Get your Phil

You wrote a book that encourages people to write a list of things they want to do before they die. What's the newest thing on your own list?
September 1, 2008

You wrote a book that encourages people to write a list of things they want to do before they die. What’s the newest thing on your own list?

To finish writing a docu feature I’ve been writing. And I’m working on another book right now.

You’ve traveled all of your life. How many vaccine shots have you had?

I actually have my old vaccination cards going back to when I was three years old. The cards are all stapled together and roll out to the ground like a Dr. Seuss document. I guess I’ve had upwards of 100 shots for inoculations.

How quickly do you fill your passport?

I’ve gone through more than a dozen passports in my life. I got on my first plane to go overseas when I was three. Most of my passports are getting filled in a year or 15 months. I have two active passports at all times and that’s because I’m always traveling when I’m looking for visas, so one of them has to be at a visa office somewhere while I’m traveling. You have to get a special concession for that to happen.

What’s the strangest gift a fan has ever given you?

One person gave me a lollipop with my face on it, which I thought was kind of weird. I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t want to eat it and I thought if I gave it to somebody, that would seem arrogant, like ‘Oh, would you like a lollipop of me?’ So I think in the end I gave it to my daughter.

Do you find the TV industry as mystifying as everyone else?

I’m constantly surprised by it, and I’m constantly guessing at it. And the more I learn about it, the more I feel like I’m still learning about it. Television is not a science. Nobody could write a book and say ‘This is how television works.’ Even the people that know a lot don’t know everything.

When you’re shooting The Amazing Race and hardly getting any sleep, how do you stay lucid and camera-ready?

Before I go on Amazing Race, I get myself in the best possible physical shape I can. I do about two boxing sessions a week, I bike about 12 hours a week, I do my compulsory 100 pushups a day – which I’ve been doing since the beginning of 2007 – and I eat healthy. When I go on the race, I don’t drink a drop of alcohol, and I take my ear plugs, eye mask and a travel pillow so I can sleep anywhere. I’ve learnt how to sleep sitting up and I can take power naps, which I’m a firm believer in.

What’s the most important thing you learned during your time as a cameraperson?

The most important aspect of shooting is the audio. Listening is the key to being a good shooter. You can never recapture real audio, but you can always shoot images to cover a reality moment.

Finish the sentence: ‘Television is a way to….’

…explore new worlds.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.