What prompted a flashback post? This one concerns a film set in the Scottish Highlands, and Warrior, my next book due out Friday, March 20, 2020, is also set in the Scottish Highlands.

As tempting as it is to write a review of the film, that’s not the point of this post. The point is to try something new and see what happens, take a risk and decide if it was worth it. Every time a producer and director and their crew of actors, cinematographers, screen writers, costumers, set directors, gaffers, etc. take on a new project, they’re taking a huge risk with their money and their reputations. Viewers take a small monetary and time risk every time we set out to watch a film. However, attending a movie premiere didn’t feel like a risk, even though I was laying out a bit of time and money. What motivated me was it was something I’d never done before.

Caledonian Pipers on the red carpet

An Invitation

Since my Thirty New Things year runs from May 1 to April 30, I can count this event that happened in September of 2019 as current. My sister invited me to attend the premiere of a film made in Montana by an Australian director about a Scottish hero. The movie was the perfect choice for concluding the 2019 edition of the Montana International Film Festival. The real draw, though, was the possibility of seeing—and perhaps even meeting—Angus Macfadyen, the star of Robert the Bruce. You might remember him playing the same character in Braveheart. Turns out, Mr. Macfadyen was in Thailand for another film, but several of the other actors who star in the movie walked the red carpet to the delight of the fans.

Me, Bramdon Lessard (who plays Carney), Sis

The Red Carpet

Yeah, I know actors put on their pants the same way the rest of us nondescript humans do. Still, it’s exciting to stand within touching distance of a person who makes a living entertaining us on the big screen. More than anything, I wanted that part of the experience. Imagine my chagrin when I landed in a traffic jam in my little town as I set out for the city and the premiere. The cause? I was nearly in touching distance of an international hip-hop star. Kanye was holding Sunday Church in my little Wyoming town. Since I didn’t plan for this occurrence, I may have superseded the posted speed limit once or twice as I drove to the red carpet movie event.

Fortunately, the inconveniences didn’t impede my on-time arrival. The local Caledonian Pipers entertained the crowd and actors as they arrived for the screening. After the actors and director entered the theater, the pipers wended their way up the aisles, their pipes stirring the crowd before the lights went down and the opening credits came up. The skirling of the pipes was the perfect introduction to this movie experience.

A Shared Experience

Diarmaid Murtagh (with mic who plays James Douglas) and Richard Gray (in the hat, Director of Robert the Bruce)

Braveheart is one of my all-time favorite movies. The heartbreaking story of William Wallace and the Scottish quest for freedom inspires me. It’s a reminder of what people will do to be free. Robert the Bruce echoes that theme. As King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce laid the foundation for democracy that spread across Europe and eventually found its way to America. It was fun to experience the red carpet event, the movie, and the Q&A following it with a theater full of people who love Scotland and its history as much as I do.

The Q&A after the movie was a new experience. Having the director and the second lead actor on stage to answer questions was exciting and enlightening. The audience asked interesting questions, which added depth to the viewing experience. I enjoyed the film more for having the chance to hear the motivations for the director’s and the actors’ choices. It was also a thrill to have photo ops with Brandon Lessard who played Carney and Diarmaid Murtagh who played James Douglas (and who stars in Vikings).

Me, Diamaid Murtagh, and Sis

This wasn’t the most exciting of the new things I’ve tried so far this year, but it certainly was the most novel. I’m glad my sister was able to grab some tickets and invited me.

What novel experience have you had this month? Let me know in the comments.

Yours in taking a risk (or thirty),

Tam DeRudder Jackson

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