Fancy a job with the next series of Outlander?
There’s just under a week to go before a crucial deadline expires for one of the hottest job opportunities in Scotland.
It’s the the chance to work on hit TV show Outlander, and there’s likely to be no shortage of takers.
The production of the new series starts in spring, but for the next few weeks the hunt is on for trainees in roles covering everything from production design to plastering and painting.
Since Outlander began filming in Scotland in 2014, Screen Scotland, Outlander and ScreenSkills have co-funded a traineeships programme across all departments including camera, costume, design, assistant director, art department, effects and production - running to around 20 trainees per series.
Anyone interested in being associated with a show that is also one of Scottish tourism’s biggest assets has until 5pm on Friday coming to apply for any of the first tranche of trainee posts.
The deadline for some production roles is a little later, on Friday, February 28, and roles in Locations - surely a fascinating job - have to be applied for by Friday, March 13.
Still to come are further opportunities for posts in skills including armoury, assistant director, camera, sound and post production.
Ironically the posts are being advertised at the very time the show’s main man, Sam Heughan (Highlander Jamie Fraser), has been widely quoted as saying that Scotland hasn’t made enough of the show.
Qualifying that remark, he says that while it has certainly caught on now - as attested by astronomic visitor numbers to assorted castles and other locations used in the series - it has been a long time coming.
Outlander wasn’t available to Scottish viewers when first launched, and while tourism authorities have now grasped its visitor appeal it was only when steady streams of North American tourists began to arrive in unusually large numbers that the penny finally seemed to drop - here was a phenomenon as big as the 1990’s fantasy-history blockbuster Braveheart, and (unlike that film) one with plenty of potential for further development.
Some argue the show is trashy, wilfully misrepresents Scottish history, and shouldn’t be used in association with sites - particularly emotive sites like Culloden - which are important reminders of real history.
However pragmatic marketeers simply note the volume of visitors, the tourism revenue and the potential to build even more business.
Game of Thrones, meanwhile, was notoriously lost to Ireland ... and back in the 90’s the Irish army was drafted in to fight Mel Gibson’s battles in Braveheart.
Those debacles are in the past, and the future is about shows like Outlander which, cheesy or not, are demonstrably a success.
Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander books, was even presented with a special tourism award for the amount of trade she has unwittingly drummed up with her particular brand of easy-read, lightweight fantasy fiction.
Now, from its base in Cumbernauld, Outlander the show is regularly offering blue chip professional training opportunities to young adults who previously would have had little chance of gaining any such role with a major film studio - and certainly not within easy range of home.
For full details of all the trainee posts now on offer visit https://www.screen.scot/news/2020/2/outlander-training-programme-open-for-applications