Non-US Outlander Fans: To VPN or Not to VPN?

Photo: tunnelbear.com

Photo: tunnelbear.com

Starz is making episode 1 of Outlander, “Sassenach,” available to US residents free for a limited time (Sept. 28th).

But what if you’re not a US resident?

 “One of the great ironies of the Internet is that it is meant to connect everyone together and break down barriers, but at the same time media companies erect location-based barriers around their properties. This practice is known as geo-blocking…To some people however, these constant attempts by the media industry to segregate users according to geographic location seems unfair. The way around this issue is to use a VPN (which stands for Virtual Private Network) program, such as TunnelBear.

Basically what a VPN does is provide you with a temporary new IP address, which makes the blocked service think you are living in a country where it’s allowed to view the content you are trying to access. We can’t stress enough that using a VPN is perfectly legal, so you don’t have to worry about the cops kicking your front door down with an arrest warrant just for having this software (unless of course you’re using the VPN service for something illegal).” ~ Mark O’Neill, pcworld.com

Is it really and truly legal? It depends on who you ask, and which respective country’s copyright law is being referenced…do your research.

***Disclaimer: Under no circumstance do I believe in freely sharing paid-for/subscription-based content with those who do not pay for or subscribe to said content (i.e. Napster.com, etc.). That constitutes piracy/theft, robbing the actors/artists/crew/networks of their hard-earned profits, a slap-in-the-face to those who worked so hard to bring the project to fruition.

But a VPN does not rob the content-creators of their profit; the way I understand it, it simply gives those who would not otherwise have it, the same access as those who do. It makes the content more widely available.

Does this mean that a non-US resident, using a VPN could actually pay for/subscribe to Starz? I don’t believe you can subscribe to Starz as a web-only customer, but honestly I have no idea. Also, I have not personally utilized the above-mentioned (or any for that matter) VPN, nor do I represent them in any way. They are just an example of a VPN that I found reviewed by pcworld.com.

I strongly recommend reading the article & doing your own research.

And respectfully, Starz has made this first episode available for free via the avenues listed earlier; I feel like utilizing a VPN in this instance, for this FIRST episode only during the free-viewing-timeframe set by Starz, can only increase the fervor/demand from the countries who have yet to pick up the series…

In the meantime, the end-goal is still for countries around the world to broadcast Outlander, so I encourage residents in those countries that have not yet picked up the series to continue campaigning—call the networks, email them, Tweet them!  Be relentless!

Here is a list of Twitter handles collected from our ongoing #WorldwideTVNeedsOutlander campaign:

UK:

  1. @sky1
  2. @SkyLivingHD
  3. @SkyAtlantic
  4. @FoxTVUK
  5. @Channel4
  6. @SyfyUK
  7. @UniversalCHUK
  8. @E4Tweets
  9. @More4,
  10. @Channel5_TV

Dutch/Netherlands (includes Belgium):

  1. @RTBF
  2. @RTLTVI

Finnish/Suomi:

      1. @Maikkari
      2. @YleTV1
      3. @YLETV2
      4. @Yleisradio
      5. @MTVSuomi
      6. @Kutonen
      7. @AVASuomi
      8. @HBO_fi
      9. @Netflix_FI
      10. @FoxSuomi

French/Français:

  1. @OCSTV
  2. @m6
  3. @TF1

Germany/German:

  1. @SkySerien
  2. @SkyDeutschland
  3. @RTLde

Italian/Italiano:

  1. @FoxTVItalia
  2. @SkyCinema

Spanish/Español (includes Argentina, Mexico, Columbia, Uruguay):

  1. @moviecity
  2. @Canal_Sony
  3. @foxtves
  4. @foxlife_ar
  5. @FoxMexico

Portuguese/Portugues (includes Brazil):

  1. @FOX_PT
  2. @AXN_Portugal
  3. @HBO_Brasil
  4. @CanalFX_br

Remember, be relentless! Good luck!

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#PocketJamie Could Win Starz a Shorty Award for ‘Best Use of a Hashtag on Twitter.’

