OutlanderBTS Adventures: ECCC 2017

Seattle…. This trip was interesting. It was rife with complications from the beginning. There were mix ups with the organizers, equipment issues, babysitter mishaps, sick kid, arduous logistics, etc., which differs from my usual OutlanderBTS Adventures. I was paying attention.

My flight was delayed two hours, so I arrived late on Thursday night. As I stood in the baggage claim area and felt the place, I understood why my brother lives here. Calm, intelligent, high tech. No one was talking loudly on his/her cell phone or rushing around gesturing wildly. People were having quiet conversations: laughing, smiling, and looking at each other. In my less-than-48-hours here, I took 7 cab rides, interacted with people at my hotel, the convention staff, people on the street, and restaurant personnel. I found people to be engaged, relaxed, polite, and friendly. This is a sweeping generalization, of course, but the vibe I got was: people in Seattle seem pretty happy.

I got to my hotel (W Seattle) and had an apple from the check-in desk and honor bar cashews for dinner (the glamorous part of travel). I put together my post about live streaming the panel for the next day, and hit the hay. 

I had my Friday morning all planned out: wake up, get my equipment ready, eat a bar, go down to the water and do my MPC sprints, come back up, drink my coffee, eat breakfast, color my roots, shower, put on my makeup, and walk up to the con in a leisurely fashion. I turned my phone on at 6:30AM, and got a call from home at 6:41AM. My mom had fallen ill on Wednesday, (my hubby was gone this weekend too), and we had scrambled around to find back up in the form of Cousin Johnny- 30 year old bachelor, and general rock star to our kids. They’d had fun, but one kid woke up sick, and Cousin J had to go to work. More scrambling. As I talked to my Sick Kid, I thought “I’d better charge my digital camera battery,” so I began pulling out my equipment. After several digs through my backpack, the realization dawned that said charger was already plugged in, and in fact the battery was fully charged by this time, at home.

I calmly got off the phone, beginning to get a little annoyed. My hub and I had divided up the on call shifts – he was to take Thursday evening while I was on my flight, and all day Friday. I was texting him. No response. He was in Nashville with 3 college buddies, no doubt sleeping it off with earplugs in and his phone on airplane mode. grrrr.

I felt distraught. Really??? I had come all this way to get photos with my I phone?? Noooo.

After feeling my feelings, I calmed down and quickly examined my options: I could borrow my sister-in-law’s DSLR camera… I texted my brother. No answer. They live 1.5 hours away by ferry, better keep looking.

I thought about buying a new battery, and looked up the nearest Best Buy. Then I looked for camera shops in Seattle, and found a little treasure called Glazer’s camera shop where they rent equipment. BINGO. 10 minutes away by cab. They opened at 8:00AM, 5 minutes.

I called Glazer’s, downed a power bar and then packed up my camera and headed out. The fresh air and movement felt wonderful, so I decided to walk for a while before catching a cab the rest of the way. I turned lemons into lemonade and took the opportunity to rent a new zoom lens for the occasion. Back on track.

I began the (uphill) walk back from the camera shop, but now I was heavily laden: umbrella, backpack, purse, rental case, jacket. I walked for a while and then decided to catch a cab for time’s sake. The camera shop is on the outskirts of town, so it took me a while to find a taxi, and by then I was feeling pressured for time. Never a good thing for Ninja flow.

Back at my hotel, I had about 30 minutes to get ready and make it to the panel. I examined my roots. They would have to wait. I sniffed in the direction of my armpits, passable. I downed the remaining cashews and apple for breakfast, washed my face, brushed my hair, changed my clothes, and took off.

As I hopped in a cab, a very well costumed Superman passed by on the street, red cape waving in the wind. We pulled away from the curb, turned the corner, and promptly stopped in traffic. Superman passed us. Traffic started moving again and we moved forward, and stopped at the light. Don’t get all tense, I told myself. I was losing sight of Superman. His cape was dancing in the wind waaaay up ahead now. Crap.

I asked the cab driver to pull over, I paid him, and I leapt out. As I approached the venue, I saw so many different characters walking in every direction. Joker, Disney princesses, video game characters, you name it. It was crazy. I entered and asked directions to the main stage. I went up the three escalators to get there. The ECCC rep who was helping me was texting me to hurry to the front of the line. I weaved my way through the line outside, apologizing as I went.

