DAYBREAK begins with a wild vehicle chase – not too surprising, as it’s directed by 24 veteran Jon Cassar – then flashes back to show us how Ben (Ryan Eggold), living in a mobile home park after turning his back on conventional success, gets entangled in a web that involves his late father, a twelve-sided dodecahedron and a secret society. The far-reaching themes are a hallmark of DAYBREAK’s co-creator/executive producer Tim Kring (TOUCH, HEROES).
What is most unusual about DAYBREAK, with its high production values and pedigree on both sides of the camera – besides Eggold (ENTOURAGE, 90210), stars include Michael O’Keefe (THE GREAT SANTINI, TOO BIG TO FAIL) Sarah Roemer (THE EVENT, DISTURBIA), Ryan McPartlin (CHUCK), Eugene Byrd (BONES), James Kyson Lee (HEROES), Frank John Hughes (24) and Shannon Lucio (THE CHICAGO CODE) – is that it isn’t made by or for a television network. Instead, the five-part DAYBREAK premiered on the Internet on Thursday, May 31 and all five episodes have been rolling out at DAYBREAK2012.com The project is sponsored by AT&T.
At the DAYBREAK premiere party, executive producer Kring took time to talk with ASSIGNMENT X about working for the Web.
ASSIGNMENT X: Is working for AT&T different than working for a network, if it is different?
TIM KRING: Well, I’ve got to tell you, the collaboration has been really easy, because [on DAYBREAK] we baked the idea of what the brand was into the narrative so early on. In terms of how it’s different, I mean, they’re not in the business of making [television]. There are certainly not as many notes. They’re interested mostly in how the brand is being [presented]. So it did free us up a little in terms of that, but what’s interesting is the pace of the storytelling, of the filmmaking. We made it on a television pilot schedule, the crew from TOUCH pretty much worked on it. So it felt in an odd way like we were just doing another episode of television. But yeah, there’s no network – there’s not the layers [of people offering opinions] that you have [at a network].
AX: Does Fox give a lot of notes on TOUCH?
KRING: No, the truth is, working with Fox has been collaborative. But it’s a different [situation]. There have been no problems.
AX: So you’re going about making DAYBREAK pretty much the way you’d go about making television?
KRING: Yeah. We treated it that way. We [story] boarded it in the same way you would an episode of television, just because it’s what we knew how to do, and the only thing that’s really different is how people are consuming it
AX: Did you suggest Jon Cassar to direct DAYBREAK, did they want Jon Cassar because he was already working with you, or because he’d worked on 24, or both?
KRING: It was one of those amazing coincidences. I was literally working with Jon on TOUCH when his agents somehow told him that he was on a short list of people that were being considered for this through BBDO, who had put together a list, and so as soon as I saw his name on the list that they put together, I said, “Well, this seems to be kismet [laughs] – I’m actually working with him right now on the set of TOUCH.”
AX: Now, is one of the reasons that AT&T came to you is because you had the experience with HEROES of doing Webisodes and comic books and other ancillary tie-ins?
KRING: I think that was one of the reasons why BBDO, [AT&T’s advertising] agency, approached me about it, that they wanted to do a trans-media approach, and because of HEROES, because of CONSPIRACY FOR GOOD, they’d seen that I’d involved myself and had a kind of passion for this, so it was I think an easy fit. And then AT&T was our main sponsor on TOUCH.
AX: What’s CONSPIRACY FOR GOOD?
KRING: It was the largest multi-platform narrative ever done, a hundred and thirty of us in five countries over eighteen months to make this thing. And it very much has this theme [of TOUCH and DAYBREAK] as well. And I think it’s an issue that I’m very interested in. I worked on it for a year-and-a-half. It’s a narrative that you slide yourself into and become a part of the narrative, and in becoming part of the narrative, you help to create something positive in the [real] world. We did the pilot [in summer 2010] in London and as a result of the narrative that we did in London, we built and stocked five libraries in Eastern Zambia, gave fifty scholarships away to schoolgirls and stocked it with ten thousand books raised by the participants. So it was a great narrative that promotes and helps create positive changes.
AX: Was this filmed as a documentary?
KRING: It went out on mobile platforms. It started out as an alternate reality game online that moved into mobile content and then ended up on the streets of London on four consecutive weekends, with up to forty actors [doing] interactive street theatre.
AX: How does the performance help get books into the libraries in Zambia?
KRING: Well, there’s a villain, an evil multinational corporation called Blackwell Briggs, that had been blocking the building of this library in Zambia, and we had to take down this evil bad guy. And when we did that, it made way for these funds that were donated by companies like Nokia for the building of these libraries. So your participation in it actually helps. Now it’s a fiction, obviously, so there was a fait accompli that was going to happen whether you participated or not, but you got to participate in taking down this bad guy.
AX: So the bad guy is fictional, but the good guys and the books are real?
KRING: Yes. And one of our slogans was, “Make it real.” In other words, it wasn’t real, but in doing it, we made it real. In other words, there was no such thing as a conspiracy for good until we created it. And by doing it, there really was a conspiracy for good. It was a project that was very dear to my heart, and I’m very interested in using narrative to create positive change. And in some small way, putting messages of interconnectivity and global consciousness into the world is part of that continuum.