PocketJamie Template, from starzoutlander.tumblr.com

“#PocketJamie,” from starzoutlander.tumblr.com

“The Shorty Awards (also known as the Shorties) are the equivalent of the Oscar in the Social Media world.”  ~ shortyawards.com

Did you know that Outlander has the most engaged fan base in advance of a premiere in Starz history?

As you can imagine, that’s marketing gold to the powers that be. In fact, Starz’ Digital Marketing team has been working very hard to make us, the fans, feel like we’re ‘part of the ride,’ hoping it will motivate us to spread the news that the books are coming to life (as if we needed any coercion lol).

They hosted the fan event in NYC in October 2013, and LA in January 2014.  We had behind the scenes glimpses of video/sketches & artist renderings/Q&A with Ron Moore, Diana Gabaldon, AND the lucky attendees in LA also got to interact with Sam Heughan & Caitriona Balfe!

LA is where the #PocketJamie campaign was born:

The #PocketJamie campaign was designed as a digital extension of a fan event we held in Los Angeles. Attendees were given their very own #PocketJamie and challenged to take photos of him and upload them to Twitter. This activation will last over 2 months and will culminate in the #PocketJamie awards to be “held” in March.

Campaign Objectives 

• Support our Outlander super fans and give them exciting, compelling content
• Encourage fans to participate in the #PocketJamie experience and activate others to do the same
• Bring a piece of the Outlander fan event to those who could not attend by giving #PocketJamie away on Twitter and encouraging everyone to participate.

The fun isn’t over yet.

Later this month, we will announce the #PocketJamie awards. Categories like “Most Creative #PocketJamie photo” “Farthest Traveled #PocketJamie” and “Best Supporting Appearance with #PocketJamie” will be announced. Fans will submit their photos for each category by tweeting them to @Outlander_Starz and including the #PocketJamie hashtag. Winners will be selected and announced at the #PocketJamie Awards, a live Twitter chat with the @Outlander_Starz handle. Each winner will receive a prize autographed by Outlander’s stars, Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. ~ Starz Digital Team, as seen on industry.shortyawards.com

So, do you feel like Starz has made you feel as though you’ve been ‘part of the ride?’ I can honestly say that I do…

And for those participating in the #PocketJamie contest, good luck & have fun! I can’t wait to see the entries, lol. 
A Pocket Jamie a day keeps the redcoats away, ken?

A Pocket Jamie a day keeps the redcoats away, ken?

Outlander Fandom 12 Step Program (It’s Not What You Think)

I didna write the following—“Jennifer McDonald” did. It’s verra clever and has been making the rounds on Facebook. I’m sharing it with permission from “Shelley Pilette.”

This is not a 12 step to recovery. I’m sorry to say that there is no turning back from the fandom. You read the books, fell in love, and now you are hooked. There is only one thing left to do…Embrace it.

Here is a list of twelve self-affirming steps. When it gets to be too much, then repeat this mantra: “I am not alone,” for you truly aren’t. Just look around. Any one of your girlfriends will be there to nod in agreement and support your fan-girl tendencies.

Step One: Honesty.

Let’s be honest. You read Outlander and fell in love with James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser. Yes you did. Don’t deny it. It’s okay. Remember you are not alone. As you kept reading the books you fantasized. It’s okay we all did. It’s all about honesty here. Then Starz decided to give you a face and name for your Jamie. Now you honestly can’t get enough. It’s obsessing, but it’s okay. Honesty , remember? You honestly aren’t alone.

Step Two: Hope.

For years many who came before you hoped that these books would be recognized for the brilliant piece of literature that they are. They hoped that one day the stories would turn into a reality. In a sense they have. Now we hope that we are not disappointed. We wake up daily with hope that another image or another tidbit will be available. Maintain your hope. It will see you through even in the darkest of days.

Step Three: Faith.

We have faith in Diana Gabaldon as an author. We know she will give the reader what they want. Now transfer that faith to the screenwriters, producers, and actors. Have faith that all will be done and our beloved Outlander will be as beautiful on screen as it is in words.

Step Four: Courage.

Have courage to speak out. Speak your love of Outlander. Say it loud and proud for all to hear. Think of Claire and her courage. As women we have that within all of us. A little bit of Claire Randall Fraser is within us.