I’m the one with blue hair she had said.

Finally, I catch sight of the blue hair and we introduce ourselves. She takes me up to the front row, but the place she’s saved for me is gone. She finds a seat in the 4th row, but then says it’s OK if I plant myself at the foot of the stage to snap photos, so I do. As I’m crouching there, I look over and see two people with infants in the front row, covering their ears for the noise. There is an ECCC guy on stage having people do dance moves before bringing on Cait and Sam. He introduces Clare Kramer, who comes on and introduces Cait first, then Sam. Cait is all smiles and blushes.

Sam comes out, dancing like a white man and wearing a kilt. He does a “wee twirl” (his words), which thrills the audience.

Woops, you know Sam, with AAALLL those I phones in the audience, one (or two) are bound to get the money shot! ?  Verra cheeky!! 

Now, I avoid objectifying comments whenever possible, but I’m not dead. I think kilts are very sexy on men, and Sam wears a kilt SO incredibly well. There’s something about the casual draping of the fabric, the legs, I don’t know. Despite being called skirts, they are SO MASCULINE in my opinion. Just the other day my daughter was talking about how boring men’s dress clothes are. Always the same, the only room for expression being a different tie. A kilt just opens up a whole new world in my opinion. What a fantastic garment!

Here is Sam, post twirl. I’m loving the combo of kilt and leather jacket with boots. What a great look.

I clicked some shots, and then realized that from my spot, I was facing Clare, and Sam and Cait were facing the opposite direction. It wasn’t until afterward when I was editing my photos, that I realized my position was so good for… er… kilt shots. But you see what I mean about the draping. 


The full video of the panel is here in this post, so I will just write about my impressions and things that stood out for me, instead of giving a play by play of the whole panel. 

I wanted to see their faces, so I assumed a bent over position and ran from where I was, around the seats, and to the other side of the stage, where I could get better shots. Sam’s eyes looked a little red and puffy, (presumably from too many kilt lifters the night before?), but he seemed happy. 

Cait looked like gorgeous Cait. 

Clare gave her opening comments, and directed everyone’s attention to the BINGO card displayed on the big screens, saying fans sent in questions to be asked and questions NOT to be asked (those on the Bingo card) Brilliant.  

Someone on the production team once said to me of Caitriona: “she’s an actor’s actor, like Tobias,” meaning she doesn’t thrive on the public stuff, or gravitate to fan activities like Sam and some of the others do, preferring to quietly focus on her craft. I was hoping this convention would be a good experience for her, and was happy to see her expression and hear her say quite genuinely, “wow, that’s a really good question” many times. Outlander fans really do ask intelligent, thoughtful questions (most of the time).

I thought Clare did a really good job of moderating. She only asked a couple of questions that we’ve all heard the answer to a million times like, “how did you get cast?”

Moments that stand out for me include a My Peak Challenge woman who stood up and began crying immediately at the mike, thanking Sam for the program and telling how it has changed her life, and given her back her self worth. It was really beautiful. This photo captures the emotion evoked in that moment…

  And here is a video clip of that…

Cait and Sam enjoyed answering q’s and giving each other the business. Cait talked about how Sam has a lot of teenager in him, especially when it comes to food choices, like still putting ketchup on his steak, and liking strawberry flavored parritch. She also refocused him when he ventured off topic. We learned that Sam always gets sick, and Cait plays real life Claire to him, pumping him full of vitamins and herbal remedies (I don’t blame her, she has to kiss Sam A LOT in her job, and she’s gotta stay healthy herself!) French was challenging to learn for Sam. During shooting, the actor who plays Father Bain was attacked by dogs in real life (sorry to the actor, but he plays creepy Father Bain so well, the dogs probably sensed that he was evil!)

They were concerned about not giving away spoilers and avoiding getting in trouble with Sony/Starz. One clever fan asked if they could just do body language to answer the following question: How closely does the print shop scene in the show stick to the print shop scene in the book?

Their answer…

We heard about their paranormal experiences. Why does it not surprise me that they’ve both had them? That’s kind of how Outlander rolls.