AX: That seems to feed perfectly into DAYBREAK. As far as the ancillary aspects of DAYBREAK, besides the Webisodes themselves, what else is there?
KRING: The big thing is the apps. We’re running an app that you can download that gives you a whole tool kit to interact with the narrative – image recognition technology that allows you to find stickers and different things that are posted out in the real world, where if you aim this app at it through your phone, it will unlock information. You have audio frequency decoders, you have all these ways to interact with the narrative, so that the Easter eggs that we’re laying out there for people can be found. There’s also content all across the Web with little YouTube videos that are placed into different places, so that if you are a viewer who wants to have a deeper participation with this narrative, you can take a pretty deep dive and really spend a lot of time in that world.
AX: When you say it’s out in the real world, where is it placed in the real world?
KRING: If you’re in a major city, we’re putting stickers up all over the place. But there are also ways to use that image recognition thing on your computer, so that when you find things on different parts of the Web, you can emulate that same idea by aiming your phone at that. But the truth is, this content is going to be leaked out in a linear way, so that between the episodes that come out every Thursday night, you’ll be able to have other things that you can do that engage you into the narrative.
AX: If you don’t play with the apps and you still want to watch DAYBREAK, will it still make sense?
KRING: Yes. You’ll have a completely whole experience. If you play with [the apps] and engage in the [DAYBREAK Webisodes], you will have a deeper experience. We did much the same thing with HEROES. We always had a rule that you were not penalized for not knowing about the trans-media, digital extensions of the show, but if you did know about them, your experience was enhanced. I always put it this way, that if your fandom of the show is based on how much you know, then you’re cooler than the guy next to you, because you know one more thing than he does [laughs].
AX: Did you suggest any of the apps that go with DAYBREAK?
KRING: No. We worked with an incredibly talented group out of Sweden called North Kingdom that BBD&O had worked with before and they showed me their website and I was blown away by their stuff. But the narrative itself, when we were talking about the story, started to dictate what we wanted this app to do. The app [within the DAYBREAK story] is ostensibly the product of these hackers, an anonymous group called the Jack Boxers. And so it has a real hacker look and feel to it, and the idea of the app is to be able to hack things and to decode. So it has a cool, toolkit quality to it. Their symbol is the jack in the box and they call themselves Jack Boxers. Because they unlock things that are hidden inside the box.
AX: Are you talking with AT&T about doing any apps for TOUCH?
KRING: Not yet, but that’s an idea that we are certainly considering, because I really feel, the first season was a very hard show to produce, and [it was] a first-season show. [When a show is in its first season], the network doesn’t know whether it’s going to work or not, so investing in a lot of the ancillary stuff often doesn’t come until the second season. So now that we have a second season, we can really start to explore how to have a deeper, more engaged relationship with the audience that goes beyond just watching the show when it’s on the air.
AX: How does DAYBREAK overlap with TOUCH?
KRING: We took a key element of DAYBREAK and rolled it into TOUCH. We started in Episode Ten of the first season – our only season so far – and we introduced this twelve-sided shape of the dodecahedron. We introduced it through the character of Jake [David Mazouz] and his fascination with it. Clearly, it holds some sort of mystery for him, some allure, a sort of a magnetic pull that he’s drawn to it. We then tell you that Danny Glover’s character had been using it to try and decipher what people like Jake would be capable of. In the season finale, you see that that shape gets elevated, so I think the viewers of TOUCH will be very curious as to what is the meaning of that form. Why is it elevated in this way in the show? And then we introduced the app in the show on a phone, so we see the app. AT&T then has a commercial that sends you to DAYBREAK. And in DAYBREAK, you watch the story of this dodecahedron. It’s at the center of it – it’s the Maguffin that is the core piece – so if you have curiosity [about] what that shape is and why is Jake interested in it, then DAYBREAK answers a lot of the questions.
The dodecahedron is a very mythic shape. If you look it up on Google, there are endless reams of information about it. In ancient Greece, you could be put to death for even mentioning the word “dodecahedron” – it was meant to have that much power. So there is a precedent for it being, throughout history, this kind of mythical shape.
AX: Is Fox open to having TOUCH/DAYBREAK crossovers?
KRING: It weaves into the second season, but the truth is, the show ended and those fans now have hopefully five weeks of content that at least has some tangential tie to the world of TOUCH, and I think that that’s a very valuable thing, if AT&T can reach an audience that may not be on Fox and may not be watching TOUCH, and if we can cross-pollinate with them and get viewers from this content, then I think it’s a win-win, and so I don’t see why Fox wouldn’t relish that idea. Plus, AT&T was a really valuable partner and sponsor of TOUCH this year. They were the main sponsor of the show, so that relationship was already very committed.
AX: Might characters from DAYBREAK show up on TOUCH?
KRING: I think that’s a distinct possibility. Especially after being in the editing room [for DAYBREAK], seeing these actors and realizing that we cast this thing really, really well. I have a feeling that our TOUCH audience would love to see some of these characters.
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Article Source:Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview with TOUCH creator Tim Kring on the DAYBREAK TV series