Step Five: Integrity.

Pray for the screenwriters and producers to maintain the integrity of the story. Never say a mean word about any fellow Outlander. Maintain your integrity even when you want to contradict or argue a point. Do it with integrity. For all have fallen in love and passion sometimes rules the heart. Maintain your integrity, even when you have “Flat Jamie” and you want to re-enact scenes from the novels. Remember he is a proud Scotsman and you are a lady (mhmph).

Step Six: Willingness.

We must be willing to share. There is only one Jamie and millions of fans. We will all be willing to share images, share articles, and share Flat Jamie (when he is created).

Step Seven: Humility.

We will present ourselves with humility. Some of us are new to the Outlander fandom while others have been dedicated loyalists since its inception over 20 years ago. It does not matter. Once you have had your “Come to Jamie” moment then time doesn’t matter. One cannot measure the depth of another’s love and loyalty; although I give Shelly Pilette all the credit for being the first person I ever met that truly sold this book to others. She does it with such humility that we should all aspire to do the same.

Step Eight: Self-discipline.

Who are you kidding? You have no self-discipline or else you wouldn’t need this intervention. There is no self-discipline when a certain Scottish Ginger is in the picture. If you can maintain some semblance of self-discipline then you truly should be sainted. We will crown you St. Claire of the Order of JAMMF.

Step Nine: Love for others.

Yes, love all members of the Outlander fandom. They love what you love so there must be an ounce of symbiosis amongst us all. Love for Jamie, Love for Claire, Love for Ian, Love for Fergus, Love for all the characters that we cherish. And above all Love for Diana Gabaldon who had that story in her mind that she put on paper to share with world. God bless her.

Step Ten: Perseverance.

Yes, June seems such a long way away, but never fear. If you keep the faith and maintain the path, your prize will be waiting for you. Persevere.

Step Eleven: Spiritual Awareness.

Repeat after me “I believe in Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall Fraser. I believe in Diana Gabaldon. I believe that the story transcends all others and leaves me with all these Feels.”

Step Twelve: Service.

We will serve in the pinning, face booking and tweeting of all things Outlander. We will serve our fellow man or woman in equipping them with what they need to be involved in the fandom.

Now Raise you right hand and repeat after me: “I (state your name) am an active follower of the Outlander fandom. Although some may look at me as if I have lost my mind, I will stand by my devotion to all things Outlander. Jamie Fraser, although not real (but close enough through Sam) has my undying love. I will embrace the fandom and accept all who wish to enter. I am not alone, I am normal, and I embrace it.” ~ Jennifer McDonald (1/11/14)

The Verra First Outlander Trailer, in Real Time AND Glorious Slo Mo

I know by now most of you have already seen the first trailer released by Starz (incidentally did you know the journalists were shown a different trailer than the fans at the event in LA?), but have you seen the slo mo version?  “MsDarcyFan” on YouTube stretched the 48 second trailer into 4 minutes 51 seconds! GENIUS!

I wanted to save these two gems here, well, to have a central place to keep watching them over and over—you know, to feed my addiction. Because why wouldn’t we want to see snippets of Jamie, Claire, Frank, Jenny, Dougal and the rest over and over again obsessively?

Real Time:

Glorious (sing the word glorious for full effect) Slo Mo:

The STARZ are Lining up for Outlander Fans…

Screenshot from Spartacus, Blood & Sand trailer

Screenshot from Spartacus, Blood & Sand trailer

I have never been more reassured about Outlander the TV series honoring the books than after I read this:

“We’re at pains to really follow the books,” he [Ron Moore] says to assure concerned readers. “One of the great things was Starz said to us early on was, ‘We love the books, we think they are great so let’s make the [show] for the people who love the books. Let’s make it for the fans of the books first and trust that anyone who doesn’t know the material will get swept along in the story like everyone else does.’ Nobody ever says that,” Moore laughs. “Typically studios and networks just say, ‘Yeah, we don’t really care about the book. We bought it for the cover or whatever…’ and then dispense with it very early on [in the process]. This was the rare time when everybody said this is great material and we like the story and these characters so let’s try to get as close to the books as possible in the show and that’s what we are doing.” ~ Ron Moore, via blastr.com

So the powers-that-be at Starz actually love the books too, AND, let me get this straight, care about the fans???

