Saturday, July 28, 2018

Outlander - 'The Fans Who Make It' - Series by Roma Sars



Hello everyone! (From Roma Sars on "My Outlander Friends" on Facebook)


As a member of the Outlander fandom, I have visited many websites and blogs by fans who interview the actors, production staff and others involved with the making of the Outlander series.
I have also seen fans collect tens of thousands of dollars for the charities of their favourite actors, as well as fans making the most beautiful art and videos, all dedicated to the Outlander story.

What motivates the fans do this? Why have some of them devoted the best part of their days to the Outlander story?
So far, no-one has interviewed these fans who are behind these websites, blogs and twitter handles, some of them with thousands of followers.

So, I thought that I should be the one to do that, and I have approached some of them and found them conducive to do interviews.
In doing so, I hope to understand this obsession which has taken a hold of me ever since I discovered the Outlander story in 2015.

This will be the start of my “Outlander- the fans who make it” series of interviews.
I hope you will like what I will post, as I am sure I am going to enjoy doing it.

(This interview has been conducted by Roma Sars of, My Outlander Friends!)


My next interview in the “Outlander- the fans who make it” series is with Bouton the Dog (@Bouton_Barks on Twitter).

When I started this series, I wanted to interview all the Outlander animals, as I find their Twitter handles and their antics creative and entertaining. So far, I have been able to post interviews with Donas the horse and the White Sow. I am still waiting on Clarence the Mule.

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.


Please tell us about yourself.

I’m known as Bouton, or Bouts, on Social Media. I work in health care as an Advanced Practice Nurse. That’s the reason I adopted Bouton as my persona. My hospital is more restrictive about Social Media than Mother Hildegard. Because of my position, whatever I publicly post on Social Media is viewed as an extension of my professional position. I needed my Outlander fangirling to be separate from my professional role. Bouton is exactly who I am, within the Fandom. As time has gone on, my nickname has become Bouts. Yes, if you call out my nickname, I will answer. Quite ironically, my grandmother’s nickname had been Boots, so I’m thrilled to carry on a version of the family nickname.



I live in the United States. Kentucky, birthplace of Kentucky fried Chicken, Bourbon and home of the Kentucky Derby—the fastest 2 minutes in sports, every first Saturday in May since 1875. Yes, I met the Colonel, yes, I can tell you the difference between Bourbon, Whiskey and Whisky and yes, I’ve been to the Kentucky Derby and bet on the winner. The Colonel was nice and I have a friend who turned down the opportunity to help him get started in the restaurant business, when he began to expand from his initial restaurant. “It’s chicken…everyone does chicken in Kentucky” said my friend, and passed on the opportunity. I can say no one does chicken like KFC. He laughs at himself for missing his big chance. So, about Bourbon. It is legally unique to the United States and 95% is produced in Kentucky. It is a specific type of Whiskey. It’s origins date to the 1780’s, when distilling was brought to Kentucky by the Scots, Scot-Irish and other settlers. It’s a mash mixture made of at least 51% corn, distilled to no more than 160 proof, and entered in to new charred oak barrels at 125 proof, to be aged. It is also said to have an improved flavor over other whiskey because of the iron free, naturally limestone filtered local water that is used. Whereas, whiskey or whisky can be made from any combination of wheat, corn, rye or barley, distilled to no more than 190 proof, and can be aged in barrels new or old, and charred or not. Scots Whisky is typically malted barley, distilled twice and aged longer. There you go. Now you know.

So my biggest hobbies have been photography, collecting antique cookbooks (I feel it’s my way of making sure that heritage isn’t lost) and antique books, because you never know when you will find something interesting. It’s one of the reasons I love Diana Gabaldon’s writing, because of all the tidbits of real historical accuracy incorporated into the daily life of the storyline. My other love comes from nursing and educating patients, and teaching people new skills, and loving their proud moments when they leave with a new ability.



How long have you been doing your edits for Outlander? Is this the only show you do edits for, or do you also do this for other shows? How much time do you spend every day on Outlander?

