Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The 60-Day, 10-Film Project

You may have heard of The 48 Hour Film Project, a multi-city filmmaking competition in which crews are asked to write, shoot, edit, and score a short film in just 48 hours.

The local Best Film winner this year was MINT Films' marvelously cheeky western, "A Bounty For Susannah," which stars "Ragged Isle" players Ian Carlsen, Erik Moody, and Meghan Benton.

Watching the short, it's amazing to contemplate what they accomplished in just 48 hours. It really is incredible.

But this week, I've also been thinking about what Barry and Karen accomplished in just two months.

Principal photography for the first season of "Ragged Isle" began on July 28 and wrapped up on September 26. In that time, Barry (with plenty of help from assistant director Karen) shot ten episodes -- basically ten separate short films, each with multiple characters, scenes, and locations, and with continuity concerns to contend with between each film.

Yes, the scripts were written before shooting began, and yes, Barry can edit the episodes at his leisure. But still, man, that's an amazing achievement. Way to go!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This is it!

Tonight's the night. It's been a crazy summer for all involved with Ragged Isle and tonight is the final official shoot night scheduled. Sure I may have a couple pick up shots to get and I already know that we will need some serious ADR sessions and color timing before the public gets their hands on our series but it's still tough to think that this is officially the end of our Summer on Ragged Isle. If it doesn't rain in the next hour I'll probably go take a walk down to Shaw Park where a few of us shot some key scenes and take in the atmosphere one last time before all the green is gone on the trees. Luckily, we've got all this footage to revisit. As my memory fades over the years, I'll thankfully always remember this summer and all the wonderful friends who shared it with me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Last day of principal photography this Sunday!

We're almost at the finish line. Just one last evening that a few lucky ones will get to spend at the island bar "The Glass Jaw." Rick designed this kick ass sign that is featured in the scene. Rick would also like to point out that it would make one heck of a T-Shirt. I tend to agree. Let's see if this thing catches on so we can offer up a few different designs in shirt form. That would be pretty sweet. (Also big thanks to Todd Manter and Karl Kronholm for the design and delivery of The Glass Jaw sign's wooden backing)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Back To Life, Back To Reality

Tonight was my final shoot for Ragged Isle for Season One. We went out to Great Diamond, which was brief but beautiful and then to Mike's driveway for the rest. I am feeling tired, sad, excited, stunned, warmed, happy, empty, depressed, proud, and some other crap. After the shoot I drove home listening to my pump 'em up (get excited and also calmed for shoots) song, Sinead O'Connor's "No Man's Woman," and cried no less than four times. I will miss all of you incredible people. Thank you so very much for being a part of this and giving so much of yourselves over to this project. Thank you. We love you.

Karen Out

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More stills

Here's a few images that caught my eye as I was going through footage this evening. Thought I'd share. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shadows in the woods

Today we got to spend some time shooting in the woods. As we were getting down to the last few shots, I had a sudden rush of flashbacks to a series of horror videos I shot as a kid with an old friend of mine Robert Dakin. He was known around school for being a video wiz and had made a series of scary slasher shorts called "Murders on Swan Lake." I met him in middle school and came with my own experience in home video "filmmaking." I remember our families even had the exact same video camera. We hit it off right away and began working on a trilogy of short films called "Shadows in the Woods." As I knelt down in the woods today and recorded Ian, Michael, Doug, and Dominic exploring the forest, I was a kid again. Wasn't expecting that today. Nice surprise.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ragged Isle's Got Talent

So many times over the course of this summer's many "Ragged Isle" shoots, Barry or Karen (or both) said to me: "What were we thinking?", or sometimes: "What were you thinking?", and once even: "I want to poke you with a pencil!", all because of the ambitious, complicated, ridiculously elaborate scenarios we came up with at the script stage -- easy enough to write, but enormously difficult to execute.

But it was Barry and Karen who conceived of and wrote what is perhaps the most ambitious, most complicated episode of the season, the Ragged Isle talent show episode. And thank God they did, because today we got to watch the comedy stylings of See Bass, the magical prowess of Louis Gilbert, the dance chops of Paul and Eric, and the most romantic duet I've ever seen.

Wow, what an amazing day. What an amazing episode. Can't wait to see this cut together.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Could there ever be too much gold? Perhaps...

We have been shopping, crafting, shot list arranging, communicating, and cat yelling. Damien, our adorable, black kitten loves everything about the decorations for tomorrow. He loves how they taste, how they slide across the floor, how they are easy to carry in his mouth to show Daddy, and how comfy they are to sleep on. This has made the prep. process frustrating but really cute. Through all our shopping today we had to come up with a color scheme, which became gold with a side of gold and a splash of red and blue. Tomorrow, Geno's will shine like Liberace's living room and should set the stage for some really unique entertainment. Ragged Isle is going hideous fabulous and we'll all love it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Extra, extra!

