Conference Call: Candice T. Cain & Cody Calafiore: "New Dogs, Old Tricks" on Amazon, "What Happened Last Night", "Big Brother"
This September it's time to go back to college with the cast & creators of the new web series New Dogs, Old Tricks, the sequel to Candice T. Cain's feature film What Happened Last Night, which will be streaming on Amazon!
When Candice T. Cain's New Dogs, Old Tricks was presented to me, I immediately took interest in it for one reason...Candice was doing something with this show that has not been done before, EVER! She paid ALL the female leads MORE than the male lead actors and her production team is comprised of ALL women. Candice is taking action! Let's hope the rest of Hollywood soon follows in her footsteps.
It was wonderful getting to speak with Candice about the development of this show, her writing process, casting, and her trailblazing stance that is long overdue!
Additionally, I got to speak with one of the hunky leads of the show, Cody Calafiore, best known for being the runner up on Season 16 of CBS' Big Brother. Cody & I had a great time chatting about his time on Big Brother, working with Candice, and starring in this show.
New Dogs, Old Tricks is the sequel to Candice's film What Happened Last Night. The show is about the life experiences of a group of friends in a small town who are facing down the triumphs, trials, and tribulations of daily life on their college campus. Season 1 will start streaming on Amazon on September 28!
Candice T. Cain Questions:
1. What made you want to write New Dogs Old Tricks as a continuation to What Happened Last Night? To be completely honest with you, I was done with What Happened Last Night once the film was sold at the Marche du Film at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. On the way home from Cannes, I wrote another full-length script (Live to Tell) that I wanted to focus on getting finished. Many members of the What Happened Last Night cast had come to me and said that I needed to write a sequel, but never gave me justification as to why there should be a sequel. See, I have a rule: If you come to me and want me to write a script, you need to justify why I should write it. Often times, people come to me and say, “Candy, you should write a script about xyz!” When I ask them why, they don’t have an answer. So, Brian Tyler Cohen, Alix Kermes, David Eggers II, Andrew Rogers, Austin Davis and Robert Peterpaul all approached me to write a sequel, but didn’t have a reason. Needless to say, I shot them all down. We even talked about it at Cannes with the group of actors that went, and no justification was provided. Two days after I got home from Cannes, Cody Calafiore called me. He said, “Candy, I think you should write a sequel to What Happened Last Night.” I laughed and asked him why, thinking that he wouldn’t have an answer. He simply said, “I think it would be really fun to watch all of the characters together for Spring Break.” Of course, that got my wheels turning. I wrote the first few scenes of a sequel film called Senior Week over the next couple of days.
The following week, I went to meet a man that owns a Roku Channel and is pretty successful with it and with other productions he has. We were going to talk about Live to Tell, but he brought up What Happened Last Night and asked if I ever considered turning it into a series. I told him I hadn’t, but Cody’s voice about how fun it would be to watch the characters resonated in my head. Compounded with how well the characters tested with the audience, I thought I would give it a shot. Two hours later, I had written the first three episodes.
2. What was the hardest part of writing this series? Which scenes just flowed out of you? The hardest part of writing the series was having to adapt to the ever-changing cast. A few people who had asked me to cast them in several episodes suddenly had something come up after filming two episodes, so I had to figure out creative ways to write out their characters for the season. It was really tough because it didn’t all happen at once. I think I rewrote episodes three through twelve at least four times!
It’s hard to say which scenes just “flowed out” of me. I love writing, and I really love the world that I have built for these characters. I torture "Jay" (played by Brian Tyler Cohen) a lot in the first season. Those scenes were a lot of fun for me to write. As a matter of fact, there are text messages between me and Brian where I’m like “OH MY GOD, I HAVE AN IDEA” and then continue to write out a whole scene for him literally in the text message. I also tend to laugh when I’m writing his scenes because I know what his response will be, and he is often around me while I’m writing a scene for him. He once said that my laugh plagued his nightmares. I love writing for "Jay."
3. Many of the actors from the film are reprising their role in this series. What was so magical about working with them that made you want to employ them again? LOYALTY!!! Loyalty is what makes these actors magical. They made the whole experience magical. We faced a lot of obstacles on What Happened Last Night, and these are the people that stood by me through everything. They’re a lot of fun to be around, too. Oh, and they’re wicked talented—Every single one of them. Each actor collaborates with me on their character, and it is just so much fun watching not only their characters develop, but them develop as actors. I have a unique relationship with each of them.
