March 20, 2007

Phil Browne-former lighting director for Entertainment Tonight’s “The Insider” was the guest speaker to the SMPTE meeting in Pasadena. Browne’s career spans 30 years in the industry, and his credits include many well known television programs and specials. He has focused his career in the lighting aspect of the industry, and is passionate about his craft.

Browne began his career in television after graduating from the State University of New York of Geneso with a double major in theatre and television. After graduating he headed west in pursuit of breaking into Hollywood, but found that sending out hundreds of resumes wasn’t yielding any results. So Browne tried a different approach of landing a job and headed to studios pretending to be an executive from New York. “After they gave me a studio tour I’d ask them, so…where’s the human resources office?” recalled Browne humorously.

As Browne established himself, he joined KTLA channel 5, Los Angeles’ first television station where he worked for eight years on many shows and specials. Including the Rose parade telecast from Pasadena. When KTLA was sold by Gene Autry to Tribune, Browne remained on the lot for an additional eight years as a freelancer. He later joined the Turner network where he worked on sitcoms, pilots, and commercials. Browne’s credits as a lighting director, lighting designer, or director of photography include Entertainment Tonight, Wheel of Fortune, Peoples’ Court, Soul Train, The Hollywood Christmas Parade, The Leeza Show, The Richard Simmons Show, The Arsinio Hall Show, $100,000 Name that Tune, Sha Na Na, That’s Incredible, and many more.

Most recently, Browne worked as lighting director for The Insider at Paramount studios for the last three seasons. But his job was cut short by the beginning of 2007 because the show was over budget. Browne explained that executives decided to close the L.A. set to cut costs. “I was planning to stay there till 2010”, said Browne, “but that’s showbiz.” Now The Insider is solely based out of New York. “You always move up and down in the industry. That’s why you’re always good to everyone.” And keeping a good network system helped him get his latest job as a dimmer board operator on a new show called Carpoolers, also being shot at Paramount.

At the meeting, Browne discussed many of the challenges he’s encountered while working on various sets and lighting situations. He presented his reel to attendees and discussed his role as lighting director for day to day activities on the set, including special projects for Entertainment Tonight and The Insider. Phil Browne concluded his visit by reminding students that “it’s better to be an hour early than a minute late.”

Written by:
Horacio Jimenez
Secretary, SMPTE student chapter at Pasadena City College

Images from this Meeting: