While the co-creators of “Mythic Quest” doubted that there would be support for filming an episode during the coronavirus pandemic, they presented it as a creative choice, not a limitation – and this appealed to Apple.
“Mythic Quest” will return for a single special episode on quarantine, which was filmed remotely using only iPhones. This episode occurred while the creators of the series were trying to rewrite the scripts of the unfinished season 2.
McElhenney, who also plays the main character in the series, presented the concept of the episode to Apple with low hopes of success. Apple embraced the concept, reacting quickly, even providing iPhones and other relevant equipment to actors and staff the same afternoon.
The pitch of the episode was simple – cover how it affects the fictitious company and its employees, each of whom goes through various relatable situations. Sketches, including difficulties with teleconferences, characters breaking through their forties and even a donation plot, were launched.
Three weeks later, an entirely designed episode shot remotely with 40 iPhones and 20 sets of AirPods was released. Apple was so impressed with the episode that they plan to submit it for an Emmy.
During the creation process, the cast and the team made the donations real. They raised $ 300,000 from the cast and crew, who were matched by Rob McElhenney and his wife, Kaitlin Olson. The donation is made to the NGO Mercy Corps.
The idea was originally to ask viewers to donate, but Megan Ganz had a different approach instead. “It wouldn’t be cool if we did all of this with a donation,” suggested Ganz, “and at the end of the episode, it was like this money was given”? And that’s exactly what they did.
Zoom and iPhones were used to film the episode
While McElhenney took inspiration from the specials created by “SNL” and “Parks and Recreation”, he wanted to make sure they weren’t making the same jokes and the same motif. Ganz had actually filmed a television episode using only Apple products before, the 2015 episode of “Modern Family” which took three whole months to assemble. The methodology used to film the episode “Mythic Quest” however accelerated production, each actor using three iPhones to film a scene.
For the scenes where the actors would use their laptop webcams, they placed an iPhone in the laptop to film using this camera. The actors produced scenes by speaking directly to each other via AirPods.
The co-creators say having an episode about the coronavirus and quarantine also makes it real in the fictional show. “The whole world has changed,” says McElhenny. “When we are back up and running – and we don’t know when it’s going to happen – it’s an office environment and we’ll have to figure out what an office will look like. None of us know that yet.”
The episode “Mythic Quest: Quarantine” is scheduled to air on May 22 on Apple TV +.