We don’t write about TV episodes a lot, however Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet is produced by online game writer Ubisoft, and it’s a considerate comedy a couple of fictional recreation studio. And it’s returning right now on the Apple TV+ subscription service with a particular episode dubbed Mythic Quest: Quarantine, which was written, filmed, and edited in quarantine.
Rob McElhenney, the co-creator, government producer, and co-star of the sequence, stated in a press briefing that the episode got here collectively in a matter of three weeks, with many of the writing executed in simply three days. The half-hour installment depicts what it’s like for the sport studio’s workers to make money working from home. And it’s going to hit dwelling for lots of recreation builders.
Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) and Ian (Rob McElhenney) wrestle with solitude, whereas Brad (Danny Pudi) and David (David Hornsby) begin a charitable competitors. Assistant Jo (Jessie Ennis) tries to elucidate video conferencing to C.W. (F. Murray Abraham) with combined outcomes.
I participated in a roundtable interview of McElhinney, after watching the quarantine episode.
To produce the episode, the forged and crew labored remotely in a number of areas throughout the nation. McElhenney stated his workforce consulted with Ubisoft to get real-world examples of recreation builders working from dwelling. The episode sheds mild on the problem of psychological wellness throughout lockdown, and it continues to straddle the dividing line between enterprise and artistic pursuits in a recreation studio.
McElhenney stated the workforce will resume engaged on season two for the present, which has been greenlit. The first season of 9 episodes debuted in February. I positively suppose this complete sequence is price a search for players and the sport trade. I recommend you watch the quarantine episode first and skim this afterward.
Here’s an edited transcript of our dialog.
Question: How shortly did this concept of a quarantine episode come collectively? What was one of many issues that you just needed to keep away from trope-wise when it got here to the story?
Rob McElhenney: Well, from conception to closing supply was three weeks. It was very quick. The motive we needed to try this was as a result of we clearly needed to drop it whereas we have been all on this shared expertise of being in quarantine, and we weren’t certain how lengthy that was going to be. It does seem to be it’s altering on an hourly foundation. We felt like we should always do the whole lot we will to get this out as shortly as attainable, and that’s what we did.
I believe that may have been troublesome, to drag that off beneath the perfect of circumstances. In these explicit circumstances I’d say it’s the toughest manufacturing I’ve ever been part of. But definitely it’s the episode of tv of which I’m most proud, due to the way in which that all of it got here collectively by the work and ingenuity of a complete crew of individuals all working remotely.
In phrases of the tropes that we needed to keep away from, we knew that we might take benefit, from a comedic standpoint, of a number of the interface jokes that you just have been simply going to get, as a result of it’s an inherently humorous option to talk with folks. However, we knew that we couldn’t simply do Zoom jokes for 25 minutes. That would get previous. It was already hacky by the point we began writing, as a result of there had been a bunch of different exhibits that had already come on, SNL included, that did an awesome job proper off the bat going stay and exploiting that comedy. We thought, “Great, they did it, it was funny. Let’s figure out a way in which we can nod to that, but then tell an actual emotional narrative.”
Above: Rob McElhenney, the star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, performs Ian in Mythic Quest.
Question: The episode speaks quite a bit to the psychological well being toll that quarantine is taking over many individuals. Why was that essential so that you can deal with?
McElhenney: We knew we might do one thing humorous, and that may–I’m not saying that may essentially be simple, however we knew we might obtain that, as a result of as I discussed, the interface itself, the scenario itself, and the forged of actors that we’ve got, we all know that we might generate one thing humorous. But we additionally felt like if we had this platform and this chance, might we inform a narrative that, at worst, brings a way of levity and humor to folks’s lives for 25 minutes? But at finest, might make folks really feel much less alone, which I believe tv at its finest–tales at their finest have the flexibility to try this. I do know they do this for me.
It’s been fascinating to me, how typically I’ll get a textual content, a tweet, an e-mail, an Instagram submit from somebody saying that they’ve been spending their quarantine watching Sunny, and thanks for the 14 seasons of episodes that simply makes them snort. “When things seem darkest, I know I can turn on this silly show and it’ll bring me some modicum of joy and humor for 22 minutes.” At finest, these are the sorts of issues we will do. Why not use that platform to the perfect of our potential to do it?
Question: When I used to be watching this, all I might suppose was, “Is this the future of Hollywood?” Are exhibits, for at the least the following 12 months, and even previous that, going to be recorded from actors’ properties? Do you’re feeling that’s truly going to occur, that perhaps you’re a bit forward of the sport from standpoint?
McElhenney: The reality of the matter is we shot the whole lot on the iPhone. At the danger of sounding like a business for Apple, we couldn’t have executed it with out the expertise of that firm and people telephones. This shouldn’t be hyperbolic to say. It’s the reality. The digital camera in the newest iPhone is healthier than the digital camera we shot Sunny season 10 on. It collects extra data than we have been in a position to do in Sunny season 11 as properly. The potential for us to do that is each technologically based mostly, however then additionally simply easy human ingenuity and stick-to-it-iveness, and need to make one thing nice beneath not-so-ideal circumstances.