*Note to future convention attendees/trombone players, if you take your trombone to the next Outlander gathering that includes Sam, he may just play a few bars…licks…slides?

Another moment that stands out is when Deb Kennedy asked if Sam and Cait could read a scene from the book that didn’t make it into the show. She was all prepared with excerpt in hand- the scene in which Jamie gives Claire the wedding ring. Clare (skillfully) shot that down. However, Cait said they would make that happen on their own time, as a droughtlander relief gift. Very generous and definitely something to look forward to!

A woman asked if Sam would ever consider lending his voice to a navigational system… I couldn’t help thinking that could be a road hazard. Very distracting!

And here is a clip of Sam and Cait explaining what Sam’s favorite Scottish slang term, bawheid means… 

Another woman talked about how she had asked this question of Diana at Random House and also asked it at Starfury (but Bad Steven Cree was there, so it no doubt became a (dirty) joke- Sam apologized for everything Steve Cree has said or will say…).The question was, “your embodiment of these characters has profoundly, and I don’t use that word lightly, has profoundly changed my life. I mean it brought me out of terrible depression, and I know it’s done that for millions of other people. As performance artists, how does that affect you, that you have profoundly changed and altered the course of people’s lives. Don’t cry!” Cait answered this one, and basically said that they are actors, they pretend for a living and if it gives people an escape, that’s good. 

Personally, I kept thinking about this question and this answer off and on over the next few days. I feel like Cait missed the point. Another person asked her how far she’d read in the books, and she answered through book 3. Could that be it? I’m not sure, but my take on that question is that as readers of these books, we experience so many things with these characters. So many trials and tribulations, joys, and intimate moments. Going through these experiences with Jamie and Claire actually makes us more resilient and more empathetic as people. Experiencing their struggles and their tenacity to their core values, even through excruciatingly hard things, makes us stronger. It’s called “experience-taking,” and it’s a real thing. People aren’t just experiencing escape when reading Diana’s books and watching the show, We are actually being enriched by these characters and their experiences. This, in my opinion, is the reason there is such a devout following of these books, and this show. It’s not simply escapism. To read more about how novels can change our brains, CLICK HERE and HERE.

I say more about this here, in Contemplating Caitriona, If I May Be So Bold…

And lastly, the sweet woman from Chicago who asked Sam to say hi to her mom. Loved that.

As a photographer, I enjoy shooting these guys so much. They are so physically beautiful, and then also so beautiful inside as well (which just enhances their outer beauty, obviously). In fact, during the editing process, I start to become almost sick of them, believe it or not. I take tons of photos, and with most people, you’ll get a handful of good shots. With these guys, they are so photogenic that the good shots go on and on and on and on! Tough job, I know.

I want to share some of my favorites with you…. as always, if you would like to share these, please keep the watermark, or give credit to the photographer (OutlanderBTS or Courtney Williams) when posting please, thank you!
































Here is the full panel in case you’ve not yet seen it…

Later that day I had a photo taken with Cait, which was literally a 30 second affair, but it was nice to meet her, however brief.

And then I ran into this woman, who had spent a month sewing this RED DRESS! Amazing.


Unfortunately, I did not attend the VIP meet and greet, so I won’t cover that here. Seems like everyone who went had a wonderful time though.

I spent time with my brother Friday afternoon, which was great. On Saturday morning I got up and did my MPC sprints down by the water. It was a fresh, sunny, beautiful morning.

I met up with my brother and his kids, and then I hopped a plane back home, managing to round out my trip by leaving my laptop at Seattle TSA after an unexpected baggage search. ?  All is well now, and I’ve recovered all my loose ends, thankfully! 

It was a very quick trip, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and all of the people I met or saw again. A whirlwind OutlanderBTS adventure, I look forward to the next one…. 

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36 comments on “OutlanderBTS Adventures: ECCC 2017

  1. What a whirlwind of struggles and pleasures! Sorry you missed the Meet and Greet, it was the highlight for me. After the long waits in long lines it was nice to sit down and actually have an up close interaction with Sam and Cait. A short interaction to be sure, but still better than the rush of photo ops and autographs. If not for that experience, I would have come away disappointed. A big part of the fun was my tablemates. Three came from the East Coast, one from Canada and I flew up from So Calif. Wide range of ages and all were Outlander obsessed. This was my first Comic-Con and my first fan event of any kind. Will not be my last!

