Friday, April 30, 2010

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!

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