Although I have been a film and digital photographer for years, I had not ventured into the realm of photoshopping or memes. But I was in a creative funk about the time the Outlander television show came out. Like so many Outlander twitter fans I’ve encountered since, I shifted from FB to Twitter, when Outlander Starz posted that Sam Heughan was going to do a Q&A on Twitter. After that, I got to know Outlandish memes, Brig-a-Doon, and Jenny Jeffries, because they were posting and creating the things that I found funny. I had never done this sort of thing, but I jumped in with some goofy black and white vintage photos, that I photoshopped our heads into. It was silly, and the silliness of it cracked me up. They weren’t perfectly photoshopped and that was half the fun. It was the juxtaposition of seeing these silly heads on these other people’s bodies that was just visually funny. It was a great creative release, brought humor to my life and, it turned out that some other people found it funny too. 



In those early days, we had fun doing silly stuff to make people laugh—life’s too short, we all need laughter. I often incorporated the twitter Avi/photo of my friends into whatever theme we were discussing, or what ever topics the Outlander cast/crew had posted. We had a fun time trying our darnedest to make the cast/crew laugh too.





As time went on, I tried learning new skills, like making gifs, doing start stop animation with still photo cut outs, and eventually making videos once twitter progressed to that capability. It’s been amazing to gain a whole new set of skills just because I wanted to play on twitter, Outlander fangirl, and make people laugh.




I’ve also met so many new people with the same interests because of this. Some people only briefly crossed my path, but I have one group of wonderful Outlander fans who are near and dear to my heart. We keep up with each other’s lives, through our ups and downs etc. We are Outlander sisters. Most of this group came into my life because of our obvious passion for Outlander, but also because of our interest in making memes.



Rather ironically, most of this whole group is comprised of people who are either nurses, teachers, or musically/art inclined. This wasn’t something we initially knew about each other until much later in our friendships. But early on, it was like I finally found my clan of people who understood me. It didn’t matter that we didn’t see each other in person or were continents away, we clicked immediately and have been good friends ever since. Many of these friends were like me, and had never photoshopped. My love for teaching came out, and I was very happy to try to teach my self-taught skills to others. This was a great way to pass periods of Droughtlander.





This willingness to help, and generally being helpful, had a pleasant side effect. I became friends with lots more people, and involved in many more Outlander-related projects than I ever imagined. We used our artistic abilities to fan promote the show publicly, help with fan voting contests, and raise money for charities. But the biggest portion of what I’ve ended up doing has been behind the scenes, helping people connect with those who could help them with projects they were doing. I’ve helped a couple of actors, or related persons connected with Outlander, to increase their social media presence, websites, etc. These weren’t things I set out to do, but because I had the knowledge and skills, I became a go-to person for questions, advice and help. I was fortunate to make a connection and suggestion that I like to think had influence. I’ll never know for sure, but I did receive a thank you note & unexpected present.



I became involved in many Outlander projects and groups, and am still active behind the scenes in several of those. I’m the only remaining active founder of @OutlanderRTweet, a kind of distribution hub for people to send their Outlander promoting, Voting and laughing memes, so that interested Outlander fans can get them Direct messaged to them or find them in ONE place, so they can see them or RT them. Several of us wanted a nice, easy, organized way to share Outlander related memes and promote things. This was our result for twitter. We also created the Outlander Funny Pages group on Facebook, so that people could share the funny Outlander related memes. In the beginning, I spent much of my time playing on Social Media, creating memes, usually in response to something we found to be funny. But, as time went on, real life required more time, and I ended up working on my biggest unplanned project: Cooklander: To the stove cookbook, a fan created collection of 550 recipes from all over the world, from over 300 contributing Outlander friends, fans, cast crew and celebrities with all proceeds to World Child Cancer, NPH USA and Bloodwise in honor of Caitriona Balfe, Diana Gabaldon and Sam Heughan, respectively.



This cookbook was the brain child of Debra Key Newhouse. She sent out the word for people to contribute their best, favorite family recipe. The result was an amazing cookbook, full of nothing but the best family recipes from around the world. Even my non-Outlander (GASP) cooking friends still tell me that this is the BEST cookbook, and their GO TO cookbook, because every recipe is a keeper. I came into the project because of my cookbook love, artistic skills, and ultimately because of my website management experience. Between Debra and her husband Tony in Pennsylvania, and me in Kentucky, we have managed to work together to mail the nearly 2000 cookbooks ordered to date. We still haven’t reached our goal of selling all the books, so if you want to help a great cause and get a great cookbook go to Cooklander.com. We offer free shipping, multi pack discounts and worldwide shipping. You’ve got to read Gary Lewis’s Leek and Potato soup recipe—it’s soooooo him and the soup is amazing too.



