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Web series: 'Ragged Isle' a mysterious place to visit

"The island is drawing near, this lonely place where I will face death and find love, both for the first time."  Vicki Burke
"The island is drawing near, this lonely place where I will face death and find love, both for the first time." Vicki Burke
The Entertainment Experiment

“Ragged Isle” is an award-winning dramatic web series set on a remote island in Maine that is full of mysterious and quirky residents. “Ragged Isle” (http://www.raggedisle.com/) and its residents share a dark past that newcomer Vicki Burke (Meghan Benton) begins to unravel.

We caught up with Barry Dodd who, with his wife Karen, created “Ragged Isle.”

Flo DiBona: Thank you for your time Barry. You are ending “Ragged Isle,” in this coming season, is there any chance you may revisit it one day?

Barry Dodd: A year ago I would have given you a definite no! But being this close to the end of the story, who knows? There's a myriad of different tales that could be explored on that little island. At this point I can tell you there aren't any plans at all for more but you never know. If the idea was strong enough and the funding was there to make it awesome then maybe. Anything is possible.

FD: What gave you the idea for “Ragged Isle”?

BD: The idea came to us early on. A few years before we made “Ragged Isle,” Soapnet had a contest that called on college kids to make an online soap idea. The winner would get to pitch their idea to ABC execs and there was a cash prize to shoot a pilot. My wife Karen, co-writer Jacob Lear, myself and a group of talented friends decided to enter the contest. We decided to play up the existing spooky Maine thing and crafted an entry that took place on a remote island in Maine. A few of “Ragged Isle's” stars were actually cast way back then for that project including Meghan Benton, Ian Carlsen, Erik Moody, Sebastian Carlsen and our Sheriff and co-writer Rick Dalton. We didn't end up winning but we did make it to the top five in the country. We had a really fun time making it and had lots of dreams about what we'd pitch to the execs if we actually won. Fast forward a couple years and Karen and I were watching a DVD of “Dark Shadows” one night (an early inspiration for our series) and I turned to her and asked if she'd like to do something with that idea we came up with for that contest. We agreed that it would be fun to do and so we brought Jake and Rick back and added the super talented writer Greg Tulonen to round out the writing team. We threw around all the crazy ideas we could think of for something weird to happen on an island and settled on the story of "The Elders" as we call them. It's a mixture of “Twin Peaks” and “Dark Shadows” and “The X-Files” with a dash of Stephen King.

FD: Did you think the series would garner the awards it has received, the accolades, and such a cult following?

BD: Heck no! We came into the web series world not really knowing what to expect. The response to our work has been truly wonderful. The best part is the fans and friends we've made who are traveling along with us as we finish out this story together.

FD: What about more web series, are there more in store for your fans?

BD: I can safely say “Ragged Isle” won't be the last web series from Karen and I. Also there are other members of our cast and crew who are popping up in other Maine-made web series. Keep an eye out for Benjamin S. Row (Agent Murphy) in the comedy series "The NPC" and our head writer Greg Tulonen will be directing his first series this summer called "Banky Reed and the Passage to the Edge of Space." I'm pretty sure Rick Dalton will be starring in that series as well. Both of those shows will be available to see on the online network we built to showcase Maine digital storytellers. We call it “The Entertainment Experiment.” (www.entertainmentexperiment.com) I'd say Karen and I are currently considering several awesome ideas for web series and short films. We're just at the very beginning of our film making journey together. I hope fans of “Ragged Isle” will check out whatever we end up doing next!

FD: Do you think it is an advantage or disadvantage to produce a web series in Maine versus Los Angeles or NYC where there are far more resources readily available?

BD: I can't speak for any state other than Maine but the tough, resourceful, and cooperative spirit here makes it a perfect place to produce independent web series.

FD: Barry, thank you so much for sharing your time with our readers. We wish you the best with your next project and look forward to much more to come from you.

BD: Well, thank you and your readers for supporting this and other web series. We all truly appreciate the fans and friends who are interested in our art and are willing to walk alongside us on this creative journey.