Zac Hug is a television writer and essayist. Zac was a staff writer for season five of Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva. He is the creator and writer of These People, a web series with Jim Rash, Keith Powell, and Carolyn Hennesy. Zac has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and a BFA in Theatre from NYU. His short film All Kinds of Time recently won an audience award at the San Francisco Disposable Film Festival. Play productions include Freaking Out in the 2005 Breedingground New York Spring Fever Festival (directed by Evan Cabnet), and The Burden of Sunflowers in the 2000 New York Fringe Festival and the 2003 Williamstown Theatre Festival Workshop. Having spent many years as a Digital Media Executive for Bravo, The View, and ABC Family, Zac continues to work as a part time digital media consultant, and continues to take suggestions for any other word we can collectively get behind other than “content.” He lives in Los Angeles with an old-lady housecat named Katherine.
Want to see more of Zac? Keep scrolling to the bottom of the page. You’ll find a video where he graciously answers my most ridiculous questions and you’ll find out what he was eating in 2007.
What first inspired that spark that made you want to write?
I was a pretty dramatic kid, and that really hasn’t ebbed much. Honestly, I think the spark came from cartoons, and particularly spin-off cartoons. That the Jetsons existed in the same universe as the Flintstones was a pretty revolutionary thing to me when I was little. And then I grew up and it happened again with Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. I thought it meant I wanted to be an actor, and then when I started acting I thought, “Nope, I’d rather make the words the people say,” and that’s what I’ve been doing since. I grew up around gifted conversationalists and smart storytellers, and so I’m pretty sure that helped.
What kind of stories are you drawn to write about?
I like family stories, and in particular when families are challenged to pull themselves together. I like stories about unlikely heroes who choose their stakes out of the greater good. In a lot of writing, we get this question about stakes where everything has to be personal for main characters: “Well, sure she wants to find and stop the killer, but is it because the killer is after her family?” I think there’s value in the main character wanting to stop the killer because there is a killer. I like characters who look for that kind of thing because it’s the right thing to do. I’m good with having a personal stake in it, but I really like a well-told story that’s about a larger value.
Is there a genre or type of story that you haven’t explored yet that you would like to?
I watch a lot of magical realism and science fiction television, and I haven’t yet cracked how to write something in either of those genres. It makes me crazy because every time I try, I go so far afield that I just wish someone would tell me where the boundaries are. I like rules. I like knowing where I can and can’t go in a story. I admire people who can do it so much, so now I’m trying to really dive in.
What are you currently working on and where can people find you?
I’m in the midst of a web series called These People. You can find the first two seasons at www.thesepeople.tv. It’s the very best thing I’ve done and I recommend it [writing a web series] for anyone who wants to write scripts. It’s a very immediate process that survives only if you work at it in real time. It’s taught me to think on my feet in a way that simply writing it could never have done.
Francine Cunningham is the social media executive for the UBC Creative Writing Alumni Association. What does that mean exactly? She is on the Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads accounts and our blog, posting information about our alumni, events and news. She also runs this interview series Alumni Interviews and loves being able to get to know the people who make this association what it is. For more information about Francine and her writing find her at www.francinecunningham.ca.