Friday, April 30, 2010

Before casting and filming begins...

It's so thrilling because it's all imagination at this point. I can guess how it's going to look, flow, and grow right now, but how it actually ends up is yet to be seen. If I was at the helm, I would already know how it's going to turn out because I know my style and approach, kind of wrecking the surprise, but this is Barry's vision, and he's the only one I would trust with a project of this power and magnitude. Being on the inside, I know a lot of secret information about this endeavor, and all I can say is, for the future viewer who will get to see this all unfold anew, boy are you freakin lucky... Looking back on what's been accomplished so far, I'd like to say the our regular conceptual meetings were absolutely soul-enriching, powerful, challenging, and truly liberating. Some of the finest, most creative moments of my life. Hard work put in by all. The truest example of prowess from the hive mind. Artistically, this is the most grown up thing I've ever been involved in. It is my intention to put the best of my abilities and ideas into it, because it's the least that it deserves. I believe in this project whole heartedly, and I believe that it will prove itself to the extreme. Barry Dodd is the director, and I am a deliriously proud, card-carrying, lifetime member of The Dodd Squad.

Before the Beginning

On December 30, 2009, my friend and colleague Barry came into my office and said: "What are some strange things that can happen on an island?"

"You mean like on 'Lost'?" I asked.

"No," he clarified. "Imagine a small island community off the coast of Maine. What are some weird things that could happen there?"

That's how it began.

Actually, before the beginning, a few years ago, Barry, his wife Karen, and some friends submitted a entry in's soap opera contest, a short film about Criehaven, a real-life Maine island made up mostly of lobstering families. Finishing in the Top 5 of all submissions nationwide, they were asked to create a second "episode," which they did, this one taking a spookier approach.

They didn't win, and that was the end of it. For awhile anyway. But Barry has long wanted to return to the island, and thus his question to me.

Deciding to roll with it, I spat out a few ideas:

1) With the island ferry and all boats docked due to bad weather, the whole island is cut off from the mainland. Which make the disappearance of the island's beloved Mayor Tully all the more mystifying. Where is Mayor Tully?

2) When a stranger washes up on shore with a mysterious illness, the CDC is quick on the scene, quarantining the entire island. As the sheriff contends with a potential power struggle with the CDC, he's also investigating the mysterious disappearance of several island citizens.

3) When a mysterious corporation starts buying up property on the island at hugely inflated prices, the few locals who hold out are met with strange and intimidating coercion. Why is this one island so important to this corporation? How far are they willing to go to get it?

"That's great," said Barry. "How would you like to be involved in a web series?"

"Sure," I said, and four months later, 20 episodes later (on paper anyway), here we are on Ragged Isle.

Barry assembled a great team of talented and creative people, and we started meeting on a regular basis to plot out a story. Nothing but the barest whisper of the ideas above survived, but I think we've come up with a pretty cool narrative.

As I mentioned, there are 20 episodes written, ten of which we hope to shoot this summer. Stay tuned to this blog for production updates, behind-the-scenes footage, and maybe even a chance to star in an episode!