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
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.