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Friday, August 7, 2009

iCarly: Fun Facts about "iFight Shelby Marx"

by Dan Schneider
iCarly Executive Producer/Creator


Here's all the cool behind-the-scenes scoop about iFight Shelby Marx, which first aired on Saturday night, August 8th, 2009...

iFight Shelby Marx is a fantastic hour-long iCarly special. It was difficult to produce because it's a very "big" episode with LOTS going on (tons of action). But once all the hard work was finished, it became an all-time favorite of the iCarly cast, staff, and crew.

Now, please remember, about these fun facts – if you're an iCarly super-fan, you'll probably enjoy reading this stuff. If you're a casual fan, you might find it a little boring. But even more importantly...

DON'T READ THIS BEFORE YOU WATCH THE EPISODE IF YOU DON'T LIKE SPOILERS!!!! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!! :) Remember: You can wait and read these fun facts after you watch the episode.


When you're done reading all this, please tell any of your friends who like iCarly about these fun facts, and that they can come here to read them. Thanks!

iFight Shelby Marx

*** Scene 1 ***
Scene begins with Carly at the kitchen counter, opening a bag of popcorn, and Sam entering the loft (apartment).

• This opening scene is a BEAST! It's very long compared to most first (opening) scenes in iCarly episodes. Usually the first scene (called the "A scene" by our production) is around 7 pages. This first scene is 13 pages – a huge scene for us.

• After Sam walks in and says "Hey" – you hear Carly respond "Yo yo". But Carly's "Yo yo" was never shot on stage while we filmed this scene. We added the "Yo yo" from Carly later, in the audio booth, long after we shot the episode.

• Right after Sam enters the scene, you see her stick her gum to an electrical box on the wall. That was not scripted. I added that gum bit while we were filming the scene.

• We learn that the password for Carly to order Pay Per View events is 1-2-3-4. Guess what! That's the password at my house to order Pay Per View.

• This is the scene where we first learn of Shelby Marx, a very young (age 15) mixed martial arts fighter. My motivation for creating this character was a real-life MMA fighter named Gina Carano. She happens to be a young female fighter who's both amazing at MMA, and also happens to very pretty. I'm a big fan of Gina's, and that's what gave me the idea to create the Shelby Marx character for Victoria.

• When Sam says the line, "Shelby Marx's foot is too good for your face," you have a nice shot of the small mechanical squirrel sculpture on the table next to her. That squirrel sculpture first appeared and was referenced in the PILOT of iCarly, our very first episode. And it's still there, 69 episodes later. :)

• So I'm sitting here in editing (as I write these fun facts), and I got to the part where Spencer enters the scene and says "Hola muchachas e muchacho" – and then the 3 iCarly kids all say 'hello' back – but Sam says something I couldn't quite make out. So, I just called Jennette into the editing bay (she was at lunch) and played it for her. She thinks she said, "Heyyy, skillet-biscuit". I don't know why she said that and, surprisingly, neither does Jennette.

• For the fans who are into iCarly's girl/guy relationships, we discover something interesting in this scene. We learn that Carly still seems to have no interest in dating Freddie. BUT... her comment, "I thought you wanted me to be your future wife" shows us that Carly seems bothered by the thought of Freddie losing his crush on her. I N T E R E S T I N G

• At lot of actors can't play a SNEEZE very convincingly. But Jerry is brilliant at it, as he demonstrates many times in this scene.

• We meet a new resident of Bushwell Plaza in this scene. His name is "Dr. Dresdin". He's played by a very funny actor named Sean Smith.

• On the TV, notice the last names of the commentators "Jack" and Marvin" – that was a nice little addition by my post department. My last name is "Schneider" and my wife's last name is "Lillien". Thanks for the shout-out, Joe!

• See the referee who blows his whistle and yells "Fight!" – that's Vince Deadrick, our actual stunt coordinator. When we have big stunts, action, or fight sequences on my shows, Vince is usually the guy who coordinates everything. He's a really great guy, and a former stunt man himself. AND... Vince's dad was a stunt man on the original Star Trek series!