4. Now, let's get to one thing in particular that is making this show a stand-out. You are doing something unprecedented in TV...you are paying your female leads more than your male lead actors. What were those conversations like, first with yourself in deciding to do this and then with the actors? Isn’t that sad? It’s 2018, and this is the first show where women are being paid more than men. Just think about that for a minute. The very first TV series aired in 1944. Has it really taken 74 years to break that glass ceiling?
My cast is truly amazing. I first heard about major discrepancies in pay with The Big Bang Theory, and I swore to myself that I would pay women more than men if I was ever in the position to do so. A few months later, the Me Too movement hit, and I learned about even more discrepancies in pay for women. By that time, the wheels were already in motion for New Dogs, Old Tricks. We filmed the pilot in September 2016, and all of the leads were paid the same salary. I wanted to give the women a raise, but not the men. I wanted to make a statement, and I knew that my guys (Brian Tyler Cohen, Clayton Snyder and Cody Calafiore) would be behind me. And, if they weren’t, I wouldn’t have done it.
I called Brian, Clayton and Cody individually and I told them what I wanted to do and why. I told them how much the women would be paid as opposed to what they were going to be paid. Each guy had the same reaction: He was totally for it. Brian, Clayton and Cody are really special men. They are amazing and supportive and kind. They see the world that we live in, and they knew that we would be able to make a teeny tiny dent in Hollywood by changing the salaries.
After I spoke with the guys, I called Alix and Shelley. I told them both what I was doing and they were dumbfounded. They were so proud to be a part of it, too. They were thankful to the guys that were behind us.
We all hope that it will turn into a conversation. Everyone knows that they are permitted to speak about the difference in salaries and why they agreed to it. I mean, look at us: We’re a small, independent series with a low budget. Why didn’t a bigger production company make this move? Why did it take a relatively unknown woman to take the first step? This is something that should have been done a long time ago.
5. Another special thing about your show is that your production team is comprised of all women. Why did you feel this was an important step to take? It isn’t that I wanted an entirely female production team. At first, it just sort of happened that way. I brought in the people that I loved working with from What Happened Last Night for my team: Mechelle Martz-Mayfield (Line Producer), Juliette Marotta (Production Designer), Kristin Lennon (UPM), Alena Berenblatt (Wardrobe Supervisor), Michelle Perry (Key Hair Stylist), Jessica Tedaldi-Rund (Key Makeup) and Diane Moje-Garcia (Locations). As I was putting my production team together, I realized that it was all women—Literally all women! I kept us all together as the production team. After the pilot, a few people fell off, so I replaced them with women. I needed to find a new editor, and was introduced to Samantha Nankervis, whom I hired immediately. Finally, my Executive Producer (Amy Minter) came into the picture, and I knew that we were complete.
I wanted to keep women as the decision-makers and influencers of the series because I knew that women are so underrepresented in these roles. Our crew is predominantly men, but the department heads are women. I really think it’s about time that women are able to collaborate on a show and release it for public consumption.
6. What kind of effects do you hope these two decisions will have on the industry as a whole? With the Me Too movement, there is so much discussion about what should be done in the entertainment industry, yet no one is doing it. I’m really tired of the hypocrisy. I’m one of those people who does what she says she is going to do. I hold everyone to that standard: If you say you are going to do something, then you should freaking do it. Stop talking about it, and get it done. Pay women more. Give women better roles in front of and behind the camera. DO SOMETHING.
I’d like to share a story with you…In January, I was at dinner with the sales agent for What Happened Last Night as well as Ashley Brinkman (who plays "Allison" in New Dogs, Old Tricks) and Heeral Desai (my 2nd AD) while we were in Miami for a conference. He asked me why I didn’t have any representation, and I told him it was because I’m not getting noticed. He laughed and told me that I’m so talented that an agent would be crazy not to pick me up. I thanked him, and told him I was trying. He said he was having dinner with an agent from one of the big seven talent agencies (who shall remain nameless), and he would recommend me to him. I told him that they didn’t represent women. He was shocked and told me that he didn’t believe me.
