MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Armed with little more than a Communication Studies degree from West Virginia University, and a New Jersey teaching certificate, Tommy Caprio headed off to Los Angeles to join the throngs looking for success in Hollywood.
Unlike many, Caprio found it.
“After all the extra schooling, my passion was still to work in the entertainment industry, so I packed my things and moved to Los Angeles,” said Caprio, a 2000 WVU graduate. “Having never been here before, I was taking a shot in the dark. But when I got here things just felt natural and flowed easy, which is usually an indication that you are following the right path.”
That path began as a production assistant and he has worked his way up. His projects have included: MTV’s “Fear”, “Tavis Smiley” on PBS, two primetime presidential debates, several national news and public affairs programs, independent films and he has supervised numerous talk shows.
His latest project is the Web-based comedy series “Don’t Make Me Sick,” with
stars Mike Gandolfi, Brian Unger, Susane Lee, Bryan Branly and Caitlin Muelder.
The series, available at http://www.DontMakeMeSick.net, is about a hypochondriac doctor and his quirky staff members. Caprio is the producer of the series, which is written by Gandolfi.
”’Don’t Make Me Sick’ is our little tribute to the belief in the old-fashion sitcom,” Caprio said. The first season consists of eight three- to-four-minute clips.
“The YouTube data has shown that the Web site is actually holding people’s attention for several minutes and in the Web world that means good things,” Caprio said.
Caprio graduated from WVU in 2000 with a degree in communication studies and went on to get a teaching certificate in history at Montclair State University in New Jersey.
While completing his undergraduate degree in communication studies, Caprio was given an opportunity to intern at West Virginia Public Broadcasting. From his internship, Caprio developed his skills behind the camera and began taking film and broadcast news classes.
“Everything that I’ve ever learned in my communications courses and in Morgantown has become applicable in Hollywood,” Caprio said. “I’ve done a lot of public speaking; whether it’s pitching a series or selling myself, it all stems from the basics I learned while attending WVU.”
In addition to working at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Caprio also worked on the WNPB TV series “Doctors on Call,” which was shot in studio featuring doctors from WVU’s School of Medicine.
“It was a very popular show, where people from around the state could call and get medical advice from a panel of WVU doctors,” Caprio said.
“Following my dreams and coming to Los Angeles is very gratifying to me, it was though I was finally on the right path and doing what I was supposed to with my life. There are times when the hours are long and the work seems hard, but the truth is when you’re doing something you love your never really working,” Caprio said.
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