I hope that this isn’t the way forward for Hollywood. I hope that we will be again collectively working once more on sound phases. But I simply don’t know. Anybody that pretends to know shouldn’t be paying consideration. From my perspective, I at all times need to give you a plan and be prepared for the worst- and best-case eventualities, however on the similar time we’ve got to be respectful of what the scenario is, the specialists and the folks on the market who do that for a dwelling. As a tv author, I’m not a type of folks, and I respect science and scientists. I’m going to take heed to them.
Question: I used to be curious if you happen to spoke to any online game builders on how they’re coping with quarantine. If so, who did you discuss to, and what did you be taught?
McElhenney: Our manufacturing accomplice on the present is Ubisoft, which is among the largest recreation builders on the planet. When we have been speaking about the opportunity of coming again and doing a little type of episode in quarantine, we first reached out to Jason Altman, who’s an government producer on the present and works for Ubisoft. We stated, “Hey, can we spend a couple hours talking about what’s going on? How are people navigating through this?”
As everyone knows, persons are at dwelling, they usually’re watching tv, watching motion pictures, and enjoying video video games in report numbers. It’s one factor for a tv sequence to be up and operating. All that work has been executed. Now it’s nearly upkeeping Hulu or Netflix. But the online game trade, they need to nonetheless determine methods by which they’ll maintain these servers up and operating with new content material and gamers regularly signing on in report numbers. How do they do this remotely? How are they navigating that? What toll is it taking over these folks? These are all of the areas that we needed to delve into within the episode.
Above: Charlotte Nicdao performs Poppy the software program chief in Mythic Quest.
Question: One of the issues I like in regards to the present is the dynamic between the characters. When you have been filming all of the completely different areas, was it troublesome to nonetheless have that witty dynamic? How have been you in a position to painting that just about?
McElhenney: That was tough. What winds up taking place is you understand stuff you by no means considered earlier than, which is how a lot of our communication is predicated on us being in the identical room collectively. Whether that be non-verbal cues or simply the nuances that you may solely choose up from an individual while you’re in the identical room with them. Those are the issues we needed to navigate.
Again, I nonetheless suppose that, for no matter motive, we have been in a position to push by that and have a sure degree of connection. We couldn’t see one another. None of the actors have been in a position to see one another. We have been wanting immediately into the cameras. But we might hear one another. There was one thing about not having the ability to see them, however having the ability to hear them, that made it a bit extra intimate. It’s arduous to elucidate.
We’re all on these teleconferencing calls all day lengthy, and there’s one thing eerie, uncanny valley about all of it. You’re not likely in a room with somebody. Just as a result of you possibly can see them, it doesn’t imply you’re feeling that connection. But we’re used to speaking to folks on the telephone. Everyone that’s alive proper now has been alive for the reason that introduction of the phone. We have a body of reference for that, whereas we don’t with this teleconferencing. It’s nonetheless odd to us, or at the least to my lizard mind. For us to have the ability to talk with each other simply listening to the sound of our voices, for some motive it helps click on. Certainly emotionally, if not comedically.
Question: How did you determine easy methods to schedule this episode as a one-off, versus one thing that may have been a part of the second season? How a lot thought went into that half?
McElhenney: An amazing quantity of thought, however it needed to occur shortly. From conception to closing supply was three weeks. We wrote it in about three days. The manufacturing on it, as soon as we truly received capturing, was not that troublesome, however the prep work that it took to schedule the whole lot was probably the most troublesome half. We needed to get three iPhones per actor to every actor in a secure, authorized, and sterile manner. We then needed to add two very particular items of software program to these telephones. We needed to stroll them by easy methods to function all of the settings, each audio and video. We needed to do location scouting just about, of their properties, to seek out the precise locations and instances of day to shoot. We needed to do complete tutorials on sound, as a result of folks stay in properties with hardwood flooring or concrete flooring or excessive ceilings, and the echo, which you don’t hear on a standard foundation, sounds terrible while you report it.
These are all of the varieties of challenges we confronted, all whereas additionally asking them to carry out and talk with different numerous members of the crew. All with out leaving our properties. Nobody left their properties apart from me, and I left for one explicit scene the place I used to be strolling exterior, however then I simply walked proper again onto my property and into my storage, and the particular person on the opposite finish of that specific change shouldn’t be me, in order that’s a physique double. That physique double is Charlotte’s real-life husband, who shouldn’t be an actor by the way in which. He instantly forgot easy methods to stand like a human being.
He might hear me, as a result of we have been all speaking by these earbuds, and I used to be saying, “Okay, just stand there.” All of a sudden he forgot to do what you’re imagined to do along with your arms while you stand as a human being. He began to type of elevate up on this robotic manner. I used to be like, “Stop, just stand!” The poor man was such a trooper, as a result of he’s not an actor. He has no expertise doing this, and rapidly he’s not solely appearing, however he’s pretending to be me. He’s a 6 toes 2 inch, 200-pound Australian man, and I’m not. He’s received me in his ear telling him easy methods to stand. Those sorts of issues have been a tad dicey.