Maril Davis of Tall Ships Productions, executive producer of Outlander, did an extended Twitter Q&A this morning. I apologize for the lack of pictures here, but since production’s been on hiatus for the last couple of weeks, we haven’t had too many new images.
Q Is there a new director on set for the next few episodes?
A Yes, there is.
Q When does filming resume this year?
Q Who is directing the next set of episodes 5 & 6?
A Can’t say yet. Sorry!
Q How is editing of first episodes coming along? Has a composer been chosen?
A Editing is going really well. Hope to have news about composer soon!
Q How many episodes have been written so far? How long does it take to write an episode?
A We have drafts through Episode 11. Five more to go! From start to finish, an episode can take two months to finish writing all drafts.
Q Will all the music be original?
A Not sure yet. Probably not.
Q Has all location siting for season 1 been completed?
A Nope. It’s an ongoing process.
Q Do the actors have different dates to return to the set?
A Yes, not everyone will return at the same time?
Q Can we expect a teaser or something at the event in LA?
A I don’t know. Guess you’ll have to wait and see!
Q Do you think there will be a preview for the first episode for some fans? Is that something you normally do?
A That’s another question for @Outlander_Starz. Maybe if you ask nicely!
Q When will there be a new break? I’m assuming you won’t be filming straight until the end.
A LOL – yes we are!
Q Will we have to wait for the show to air before season 2 gets a yay/nay?
A That’s up to @Outlander_Starz!!!
Q Has some of the music/score already been chosen and added to the first 4 episodes?
A Not yet.
Q Do you have any new actors signed that haven’t been announced that you could share the character they are playing?
A Announced before, we’re close to getting our Ned Gowan!
Responses: I have a secret Ned Gowan wish: Billy Connelly.
I love cast announcemenets, I’m discovering a lot of English/Scottish actors with this show.
A Love Billy! Would love to have him in Outlander. But he’s not Ned. Sorry!
Q Do you think there will be an official CD of the music from the series?
A I’m sure there will be. I’d like to have one!
Q Are you feeling well rested and ready to dive back in? (hope you have had good time off!)
A Hahaha. Not sure I feel well rest, but I am ready to dive back in!
Responses: Back in, into the cold!! I’m going to Scotland in two weeks and I’m afraid!
A Be afraid. Verra afraid.
Q Any idea when the show will premier?
A Yes, but that’s up to @Outlander_Starz to announce when they’ve confirmed it.
Q How’d you come up with your company name?
A Ron came up with the name!
Q With no commercial interruptions, how long will each episode be?
A A little under an hour.
Q Do all the writers work on the same episode?
A Nope. Each writer writes his/her own episode. However, all the writers help break down the episode and figure out what scenes will be included. Writers meet every day. Talk about all the episodes, break them down into scenes. Writer’s room is a lot of fun.
Q Will Scottish accents be strong, or are they toning it down for American audiences?
A We’re striving for authenticity in all areas.
Q Have you gone cold turkey on Banoffee Pie?
A I have. No banoffee in LA or Portland!
Q Will a recording of the LA event be available to view online after it’s over?
A I think I saw a tweet where @Outlander_Starz said it would be recorded and posted on their website.
Responses: Great! Just in case we break the internet with so many people watching at the same time.
LOL you mean WHEN we break the internet from so many people watching!
Q Do you have one lead writer for each episode or always team, and how d’ye decide?
A No, every episode is written by ONE writer. We have five writers. They will all write at least three episodes this season.
Q What’s your favorite part of this entire process? What makes you keep coming back and doing this?
A Honestly, the fans are my favorite part. You guys keep reminding me why I’m so lucky to be making my favorite books become a reality.
Q It’s amazing for us to know that the people involved are die hard fans.
A I am a HUGE fan. HUGE.
Responses: This gives us immense trust in you all.
I’m so thrilled to keep finding that so many of the professional staff are Outlander fans.
And so many are strong women!
Q Will we see Jamie’s parents or will we just hear about them?
A No plans to see them yet.
Q Has the dedication and huge numbers of Outlander fans been an unexpected surprise?
A No, being a fan myself, I knew what “we” would be like. But, for non fans involved with the show, I think it’s been an eye opener.
Responses: But the non fans are fans now!!!??
DIANA GABALDON: Not to say summat frightening…
Q Ian will be in this series, correct? You are not getting rid of this character? “holding breath”
A Hell no! I love Ian! Although young Ian is probably my favorite. Of course Ian will be in it! And no, we haven’t cast him yet.
Q Will you be able to do any fan events in the UK? Big enthusiastic group here!
A I hope so.
Q Can you tell us what some of the scenes are you’ve already filmed?
A I can tell you we’ve filmed Claire at the stones.
Q What is the biggest change when changing directors? Does each direct multiple episodes?
A Each director directs two episodes. It’s challenging, but always fun to have a new perspective.
Q Doesn’t that frustrate the actors? They get used to one and then a new one comes along?
A That’s how TV works. Rare you would have one director for the entire season.
Q But I guess you they all have some kind of guidelines, so all episodes have the same “style”?
A You set a certain style/look with the first episode and subsequent directors follow the lead.
Q Is multiple directors standard for shows like this?
A Yes. For all shows. One director couldn’t possibly direct them all. They need time to prepare. When we’re shooting an episode (or two) a new director is prepping for the next two.
