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Today it had written by Dena Higley

Then it went to a second screen and had another list of writers with Ron C at the top.

Then it went to script writers. It had Carolyn Culliton and then Leslie Nipkow

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From: http://www.toacorn.com/news/2007/0208/On_The_Town/070.html

February 8, 2007

From soaps to scholar

By Sally Carpenter [email protected]

Actor/writer John Loprieno of Westlake Village is excited to share his insights with theater students at Moorpark College. He points out that actors need flexibility to succeed in the industry, much as his own career has changed direction over the years.

Loprieno's resume includes stage performances in Los Angeles, New York City and regional theater including Shakespearean plays and British and American classics. He has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Minnesota. He was part of the writing team nominated last year for a daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series Writing on "One Life To Live."

But Loprieno's best known for his 12-year stint as soap star Cord Roberts on "OLTL," a gig he started at age 23.

One soap to live

The now 46-year-old actor said daytime dramas, or "soaps," are unique in that they provide five hours of original content every week. This requires fast storytelling from a writing staff that works on scripts three months ahead of production.

Loprieno described a typical shooting day for him: 7 to 10 a.m., dry rehearsal and walk through. From 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., actors walk on the set for camera blocking, then break for lunch and put on costumes and makeup. Dress rehearsal and notes from the director run from 1:30 to 3:30, then taping, which ends any time between 8 p.m. and midnight. Then back to the studio the next day at 7 a.m.

Although Loprieno enjoyed his work on the soap- including promotional tours and magazine coverage that he called "all fun, all great, and opened doors for me"- he left the show in 1997 when he "saw the handwriting on the wall."

Soaps faced a changing market, competing against Internet, cable and people who watched Tivo'ed evening shows in the daytime. The core audience for soaps, stayathome housewives, had shrunk.

Producers fought back by cutting costs and replacing the older, big-name stars with younger, less expensive actors. In his mid-30s, Loprieno watched this happen to several actors and felt he might be next. Also, Loprieno's character had been "played out," leaving him no artistic growth.

Go west, young man

Loprieno left New York for Los Angeles, where he taught actors' showcases, appeared in live theater, built websites and guest starred on episodic TV, such as "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch," "ER," "Roseanne" and "Christy."

He described his work as the alien Obrist on "Star Trek: Voyager" as fun, even though he wore facial prosthetics. He said he got the role because the "Star Trek" producers look for classically trained actors who can project a heroic presence and make the scene believable.

"When someone's coming at you with fangs, you have to pretend to be scared," he said.

Loprieno's focus changed when he began writing screenplays. He said, "Writing work that no one will see gave me the confidence to teach at the level that I want to teach. Writing secured my foundation not only as an actor but as an educator."

He said writing improved his work as a director, enabling him to see the "big picture," as opposed to an actor who only sees one character.

Back in the classroom

Last year Loprieno was hired as a full-time faculty member of Moorpark College. His love for junior colleges began as he was growing up in his Midwest hometown. His father was a humanities professor at twoyear Triton College in River Grove, Ill., and his brother, Daniel Loprieno, teaches technology, math and science at twoyear Harper College in Palatine, Ill.

Loprieno had taught at twoyear Adelphia University in New York while working on the soap, and when he moved to Los Angeles he naturally gravitated toward a junior college. He taught parttime at Moorpark for six years before his full-time appointment.

He said two-year colleges are "part of my life, where my heart is." Loprieno said teaching brought "sanity" and "grounding" while he worked

"It's important to keep my theater roots well watered, well fed," he said. It's been a "stabilizing influence on my life and, I believe, my career."

Love of the theater

When asked why a person should attend a play instead of a movie, he said it's a different experience. A play is live, "a painting created before your eyes. The stage is a canvas. Actors color that and walk through it."

Loprieno sees differences in the acting styles of the two coasts. New York actors focus on internal motivation techniques taught by Strasberg and Stanislavsky, whereas Los Angeles leans more toward Sanford Meissner- - reacting to other actors and being "present in the moment." In teaching, Loprieno said he uses a variety of exercises from each school and adds concepts from Uta Hagen.

In theater, actors have two weeks of rehearsal to explore their character. In film and TV, actors come to auditions having already made most of the choices for their character. Actors have learned their lines and are ready to start shooting at the first rehearsal.

"(TV) producers want to see the final product, not the process," Loprieno said.

He reminds students that show business is a "business" and that actors need to be flexible to succeed. They can make a living in the industry- maybe not under the lights, but as a casting director, producer, publicist or member of the technical crew.

Loprieno sees Moorpark College's Theater Department as a trade school to "teach specific skills and put students in the workforce."

Enrollment in theater classes is up, and about 30 percent of his students are actively auditioning in Los Angeles.

He's excited about two new classes offered this semester which he said can benefit all students, not just actors. Both are taught by working professionals.

"Auditioning Techniques" is a marketing class that teaches students how to write a resume and present themselves in a professional manner. "Voice and Diction" helps students overcome regional dialects and polish their speech.

Wish list

Loprieno's next project is directing the college's spring Main Stage play, "J.B.," the 1959 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Archibald MacLeish. He's using a cast of 32, rap music, lighting effects, surround sound, and God and Satan masks, a throwback to ancient Greek theater. He said the highly produced show will "look like a rock concert."

It's a challenging play full of ideas, and he said the actors, crew and audience will grow from the experience.

Performances will be March 23 through 31, with a 10 a.m. matinee on March 27 for high school students only.

Loprieno credits professors Kathy Lewis and Les Weider for building the college's theater program and letting him introduce new ideas.

In December he organized an inaugural department fundraiser featuring his play, "Santa's Night Off," and he helped set up online ticket sales for college productions.

Loprieno wants to teach an online playwriting class this fall that may draw students from all over the state. He hopes to develop a theater management class to teach students how to promote the arts.

He has dreams for a screenwriting class where students can write short teleplays, shoot them and stream the product on the Web.

Loprieno is also looking beyond the college campus. He wants to build a theatrical community in the area, working with the High Street Arts Center in Moorpark and other theaters.

"Theater is the study of human nature," he said. "It's my first love, and I'm very happy to be back with it."

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