Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Billy Boyd at Trent - Xoanon @ 14:15 PST
Rosamunde Brownlocks sends along this great report from Billy Boyd's appearance at Trent University in Ontario, take a look!

"Billy Boyd at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Question of the day - what is Billy doing talking here? Peterborough is about an hour and a half outside of Toronto, in the midst of rolling farmland and forests. Trent University is not a large university - perhaps 5,000 full time students and 2,000 part-time, spread amongst 3 campuses. The talk is to be in the Great Hall, which is a large, high-ceilinged room in the student union area, usually used as a cafeteria, with tall, narrow windows to the outside, and Frank Lloyd Wright style lights in large, long geometric wooden holders. It's 5 pm, and already there are fans in the seats - about 20. There's a small, portable wooden platform in the middle of the long side of the hall, with a small round table, 2 chairs, and 2 mikes, next to a screen. VCR on cart facing screen. Chairs in ever-widening semicircles fanning out - maybe 200 at most - in about 8 rows of seats. Not very big. No spotlight. I grab a seat in the 4th row, smack dab in the middle, along the aisle behind the VCR, so that I'm facing the table.

Spent the next 2 hours chatting with the nice woman (Kim) across the aisle from me, who was saving a seat for her husband and her husband's friend. They were fans of the book first, then the movie; she read the books after the movie, and became a fan. A real tribute to the movie and book that each can be enjoyed after experiencing the other; not generally the case for movies made from books. In front of me are Trent U fangirls, from whom I learn why Billy Boyd is there, as well as why there was such a short notice about it.

The Master of one of the schools in the college is related to Billy Boyd, and he asked Billy to do a talk in one of his classes (Children's Literature). As the day approached, and the number of interested people grew, the event ended up moving to the hall. It was not publicized, but was mentioned on the school website. Kim, a librarian at the Bata Library there at the school, only learned about it Sunday, the same day I did. Apparently they didn't want it getting too big. (Take all of this with a grain of salt; I may not be reporting it completely accurately, since it's from memory.)

Well, by the time 7:00 rolled around, the place was packed - and warm! There were a couple of fangirls behind me, who ended up sitting on the floor in front later, who had driven 23 hours from Bismarck, North Dakota (or is it South?), god bless them. They were internet knowledgable, and very nice, and soon made friends with another couple of fangirls who were local. The majority of the crowd appeared to be college students as well.

Finally, Billy showed up at a little after the start time of 7:30. He was wearing his trademark leather jacked and black shirt, and I was watching the door I knew he'd come into. I and a few others started clapping and soon all of us were.

He looked wonderful, although he's getting over a cold. You couldn't tell it from his voice, and he still was very involved in the discussion, and animated. He's a real trouper, he really is. He and the Master, Stephen Brown, went and sat at the table. There were to be 3 clips from FOTR and a clip from Sniper, with a couple of questions from the Master in-between, and Q&A at the end. I must say that Prof. Brown did a wonderful job - very relaxed but professional, good questions.

I can't write everything down now - it's late, and I have limited internet access, since Prodigy doesn't have Canadian access numbers, but he really was a joy to see - so well-spoken, relaxed, funny but thoughtful, and a natural speaker and teacher. I will say that he said he has a possible project on the stage in London this summer, so here's hoping. Other than that, he said he'd been taking a break for the last couple of months, since work wrapped up on MAC:FSOTW just before December, which was then followed by TTT activities until Christmas. Yes, he and Dom worked on the screenplay for their possible movie during weekends off in the MAC:FSOTW shoot.

The clips were: the fireworks, "second breakfast", and Moria - from the finding of the book, through Pip's disastrous tweaking of the arrow in the skeleton, all the way through to Frodo's mithril shirt. As for Sniper 470 - it was apparently a tape off of the presentation on Scottish TV, since it started with The New Found Land logo and was not film quality; I would guess that he had to use a copy for the program. It went all the way to just after the *ahem* toilet scene (kind of surprised it didn't end a bit earlier!).

Afterwards, there was a very nice long Q&A, then clapping and a swarm to the stage for autographs. I didn't try to get an autograph, since they didn't seem to need even more people up there in the throng that appeared to swallow up Billy (I hope he survived! *g*). But I'm glad I went. I'll never get an opportunity like this again, and it was worth it.

And, Billy Boyd - you are a top notch human being for coming out and doing this wonderful talk for a small audience at a small college in the middle of Canada - thank you."