• When I first started planning this iCarly special episode, I wasn't positive that Victoria could pull off playing a real MMA fighter. But watch this scene and I think you'll agree she did a GREAT job!

• Don't you just love Sam's enthusiasm during the Shelby Marx fight? Jennette's energy is always so great.

• See what I mean when I call this A-scene a beast? All the fun facts I've written so far are just for the first scene!

*** Scene 2 ***
Scene begins with a closeup of Sam's foot, with faces and afros on her toes.

• This isn't the first time on iCarly we've seen toes with faces on them, but this is the first time we've used colorful afros. By the way, I got the idea for toes with faces from my cute wife Lisa (a.k.a. Hungry Girl) who, as a little kid, loved drawing faces on people's toes. Yeah, we're a weird family.

• In a previous episode, we learned that Sam's cat is (or was) rabid. His name is "Frothy". In this episode we learn that Frothy has only 3 legs. Quite a cat, Sam has.

*** Scene 3 ***
Scene begins with Carly and Sam studying on the couch as Spencer walks into the room.

• During the first part of this scene (before Freddie comes in), watch the kitchen counter – the computer screen. can you tell what website that is? ;) It's most easy to tell as Freddie says, "Have you been online?"

• I love when we see the SplashFace website – first established in the Pilot episode of iCarly.

• The exchange between Freddie and Carly: "I know" and "Eyes up dude" was not in the script. We added those lines while filming the scene.

• I love the shot of Spencer saying "What goes on?" while scratching his body with a long wooden spoon and a golf club. I like this shot so much, I may include it in the new opening sequence for iCarly (during the theme song).


*** Scene 4 ***
Scene begins with everyone waiting for Spencer to find Carly upstairs.

• When Spencer says (on the stairs) "I've looked under her bed..." – look behind him – out the big window. You'll see a special added touch that you won't see on most sitcoms.

• Are you ready for THIS? When I was watching an early version of "iFight Shelby Marx" – I got to the part where Freddie sucks the raisins out of the toast he made for Shelby. When I watched it, I felt we needed to hear a sucking sound each time he sucked out a raisin.

Well, that's not the type of sound-effect you can find easily. Soooo... I got on my trusty iPhone, recorded myself making those sounds, and then I emailed them to Joe (our post producing wizard).

Joe downloaded the sounds, gave them to our audio mixer, and BOOM – they were placed into the show!

So, when you hear those sounds as Freddie sucks the raisins out, now you know that was actually ME at my house recording them on my iPhone. Cool huh?

• When Spencer brings Carly down the stairs, and she's over his shoulder (wearing pink jeans), that is NOT Miranda Cosgrove!

Since Jerry's body was covered with lotion (and therefore slippery), we all felt it was too dangerous for him to bring Miranda down those wooden steps with her over his shoulder. So we used a stunt double.

It "becomes" the real Miranda on the edit when Jerry sets her down on her feet.

*** Scene 5 ***
Scene begins in the loft (apartment) with Carly and Spencer drying themselves with towels.

• If you look very closely just as this scene begins (BEFORE Carly begins saying, "But... why would you want to fight me?") – you can see Sam and Freddie share a little smile. Were they in character? Or was this just Jennette and Nathan being silly as the director yelled action? Hmmmm.

• Jerry always adds funny stuff to the show that I never expect. For example, in this scene, watch how he "dries" his belly button with the towel. That's the kind of thing Jerry just does on his own, adding hilarity to iCarly.

• Juan, the trainer (the guy eating the raisin bread toast) – those are his own actual tattoos. We did not add them for the show. They're real.

*** Scene 6 ***
Scene begins with Carly and Spencer on the couch, eating bowls of soup.

• If you're curious how the sweat on Spencer happens... there are thin black tubes going up his back, then "buried" in his hair. A special effects guy sits off camera with a tank of water. On cue, the guy turns the water on to a pre-set level, and then the water ("sweat") drips out of the tubes and down Spencer's face. It's a pretty simple effect.