The next morning, Ashley and I met with him for breakfast. He looked crestfallen when we met, so I asked him what happened. “You were right,” he said. He went on to tell me how he was talking about me to this agent, but didn’t say that I was a woman. He talked about the 42 feature scripts and two series that I have written, and the agent was pumped. He showed the agent the teaser to my show, and the agent asked, “Is he here? Can I meet him this week?” My sales agent corrected him and said that I was a woman, and the agent said that he was only interested in representing male writers and directors.
I hope the two decisions I made about women’s roles in front of and behind the camera makes a difference in the entertainment industry somehow. I would really love for people to follow my lead.
Cody Calafiore Questions:
1. This September you are starring in Candice Cain's new series New Dogs Old Tricks, which will be streamed on Amazon. What made you want to be part of this show? After working with Candice prior to this and seeing how well we worked together I couldn’t wait to be a part of New Dogs Old Tricks. Once I read the script for the season, I knew I was completely sold and couldn’t wait to start filming.
2. The show is about the life experiences of a group of friends in a small town who are facing down the triumphs, trials, and tribulations of daily life on their college campus. What are one or two wild stories you can share with us about your college days? Although I never joined a fraternity, during college I was on the soccer team at Temple University. My teammates and I were always throwing huge parties at our house in the off-season.
3. What do you relate to most about your character "Joe"? I relate to my character "Joe" on a lot of levels because we share the same sense of sarcasm and wit. He’s also the social chair and is in charge of planning the parties which is exactly what I did in college.
4. Prior to Old Dogs New Tricks, you were also in Candice T. Cain's film What Happened Last Night, which is the pre-cursor to this series. What did you love most about working with Candice that made you want to continue to work with her? The bond that Candice forms with the actors she works with is incredible. She spends ample amounts of time discussing the script with us to help us build our character and our characters’ relationships. Candice’s writing is incredible so it’s such a privilege to continue working with her. She does a great job connecting the actors to the characters they’re playing and it makes everything just flow perfectly.
5. I have a component to my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now" where I try to clear up misconceptions about my interviewees. What do you feel is the biggest misconception out there about yourself that you'd like to clear up right now? I don’t know that there’s a big misconception about me out there that needs to be cleared up. I’m pretty much an open book, what you see is what you get. I try my best to be positive with everyone so I get positivity in return.
6. Lastly, we must talk about Big Brother Season 16. Why did you initially want to be on the show? What did you learn from your experience? Would you do reality TV again? Who do you still keep in touch with? Big Brother...what a whirlwind of a show, and an unbelievable experience. I initially wanted to be on the show because I was at a point in my life where I really needed change. The opportunity presented itself and I jumped all over it. I have been fully invested in becoming and being taken seriously as an actor so reality television wouldn’t be something I currently would get back into. I obviously still stay in touch with my ride or die from the show Derrick Levasseur. He and I never fall out of touch and always do our best to see each other whenever we can.
1. What's has been the funniest thing to happen so far on set during the filming of Season 1?
Candice T. Cain: This is so not a fair question, as we are always laughing on set. It honestly makes me wonder what the responses of other people in the cast and crew would be.
Cody Calafiore: Not to give any spoilers away, but there was a scene where we had to carry a certain character up a flight of stairs and we could not stop laughing trying to get it done and had to do multiple takes to get it right.
Candice T. Cain: In episode five, Pete (Stink Fisher) throws his back out in the basement and five of the Gamma brothers have to carry him up to his bed. During the first take in the bedroom, Cody ended up trapped underneath Stink and Clayton. The whole ordeal was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Elliott Cuff (our sound mixer) and I were on all fours on the floor, laughing so hard that we were crying. Fortunately, I have it all on film!
2. Let's play with the title of the show. If you could teach a new dog an old trick, what would it be?
Candice T. Cain: What a great question! If I could teach a new dog an old trick, I would teach them to be loyal. You can’t buy loyalty. If you could, someone with a fatter wallet would buy those people away from you. Be loyal to people, and they will hopefully be loyal to you. Even when your loyalty is betrayed, don’t lose faith in the others you are loyal to. The people that are worth it will still be there for you, no matter what.
Cody Calafiore: I would teach some of these young kids to be a gentleman and open the door for a lady, and that chivalry is not dead!
