Matthew MacLeod's Walkabout Workshop Expirience

Highlander Walkabout Workshop Feb 28-29 2004

Where to really start at. I guess at the beginning is the best place. I started deciding about going to the workshop in mid Jan. I was wondering could I really make this event. At this point it was really just a huge dream. By the start of Febuary I figured I might as well see how much it would cost to really go. I figured up my expenses just to get there and it all came out around 1000$. On my small budget going wasn't going to happen. So I got to thinking of what I could do to reduce the price of this figure and would it be really worth my time to go. I had been to one convention in 1997 in Baltimore and met all the stars of Highlander there at it. My Brother and Dad thought I was nuts as do most of my family members. Especially flying out there to California from Indiana. Some would say drive it. HA! No. I drove to California once when I was 18 with my parents. Not bad but boring ole Kansas sucks. At least 3 days drive and I have to be back on March 1st to play basketball. So driving was out of the question so I had to fly. People wanted me to take someone with me but they didn't want to go themselves. So I ask my friend, who some know as Lady Sarena. She was excited about going and put in for time to get off from work. Well later on I found out about a contest to win two free tickets to the Walkabout. I was like I should try to win these to help in price. I finally got the details on how to win them. I entered and so did Lady Sarena. It was through the M80 teams highlander elite club. You had to send your personal link to as many people as you could. My link I started sending it to my friends. The day after we entered Lady Sarena finds out she might not be able to make it. So we keep our fingers crossed. About a week to go till the start of things. I get a email saying Matthew if you win these tickets do you think you can still make it. I am like yes I can. I get a reply that says well your going because you won the tickets. I was in total shock at this. I called up Lady Sarena and she was like great! Now we had to see about her going. I waited the weekend before getting my plane ticket. She wasn't going to get to go. She had got the time off from work but still couldn't make it for other reasons. I talked to my friends on the different boards and told them I was going to get to go. I decided I could do it on my own, I got my plane ticket on Monday and on Thursday night I flew out of the Indianapolis airport. I felt bad Lady Sarena couldn't go but she bought me two calling cards to use to call her each night. This was the first time ever in my life that I had flown on an airplane. I just never had to fly anywhere and I always drove on vacations. Well I made it there to Los Angeles.

I got off the plane and got my bags after waiting forever on the bags and the courtesy van to the Travelodge. So I went there. I stayed at the Travelodge because it was late. I was also keeping my money price down and at 140$ a night at the Westin Hotel that's not happening.

So I stayed cheap. I used those phone cards to call each night. I got up the next morning and walked over to the Westin which was basically across the street. I was suppose to meet my roommate who I found. I met a group of ladies who said they were headed to go sight seeing. They were the Adrian's Angels. They asked me if I wanted to go with them. I wish I could have, but I had no where to store my stuff because my roommate who booked the room had not shown up.

Finally she did and we got things arranged. I sat in the lobby and talked to others before and after. When I said who I was they were saying great you made it. They were all telling me there names, introducing themselves and I remember several of them still. They were telling me how great it was I won the tickets too. They recognized I was a highlander fan by wearing my Watcher Pendant. I would get to know them alot better through out the weekend.

Finally registration Friday night rolled around. I got in line and made my way up there and got my free ticket. I had planned to see if I could get someone to go with me up to use the other free ticket that I got and see about getting a little money for it or maybe half price to someone who hadn't. But most everyone had paid already I talked too. So they told me they gave the other free ticket to someone who was having trouble paying overall. Which I didn't mind helping someone in need out. That night we watched the 4 episodes we were going to be discussing. Several of the people I met asked me about my highlander movie. By the time I got to my room I just passed out and didn't wake up even though there was more I was wanting to do. 7:30am comes early for someone. I got up and went down to grab a seat.

To start things off was David Abramowitz. He told us how he got brought on board and would get story ideas and then write them out. He said he was just trying to keep his job mostly and it turned into what it did. He seemed to be a very nice man. The next thing up was about the Music and Post Production.

It was with Don Paonessa and Roger Bellon. Don talked about how he never got to go to Paris. He just had to get the video in and he would edit things and put the stories together and he would tell them later if he needed anything else. Roger had to get ideas about types of music and work with the footage to make it sound right. He took it from several different styles of music. But was all very interesting, Both were very informative. Next came F. Braun McAsh.

He talked to us about how he would get the script see what type of sword fight was needed and then choose and buy swords. Telling us several about the swords and all about getting the actors trained which he never got as much time as he really needed. Soon he was joined by Peter Wingfield.