Q Do you try to work with the same directors on all show? Knowing how they work and that you like them…
A Normally we do, but we’re using mostly UK directors for this one, so we won’t have worked with them before.
Q Maril, what’s the hardest or most challenging part of your producer’s job? (Outlander specific)
A Filming in Scotland while living in the States.
Responses: But then, you get the best of both worlds!
DIANA: Thought you were going to say British toilets…
Scottish toilet paper holder from Edinburgh B&B… (posted by a fan:)
DIANA: Like the battered knuckles.
Q And what’s wrong with our toilets? I have 10 of them and they are all spotless AND have paper.
A Um, they don’t flush very well. J
Q My idea of heaven, living in Scotland with American plumbing!!
Q Did you actually go to the University of Oregon? Most duck fans never went to the school.
A No, but my brother and dad went there. Been a fan since I was 14. Besides, my college was too small for football.
Q I was born and raised in Oregon. I went to OSU, and even though you’re a duck, I’m glad an Oregonian is working on the show.
A Hahahahaa. Love being an Oregonian & while I’m a Duck, I always root for the Beavs when they’re not playing UO.
Q Do you write an episode linearly from beginning to end, or a big here and a bit there and then build on those bits?
A That’s more a question for the writers. Different writers have different ways of writing. I know (Diana) writes out of order.
Q Are any differences in storyline run by Diana first?
A Not necessarily, but we do send her the scripts and we do like to har what she thinks.
Q That’s nice and a great proof of respect.
A I certainly want herself to be pleased!
DIANA: Totally couldn’t BE more pleased!
A Big sigh of relief J
Q Will there be differences in what is shown in US/Canada/UK etc due to different networks & censors?
A I hope not.
Q I would really love to know more about Tobias (Menzies, playing dual role of Black Jack/Frank Randall). How have his performances been so far?
A Love Tobias personally and professionally.
Q Chance for us fans to visit the set?
A Not sure about that one yet. Maybe if we beta season two? J
Q How many hours are filmed to make each one hour episode?
A Ooof! A lot!
Q A local Outlander fan group is interested in putting together a premier party. How would we do that? Who do we contact?
A Hmmm. Good question. Might want to ask @Outlander_Starz.
Q Any favorite moments so far in filming that you can mention?
A I think I said this before, but seeing “Jamie” and “Claire” together for the first time was “amazeballs” as my niece would say. J
Q How many scenes have required the green screen so far?
A Only one I think.
Q Have Sam and Cait filmed anything scantily clothed yet?!?!?
Q How long does it take to shoot one episode?
A 12 days.
Q How many hours each day?
A 10-12 ish long days.
Q Any chance of engaging Julian Fellowes as future director?
A I think Julian is probably a wee bit busy with his own show!
Q We are having a wee gathering in May in Edinburgh, would love you to drop in!
A Yes, let me know.
Q What will be most surprised about in Sam’s performances?
A How amazing he is.
RESPONSES: He really has grown to the role through the photos. What a change we have seen in him and Tobias!
DIANA: Second that!
A Never thought we’d find Jamie, but we did. Ron Moore and I are constantly talking about amazing luck with finding this cast.
Q Did you figure out how to shoot the stampede of cattle?
A Haven’t gotten that far yet.
Q Do you know yet what episode Jamie & Claire’s wedding will be?
A Yes I do, but I’m not too sure I’m allowed to say yet. That episode has been written though. #SQUEEE
Q How did Sam find out about the role, if you know?
A Not sure. Probably his agent. He was the first one we cast.
Q Do you know who Donas the Horse is on Twitter? Some people think it’s you…
A Definitely not me! I already have two accounts. That’s enough.
Q I thought you had 3. Who is Jasper (the dog belonging to someone in the production)?
A Nope. Tall ships and @NightMaril.
Q Does it sadden you when people doubt the cast, esp when you know you’ve got it so right/
A I haven’t seen that many doubters. Casting is very subjective. Ron and I are happy. (Diana) is happy. That’s huge in my book.
Q In the Christmas video it looks like Cait is wearing a robe – is that right?
A Yes, she’s wearing that to cover her costume.
Q Have there been any surprises while filming? Such as someone coming up with a non-scripted line/moment that worked and was kept?
A Usually it’s a non-scripted action, not line. We pretty much keep to what the writers have written.
Q And do the writers keep to the dialogue that Herself has written?
A Sometimes. She is a great writer after all!
Q Are you tempted to have a cameo on the series?
A Me? Tempted, but it IS a lot of work! Hard to do my job and be an extra.
Q It (would) be nice to see you just walking by with Claire’s hair and all.
A I’m sure they’d have to tame my Claire hair if I was an extra!
Q Which one of you working on Outlander is most likely to slip Jasper into their luggage and take him home?
A Probably Terry (Moore, costume designer)!
Q How long is your usual day?
A While shooting? 7 am to 7 pm or 8pm or 9 pm.
Q Oh my! With hours like that it’s important that you enjoy your job.
A Los Angeles is just waking up at 5 p or 6 pm UK time. It’s like a whole new work day starts!
Q Do you and Ron take turns on set or are you both there?
A Yes, we take turns, but sometimes we’re both there. And we always have a writer/producer on set as well.
Q Did the actors realize what the fan base was like when they got the parts? Were they surprised by it?
A I’m not sure they realized initially, but I think they get it now!