TTS Press Conference Dec. 3, 2016
Debbie Ford, Grant O’Rourke, Terry Dresbach
Sitting by the fireplace at the Isle in Bettendorf, Iowa, I was discussing inspiration for this blog with my friend Jane. I had been lucky enough to be asked to be part of a press conference at the Thru The Stones Fan event with Grant O’Rourke and Terry Dresbach.
“Grant had a very interesting response to my asking about the difficulty of filming out of sequence.” I said.
We were interrupted by folks on the look out for coffee before they caught a taxi to the airport. We offered to watch their luggage while they snuck into the casino for the only coffee available at that early hour of the morning. Settling back in my chair, I continued to explain what I had heard Grant say.
“He didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal. He said you get a good sense of who your character is and how he serves the story and then act that moment.”
Jane nodded her head listening to me intently like she always does. It is one of the biggest reasons I love her. She is genuinely interested in how and what I think.
“I told him I thought it would be difficult and that I had the idea it would be easier to build a character chronologically, but he made a very good point. He said, “It’s all just moments. We’re all just living in moments anyway”. I’m thinking that might be a good title for the article and a good metaphor for the weekend.”
We were interrupted again by a group of ladies we had met who needed hugs good bye before they left for each corner of the country they came from. Lots of “so nice to meet you” and “follow me on Twitter” and “what a great time” were heard. I gave a final hug to one of my readers I was privileged to meet and as she moved away she looked around and said “so many great moments”. Well, that was just too much of a coincidence and it cemented my focus for this reflection. This weekend was full of moments both great and small to be treasured and remembered.
First, let me thank the folks that worked so hard to give Outlander fans a great experience. Thank you very much to Debbie Ford, Gin Wray, and Sandy Belshause, their families and friends like the neighbor who convinced Deb to read Outlander and the gentleman who was the voice of the convention.
Back in July, I received an invitation from Debbie to be part of a press conference at the convention. Of course, I jumped at the chance to interview Terry Dresbach, Outlander on Starz’, costume designer. Like many of you, I have been interacting with Terry on Twitter and learning a lot about the business of costume designing and film making in general. I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet her and Iowa isn’t all that far from Ohio and so, I started making plans to attend.
Previously, I had plans to attend a talk given by the show’s writers in LA that totally fell through and so, I was very cautious about telling anyone this was happening until it actually did! I got confirmation just a couple of days before the convention that Grant would be at the press conference. I happened to be at my granddaughters’ basketball game when I opened the email and I thought out loud, “I’ve prepared some things to ask Terry, but I have no idea what to ask an actor! ” My fourteen year-old granddaughter was sitting beside me with her boyfriend. “I’ve no idea,”she said. However, her boyfriend seemed to have a clue, “Ask him what his favorite color is. You can learn a lot about someone by asking them their favorite color.” I thanked him with a straight face, but thinking about it on the way home, I broke into a smile and thought that he might actually have come up with a great ice-breaker! I thought I would tell Grant the story and then ask him what his favorite color was with the added warning to be careful with his choice because I would be psychoanalyzing his response later!
I never got the chance to ask the question or break the ice because I didn’t need to! Grant and Terry hadn’t seen each other in awhile and they just started talking to each other and reminiscing about life on the Outlander set and about one of Terry’s parties. It was a blast to watch them interact. They were definitely at ease in each other’s prescence and there was a lot of teasing, smiles and laughter. It was obvious that they both felt good about the working relationship between all those involved in the production. Grant shared that he had been convinced that he was going to lose his job and that he didn’t relax until two weeks had passed and he was filming the stable scene with Cait because Steven Walters, Angus, had told him that after two weeks it was too expensive for them to replace him! LOL! They both shared bits and pieces of life behind the scenes that made what we see as a glamorous job a bit less so. There appears to be a lot of standing around in the cold and mud and rain waiting. Terry shared that Cecil B DeMille said ,”the most fascinating day on set is your first and the most boring is your second”.
Terry said that on Outlander everything has its own rewards and challenges. And, in response to my question she added that filming out of sequence is the norm and that she thought it would be easier to film chronologically, so that, for instance, you wouldn’t have to film a Boston May in a Scotland November! But, that it doesn’t happen that way. This led her to tell a funny story about her not realizing things were filmed out of sequence on her first job as a costume designer. She said she loaded up a car with costumes and took them to the set and then didn’t bring them back the next day because she thought they were done! They both discussed the importance of costumes in creating a character. She designs the costumes with the character and their place in the story in mind and shares the “why” of her costume choices with the actors. She then went on to share how she loves it when the actors start to make the costumes their own. Grant shared that he was very big on being able to dress himself. It sounds as if their were discussions about whether or not Rupert would have worn this or styled his hair thus, etc. and some changes were made. He said he had started to make the costume his own by always carrying his tam in the same place inside his plaid whether he would be wearing it in the scene or not because Rupert would have always carried it. There were a few more laughs over the fact that he said he hated to wear that bonnet. “NO! Not the bonnet! I don’t want to wear the bonnet”, he jokingly whined. Terry talked about how Stephen Walters wrapped his plaid around a special rock he had been given which is an old Highlander way of holding the plaid in place called a pauper’s brooch. The two shared a story about the time Stephen lost his rock and everyone was scouring the set for it! “Looking for a particular pebble amongst other pebbles”, Terry laughed.
I learned that Grant thought the best episode in season 2 was Prestonpans and he was grateful to hear that we were moved by his performance. In fact, he said he used to listen to pod casts, but stopped when he was listening to one on Prestonpans and they never mentioned Rupert! (I made a mental note to check my blog on Prestonpans) I learned that this was his first time in America which really shocked Terry and I overheard him ask Debbie how much time he had after the press conference because he really wanted to get some ribs. She assured him that they knew a guy who would take care of that! He is so quick and seems a very down to Earth guy with his priorities in place ( hope the wee man enjoys his cup). Terry was funny, charming, and generous with her answers.
There weren’t any great revelations about season 3 shared, as expected and as it should be. However, what was very obviously revealed was the care, dedication and love that each puts into their craft. My overall impression of my time spent with them was that they were two people who work hard at their jobs and try to do the best they can just like the rest of us. Terry strives to do her best job as a designer and Grant wants to serve the story with his acting. The fact that we all find it so fascinating and that the show is so popular is just a bonus. I’m convinced they would be giving the same effort, care and concern to whatever project they were involved in. They seem to have a sense that what they do will be farther reaching than they can imagine and are humbled to be part of something bigger than themselves. They know that they are here because Diana Gabaldon wrote these wonderful books and they want to serve the story and the fans well and with love.
As moments go, I was grateful to be living this one. We are very lucky fans.
Stay tuned part 2 coming soon!