It was an event entitled Ron D. Moore’s Sci-Fi Masterclass organised by the Edinburgh International Television Festival. The talk spanned his whole career working on Star Trek Next Generation, Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Roswell, Carnivale, Battlestar Galactica, Helix and now Outlander.
His beginnings, as Ron described them was down to “a lucky break”, his girlfriend at that time worked on the set of Next Generation and she arranged for him to have a tour of the set. During the tour he managed to slip a script he wrote for the show in to the hands of Gene Roddenberry’s Assistant. There it sat for 7 months until a new Executive Producer found it in the slush pile of scripts. It was the start of his career. A career that has seen him as a writer, producer and showrunner.
Outlander was a new challenge for Ron, adapting a book series was something he had not done before. He used Game of Thrones as an example, a show which already had a fan base from those who had read the books and another from those who would only know the TV Series. He had to not miss too much out for the old fans but keep the story moving to hold the interest of the TV fans, not an easy task to take on.
So first, he read the first book, where the lead character Claire impressed Ron by her “intelligence and strength of character”. Casting Claire was very important.
Also important to him was that filming took place in Scotland but also again challenging. The lack of daylight hours in the winter and of course the rain all took their turn to challenge Ron. I think he was impressed with the hardiness of the local vendors and artisans, he said the Americans on set were easy to spot they were the ones “wrapped in layers of Goretex”.
Season 1 was based in Scotland; Season 2 went to France and Season 3 still to come involves a voyage to the Caribbean. These factors mean that the sets, locations, new characters, new eras and new problems certainly keep the whole crew on their toes, and of course makes the budget rather large. All something that has to be taken in to consideration that the viewer sometimes doesn’t appreciate. I certainly didn’t think of the different locations as new sets etc.
It was a fascinating insight in to Ron Moore’s career. Thank you Edinburgh’s Filmhouse for letting some Outlander fans in too.