    • Beth, I’m sure it WAS the highlight. Always well worth it. I’m glad you got to go and enjoyed it so much. See you at another con down the road, no doubt!

  2. Thanks for a great update. I wish I could have been there but live in the UK. You are so right about why we read the novels. It’s not just escapism. I only discovered them last September thanks to my Godmother, but I’m already on book 5 and I’ve re-read some of them. I feel as though I have a whole new perspective on life and a kind of resilience that I didn’t have before, all because of this vivid and intimate sharing of Claire and Jamie’s trials and tribulations and ultimately, their enduring love for one another. I feel as though I care about them, like they were members of my own family! How can fiction be so powerful. It’s truly amazing and Diana has a wonderful gift. Thank goodness she shared it with us!

      • I really loved your pictures and your recap of everything you experienced in Seattle. Thank you . I was so happy to read your reaction to Cait’s answer about escapism. I think she missed the point too. She might not be a reader and sees her role as an actor differently. I think that readers with depth of character read books that take them through experiences of life that not only deepen their value of life but teach them how to cope with the trials and tribulations as well. Books teach us what real love and friendship are, and are not, what consequences come from actions taken, what a difference attitude makes toward life’s trials and so much more. Once again, thank you, Courtney, for all of your posts, pictures and in depth comments.

  3. Thanks for all your hard work and perseverance Courtney! You are truly a Renaissance (multitasking) woman! AND, the links to the information about “experience-taking,” — Wow…this really explains a lot. It’s really helpful to have something concrete to refer to when struggling to explain the positive impact Diana’s books and the Outlander series have had on my life. Keep up the good work! 🙂

    • Awww Teresa, I feel compelled to say that I enjoy it a lot too! But writing/producing stuff for such a great group of people is pretty awesome, thank YOU. Things are settling down at home. I was supposed to leave for Germany on Wed ? and realized people were too stretched here for that to happen. So I’m here, where I should be (for now 😉

  4. What a fantastic description. Thank you so much. Rereading it a week later made me realize more how special the two days with Sam and Cait around were. Not to mention how much fun it was to see so many wonderful OL fans. Sorry I missed you Courtney and hope to see you in Blackpool. Your pictures are so clear and lovely to look at. Kudos.

    • Thank you Nancy! I hardly got to see anyone on this trip, sadly. I’m so glad you enjoyed revisiting it with me :). Blackpool is TBD, but I do plan to be at MPC and premiere events in Sept 2017, so we’ll see! x

  5. Thanks a lot for your interesting and detailed narrative and wonderful pictures!
    Now… it’s about Cait saying that she’s only read through book 3. As much as I regret her missing a lot because of this, I fully understand her as an actress. She does need to keep her mind fresh and clear, without any further events in Claire’s life affecting her acting in Season 3.

    • Eugenia, Thank you for the compliments! Re: Cait, I get that, and I feel I need to say more. Next post in the works…

  6. Thank you for your report! What an adventure! I watched the panel from the link on Diana’s page & it was a great panel. The questions were indeed thoughtful. Yes, I got verklempt when the lady thanked Sam for his MPC & how it had changed her life. I do enjoy being in the “front row” with you, even if it’s vicariously. Thank you for the links to the articles on how novels affect your brain & outlook on life! I have shared the links on my FB page. I knew this but it’s great to see it in print! The pictures were great! They added to the sense of “being there”. Keep up the good work!

  7. You did a fantastic job, as always. I loved your comments on the fan questions. Especially the one whose depression was aided by Outlander. I agree with you that Cait missed that one. It was close to my heart as I have had three years of bad things happening to my body. Back breaking four times. Surgeries. Losing 3 inches of height, which has amazing bad effects. Shoulders, knees. More surgeries. I told my very supportive family to live their lives and not babysit me. I dealt. But. Very lonely. Outlander helped me more than I can say. Like another family. Hearing that fan say that struck me hard. I was very disappointed in Cait’s reaction. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, she may have been at a loss for words. Shrugging it off wasn’t impressive in a good way. Thank you for your excellent comments on the fans. After all, without them, no show. I love that Sam is so enthusiastic. It has to be wearing and he never lets down. What a guy. Your whole article with your tribulations and successes was wonderful. Your pictures are great. You write beautifully. Thank you!