There is a god in heaven!

Recently My Outlander Purgatory shared this Trailer of the Starz original series, “The White Queen;” asking us, “Wondering what STARZ can do?”

I’m adding one of my personal favorites, a trailer from another Starz original series, “Spartacus, Blood and Sand,” featuring Andy Whitfield, one of my early picks to play Jamie…

Roman:  “How many men would you kill to hold your wife again?”

Spartacus:  “I would kill them ALL…”

RIP Andy…♥

It’s Official: Sam Heughan IS Jamie Fraser!

Photo: April Steele

Photo: April Steele

The speculation is over!

Diana confirmed it via CompuServe:

Well, now…according to the Official Language that was suggested to me yesterday when they told me to go ahead and post the news that Scottish actor Sam Heughan has been chosen to play Jamie Fraser in the new Starz cable-TV series  (it’s not a movie, it’s not a mini-series, it’s regular series television, but on a subscription channel)……

“I can’t confirm if the contracts are signed and he is officially Jamie Fraser but I can say Sam Heughan did audition. He was and is my top choice!”

This was after the Starz_channel Twitter account sent out a cheery little tweet yesterday urging people to “Follow @Heughan, who is to play Jamie Fraser on the new Outlander series!”

Which kind of caused Mass Consternation <cough>, to put it mildly, among all the PR people who had been planning press releases and controlled rollouts, etc.

Enough people saw that tweet–during the half-hour or so it was up –that the news was spreading like hair-oil on a sofa, so Ron Moore told me to go ahead and let the cat all the way out of the bag, via Facebook and Twitter.  (When I looked a moment ago, there had been 350,000 views of the original posting, and about the same (collectively) for the three followups.) ~ Diana Gabaldon

So, it shouldn’t be overlong before we find out who will play Claire to Sam’s Jamie, ken?

Sam Heughan: Jamie Fraser or What?

Yesterday Starz tweeted that “Sam Heughan” had been offered the role of Jamie Fraser, and as you can imagine, the news spread like wildfire throughout the Outlander community—then they took down the tweet and have been mum since.

What’s up with that?

Rumor has it that someone jumped the gun, and either the role had not been offered or Sam had not accepted; it was still in the negotiation-stage. Here’s what we know about Sam so far:

He’s Scottish, 6’3″, 33 yrs old and an impressive actor. Check out this clip reel:

Diana added her two cents when the news first broke:

Well, you know…_carpe diem_. <g>

I can’t confirm that the contracts are signed and Sam Heughan is officially Jamie Fraser….but I _can_ say that he auditioned–and I saw the tapes. He was and is totally MY top choice! ~ Diana Gabaldon

Then, photos of Sam started being passed around. Here are a few from a Sam Heughan fan page on facebook:

He's got Jamie's body, strong but not beefy.

He’s got Jamie’s body, strong but not beefy.

He's got Jamie's facial expression- I can just hear him saying, "You're no verra sensible Sassenach, but I like ye fine."

He’s got Jamie’s facial expression—I can just hear him saying, “You’re no verra sensible Sassenach, but I like ye fine.”

Looks like he's good with horses too, a *must* for Jamie's character.

Looks like he’s good with horses too, a *must* for Jamie’s character.

Remember, nothing is official yet, but it seems pretty likely at this point that Sam will be Jamie. Herself  had A LOT more to say about it this morning:

A few thoughts. <cough>Do you,  um, _know_ what it is that an actor does?
No, really.   Do you?  They do what I do—they make magic happen.  They do it with their faces and bodies, while I do it with words, but it’s essentially the same t…hing.   They create something that wasn’t there before.
Granted, sometimes it helps if you have the rough physical outline for a particular role.   MOST of a physical resemblance, though, is really not necessary, and for two reasons:1) Physical appearance is _very_ mutable.  Hair and eye color are so simple to change that I’m amazed _anyone_ is carrying on about what color Mr. Heughan’s hair _is_.  (For the record, he’s blond.  Like any other actor, hedyes his hair as needed.  It’s dark in these photos; it could bered within half an hour.)2) Much more importantly—beyond very basic things like height and general build, physical aspects are just not that important, provided that an actor can _act_.As one of the producers said  to me—anent the auditioning process—“We were hoping that somebody would just walk in and _be_ Jamie.”

