Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Episode Three... and behind-the-scenes writer's commentary

"Ragged Isle" episode three is up, and it's a good one.  If you haven't seen the first two episodes, you should definitely watch those first. And after you watch episode three, read through to the rest of the post for a behind-the-scenes perspective from the head writer.

There, did you watch?  Wasn't it cool?  Okay, if you're all caught up, keep reading for a little peek at how the sausage is made.  WARNING:  There will be spoilers for episode three from here on out, so don't read any further if you haven't seen it.

Wow, do I like this episode.  During the writing stage, episode three kept growing and growing, with more and more scenes and bits of business added in.  That scene in the Ragged Isle Star office?  Not in the first draft, because we didn't know Vicki would be working for the paper when we started writing.  (Vance Trundle's office is my office in real life.  All that stuff on the walls is still up and ready for the next season.)

Also not in the first draft, that scene in the woods between Paul, Eric, Mac, and Bill.  But we needed a reason for Paul to be out in the woods where Vicki is wandering; plus that scene helps keep focus on what those boys were up to that night on the water.  (I like Bill's "rogue shark" line.)

The reveal of Mac's body is pretty much exactly as scripted, but director Barry Dodd had to figure out how to stage it.  I think he did an amazing job.  I've seen the episode a few times now, and I've known that reveal was coming every single time, but every single time it gives me chills when Paul steps to one side and we see Mac's body for the first time.

Vicki taking a picture immediately after Paul's gruesome discovery was also not in the first draft.  That was something Barry suggested as a joke at one of our writer meetings.  We laughed about it, but the more we thought about it, the more it just seemed right.  Vicki's a journalist.  This is obviously going to be a big story.

The voice-over narration at the beginning of each episode wasn't in any of the original drafts, but it was something Barry knew he wanted from the beginning.  Assistant director/writer/producer/all-around-beneficial-presence Karen Dodd handled the writing of these, deftly evoking the classic soap "Dark Shadows," a big influence on "Ragged Isle."

By the way, the sweat on Paul's face in Sheriff Dalton's office is real.  We shot that scene on what must have been one of the hottest days of the summer, in one of the hottest rooms in all of Maine.  I was holding up a boom mic, and sweat was pouring off me like a river. (Hmm.  Is that too much behind-the-scenes info?)  I like the light in Paul's eyes.  Adds to the tension of the scene.

I feel like the series is really cooking now.  We're done with the set-up, and things can really move forward.  I can't wait for next week!

1 comment:

  1. I thought I had already posted this, but I'll give it another try. I did my second viewing of RI, episode 3 after reading these thoughts from behind the curtain. Very cool to get an insider's point of view.