3. With the infinite amount of shows out there to stream, what do you feel makes this show stand-out as a must see?
Candice T. Cain: New Dogs, Old Tricks is a must-see because there is literally nothing else like it out there for millennials. It’s a half-hour comedy series with dramatic elements. Some episodes are funnier than others. Some episodes are more dramatic. It fills a void that was left when Friends went off the air in 2004. My show is about people growing up, growing together, growing apart and growing as people. It is incredibly relatable. Viewers will be able to identify themselves in the characters. They will know the stories because they will have experienced them in one way or another—especially if they went away to college. And, hey, our cast is outrageously good-looking.
Cody Calafiore: How can I say this...because I’m starring in it. Lol. All joking aside, this show has so much in it that people are going to be able to relate to. Friendship, love, drama, fights, make ups, just everything that people go through and understand that makes college what it is.
More on Candice:
Candice Cain is the Writer/Director of the upcoming dramedy series New Dogs, Old Tricks, which premieres on Amazon September 28 and is the sequel to her 2017 film What Happened Last Night. A veteran of the entertainment industry since 1984, Candice has an arsenal of scripts ready to be turned into successful films. Her first script, A Journey to Chocolate Land, was written when she was a mere nine years old, and she hasn’t stopped writing since.
A very unique quality one will find in Candice’s writing style is that she is not married to any specific genre. Her first film What Happened Last Night is a college comedy, but other films include a romantic comedy (Days Like This), a suspense-drama (Live to Tell) and an action-thriller (Seventh Inning Stretch), among others. In the past, Candice has worked as Features Editor for a newspaper, monthly column writer for several magazines and as a freelance writer in many other genres.
Candice attributes her diverse writing style to her Dramatic Literature degree at The George Washington University in Washington, DC (BA ’98), as well as to the fact that she has lived in 12 different states and 36 different cities. She has traveled quite a bit, and pulls her stories from her personal experiences.
Four children plays written by Candice are exclusively sold by Samuel French: The Lion &The Mouse, The Lovesick Cat, The Woodsmen & The Fairy and The Tortoise & The Hare. Whenever one of her plays is produced in the United States, she does what she can to attend the performance. If a school is doing a production of one of her plays, Candice is known to reach out to the theater director and volunteer to meet with students during rehearsals to encourage them to pursue different avenues within the arts, whether as a hobby or as a career.
Candice has a vast background in theater. She has directed countless productions, including the productions of her own scripts at The George Washington University and in various community and regional theaters around the country. She directed her very first full-length stage production at the tender age of nineteen.
The sad statistics that 7% of writers in the entertainment industry are women, 4% of directors are women and a mere 1% of writer/directors are women bothers Candice greatly. She has proven her worth with her very first film, which received theatrical distribution in the USA and Canada, as well as won “Best Cinematography” and “Best Feature Film” at the 2016 Innovative Film Festival in Palm Harbor, FL. Candice wants to challenge stereotypes and prove that she can be a member of the Hollywood Boys’ Club. She has a good start with her first film, which was released by GVN Releasing through Sony Pictures in the USA and Canada in early 2017, as well as in the UK through Safecracker Pictures and China through Walking Shadows.
Married to a police sergeant since 2005, Candice and her husband, Craig, have ten year old twins named Catherine and Charles. She and her family live in Brookhaven Hamlet, NY in the house where Candice grew up.
More on Cody:
Cody Calafiore stars as fraternity brother and all around good guy "Joe Crosby" on the dramedy series New Dogs, Old Tricks premiering on Amazon September 28, 2018.
Born in Paramus, NJ December 13, 1990, Calafiore later moved to Howell, NJ with his family at the age of three and ultimately grew up there. He originally attended Monmouth University, then transferred to Temple University. He was later drafted into professional soccer by the Columbus Crew. Calafiore may be best known to television viewers as the first runner-up on the 16th season of the CBS reality show Big Brother (2014).
In 2014 Calafiore appeared in an ad campaign for American underwear brand C-IN2 and was in several issues of Seventeen Magazine as part of their 2014 Hot Guys Panel. Prior to his television appearance, Calafiore spent two years as an event host at Total Entertainment in Hackensack, New Jersey.
Following his appearance on Big Brother 16 Calafiore signed with New York based modeling agency Soul Artist Management. He has since appeared in Winq Magazine, Men's Fitness, LOVE Magazine, Risbel Magazine, an ad campaign for Swissgear, and three editorials for The Fashionisto. Calafiore has appeared in fashion shows as a model for Malan Breton, Gents and Ricardo Seco.
In 2016, Calafiore co-starred in the independent film What Happened Last Night.