HUMANITAS Trustee Steve Levitan Experiments with Form on Modern Family
LOS ANGELES — The small screen is turning into a computer screen for Wednesday's Modern Family.
The entire episode of ABC's top comedy (9 p.m. ET/PT) was filmed with Apple's iPhone 6, iPad and MacBook Pro, and appears to take place on Claire Dunphy's computer desktop, as she communicates with family members and conducts a search for her eldest daughter, Haley, while waiting for a flight from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
"This is how families are communicating today. I see it in my family all the time," says co-creator Steven Levitan, who co-wrote the episode with Megan Ganz and also directed it.
As Claire uses her laptop, moving from communications boxes to search screens, there are plenty of Family-style misunderstandings from a mix of the old-fashioned — a missed connection — and the modern, too much online information.
"We've always embraced technology on this show. It's a passion of mine," says Levitan, a self-confessed "gadget geek" who often uses Spotify, Waze, Flipboard and Fantastical, an organizer tool.
Family, which has won the best-comedy Emmy five years in a row, has embraced technological change since its pilot, when Haley told her parents to text rather than yell when they wanted her to come downstairs.
Post-production of the episode took longer than usual, as editors and motion graphics producers merged video with visual effects to create the look of a computer screen that features as many as nine open windows.
"You'll see how Claire (Julie Bowen) navigates around the computer, the various sites she visits, the way she interacts with everybody through Facebook, Facetime and e-mails," Levitan says. "Somehow, we managed to get all 11 characters into the episode."
Writers also have been adding on-screen details, including a reference to Croctopus 4, a fictitious movie from an earlier episode, and Dunphy daughter Alex's (Ariel Winter) college application essay, which was written by Ganz.
"This episode is loaded with detail," Levitan says. "There are little Easter eggs from past episodes and nods to people in our lives. My wife, for example, is one of Claire's Facebook friends."
Read more and watch a video on the making of the episode at USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2015/02/23/abc-modern-family-presents-full-episode-as-if-on-computer-screen/23849481/