OK. Now, I got the word about Sam Heughan (it’s pronounced HEW-en, btw, in case you were wondering.  He’s Scottish, and it may well originally have been a Gaelic name)  while I was driving to Santa Fe with my husband; they thought they’d found Jamie and were sending me the audition videos a little later.  Well, naturally, I spent the next hour Googling “Sam Heughan” on my iPhone.

Now—I think this point may just possibly have escaped a few thousand of you, so let me restate it:  Jamie is TWENTY-TWO in OUTLANDER, and a virgin.  And as the producers do understand and respect the story very much, they wanted a guy who could believably _be_ a twenty-two-year-old virgin.  (Yes, I know half of you are thinking of him as he is in the later books and thus “see” him in his 50’s.   That doesn’t mean the producers should cast someone in his late 40’s and ask him to play a 22-year-old virgin.  Am I right?  Yes, I am.  Now that _that’s_ settled…)

So I’m lookin’ at some of Sam’s photos and sayin’ to my husband, “Yeah, I buy him as a virgin…but I think Claire’s going to get done for statutory rape!”  You know, a bit apprehensive.  He’s quite big, but a very chiseled face that makes him look a good bit younger than he is, at least in stills.

(Husband approved of the stills from “First Light,” btw (where Sam is playing a Spitfire pilot in the Battle of Britain)—“He looks good beat up,” he said.  “A good thing for playing Jamie.”  )

So anyway…we get to Santa Fe, let the dogs out, air the house, go have dinner…  And _then_, I sit down at my computer, in a lather of trepidation and excitement, to watch the audition tapes.

First five seconds, I’m interested—he looks totally different than he did in _any_ of the stills—and five seconds later, Sam Heughan’s GONE, and so am I.  It’s Jamie Fraser, right _there_ in front of me, moving, talking.  One of the biggest thrills ever.

And that’s what actors do.  Good ones.  They can “be” someone else, totally.

Now, I saw him do two scenes:  the confrontation between Jamie and Dougal, after Dougal exposes Jamie’s back in a tavern.  Ferocious, explosive, a glimpse of the warrior.   And he…freakin’ _exploded_.

And then…the scene in which Jamie explains to Claire exactly why he intends to punish her for disobeying his orders to stay hidden, thus nearly getting them all killed.

OK. This is arguably _the_ most controversial scene in all the books.  And I’m not about to go into the scene itself—not the point here.  The point is that that’s one heck of a complex scene, emotionally, and _could_ be read/performed in a lot of different ways.  Now, I happen to _know_   exactly how Jamie acted and spoke during that scene…and that’s…exactly what Sam _did_.   Thoughtfulness, intimacy, fair-mindedness, annoyance, firmness—and quite a lot of humor.  One of Jamie’s hallmarks is the ability to be threatening and funny at the same time—and Sam pulled that off.

So, yeah.  I’ve watched those videos a couple dozen times, just to be sure I wasn’t imagining things.  I wasn’t. <g>

Now, fwiw—the necessary physical aspects are all there.  Sam’s big—my head would hit about the middle of his chest (he’s only an inch shorter than my husband)—and _very_ well-built, in terms of what Jamie actually looks like.   Tall, lean (not burly), rangy (not bulgy)*, broad-shouldered, muscular (but a _young_ muscular.  Young athletes look way different from gnarly middle-aged ones).   Face…chiseled, striking—but looks different in every single role.

And the bottom line is simply this:  He showed up and he _was_ Jamie.

*(You know something?  I don’t really _care_ if you, personally, have been imagining Chris Hemsworth as Jamie.  You’re wrong; he doesn’t look like that at all. ) ~ Diana Gabaldon

Well, if Diana Gabaldon thinks he’s perfect, that’s good enough for me.  Fingers crossed for you Sam!