Cynthia has been an Outlander fan for since 2016. A tragic event spurred her to take her fandom to a new level, and she set to work with others on some special Outlander-related projects. For Cynthia, Outlander is much more than books and a tv show, it’s family, community, and a feeling of unconditional love and acceptance. Cynthia finds her fellow Outlander fans to be a source of inspiration and her projects are a labour of love.
Here is Cynthia’s story.
In July 2017, my husband Keith, a fellow Outlander fan, lost his battle with cancer. As his wife and caregiver, this affected me deeply, and so, I set out to find ways in which to honour his memory.
First, I created a life-sized prop doll of James Fraser ‘Our Hero Scot’, a symbol of strength, courage, resilience, loyalty and love. He was handcrafted with kindness and respect for Diana Gabaldon and Sam Heughan. Since its creation, ‘Jamie’ has been used in my documentary project (read on for details) for various creative sequences, and has made appearances at fan events.
When first introduced on social media he drew some lovely comments from Diana Gabaldon. ‘Jamie’ then made his public debut at the 2018 Outlander convention, in Las Vegas, ‘filling in’ for Sam Heughan, whose appearance was cancelled due to other obligations. ‘Jamie’ shared the stage with Caitriona Balfe and Lotte Verbeek, during their Q&A. He was a hit with Sam’s fans and everyone, including the cast, seemed to enjoy interacting with him. Soon after that weekend in Las Vegas, life became a whirlwind of travel, events and meeting new people.
I wanted to be a voice for Outlander fans affected by cancer or other illnesses and, backed by entertainment industry veterans, artists, and students, I started Outlander Fan Documentary. Since embarking on this journey, I’ve found a sense of positive growth, and healing. There are so many stories to tell, from each event, and on all of our documentary filming locations. There is also a charity aspect, which is still being developed. It has been a personal challenge, as a female artist and filmmaker, but I have been so grateful for our supporters & cheerleaders, which happily includes a few of the Outlander cast & crew.
It has been a life changing experience for everyone involved. The project has been through many incarnations, starting as a coffee table book idea. Eventually it evolved into the current film project, which is run by a core group of Outlander fan volunteers, who wear many creative hats. Participation in our documentary project is open to all Outlander fans & fan groups, as a celebration of this fandom, and our way of ‘Uniting the Clans’. It is dedicated to all Outlander fans who have been affected in some way, by cancer or other illness.
Announcements are made throughout the year, for volunteers, and the many creative ways fans can participate. As a thank you for the support, we also hold a yearly giveaway during the holidays. At the completion of our project we intend to hold a fundraising silent auction, for one or more of the many charities endorsed by the Outlander cast.
I took my first trip to Scotland in summer 2019, and was fortunate to see a bit of Outlander season 5 filming. 2020 promised to be the busiest yet, starting with a trip to Wizard World, in New Orleans, the Outlander Ball, in San Francisco, St. Andrews Society’s Burns Supper, Scotsman’s Ball, Outlander Season 5 Premiere at the Hollywood Palladium, and so much more. However, after the Outlander Premiere, and Sam Heughan’s Bloodshot Premiere, the world had other plans for us all. (yep, the virus) I am hopeful of returning to some semblance of normal (or, new normal), eventually. Meanwhile we’re keeping positive, staying safe, and educating ourselves, as we continue to move forward. As far as the documentary is concerned, I’m simply taking every day, one step at a time.
Although we will eventually wrap up, currently we have no projected completion date set. I do hope everyone will enjoy the end result of this artistic endeavour, created by the fans, for the fans, cast and crew.
A quick shout out to our Director of Photography, Allen Pettebone. An Industry veteran of 50 years, with impressive credits under his belt, he is also a heart and kidney transplant recipient, and a Vietnam Veteran. For 16 years, I have been proud to call him friend.
P.S. The holidays are getting closer, and the annual giveaway is coming up. Also, people can sign up to receive this year’s OL Fan Documentary holiday card (limited to the first 40 people who sign up!) Head to Outlander Fan Documentary for all the details.