Wednesday, May 11, 2011

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

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

WARNING: The rest of this post will contain spoilers for the entire season, so don't read any further if you haven't watched every first season episode.

At a very early writers' group meeting, back in January of 2010, we decided that we wanted the first season of "Ragged Isle" to climax at a lobster festival. We weren't sure what was going to happen, but we knew it was going to be catastrophic, involving several deaths.

A couple of problems presented themselves almost immediately:

1) How were we going to stage a lobster festival? I mean, we all have friends, but could we entice hundreds of friends to show up for a fake lobster fest? Probably not, but...

2) Could we convince a real lobster festival to let us shoot there if we had several characters dropping dead amid the crowd? Probably not, but...

What if we combined 1) and 2), shooting footage at a real lobster festival, but also staging a fake festival at another location on another day for the gaudier mayhem we had in mind.

And that is what we did. In August, Barry and some of our actors headed up to the Rockland Lobster Festival to get some authentic festival footage. A Tarot card reader at the festival was nice enough to let actress Kat Morrison (Madame Clelia) sit in her booth long enough for Barry to get some shots of her. And April Joy Purinton (Rachel Moody) got to do her spooky zombie shuffle through authentic festival crowds.

Then in September, we all headed down to Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth to stage our "fake" lobster festival, to be intercut with footage from the real deal. That day was not without difficulties, but we persevered, guided by the cool professionalism of Karen and Barry.

More than any other episode this season, I think, this one was really found in editing. If you pay attention to the dialogue, you'll notice there isn't that much. And when bad things start to happen, they happen very, very quickly. The script as written was only three or four pages, which usually translates into about three or four minutes of screentime. But Barry crafted a ten-minute episode out of the footage he shot. Bravo, dude.

A note on cliffhangers. Cliffhangers can be frustrating, can't they? But we're asking you to trust us that we know where this is going. We're only half-way through our story, and there is so much more story to tell. We can't wait to share the rest with you.


  1. Hey Greg! We just finished season one! High Five.

  2. High five, Barry! Can't wait to jump into season two with you. (But get some rest, first.)

  3. Wow!!! OK, I'm hooked enough to hold out until season two. BUT HURRY UP!!!!! ;-)

  4. Adam K├╝ykendallMay 13, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    Keep up the great work!

    This is quite an undertaking and I look forward to following the story all the way to the end.

    Congrats on your first season and I look forward to the next.

  5. Adam, it was a huge undertaking for sure. We're stretching our legs and getting ready for the next marathon. Thanks for following our series. We appreciate your interest. See you in a year!

  6. Hi, I'm fairly new to Ragged Isle. In fact, I vacation on Matinicus and have been since the early seventies, so I'm familiar with the real "Ragged Isle" a/k/a Criehaven. (Also noticed a familiar face from Matinicus - Hi Susan!!) I also know a woman from Peak's Island, so I can relate to the setting in this series. So far I'm intrigued by the story. It's always good and creepy to involve a part of the island that is "off limits", plus there are all sorts of marine myths that can come into play here. So I'm totally tuning in for season two. Don't know if you're looking for constructive criticism or not, but as is my nature, I'll give it anyway. First I'll comment on what I liked the best. The camera shots, angles, and such were very good. I definitely felt a sense of despair, or anticipation or shock (depending on the desired effect) and a lot of that was invoked by the camera shots alone. I wasn't too crazy about some of the acting though, which I do understand for a small budget it probably is difficult to find good actors. Actually, as I'm writing this, I think the acting gets a little better. Maybe it was just a matter of the actors getting used to acting. I'm interested to see how that goes in the second season. This series also reminds me a lot of the TV mini-series "Harper's Island" but your program has more a seemingly paranormal twist to look forward too. We all need a little "Twilight Zone" in our lives and we haven't had much since the "X-Files"!! =) The music is interesting...some music is great and sets the mood quite well, while other music seems distracting. BUT, all that said It's a pretty darned good show. Looking forward to all that's yet to come. Good luck and hope you all have a fun time! I'll be thinking of this while I'm on Matinicus this summer....was actually thinking of taking in a few days of camping on Criehaven...maybe we'll have to venture to the north end of the island and check it out!!! ;)

  7. Many thanks for your feedback, and for the time and energy you've devoted to watching and thinking about the show. (Tell your friends!)

    Susan has some great stuff coming next season. Stay tuned!

  8. Thanks for commenting Jody! It's always special when we hear from islanders who have found our series and enjoyed it. Very glad you are picking up on the X-Files stuff. Wait until season two!!!

    This project has been a labor of love for all of us involved. We are very proud of our series and the cast and crew that have devoted their time and energy to our project for free. We couldn't have done it without them.

    If you do travel to the north end please take a friend, and make sure that friend is who you think they are!