Peter talked about his role as Methos and how it became a reoccuring role after he was brought in on Season 3. He said he never even knew about the show or what it was. the stories of his first times on set were funny. Next came lunch.. I think I manage to run down the street to Mcdonalds but only after I ran up to my room. Guess who I rode up the Elevator with. Ok I'll tell you. It was Peter Wingfield. He took out his camera and took a picture in the elevator. By the time I got back from eating. People were lined up. I did get towards the from of the line. I wanted to be close. So I got on the left side this time. Soon Adrian Paul and Elizabeth Gracen came out.

They were asked to talk about the chemistry between Duncan and Amanda. Which even now you can see there is definately something there between the two of them. Things worked out great all around in that area. The stories were great too. Soon after this they were joined once again by Peter .

They were given Cameras to take pictures during the weekend. As you can see they had alot of fun with these. Elizabeth soon left Adrian and Peter to sit and talk about the dynamic between Duncan and Methos.

This was very interesting to hear more stories about each other from on the set and how they thought the charactors progressed and complimented each other during the series and even still now. After this Elizabeth and David came back and they enjoyed a session of commentary on the Episode "Forgive us our Trespasses". This was probley the last time I that I did not get to live on cloud nine for the rest of the weekend. In between time we took some pictures. This is one picture I took of Riley and Sheryl and others behind me.

Here is the picture that got taken by Riley as she was looking back towards me shortly after I took the one of her above.

This was probley the last time I that I did not get to live on cloud nine for the rest of the weekend. Next Up on the list was the sword Demonstration between Peter, Adrian, and F Braun. They got to talking about the fight choreography on all the episodes and how they did each sword fight and what it really took to do them. Well Adrian was telling everyone about how the lights being shined on you affected you seeing and how different actors react. At this point Adrian said we need a volunteer for this. Can anyone come up here. I raised my hand. Most have said it was like lightning I raised my hand and it was even more quick that Adrian pointed over at me and said You come up here. I stood up. Shocked that I was picked. The ladies were wanting to be up there but were happy it was me and started cheering a little. I walked up on stage and Peter asked me what my name was. I told him, Matthew MacLeod (which is what every knows me as). Adrian did a double take from across the stage with F Braun. Peter just sorta laughed and said we know that is made up and turned around my name tag with had gotten twisted. He seen my name was really Matthew and told me welcome to the clan MacLeod. They handed me one of the wooden swords.

Adrian was talking and telling See how the light are in your eyes. I said yes. Then F Braun came over to me and was like Ok I'm going to swing this at you. I am like ok. I get in my stance holding the wooden sword.. He swings the sword in a vertical slice down towards my head.

Stopping only a few inches from my face. I did not budge or move. He was saying how most would jump back. Next he told me where he wanted me to block. He told me he wanted me to block it high over my head, then to my left, then to my right. We went slow. Then he said now this time it will be fast. High, Left, Right. Bang Bang Bang. I blocked all 3 swings. As soon as I did this.

The crowd went crazy cheering for me. Which they had been doing already. I heard some of them but by this time my heart was pounding. Adrian and F Braun and Peter said they were Impressed with me. I stepped back a few steps and Adrian took my sword from me. To show a few other things. I was standing there and Peter says to me. Here Matthew have a seat. Here I am on stage with Adrian, F Braun and Peter and Peter pulls me up Adrians Chair next to him. I sit down next to him and he says here have a mic too. He hands me the mic. At this point my heart is pounding and everyone is clapping and cheering. Only after did I think of what I should of said at this point. I thought I could of said. "So whats up doc?" or "50$ says we can take them". But I was sitting there on stage with Peter watching Adrian and F Braun, when Peter leans over with his Camera and snaps a picture of me and him. I hope to get this picture later when it is found. I sit there for a few more minutes relaxing. Then Adrian and F Braun get done and they say to give me a hand. I shook Peter's and Adrians hand. I raised my hand and gave my peace sign and jumped off stage. Needless to say after that the day and while trip was worth it. I didn't get any personal pics because I was on stage but others have them and are going to give them to me and I will post them later. Soon after we broke for dinner and to go get ready for the concert.. My roommate Colleengael, Cat and I decided to run get something to eat. We barely made it back to the concert just before the start of things. While walking in the door I nearly knocked over someone who looked familar. It was James Horan who had just got there. The Concert was like nothing else. From the Singing of James and David. To the duet of Peter and Elizabeth. To the very Excellent Solo of Peter singing "Only the good die young". It was all great. The night was topped off by Adrian doing his kata with a set of break apart butterfly blades to the tune of Amazing Graze on the bagpipes. By this time my heart had calmed down from being on stage myself and I had everyone asking me about it. All were telling me how great of a job I did and they enjoyed it very much. Some were teasing me calling me very lucky. Since I won the tickets to be there too. *LOL* But that night while still talking to others I manage to get this picture in

He was down having some fun talking to everyone. He thanked me for my participation in the demo today and he told me I did a very good job on it. Soon after I went up and got some sleep before Sunday Rolled around. Starting off was Don Paonessa again talking about more post production. Then in came James Horan.

