TV producer Casey Kasprzyk found success in the world of soap operas
story By Kamala Kirk | PHOTO BY CHRIS MORTENSON
From a young age, Casey Kasprzyk knew that he wanted to work in the entertainment industry. He attended Chapman University for the school’s film and television production program, where he helped produce various late night and business shows.
“I was inspired by the film ‘Back to the Future’ and wanted to make movies like that one day,” Kasprzyk says. “I aspired to be the next Steven Spielberg or Robert Zemeckis. Then I went to film school and realized there was a difference between film and TV and how they’re produced. Film production is a very different world. I gravitated more towards television, I liked the controlled environment inside a studio with set hours. I knew at a young age what I wanted to do, and I’m fortunate that I went to school for it and have a job in this industry.”
In college, Kasprzyk was very involved in student activities and was associated students president. During the last semester of his senior year, he landed an internship with the CBS soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” and drove from Orange County to Los Angeles twice a week.
“My friend Diane had interned there and I thought it would be fun because I watched the show,” Kasprzyk says. “I really enjoyed the internship.”
After graduating from Chapman University in 2001, Kasprzyk enrolled in the graduate television program at Loyola Marymount University. He gained industry work experience through various internships including the Game Show Network and Fox Sports, and was a page at Television City.
“I got exposure to television shows like ‘American Idol,’ ‘The Price Is Right’ and ‘Hollywood Squares,’ it was really cool to have that opportunity,” Kasprzyk says. “During my internship at Fox Sports I always had ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ on TV, but whenever someone would come into my office I changed the channel back to sports. I was always more interested in what was going on with B&B, which reinforced that it was where I wanted to be.”
In 2003 during his final year at LMU, Kasprzyk was hired to work at the front desk for B&B. He started out performing various administrative duties, which included answering phones and making copies of scripts, but quickly worked his way up.
“At B&B, everyone starts at the front desk,” Kasprzyk says. “That’s what’s so special about working there, it’s a family-run production company and the Bell family who owns it is amazing. My boss, Brad Bell, really set a tone at the company that creates a family atmosphere and most of the employees have been there a very long time. That’s the secret sauce of the show.”
Kasprzyk caught the attention of his boss and the show’s producers after he created entertaining videos for the company’s anniversary and Christmas parties.
“After that, I started making videos for our website,” Kasprzyk says. “In 2008 after being with the company for five years, I became associate producer and helped with the creative aspects of the show, quality control, and helped move the show forward transitioning to high definition. I also supervise digital effects, and spend a lot of time in post-production editing montages and sequences. I have also directed several episodes. I always say that I don’t write the show, I look for ways to help enhance it creatively.”
Kasprzyk eventually became the show’s location coordinator, scouting and securing places to shoot.
“Brad and I started collaborating to make LA more of a character on the show,” Kasprzyk says. “It usually starts with him asking me where we could go that would be fun and different, like if a character is going to propose or there’s going to be a wedding. We’ve filmed in a lot of Westside locations like Malibu and Marina del Rey. On an episode, one of the show’s main characters, Stephanie, had a lifelong dream to ride a rollercoaster at the Santa Monica Pier so we filmed an entire episode about that. We’ve also taken the show to Aspen, Cabo San Lucas, Italy, Monte Carlo, Paris, Amsterdam and Sydney. I’ve been all over the world.”
When scouting for a shoot, Kasprzyk will travel to destinations to do research and figure out logistics, meet with a local production company, then make a big concept board with the different locations for filming.
“It all comes together really quickly,” Kasprzyk says. “One of the most challenging and rewarding locations to film in was Dubai, where Brad had this idea that one of the actors was going to fall off the helipad at the Burj Al Arab Hotel. When I saw it in person, I realized it was going to be hard to get the filming equipment up to the helipad and the hotel decided they didn’t want us to shoot there. We changed the scene so that the character falls out of a helicopter, which made it even better. That was one of our most exciting location shoots.”
Another memorable location was downtown LA’s Skid Row. The storyline ended up winning a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 2011, which was Kasprzyk’s first Emmy.