I never set out to become involved in these projects, they kind of found me, but I don’t regret a single one. I’ve gotten to meet some amazing people, gain connections I never intended, and have had a whole lot of fun.


What do you like most about the Outlander books and show? What do you like the least?


The books had been recommended to me long before I got around to reading them, because a co-worker’s sister was an Outlander fan, and she knew I’d been to Scotland several times and obviously loved the place, history, and people. When the show came out, I immediately pulled out the paperback I had ordered years before and devoured it in one week, followed by the 5 books read over less than five weeks. I stalled with the remaining two books only because I discovered my new meme making obsession on Twitter.
As a nurse, historical medical fan, and reader of old books, healthcare, herbs etc., and fan of the Scottish country side (I always felt like I was coming home when I visited Scotland), the book series had all the extra little details that I loved discovering, plus an amazing story and characters, and was one of the most well written books I’ve encountered. Diana’s writing style allows us to immediately be there, present, in the moment of the story. Not all fiction has the ability to do that.

The show has been produced at a top-notch level. I thank all those at the production and management for not compromising and settling for this to be a cheesy romance production. They’ve held their guns and worked to make sure this an amazing visual experience. I’ve been amazed at the casting and how each actor has seemed suited for their role. I’ve been really pleased because I know that this isn’t an easy book series to adapt to screen, especially a series that has such a knowledgeable book fan base.



Which character in Outlander is your favourite? Please explain why.

BOUTON, of Course. I love dogs. Even though Bouton has very little page time in the entire series, compared to others, I just love him. He shows the abilities that dogs have to be loyal, loving, observant and fiercely protective when needed.



How has Outlander affected your life and/or lifestyle?

All of the above. Honestly it has been wonderful. Besides meeting like-minded people, getting to learn things I never anticipated learning (I love that I can create a silly animated video from still cut out pics), and gaining unexpected experiences (travel to NY for an Outlander premier), I’ve also been able to use the skills I’ve learned in my non-Outlander world. I’ve consulted, helped manage websites, created promotional material, helped with a local politician’s campaign, organized fundraisers and events. All things that have been a direct result of what I’ve learned while Outlander Fangirling.


Is this the first fandom you are a member of? What made you decide to join this fandom, rather than any other one? What do you like and dislike about this fandom?


This is my one and only fandom. I didn’t set out to join it. It’s just that, when I got involved and met people, I realized I’d found my people. I love that the fans are friendly, passionate and genuine. I know there can be negative people in any fandom or crazies, but I have to say my perimeter of Outlander fans have been a joy to know.


Have you met Diana or any of the actors of Outlander? If so, which personality did you enjoy meeting the most? If not, who would you like to meet the most?

I’ve loved getting to meet the other Outlander fans at the two New York events that I’ve been able to attend (An Outlander premier and one of the Outlander in the City events). It’s always nice to finally meet the people you kind of know, in person. Last year’s Outlander in the City event where many of the Outlander cast attended, I was able to meet and talk with several of the cast. All were wonderful. Gary Lewis is the most genuine man I’ve ever met, I loved getting to meet him and give him a hug from my Cooklander pal, Debra. Gary has been extremely supportive of the Cooklander cookbook. He knew Debra couldn’t attend the event, so he called her that day. How sweet is that?! Nell Hudson was one of the nicest people, and even gave me a compliment on my dress—a very kind thing to say. But the one person who was the unexpected pleasure, was Wil Johnson. This was his first Outlander fan event, and his episodes had not aired yet. He talked about how much he’d enjoyed working with Cait, how he’d love to get to come to New York and do a Broadway play (I hope he eventually gets to) and how amazing the fans had been to him. I hadn’t expected him to be so engaging, and that just made me love him even more.


What keeps you connected to the Outlander fandom?

Everything. My Outlander Sister from another mother @Pellicott1, my twitter friends the Lafies, Debra. I’ve tried to step away to take care of real-life things, but its still always there, under the surface, keeping me afloat with friendship and a great fanmily.


What do you have coming up next?

I promised myself I wouldn’t get involved in anything else until every last Cooklander Cookbook has been sold, and Debra’s husband Tony can get his garage back. So, go to Cooklander.com and help Tony out. They make great gifts to have on hand as hostess and last minute gifts, plus all proceeds go to three great charities.


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