  8. Lovely recap and photos. Funny.

    I’m not so sure Cait misunderstood or misinterpreted the question about impact. Often times, I hear actors talk about how they appreciate the fandom, the compliments, etc., but they almost have to seperate themselves from all of that to focus on their jobs…and not get caught up in imagining if their portrayal is fan pleasing, or annoying, or inspirational. Does that make sense?

    It’s like when I teach, I appreciate when a student says they liked my class or even changed their major, but I still have to focus on being prepared and doing my best job all the time. Same goes for the less enchanted students. I suspect Sam and Cait don’t want to let fan feelings of lives being changed go to their heads, or take personal responsibility for those results. They have to focus on the work. It’s not being dismissive, but truly focusing on it’s a job…one of many…and their craft is to bring the page and human experience to life…awards and accolades are icing. (I hope Sam gets his due.)

    Thanks for all your work…YOU give us an experience through your blogs!

    • Thank you Jodi!! That last line made my day :). Interesting perspective on Cait’s pov, thank you. I hope to ask her one day…

    • Jodi, I reallly appreciate your comments and think they’re spot on…When DG teared up when asked that question, it seems she was channeling her life’s work. Cait might just be viewing OL as just another acting job, and I don’t begrudge her that…she will have (hopefully) many other roles to play and that thought might keep her grounded.

      Courtney, I truly appreciate all the hard work that goes into your blog, and you deserve all the accolades you get (and I’m slightly jealous, too 😉 ). I’m looking forward to your next post.

  9. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed reading your perspective and now wish I had gone. Pics are beautiful. Sam seems to relax into this “kid” when he is doing anything public with Caitriona. I think it’s his real self and they are very different but complement each other as friends. I don’t see anything else but great friends except the way they always stair into each other’s eyes. They are both so attractive that anything they do is also attractive. No shipper here. They are a strange lot IMO. Just always notice this about Sam\Caite. Both seem very genuine and warm nice people. “Experience Taking” definitely happened to me when first watching the show then reading the books. I was depressed after difficult marriage\divorce or rather shit down emotionally. Suddenly I was alive again with emotions and all. I was getting my hair colored nails done etc. like I had met Jamie Fraser in my life. Well, I had to eventually put it all in perspective which included folding up life size Jamie. But it was a start to me realizing my life could begin again. Thnx also to the women crying bc believe me girl you had many behind you!!!!

    • I hear this story again and again. Diana has done such a service for people all over the world with her books. Really amazing. And I agree about Sam and Cait, they do look at each other with a lot of affection, and it can be confusing. I think they love each other deeply, but not as life partners. Thanks for writing, Mc.

  10. Hello Courtenay,

    As always a well-written article with rich images and interesting links. It was quite the challenging adventure for you!
    I appreciated the articles on “experience-taking” I was wondering if negative impacts would also be gained from reading about dark subjects or personalities, and whether people should be careful about what they are reading (hence avoid depressive, defeatist topics/ toxic people).

    For myself, discovering Outlander series of books reminded me why I love my husband and revitalized the passion in our marriage; hubby is a red-head too 🙂

    Discovering the show introduced me to the actors, led to becoming an Obsassenach (joined twitter, tumblr, instragram and many, many facebook groups). Becoming a fangirl led to discovery of Sam’s MCP program and inspired me to join MPC 2016 and 2017. I’ve reaped so many benefits from MCP! Sam’s “challenge yourself every day” has become my new motto, and here are some of the things I’ve done because of that: physical activity that inspired me to write some stories, writing some blog posts, taking a poetry class, submitting articles to a literary journal, taking up photography to showcase my daily walks to other peakers-and having some artist friends wanting to paint some of my images, and now I’ve joined a running class! Who knows what new vistas and new peaks I can reach? Thanks again for your posts—I look forward to reading them!