We've put out the call one last time for our awesome extras. This Sunday is the last chance we have to enjoy their company and include them in our adventure. I have enjoyed being around all these great people and I only wish I could spend more time on the set to talk with all of them and learn their stories. If you do stop by this Sunday and join in the extra fun please track me down and say hello. I'm so very honored that you have given us your valuable time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


We took Erik and Rick out to Peaks Island this morning to shoot a quick scene in front of the Sheriff's house but found plenty of time for extra exploring on the island!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lots of great pictures over at the facebook

We've got lots of great new images up over at our facebook page. You should stop by and check em out. There's a whole folder there full of photos taken by our friend Judy Beedle. Like what you see? She's got a website full of great imagery for you to explore. Go get it!

Ragged's Finest

Trouble's a brewing... Is the Island's only protection prepared for what awaits?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lobster Days

So many secrets were shot today at Ragged Isle Lobster Days. It's hard to not spoil the surprise but here a few images that might whet your appetite. Thank you to the gang of extras we had today for the shoot. You folks are all over the footage and totally made the fest feel real. I can't wait for you all to see this one but unfortunately, it's the season finale, so we'll all forget this day ever happened before this footage shows up again. Thanks a million everybody!

Rough Going

I headed down to Two Lights Park early, planning on getting there well before the actors to help with set-up. But a mis-read Mapquest direction sent me right instead of left a few miles from the park, and then when I stopped at a roadside vegetable stand to get my bearings, my car refused to start up again.

So, I called Barry, who was still reeling from problems of his own. A ranger had told Barry and Karen upon their arrival that they didn't have the proper permits to shoot at the park. After a full-blown (and fully warranted) panic set in, the ranger returned with a waiver for Karen to sign, absolving the park of any responsibility if anybody was hurt during the shoot.

Barry dispatched Torrey to come get me. I told him I was just down the street from the park at 82 Spurwink Road. What I neglected to tell him was that I was in Scarborough, not Cape Elizabeth. So Torrey's GPS guided him to a place where I was not. And by the time Torrey arrived, my car had mysteriously healed itself, starting up fine and continuing to run without a hitch for the rest of the day.

All of which is to say that there was plenty of tension in the air before the shoot even started.

However, Barry and Karen's ceaseless professionalism, combined with the good humor and enthusiasm of the cast (including all our fabulous extras), carried the day.

Hey, Barry: We just shot the lobster festival scene.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Two Lights

Karen and I spent some time wandering around the location we will be shooting at tomorrow for Ragged Isle Lobster Days. The location is called Two Lights State Park and it's lovely. As we sat on the rocky coastline there were moments when it truly felt like we were on an island. I hope that the 30 or so folks that come out to help us shoot tomorrow spend some time exploring the park when they are done with us. It's truly a delightful spot and I know that Karen and I will be back many times in the future. One of the blessings of working on this series has been seeing all kinds of new and interesting points around southern Maine. I am so glad we decided to do this project for so many reasons. Today, it's because of Two Lights.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Wake and A Phone Call

Tonight we shot the big wake scene of the season at our home, which has played several locations in Ragged Isle. I am happy to say that we are done shooting here and can now piece it back together again. Today was a day of challenges, creativity, hustle, and team work. We made it through and I think we have a fantastic scene on our hands. Thank you to the people who showed up to help with backgrounds and intrigue. Also, thanks to Greg and Derek for lending a hand in front and behind the lens.

We also shot a scene outside of a sneaky phone discussion in our overgrown nightmare of a lawn / haunted picnic table. There were a couple versions of the script for this scene but that all got sorted out quickly. Thanks, G!

It is really hitting me that we have shot a pretty good chunk of Ragged Isle. This seemed like an impossible dream this past winter and spring where we wrote a blue sky script and forgot to go back in and bring it down to Earth. I have cursed us for that many times these past couple of months but, at this moment, I wouldn't have had us make this any other way. There have been so many times that we have shot a huge scene that we have been stressing about for one reason or another and once over are smacked with the reality that all we can say is,"nice work, next." Then the process begins all over again. Thank you all for sticking with us and believing in this impossible dream.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I have to admit...

...I started editing a couple scenes today. It was hard not to. All this footage just sitting there on my hard drive, waiting to be sliced and diced. Probably should have been making shot lists for the rest of our nine shoot days. I'll tackle all that tomorrow while Karen is at work.

So far so good though with the cutting. We've taken some bold chances with the way we are shooting this series, but from what I've seen, it's going to cut together real well. I look forward to totally digging in once all the footage is in the can.

Nine more days... I'm going to do my best to savor those days. It's going to be a long fall/winter.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Deputy's Monologue

Very early in the planning stages of "Ragged Isle," I wrote, almost as an exercise, a monologue for the sheriff's deputy in which he ruminates on a link between a current murder investigation and an old urban legend.

The monologue has always delighted me, despite the fact that it comes out of nowhere and doesn't really lead anywhere. I always sort of suspected that we wouldn't actually use it. It was written in an attempt to figure out the character of the deputy, and we didn't really have a place for it in any particular episode.

But then I inserted it into Episode 7, fully expecting it would be yanked at some point in the process. It never was. In draft after draft, the monologue remained, continuing to delight me.

Today, I got to see actor Erik Moody deliver the monologue to an exasperated Sheriff Dalton (nobody does "exasperated" like Rick Dalton) in the sheriff's car while I played a light across their faces to simulate passing headlights.

It. Was. Awesome.