into the story and you can see it all in your head. The thing I really REALLY wish people would keep in mind is – we all see it differently. How I picture Jamie is how I picture Jamie (or Claire or Bree or pick a character). MY interpretation of the words DG has put together to create the Outlander universe. It will be different from anyone else’s vision because no one else in the world has my exact background. To me, Diana created this world so SHE has final say. She can’t be ‘wrong’ because for Outlander she is ‘god’. (NOTE!!! I am not being disrespectful or blasphemous here…note the use of the lower case ‘g’. I am merely saying that as this world’s creator, she is the just that).

 

Second, while Jamie and the other characters are very real to each of us in different ways and for different reasons THEY ARE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS. They don’t exist in the real world….hence….there is no one that is going to look exactly like them physically. This is just something everyone needs to except as fact. Might there have been some actors closer in physical likeness to the different characters – perhaps. Could the ‘team’ have found anyone better to embody these characters? Not bloody likely.

I remember the hub-bub when Sam was first cast. People literally flipping out because Sam looked NOTHING like their beloved Jaimie! There is no possible way this guy could pull it off and the whole thing was ruined without a second of film having been shot. Yet, look now and no one can imagine anyone else doing such a fantastic job. Still see gripes about hair color –   *sigh*

 

Third, so far the casting of Outlander has been SPOT ON. The actors may not look exactly as the characters were described in the book (please refer to the second point above) but they have embodied the essence of the characters and totally brought them to life! Since the ‘Team’ has done such a fabulous job so far getting the right actor for the right part, I’m going to trust them on this one too! Sophie Skelton is a lovely lass who has some solid credentials behind her. For a short time acting she has a lot of credits behind her already. She also has some smarts it seems like and is willing to jump into the Twitter fray as it were. Sam tweeted that she “SMASHED IT”…… that says to me that she fits right in and will do a stellar job as Brianna. Also, as a relative ‘unknown’ she doesn’t bring any baggage from previous work – or not much. The other cast members seem pretty excited about this choice – so I hope everyone settles back and doesn’t ruin it for themselves with their own expectations.

 

None of the actors are going to exactly match the physical characteristics of the characters because the characters are creations of an (extremely talented) author. This will only be a problem if you LET it be.

Not every scene/nuance/line that is critical to you from the book is going to be in the series. It just is not possible. You are not going to agree with how the ‘Team’ does everything, accept that. If you want to discuss what you would have liked to see done differently, that’s great – but show some respect for the process and the people who do this for a living. It often isn’t what is said that is the issue – it’s how it is presented.

 

I’m going to ask what I always do. Common sense and courtesy. To each other as fans, to Diana as the author, to the actors busting ass to bring you the best show they can, to Ron and the ‘Team’ who are working hard behind the camera to do the same. Discuss – don’t malign. To others like me that are really enjoying the show – please say so! Don’t try to silence others opinions, give some balance out there on social media! Thank all involved for their hard work and dedication. They may be ‘celebrities’ – but they are still people with feelings that appreciate a sincere compliment/thank you as much as anyone else!

I’m tickled to say that, while I’ve been writing this and doing some other things, I’ve kept a watch on Twitter and FB and as things have progressed the positive comments are starting to balance the negative! This is great! I so hope the trend continues because, as I said above, it’s a 10-1 ratio for balance.

 

Let’s give the newest member of the family a warm welcome and trust that she is exactly right to bring this character to life for the series.

 

 

THANK YOU STARZ

Note to STARZ

 

First – I apologize. This is long again but it’s what I felt I needed to say.

 

I have made no secret of my thoughts about this show and the fandom surrounding it. Most of my blog posts have been observations about the Outlander fandom as it is the first and pretty much only fandom I’m really involved with. This fandom can and does do EPIC shit! The money that has been raised for extremely worthy charities, the hundreds of people that have gotten healthier thanks not only to Sam and his Peak Challenge in conjunction with Bear Strength – but the care and support of the fans for each other to strive to reach their fitness goals, support each other in times of trial, rejoice with each other in triumph. This is an amazing group of people and I feel blessed to be part of it – most of the time.

There is, however, a disturbing trend in this group to whine. Nothing, it seems, is ever quite good enough and simply must be complained about. When all this started – everyone was SO excited to just be finally getting it on the screen…..but then….Sam looked nothing like Jamie, Caitriona was too skinny, wrong eyes, Duncan should have hair, those are not the proper knits for the time period and on and on and on. I think for the most part people have settled with those early decisions and have moved on to other ‘issues’.