“Brad came to me and said he wanted to do an episode about homelessness and he wanted to feature residents of Skid Row as actors,” Kasprzyk says. “That started our production team on this incredible journey stepping outside the studio, going into downtown LA and meeting with representatives from Union Rescue Mission and different community leaders. By the time the episodes were edited and on air, winning an award was an afterthought. It was more about the experience, the people that we met and what we all taught one another. Skid Row was a part of LA I’d never been to before and now I have a connection to the community.”
Always looking for new ways to challenge himself, Kasprzyk collaborated with his colleague, Anthony Ferrari, who oversees B&B’s international distribution, to write a song for the show in 2014.
“I’d had this song in my head for 10 years and one day I sat down and put it on paper, then I gave him the lyrics,” Kasprzyk says. “He came up with a melody, we created a song and put it in the show. It was called ‘Hands of Time’ and was well received by the fans. It was the first song I ever wrote and it won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Original Song for a Drama Series.”
After their success, Ferrari and Kasprzyk continued to write songs for the show. Together they’re written over 40 songs, winning Daytime Emmy Awards in 2015, 2016 and 2019, in addition to earning multiple nominations.
“The majority of songs start with an idea, I’ll be driving or going on a long walk around the neighborhood and lyrics will come into my head, then I’ll jot them down in my phone and elaborate on that,” Kasprzyk says. “When a script comes out, I’ll try to have it relate more to the storyline so it helps to tell the story through the song. It’s interesting, I’ll write these songs and then the episodes will come out and will be exactly how I was feeling when I wrote the song. I don’t play any instruments or have any music training, but writing song lyrics is like poetry. It’s been really cathartic to have that kind of outlet.”
After COVID-19 hit and the entertainment industry was put on pause, B&B was the first scripted TV show that was officially approved to go back into production. Kasprzyk and his colleagues worked tirelessly to come up with ways to continue filming the show in a safe manner.
“The producers met every day at the beginning of shutdown to figure out how we could make the show,” Kasprzyk says. “Once the unions and the guilds came out with their protocols, we were able to get approved quickly to go back into production. There were a lot of starts and stops because everyone wanted to do it safely. Our actors had to be 8 feet apart, we used mannequins and camera tricks, and some of our actors and actresses brought in their significant others as stand-ins for kissing scenes. Everyone gets tested weekly and half of our office works hybrid.”
When faced with the decision of whether or not to incorporate the pandemic into the show’s storylines, Kasprzyk says that B&B ultimately decided not to include it because the show helps people escape from the realities of daily life.
“The soap opera isn’t supposed to be real life, we need to tell stories that are larger than life,” Kasprzyk says. “Our show gives viewers 30 minutes a day, five days a week where they can forget about their problems, see the characters they love and just have fun. People are tuning in to escape from the pandemic. That’s what I feel my contribution is: entertaining people.”
Back in June, Kasprzyk started a weekly YouTube show called “Bold Live” where he interviews a cast member in every episode and fans can call in.
“We talk to fans from around the world live on the air, it’s a fun way to get to know the actors and it grew out of COVID-19 because we couldn’t have fan events,” Kasprzyk says. “I enjoy hosting, it’s another creative outlet for me and it helps me feel the pulse of what our fans like.”
March 2022 will mark the show’s 35th anniversary, and while Kasprzyk doesn’t exactly know yet what B&B will doing, he is looking forward to some type of celebration.
“That’s what I love about this job, we film 250 episodes a year and eight episodes a week, but every day is something different,” Kasprzyk says. “B&B is the most watched daily drama series in the world. I’m very fortunate to have a job where I can use my creativity and I’ve really grown up with the show. I’ve learned a lot from the people I work with and we all help each other grow.”
While B&B is a huge part of Kasprzyk’s life, in his spare time he enjoys mentoring students at his alma mater, running marathons, playing tennis, attending sporting events and spending time outdoors in Playa Vista. He moved to the community last year after being a Westchester resident for 19 years.
“When I started at LMU in 2001, Playa Vista was starting to be incorporated,” Kasprzyk says. “I saw condos being built and over the years it continued to grow. I just felt a connection to the area and knew I needed to be on the Westside. It’s very open with hiking trails, dog parks and great access to the beach and airport. Playa Vista is such a welcoming community and I really feel at home in this part of LA.”
The Bold and the Beautiful