He talked about his role as Grayson in the episode Band of Brothers. He was very nice and I am glad I got the chance to meet this man. He has played Several roles on other series including alot on Star Trek but this was his only Highlander role. He did a excellent job. Soon after James left David came back.

He came for a talk about the spiritual parts of highlander and the different story arcs. He told us how he wanted to go with things and what he really wantedto do on each. He talked about his new mini series that is in the works as well. He soon had to run off to make an appointment. Then came the Auction. As you know if you have been to any of the convention auctions they are hilarious. It started off with Elizabeth and Don auctioning a few things. Then in came Peter Wingfield to help.

Soon after they auctioned a few items, you heard a very recognizable voice from the back. It was Adrian teasing Peter about his auctioning skills saying he would bid 50 cents for something. Each would take over giving the other a break. Things were going outrageous! The cameras the stars were using all weekend to take pictures were going from 1000$ up to 1600$. The wooden swords that I used were sold for almost 500$. F Braun on stage while auctioning these off told the people they would get my autograph on them too. But I never did get to sign them for whoever bought them. I would have though. The Auction ran into lunch and there was really no break. But I took the time to run to Taco Bell. By the time I got back the auction was still going so I looked around at a few things and met someone outside in the hallway. I quickly asked to get my picture taken.

I mean who would not have wanted to have their picture taken with this very beautiful lady named Elizabeth Gracen. I soon went back in and watched the rest of the auction talking to a few of the friends I had made. I was being asked about my expirience on stage from the day before. Next came Adrian Paul discussing Homeland.

He broke down each scene and told us what he really wanted to do in this episode. How he did certain shots and how different it was to be in front of the camera and suppose to be behind it as well. Where he shot certain scenes and how they blended them with others. It all was great. I even got up to ask him a question on this. It was more a joke. I asked him "That in Homeland you kill your Cousin Robert MacLeod. Did this not change Duncan enough or did he just have a habit of killing his cousins. Aka he killed Connor too" I don't think he quite understood the question. It did get a laugh from a few ladies who knew who I was too. Me being Matthew MacLeod and all. More to like should I watch out or am I next? *LOL* Soon after this came another dicussion of the episode The Modern Promethus. With Adrian, F Braun, Peter and Don. Bill Panzer did not even make it there this weekend. They talked about each little thing they did.. From the story, the setting, the scenes, the directing, the fighting, the music and everything. It was a highlander. Soon after this was over. They a short break but then we were joined by two guys. They said Adrian and Peter had ran to Taco Bell but they found two guys wandering the back. They were Duncan and Methos. They brought out Adrian and Peter in there Charactor form. Where you could ask them questions. It was quite a different side to things from then on out. This soon brought the end of the event. It was ended with a toast and everything from those still around for the end.

It was a very nice event and a expirience I will always remember. Things had ended and I made my way out and ran into someone else out in the hallway. I had to have a picture.

Yes as you can See it was James Horan who I ran into. He was signing autographs for everyone. After this I made my way back to my room. I soon came down and began to start telling everyone bye. I was going to have to leave that night. I made my way around telling every thanks and more. I stopped by the Adrian Angels room and told them nice to meet them all and I had to go. They gave me a nice little present too.

On my way back down to the lobby. We pushed the button on the elevator and it opened to someone leaning back against the rail with a smile on his face. It was Peter again in the elevator. He smiled and we let him go. We didn't get into the elevator with him this time. He gave us a salute and I yelled thanks to him. He was headed out as soon as I was. I got my stuff ready and got packed.. I got to the airport and had to wait a little buying a couple souvinirs. I got Lady Sarena a souvinir. I flew back home at 11:40 LA time which was like 3 Am my time. I made it home to Indiana around 6 am. Where my Dad and Brother were waiting along with Lady Sarena who they picked up. She was very happy to see me. I came home and got online to check my messages and soon went to sleep only to get up for basketball later Monday Night. This is my story of my expirience. It was a expirience like nothing else and is something I will always remember for the rest of me life. All the friends I made and will always have. I appreciate all the thanks and everything that it took to make this possible. It was really a dream come true. Thanks everyone.

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