There is still a lot of ‘discussion’ _ahem_ about all that was done ‘wrong’ in Season 1 – even though all the complaining in the world won’t change it. I have suggested several times that people start discussions about Voyager – aka Season 3 – as that is not set yet. No one seems interested in this idea which is too bad, but if the value of expressing what the fans WANT to see in season 3 before it’s set can’t be grasped I’m not going to waste my time or energy trying to make people ‘get it’.

Today I saw slams against STARZ PR – they aren’t doing enough to promote the show. Over the last few months there have been load of complaints that WE (meaning Outlander) isn’t getting enough attention/press/episodes/hype/or giving the fans enough pictures or information.

Sorry, but I have to stand up and say STOP!

First, STARZ PR has been AWESOME to the fans of Outlander and, like it or not, OL is not their only popular show. All the giveaways they did in December weren’t for the fans?!. I happened to win a set of the posters. I was expecting little 8X10 promotional pictures and would have been perfectly happy with that but…..NO….these are full theatre size, high quality, absolutely awesome posters! Signed by Tobias, Catriona and Sam as appropriate.

STARZ PR got the show spotlighted at Comic Con and the PaleyFest when the show was barely going – amazing! The premiers that they have done are way above and beyond what they have done for other shows and we, as fans, have a lot of access to both the team and the stars. They did THREE premiers for the second half of the first season: LA, New York and the UK. That’s huge and bloody expensive I’m sure. No, not all fans can get to these events, but this is way more than what fans for other shows get.

Doing a bit of research, I picked five other STARZ shows and looked them up. These are shows that even I have heard about and they seem to be fairly popular. Here is what I found.

DaVinci’s Demons: Season 1 had 8 episodes / S2 = 10 Eps / S3 = 10 Eps

Ash vs Evil Dead: S1 = 10 Eps / S2 = 10 Eps

Survivor’s Remorse: S1 = 6 Eps / S2 = 10 Eps / S3 = 3 Eps?!

Torchwood: S1 = 13 Eps / S2 = 13 Eps / S3 = 5 Eps / S4 = 10 Eps (older series)

Black Sails: another favorite of mine and a fairly popular show that doesn’t get anywhere near the PR shine that OL does from what I’ve seen: S1 = 8 Eps / S2 = 10 Eps / S3 =10 Eps

So, realistically in comparison…for its very first, untried season Outlander was given two seasons worth of episodes! Other series get 10 episodes for their second season and OL / the fans got 13! Yet all the fans seem to do is complain that we are getting ripped off! I’m sure that is not how everyone feels, but this is the opinion that seems to be the most vocal – I’m really hoping the positive feelings will be expressed more prominently as time goes on.

STARZ put together an amazing team. Ron Moore has been in this business a long time and is very successful in it. So are the members of his team. They have a vision and know way better than we do the constraints they have to work under to bring in a good show under a contract. We as fans are NOT THERE. We don’t sit in on all the meetings with the accountants and suits and have to please both the fans and the guys that sign the checks. My perspectives are different and while I may not LIKE the way some specific thing was done – I can appreciate the difference in vision and wait to see where it goes. I trust them to do what is right for the series to make it a long-term deal. I’m not qualified to judge or make comments about Ron’s job because I have never done anything close to it! Same for Matt Roberts and the exceptional team of writers, Bear McCreary with his haunting/beautiful music and Jon Gary Steele and all those other marvelous people that give us such a fabulous show – including the PR staff!

I have acted a little and done some production work. I have done some costume work and I am in absolute awe of Terry Dresbach! If I could afford the trip I’d go work for her for free for a season just to learn a tiny bit of what she knows. None of this ‘experience’ makes me even remotely qualified to judge what any of these people do and have done on a daily basis for years. There is no way I would have the temerity to say they are ‘wrong’ about any decision they make for this or any other show they work on.

I’m sure I have a few people fairly steamed right now so let me qualify and clarify. No one is going to ‘like’ every single thing done on the OL show. (ah…I imagine that includes the people working on it). There is absolutely nothing wrong with expressing that opinion and why you would have liked to have seen something different. I encourage this – I always have. What I don’t like and wish people would stop doing is judging something they are not qualified to judge (i.e. STARZ PR is not capitalizing on the GG buzz enough, wasting opportunities…etc) and doing it in such a way as to be all negative. Unless you WORK or have worked in a particular field – you simply do not have enough information to ‘judge’ it. We as civilians to that have no idea what all STARZ is doing to promote the show – I’m pretty sure it isn’t all just what you see as an ad on TV/cable. This is true of any aspect of production.

