Recently Gareth von Kallenbach was able to speak with Writer/Producer Megan Ganz about her new series on Apple TV+, series Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet.
MN: Mythic Quest is such an original idea, where did the inspiration come from?
Ubisoft approached Rob with a desire to create a sitcom in the video game space. He went up to Montreal to visit their studio and decided that it would make a great setting for a workplace comedy. He and Charlie developed the idea, and then brought me on board since I had been working with them on Sunny for a couple seasons.
MN: Did you have any previous interest in video game development?
I didn’t know anything about it. I played video games when I was younger, but that dropped off after college. It’s been a real treat to get to return to playing games again, because now I can call it research. Also, I have a much greater appreciation for the games now that I know more about the process of making them.
MN: Did you reach out to any game studios while creating the pilot? If so do you continue to reach out to them for additional plot themes?
Ubisoft have been our partners since the beginning, and they were always in the writers room and heavily involved. They also introduced us to a variety of people working in the field — many from other studios — so we could research the monetization, design, writing and other departments. But we’re most reliant on Ubisoft’s help when it comes to writing the technical dialogue that Poppy uses. I don’t understand half of what she says, but that’s why we need our experts!
GVK: How would you compare/contrast working on this series to what you do for Community and Modern Family?
Well, I hope that by now I know what I’m doing, because I certainly didn’t on Community. That was my first gig and I spent a lot of it Googling things and pretending to understand. From a production standpoint, it’s completely different. On network shows like that, you’re writing twenty or more episodes per season and you’re shooting and writing simultaneously. We’re doing ten, so it’s easier to conceive of the season as a whole, which I prefer. This is also the first show I joined for season one. The other shows were already going when I came on, so I didn’t get to be a part of building the foundations. I really enjoyed that process.
GVK: Can you explain how your writing has evolved over the years from your first jobs to now?
I’m more concise now. And I’m still not even all that concise, so you can imagine how much I overwrote things before.
GVK: There has been a much needed increase in female writers in recent years but what do you think are the biggest obstacles facing women writers in Hollywood today?
I would say a big challenge we face is one of confidence. The industry needs to start having the same confidence in “unproven” female writer as they do in a “promising new” male writer. Everyone’s looking for mid-to-high level female writers who have experience, but there aren’t enough to go around. That’s because we have to make more of them, by giving new voices a shot. Some women might also face an internal struggle with confidence, which sometimes stops us from asking for the things we want because we feel like we have to “earn” them first. I struggle with this. We have to believe in our own talent, but the industry has to believe in it, too.
GVK: What drew you to writing and what would you say was your big break?
I was a fairly quiet kid when I was younger. I loved comedy, but I wasn’t a performer or a class clown. So instead, I channeled it through writing. My first big break was getting picked to be an intern at Mad Magazine the summer after my junior year of college. It was also the first time I had ever been in New York City, so it felt like a very big deal at the time.
GVK: Has the lack of conventions changed your plans for marketing the series?
Yes, in terms of not permitting us to go to Comic Con this year and stuff — although we’ve done a few virtual panels. But we got to make an episode in quarantine, which I think went a long way to advertise the show.
GVK: How does the show being on Apple TV compare/contrast with a traditional network show?
There’s a much wider reach. Apple’s service puts our show in over a hundred countries on the same day. That’s a huge advantage. As a creative partner, they’ve been very supportive which is similar to what I experienced on network shows.
GVK: How have you been handling the current isolation wave?
As well as can be expected, I suppose. Rob, David and I have been meeting over Zoom pretty regularly to rewrite the second season. There are certain things we were planning to do within the show (like go to E3) which just can’t happen anymore. But I’ll be doing better once we can start shooting the episodes. I really miss the whole MQ family. We had a lot of fun on season one.
GVK: What else do you have coming up?
I hope I’ll get to write some more Sunny soon, now that it’s been picked up for a 15th season. Something tells me the Gang might have a lot of misguided and misinformed things to say about recent events.
Gareth is the mastermind behind the popular pop media site Skewed and Reviewed. He lives in Arizona with his wife Em McBride.