*** Scene 7 ***
Scene begins with Carly and Sam walking into the school hallway.

• Carly and Sam walk in talking about how Sam just bought clams from a guy on the street corner. If you watch my shows a lot, you know that I often start scenes this way – with a funny little run of dialogue that has nothing to do with the scene, or the show. Writers call this a "downbeat". We say it's "off story" because it has nothing to do with the plot, or any sub-plot.

• Look for the kid in the orange shirt who says "Hope you can take a punch". When I saw his hair I had to cast him. Right? :)

• And we have the introduction of a brand new teacher at Ridgeway High School: "Mr. Connick". Yeah, I know, it's not that interesting – just thought I'd point it out.

• As Carly and Sam talk by their lockers, notice that Sam is holding a can of Wahoo Punch, a drink I invented for iCarly, but will now become a part of any show I do from now on! I think Wahoo Punch was first introduced in the episode iStakeout but I could be wrong on that.

*** Scene 8 ***
Scene begins with an exterior night shot of The Beverly Garvin Hotel.

• That exterior night shot of the hotel is what's known as a "stock shot." That means we (Schneider's Bakery) didn't film it ourselves. We bought (rented) it from a company that supplies stock shots to movies and TV shows for a price. Then, our visual effects artists ADDS the light-up sign to the shot, so it says THE BEVERLY GARVIN HOTEL. Looks 100% real, doesn't it? No matter how much TV I produce, I always still get a kick out of that kind of stuff.

• In this scene, Sam has coached Carly to "trash talk" Shelby in order to create a fight at the press conference, as a way of building interest and excitement for the real fight. This is something the really happens at press conferences for big fights. The managers tell the fighters to get in each other's faces and act like they hate each other, and even pretend to "attack" each other, in order to get more people hyped up to watch the event.

• There is not one real camera flash in this whole scene. Every single camera flash is a visual effect, added in post.


*** Scene 9 ***
Scene begins with Carly, Sam, Freddie, and Spencer entering the loft (Carly's apartment).

• That is not really Miranda ("Carly") diving over the countertop. It's her stunt-double. And her line, "I'm not here!" was recorded in an audio session, long after this episode was shot. The magic of television!

• Gibby's words, "No no, don't slam the door!" were not in the script. I added that line while we were filming. I have to say, to me, it's always funny when someone gets a door slammed in their face WHILE they're talking. It always makes me laugh. And this time, with Gibby, I find it hilarious.

*** Scene 10 ***
Scene begins with Carly and Sam doing their web show.

• At the end of their webcast, Carly and Sam say "Cheese..." and "Onions..." a few times. I'm not sure why I had them say this, but it might have something to do with a song by a Beatles parody band called The Rutles who did a song called "Cheese and Onions". If you're a huge Beatles fan, check out The Rutles (a mockumentary). Lots of the original cast of Saturday Night Live were in it, and it's really funny (similar to Spinal Tap).

• At the end of this scene, listen to Sam say her lines, "Uh, wait one sec" and "Do you guys think it's possible to give a guy wearing garbage can underpants a wedgie?" – if you listen carefully, you can hear that Jennette ("Sam") had a cold on the day we shot this scene. You can hear that she's a little stuffed up (nasal sounding). But she carried on, like the super-professional she always is.

*** Scene 11 ***
Scene begins at school, with kids watching a Shelby Marx interview on a laptop computer.

• See DanWarp? Look carefully. :)

• See the photo of the bunny eating veggies? That is MY SWEET BUNNY RABBIT!!! Cookie Bunny! She has appeared on The Amanda Show... All That... Zoey 101... Drake & Josh... and iCarly. I think she might be the most famous bunny in the world! (One day soon, I'll post a video of her licking my nose – it's the cutest thing you'll ever see.)

• Everyone who works on set is a big fan of the purple pants Carly wears in this scene.

