Dan Schneider, the Nickelodeon executives pointed out to us, is one of the most — if not the most — prolific people working in television today.
It’s hard to argue with that fact. Almost every live action hit Nick has had in the last fifteen years of so (The Amanda Show, Drake and Josh, iCarly — you get the idea) came from Mr. Schneider’s mind. In fact, his newest show, Game Shakers, is his third new show in three years, following Sam & Cat and Henry Danger.
Nickelodeon recently held a screening of Game Shakers fifth episode, after which the main cast members came by for a little lighthearted Q&A. Present were Cree Cicchino (Babe), Benjamin Flores, Jr. (Triple G), Thomas Kuc (Hudson), Madisyn Shipman (Kenzie), and, in his return to the network that launched him to stardom nearly twenty years ago, Kel Mitchell (Double G).
Below is a snippet of the Q&A, moderated by one of the show’s producers.
Now, Benji, this is your second show on Nickelodeon [after Haunted Hallways], so you’re like a seasoned vet here. What’s your impression coming from a show like that to Game Shakers, from the vet point of view.
Benjamin Flores: It’s just a pleasure, man. Just to work on Nickelodeon again. Just to be on a Dan Schneider Bakery [Ed. Note: Schneider’s production house]. I grew up watching All That, Keenan and Kel — that’s one of my favorite shows. It’s pretty much a pleasure. I like working with these guys. It’s really fun
Kel Mitchell, you’ve kind of come full-circle. What’s it like to be back home?
Kel Mitchell: Man, it’s awesome to be home. I love Nickelodeon. It’s good to be back. I mean, my name is in the middle: Nickelodeon — Nic-kel-odeon. And to work with Dan, my really good friend. I had the pleasure of growing up with Dan, on All That, Keenan and Kel, and to be back on Game Shakers is really awesome. . . . [Coming] back was like a big family reunion. I’m back home — Nickelodeon. And I love these kids [in the cast]. They’re great kids. They sing, they dance, they do it all! Triple threats!
What’s it like working with Dan?
Flores: Dan’s super, super, super funny. Like, even when we’re on set, and he comes in and gives us notes, every time says something, I just laugh out of nowhere. And I’m like, “He’s just too funny.” Everything he says. It’s fun working with him everyday, because we get to do awesome stuff in the shows. We get to fly jets, and all this type of stuff. So it’s pretty cool!
Well, what about you, Thomas? You were the one up in the air, as you were in the pilot and in [the episode] “Dirty Blob.” Hudson likes to fly around. What can you say about the stunt work and stuff?
Thomas Kuc: Yeah. I’ve actually never seen anyone who’s been so awesome to let me do that. So it’s such a dream come true working for Dan Schneider. He has a joke to every line. It’s so fun, and stunts, and… It’s just crazy! It’s so fun! I can’t even…
(At this point, Dan Schneider said from the back: “You guys have all got the job!” before spreading credit to all the other members of the team.)
Of course we start scripted, but we have something Dan likes to refer to as “live television.” Of course, we aren’t live, but Dan sometimes will come on the set, and before they do something will tell you guys, “Okay, this is gonna be live television.” Meaning, whatever happens, happens. You guys want to talk about that for a little bit?
Cree Cicchino: Kel is a master of adding everything to his dialogue. You’ll read the script, and he absolutely brings it to life. We’re in a scene, and he’ll just like go, and then you see the energy start building, and he’ll just totally take it and go crazy, and he does things that you never could have imagined could be done with a line or that part of a scene.
Madisyn Shipman: I agree. I mean, in one of the scenes that we just shot, whenever we went to Alaska—
Flores: Don’t spoil too much!
Shipman: I’m not going to spoil anything! But Kel added a line about a girl he used to date named “Aksala.”
Mitchell: Well, we can’t explain the joke now because it would give it away.
Shipman: Just watch it.
Flores: September 12th.
. . .
Kucman: Kel is always a really good motivation [the “live television” stuff]. Like, if we forget what to do or something like that, he will always continue with a scene, and it will help us continue the scene with him, and bring so much energy to everything we do.
One other cool thing we have going on with our show is the guest cast. Has it been fun working with the guest cast?
Shipman: It’s just really cool. In all the episodes, it’s a really special experience to have a new vibe, or a different personality to add a little something to each episode [where] we have a guest star. So I guess it’s just really interesting to see what they can bring to the episode. And of course, we admire all these people. So to be in the same room as them is awesome. So, it’s just a really fun experience, and I’m always grateful for that.
Flores: It’s really cool to work with people we saw growing up.
[Some questions and answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.]
Game Shakers is premiering September 12 at 8:30pm ET/PT.