From the moment Ragged Isle came on the webseries scene, Scifi fans were hooked! What's hidden in the forbidden North End of the Isle and why are residents dropping like flies? Apparently the term 'alien invasion' isn't too far fetched if you've been following this hit series. Those interested in other-worldly suspense thrillers have not been disappointed!
Now that the show has finished their mid-season, the final chapter begun, I spoke with creators Barry and Karen Dodd about their experience in producing this supernatural drama.
Many were happy upon its' return following a very long hiatus, why the long wait? Simply put after two years completely immersed in producing Ragged Isle, things that that were on the back burner took priority after such a long stretch of time. "A lot of things pile up when you are moving from one stage of production to another with no real break between and working second jobs in addition to your full-time ones to help pay for it", Barry explained.
Fans may not realize how much work goes into a show like this, while the script is definitely important, it's all of the moving parts within that demand great attention to detail. In retrospect both Barry and Karen are amazed at how much they accomplished with such a large scale production for a small crew. "There were too many cast members, too many locations, too many scenes, too many props, too many seemingly impossible challenges, and too few crew. Somehow, we made it through. We broke it down piece by piece and made it happen. I have no idea how we did that but I’m sure glad we did. So many curve balls were thrown at us but we just rolled with it."
Ragged Isle is definitely well-ensconced in the SciFi-Thriller genre, so it wasn't too surprising Barry's inspirations were "X-Files", "Dark Shadows" and "Twin Peaks", all mythology-based serials. "We were inspired by shows that created mood, atmosphere, sense of place, interesting pacing, cleverness, and heart." Produced in Maine, the backdrop is like another character on its' own, adding lots of mystic and a beautiful canvass to paint on. Barry added, "It all came down to the idea that we would create something that we wanted to watch."
While Barry and crew grappled with the technical aspects of each shoot, Assistant Director and Producer Karen played bad cop to Barry's good. Charged with some of the more mundane tasks like planning, scheduling, location hunting, budgeting, time-management to keep the project on track, costumes, props, etc. , she prefers it. As to her role within the ranks, it was her job to oversee the day-to-day operation. "Really just making sure that everyone was where they were supposed to be at the right time, with the right script, costume, hair and make-up, and that they were fed and we got all the shots needed." Although many dislike these aspects of production, Karen loves it so had no problem taking the reins behind-the-scenes.
As fans re-embraced the premiere of the final season appropriately released on Halloween, it's bittersweet for the cast and crew who though well-prepared for the end, are taking it all in stride. All are proud of the accomplishments, thrilled the show found an audience. Barry described his feelings about the experience. "It’s been a wild ride and I’m sure it’ll continue to be for a while yet. I think a built in end like this is nice. No one is surprised that this is the end. It has been planned and explained that way from the beginning."
In the huge undertaking that Ragged Isle was, there are many things the small crew learned along the way. For those thinking about creating their own webseries, Barry passed along his new-found wisdom, "Don’t do everything yourself, extreme attention to detail is crucial, and organizing piles of pre-production information with grids is my favorite. More important than all of that, though, is that people love cookies and other tasty treats. If you cannot pay, then feed them well."
One of the most important factors in creating an award-winning webseries is the script. If the writing isn't there, don't expect too much success. Kudos to Head Writer Greg Tulonen and the entire writing team tasked with keeping the mythology- mission accomplished ten-fold! In reviewing the entire series, the continuity is flawless, execution well thought out and not a detail overlooked. As a mythology fanatic (huge XFiles fan), the team is acutely aware that viewers love to dissect, are willing take the plunge to into dark waters and devote their time to theory upon theory as plots unfold. It really makes a difference when you have a creator/crew that genuinely loves the genre, understands what it is to be a fan of it, how to hook an audience and keep them there. This is why fans were willing to return with fervor for the final season after such a long absence.
As the show's final curtain looms, what does Barry and company hope fans take from the series conclusion? "We’ve been working towards this moment since January 2010. Let’s just hope the fans enjoy what we have in store and are still speaking to us once the dust settles."
In a sea of mediocre web based serials, Ragged Isle stands high above the rest. Special thanks to the entire cast and crew of Ragged Isle for giving fans a very unique, macabre, compelling, nail-biting, theory digging, award-winning webseries all could sink their teeth into!
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