• If you listen to Sam's first line in this scene, again, you can hear she has a little cold. She's a bit stuffy. :(

• You know you're in trouble when Gibby doesn't want to be seen with you in public!

*** Scene 12 ***
Scene begins with Spencer in the loft (apartment) and Carly walking in.

• Big surprise in this scene for the iCarly super-fans! SAM'S HOUSE! This is the first time we've EVER see a glimpse of Sam's house.

• Carly's arch nemesis is back. Will she rue the day?!?

*** Scene 13 ***
Scene begins at a gym with Shelby sparring (fighting) with a guy in red & black protective padding.

• The fighting that Shelby (Victoria Justice) does in this scene is really impressive, considering that Vic had never even thrown a punch before training for this episode. We even had some real MMA fighters with us on set, as consultants, and they were very impressed with how Victoria looked when throwing punches and kicks.

*** Scene 14 ***
Scene begins with Carly, Freddie, and Spencer dancing as they make dinner in the kitchen.

• I have to admit, I love the pointless, fun dancing sequence at the beginning of this scene. This show was long in editing, so stuff had to be cut out, but I couldn't cut this. It's just too fun too watch – don't you think? Maranda's dancing is particularly adorable!

• This whole kitchen dancing scene was shot months after the actual episode was shot.

• A new Penny-Tee on Freddie: Special Ham

• Spencer's Spaghetti Tacos in action! Since iCarly is going on hiatus (taking a break from production) soon, we're going to have a big wrap party in late August. I'm going to make sure that actual spaghetti tacos are served at the wrap party! I'll tweet pics.

• Near the end of this scene, I love how a noodle ends up on Freddie's head.

*** Scene 15 ***
Scene begins with Spencer standing in the loft (apartment) and Carly walking in.

• How awesome is Nevel's little tech room? The iCarly writers refer to this as Nevel's Nerd Cave.

• I don't want to spoil it, so I'll keep this kind of a secret... but in this scene, we get to meet NEVEL'S PET. It's QUITE AN UNUSUAL one.

• During this scene, Nevel's pet makes buzzing sounds. You should know, the sounds are 100% authentic. Our insanely awesome post producer – Joe Catania – located audio of the actual real sounds made by this breed of animal, and added those sounds to this scene.

• Are you ready for this? In this scene, Nevel has the line, "We just need to add some sound... which I can steal from their web show." Well, for whatever reason, we did not have the audio (sound) for his words: "...sound... which I can steal from their web show." So, we had to ADR or "loop" those lines, which means to record them in an audio booth. Unfortunately, Reed Alexander ("Nevel") was in ENGLAND for the past few weeks, so we had to set up a special over-seas audio session, and record the line while he was in ENGLAND. Crazy, huh? But it sounds perfect in the show.

• The video effects in the scene look great – the work we see Nevel doing on his computer monitors. All those visual effects are done by our effects genius, David, whose nickname is DVR. He's the best!

• How cute is Nevel's pet? I want one! But I know if I got one he'd probably bite my throat and kill me. So I won't get one. :(

• At the end of this scene you hear the voice of Nevel's mom – just her voice. But we used the same actress who played Nevel's mom in the first episode Nevel appeared in (when he made tapenade for Carly and tried to kiss her).


*** Scene 16 ***
Scene begins in Shelby's gym, with Shelby beating up her sparring partner again.

• Here again, Victoria Justice looks surprisingly professional with her kicks, knee hits, elbow strikes, and punches. She did a great job.

• Watch CAREFULLY when Shelby kicks her sparring partner in the head and knocks him to the mat. YES, Victoria actually did that kick HERSELF. I'm not kidding. We thought we'd have to use a stunt double (a professional fighter) do that kick, but Vic did it herself. Amazing. How can she actually kick that high and hard?!?

• This scene will make you want to strangle Nevel. I hope!

• At the very end of this scene, look at those knee strikes Victoria delivers to that man's stomach! Sheesh.

