Tim Kring, the writer and producer for the television event series event Dig, arrived at the University of California, Santa Barbara on Thursday, May 12 to talk about his experiences in the ten episode miniseries, as well as previous shows such as Heroes. Kring came as part of the Pollock Theater’s Tele-Talk series, in which an episode of a television show is screened followed by a Q&A with a key figure of the show.
Kring is a UCSB alumnus who graduated with a Religious Studies degree with a focus on Judaic Studies. He spoke about the origins of Dig being a collaboration with fellow creator Gideon Raff, who was unable to make it to the event.
They aired the pilot episode for the series which focuses on an FBI agent named Peter Connelly (Jason Isaacs) who is stationed in Jerusalem and gets caught in the middle of an investigation involving the death of an archaeologist (Alison Sudol) and the dig site she’d been investigating. The season was designed to be the first event series of a franchise, similar to American Horror Story.
When Kring was asked about the production of the series by moderator Professor Joshua Moss, Kring replied that Raff helped with creating a two page treatment. From the start they wanted to create a show that had on-location shooting. Kring liked the idea of working in Jerusalem because it is a city where “the three major religions of the world live together.”
Kring went on to talk about one of his previous shows, Heroes. He described his realization that as a writer, he liked to use the theme of global interconnectivity in his stories. With Dig, Kring achieves a similar theme with the plot of Peter Connelly connecting with the story of a cult in New Mexico and a red heifer in Norway. They are all interconnected, and there’s a plan for when they finally meet.
He then described the difficulty in creating the show as executives in network television, at the time, were not accustomed to serialized television. Prior to shows like Heroes, and Lost, television was a dominated by episodic series, as is notable in 90s sitcom television such as Friends. But with the advent of new media, “anything could be a TV idea, you just need to find your specific audience and network.” He refers to internet sources such as Amazon and Netflix as new media which has helped in creating a new form of television.
Kring ended the discussion by giving tips to aspiring writers and how to get into the industry. “If you want to write for television, you’ve probably heard this before, but you gotta write.” He also described writing for serialized television similar to “driving home from the airport at night.” What he means is that you may have an end or an idea in sight for the future, but it’s going to take some figuring out and always asking yourself “what happens next?”
The Carsey-Wolf Center will host one more event in the Pollock Theater on May 26, 2016. It will be a screening of the film Cemetery of Splendor, from Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, followed by a post-screening Q&A by Film and Media Studies Professor Naoki Yamamoto. The event is free but seating must be reserved.