Wednesday, April 6, 2011

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

"Ragged Isle" episode five is up.  After you watch, read through to the rest of the post  for a behind-the-scenes perspective from the head writer.

Okay, the rest of this post will be some behind-the-scenes insights into the episode.  WARNING:  There  will be spoilers for episode five from here on out, so don't read any  further if you haven't seen it.

First, for those of your unfamiliar with the origin of "Ragged Isle," a quick history lesson:  In 2007, "Ragged Isle" director Barry Dodd, his wife (and assistant director) Karen, and some friends submitted a entry in's soap opera contest, a short film about Criehaven, a real-life Maine island (sometimes known as "Ragged Island") made up mostly of lobstering families. Finishing in the Top 5 of all submissions nationwide, Barry and Karen were asked to create a second episode, which they did, this one taking a more supernatural approach.

While "Ragged Isle" does not share a storyline with either of those SOAPnet entries, they do share DNA, with similar settings, many of the same actors, and a sheriff named Rick Dalton.  In addition, the first Criehaven short, like episode five of "Ragged Isle," takes place at a memorial service, featuring the same fireplace seen here, as well as actor Ian Carlsen wearing that same suit.  It's our nod to the project that started it all.

As for the conversation in the car between Deputy Dan and the sheriff, that scene was one of the first things I wrote for "Ragged Isle," unsure if we'd even use it and where it would go if we did.  I've written before about my affection for Deputy Dan's monologue about the scuba diver (an old urban legend also recounted in Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia), and I especially adore the way actors Erik Moody and Rick Dalton play off each other in this scene (not to mention Barry Dodd's masterful editing, which establishes exactly the right mood and pace).

One thing I love about "Ragged Isle" is that despite the shortness of individual episodes, we still find the time for moments like the one in the car, scenes that don't necessarily advance the plot but do help to establish characters and a certain tone.  It's that slow build toward the grisly discovery at episode's end that makes the sheriff's final comment work, I think.  Well, that and the fact that Rick completely nails the line.


  1. This is an incredible series. Barry Dodd and company are brilliant. I'm hooked.

  2. Thanks rouge! And thanks to Greg for the great scene in the car. It was a bitch to shoot but a wonderful light moment before we plunge into dark waters.

  3. I loved that conversation between Sheriff Dalton and Deputy Dan!