  11. I was lucky enough to attend in person, but as this was my first ECCC (or any CC) I was surprised by the traffic and crowds it created, as well as being attended by people from so far away. I live only about 20 mins. away, and even with allowing 1.5 hours to travel and stand in line, we didn’t arrive until halfway through the panel. We were in the nosebleed seats at the back of the room, but thank goodness ECCC provided several overhead monitors. I loved both the thoughtful questions and serious (or humorous) answers. I agree that Sam and Caitriona have great affection for one another; it sounds like a great show to work on!

    Thank you for writing about your experience. I loved hearing about the same event from a different perspective. I’ve looked online for the ‘wedding ring’ scene, but haven’t found it. Did they/will they?

  12. Reading your blog was like being with you throughout your entire trip. Yeah, Seattle is like that, in fact, the whole west coast is rather laid back like that. Maybe that’s why I still call California my home. Thank you for all the great shots of Sam and Cait. Especially loved the wee twirl! I’m happily married but will never get mydarling in a kilt. I know what you mean about how sexy they are. Good thing we go to Scotland pretty often so I can get my kilt fix. One time in Aberdeen, we were staying in a hotel that was having a private party upstairs and everyone was dressed to the nines and the men all had dress kilts on. My husband decided to call it a night and I told him I was taking my camera in search of men in kilts. I ran into a young lady coming back in from having a smoke and told her I was from California and I needed to get some photos of men in kilts. She was delighted that I was from CA., and told me to follow her. I wasn’t allowed in to the private party but she quickly went in and came back out with 3 adorable young men who were more than happy to pose for me on a stair landing! I was happy then, so I went back to our room and woke up my husband to show him my photos. He couldn’t believe that I actually went down stairs to find men to photograph, but he was staring at the evidence. If he only knew what it would do to me to see him in a kilt……….! Anyway, thank you for keeping us posted. I’m going to be 70 in April and this show has made me feel like a teenager with a crush again. Sam is so gorgeous and the last time I had a crush like this was for Paul McCartney back in the 60’s! My husband also loves the show and he knows how much fun it is for me to follow all this stuff. I think I figured out what my birthday present is going to be as the other day a box from Amazon arrived and he snagged it from me with such a dead giveaway look, I just know its the entire Outlander book series. I’ll act surprised and love him more! Suzie xo

    • Good luck with the kilt and your husband. Mine has the legs, is descended from Scottish migrants back to the Revolutionary War. Will not do it. Sigh

  13. Amazing photos! You really captured their personalities and connection to each other. I think the show works so well because a lot of the cast members are actual friends and seem to joke and tease each other and have fun. Read the series 3 times and never missed a show! Funny that you are doing MPC, me too, my 2nd year and 19 pounds less of me this time around!

  14. Loved this: Between you and Connie Versak there are some deeply insightful and beautifully written analyses available to us as fans of both books and series. Thank you!!
    “…as readers of these books, … People aren’t just experiencing escape when reading Diana’s books and watching the show, We are actually being enriched by these characters and their experiences. This, in my opinion, is the reason there is such a devout following of these books, and this show. It’s not simply escapism.”

  15. Thank you for your report. I agree that the answer to the observations of a fan that so many turn to the story in times of stress wasn’t really discussed. But I am sure that all those there knew what she meant.
    I loved the chance to get a picture with Sam. It was quick, but I still felt I had my little bit of time.

  16. “Personally, I kept thinking about this question and this answer off and on over the next few days. I feel like Cait missed the point.”

    I suspect she got the point, and I think she handled the question gracefully. I think it is not uncommon to attribute recovery from depression (or the like) to an artist or performer, because they were inspiring, gave the person hope, etc., but it is really unfair to essentially make one’s emotional/mental health the responsibility of that artist. It’s projection, and I suspect Caitriona understands that.

    Thanks for your re-cap; it was a great read!

  17. Thanks for the detailed write up about your experience, Courtney. That plus the photos are great. I too feel that Cait missed the point. Novels, TV shows, videos, anything that takes us on an intense emotional ride, does change our brains. It goes beyond escapism. I appreciate the link to the more detailed psychology of “experience – taking.” It’s a deeper look into this and how the emotional impact of such things profoundly affect us…biologically, mentally, etc. Kudos to the actors, especially Sam, for their work on the show. I look forward to seeing them in other shows/movies/projects in the future.

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