*** Scene 17 ***
Scene begins at the Seattle Super Center – the big fight is about to begin!

• I think you'll be impressed with how completely real this whole scene looks – the big fight scene inside the Seattle Super Center. You won't often see this level of production value in a sitcom. Let me know what you think.

• Isn't it cool that, in the big wide shot, you actually see Carly, Sam Freddie, and Spencer (in their yellow jackets) on the big Jumbo-Tron hanging from the ceiling?

• Carly is pretty darn cute when she growls at Shelby, don't ya think?

• You'll hear my voice several times in this scene. The first time, you'll hear me say: Shelby Marx, the reigning CFC champion." That line was added just before we delivered this episode to the network. It was a "last minute add". At the time we decided to add it, I was at my house, writing another episode with the iCarly writers. So, I recorded this line on my iPhone, emailed it to our post production producer, and the line was downloaded and added to the show. True chiz! (You'll also hear me say a couple more lines later, but those were recorded in a professional audio booth.)

• A reference to Sir Mix-A-Lot?! Why? Because we did some research and found out he happens to be from Seattle. So it makes sense that he'd be at the big fight. And we just thought it was a funny, random reference. For you younger fans who may not know, Sir Mix-A-Lot is a singer, most famous for the song Baby Got Back ("I like big butts and I cannot lie...), a big hit from 1992.

• About this "fight"... the network (Nickelodeon) was very worried about it. I had to persuade them to even let me do an episode about Carly and Shelby doing MMA fighting. They had this image in their minds of a brutal fight with pain, blood, etc. I had to explain (many times) that it would NOT be two girls beating the crap out of each other. I told them to think "I Love Lucy" in terms of how the fight would play out.

• One of my favorite comedy lines in this episode is definitely: "Well, thanks for making me feel stupid, Marvin." Why does that crack me up so much?

• There is a minor continuity error when Carly says, "Well I just did." Can you identify the mistake?

• I also laugh every time I see Carly (when she's hanging on to Shelby's leg) slapping at Shelby's hands, like a little child.

• It was not scripted for Nevel to say, "That's a foul! Isn't that a foul?!" We came up with that during filming. I think I whispered to Reed ("Nevel") to grab the lady next to him. So she wasn't even expecting it. Turned out pretty funny.

*** Scene 18 ***
Scene begins in the "backstage" area of the Seattle Super Center – Spencer, Sam, and Freddie looking for Carly.

• Guess what? This isn't really a set – it's an actual area of our building where we shoot iCarly. We just "dressed" it to make it seem like an area of the Seattle Super Center.

• It's never addressed in this episode, BUT... did you ever think about what would happen if Sam fought Shelby Marx? Who would win???

*** Scene 19 ***
Scene begins in the darkened Seattle Super Center, with Freddie bringing Nevel into the ring.

• Several people who've seen this episode asked me, "Why does Nevel say his pants are very expensive"? I don't have a good answer. I just find it amusing. Do you?

*** Scene 20 ***
Scene begins in the iCarly studio, with Carly and Sam doing their web show.

• It was not scripted for Freddie to sniff Shelby's hair. I added that during filming. I thought it was funny and weird, and worked well with Freddie's little crush on Shelby.

• You know the super slow motion spit-take? Surprisingly, our normal cameras can't make that happen. To get that SUPER slow motion (and have it be clear), we actually use an old high-speed FILM camera. iCarly is shot on high-def 24P tape. So, this super slow motion spit take (with Carly, Shelby, and Sam) is one of the very few times we've used actual FILM on iCarly.


And that wraps up the fun facts and behind-the-scenes info for this very special episode. As always, thanks for watching iCarly!!!!!!!!!!

–iDan :)

P.S. Remember: If you know of any iCarly fans you think might enjoy reading these fun behind-the-scenes faces, please send them this URL: http://tinyurl.com/n7nnc5

P.P.S. Please tell your friends who like iCarly (or don't know about it yet) to follow my Twitter: @DanWarp