STARZ has been really great to the fans of Outlander – in my opinion. Yes I won the posters which is cool but it is very unusual for me to win stuff. They have done lots of giveaways, lots of promotion, lots of ‘fan events’ – so many things that other shows aren’t getting and yet what I see most often is negative thrown at them. Why should they keep doing all they do if all they get is crap in return.

There is an idea being generated right now about kindness. Being kind to each other as fans; being kind to the actors to that work so hard to bring these characters to life; being kind to all the production team that does so much to make OL the great show that it is. Let’s include STARZ in that and be kind and grateful for all they have given us.

There is an old saying that you get more flies with honey than vinegar. People are perfectly within their rights to express disappointment with something – but it can still be done in a positive way. I hope more and more fans start expressing, loudly, all that we like and appreciate about this great show and the marvelous people that get it on the screen for us.

A final tidbit to mull over. If the loudest expressions about the show on social media are negative (this was wrong, that was wrong, hated this or that, Ron/writers/STARZ is ruining the story, etc.) why would anyone checking the show out want to watch it? I encourage all fans to start tweeting, facebooking, tumblering (whatever your preferred SM platform is) all the stuff you love about the show. Counter a negative/judgmental comment with something positive. DO NOT attack the person! DO NOT attack the opinion – simply balance it with something positive.

 

 

 

Outlander Season 2 – Some Thoughts

This popped up on Twitter

Season 2 tweet

I responded easily, but it got me to thinking, which means I needed to write so you can blame this one on Jen!

 

What am I most excited for in regard to Season 2? The experience – all of it.

Will “The Team” (meaning Ron and the writers and anyone with a hand in putting this show on the air) follow the book exactly? Of course not. It simply isn’t possible to cram DiA into less than 13 hours of television. Will “The Team” put out a good series that uses DiA as its base and guide? Yes I believe so. Will I like every single thing that they do? Probably not – but that is a personal preference not a slight on their decisions for the show.

I look at it this way. Season 3 of Black Sails starts in a short time. I’m very excited about that! I have back story and a ‘relationship’ with these characters now, but rather than locking myself into an idea of where the story ‘should’ go in my opinion, I want to just jump in, go for the ride and let the story take me where it will. Same with The 100 (which I found thanks to one of our votes BTW).

It’s a bit more difficult with Outlander because we DO have the story already. Diana did a fabulous job with DiA and it is many people’s favorite book in the series. I loved it once I got over the WTF moment of how the book opened. I don’t, however, want my love of the book Diana wrote to diminish my enjoyment of the series. I purposely have not read the books since MOBY came out. I remember the story and where it goes but not every tiny detail, so have been able to enjoy the series for itself. Have I liked everything done in the series? No. But I don’t like every detail of the other two I mentioned or any other series I’ve gotten involved in over my lifetime.  As the story progresses I usually find that there was a purpose for that thing I didn’t like and it all works out. Just my observation and I trust “The Team” to make this a great series – not a word for word/scene for scene copy of the books.

Beth Wesson did a great blog about ‘New Beginnings’ – (Click the link).

That covers a lot of what I wanted to say and she has such a great way of writing!

 

The series has given me some new perspectives on this story that I love. Sam & Caitriona may not be exactly what I had physically pictured in my head for Jamie and Claire, but they, by virtue of being living breathing people, have given a new depth to those characters. I don’t know if I’ll picture them when I go back to read the books again – more their expressions I think. The actors captured the essence of the characters for me, which is far more important than their physical characteristics. When I do go back and read, I’ll see the story with fresh eyes and new perspective because I have interacted with so many fans and seen “The Teams” vision as it unfolded onto the screen. I can only ever comment on my perspective. Mine isn’t right or wrong, only mine.

The only absolute authority on the world of Outlander is the author. Diana Gabaldon has written a rich, complex world layered with real history. She can’t be ‘wrong’ about something she wrote because it is her creation. It lives in her head. We each bring to our reading or viewing our own history, experience and ideas. We each view it differently because of that – but ultimately it is an individual perception not necessarily what the author had in mind. Sharing those different ideas is awesome and lends a varied perspective for another to consider – but doesn’t make any one of us more ‘right’ than any other.

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So, I am looking forward to embracing the experience of Outlander Season Two in all its glory. The sets, the costumes, the intrigue, the love and yes, even what might be seen a major deviations from ‘the book’. I don’t care. It’s going to be a hell of a ride with stellar acting, a marvelous story and all those wonderful details that make this such a great show!