Robert Dickinson

Lighting Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Robert Dickinson describes his first impressions of television production, when, at Marineland in Palos Verdes, CA, he saw the filming of a Beverly Hillbillies episode. He speaks about working at a film rental company and getting a break when gaffer Doug Pantak got him into the union, and into the world of lighting design. He acknowledges his first job - a nine-month stint at Universal Studios as an electrician (lamp operator) on Banacek, and talks of being in demand by DPs and gaffers who requested him. Dickinson comments on the musical-variety specials he worked on, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, and his lighting design work for the series Solid Gold. He discusses becoming the go-to guy for Marty Pasetta's various productions through the 1980s, starting with the 55th Annual Academy Awards, and working with Don Mischer on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on December 15, 2008.

"I have a tendency to take risks. I don't key light in a predictable manner; I do it in an appropriate manner."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Robert Dickinson on the difficulties of filming Frank Sinatra
Robert Dickinson on the thrill of a live show
Robert Dickinson on how winning an Emmy changed his career
Robert Dickinson on his inspiration for lighting Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
Robert Dickinson on the highlight of his career
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on helping with stage crew in high school; on deciding to be a DP; on the film/television industry in the 1970s
On working in lighting on Baracek; on becoming staff gaffer at Academy Lighting; on lighting Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
On lighting design for Solid Gold and winning his first Emmy; on lighting the 1983 Academy Awards; on the hectic pace of his life

Chapter 2

On lighting the 1983 Academy Awards - his first live broadcast; on starting his own company - Full Flood, Inc. and lighting major award shows
On working with producer/director Don Mischer on the Salt Lake City and Atlanta Olympics; on working with David Copperfield and on talk shows; on various DNCs and Inaugural Balls
On his current projects; on how his career has affected his personal life; on the next big thing in lighting and how television lighting has changed
On the highlight of his career; on regrets and advice to aspiring lighting directors; on his style and the future
Shows

Academy Awards, The

View Show Page
Robert Dickinson on working with production designer Roy Christopher on the 1983 Academy Awards
Robert Dickinson on lighting the 1983 Academy Awards - his first live broadcast
Robert Dickinson on lighting all but 4 Academy Awards ceremonies since 1983
Robert Dickinson on lighting The Academy Awards one year and trying to make it monochromatic

Banacek

View Show Page
Robert Dickinson on being a lamp operator for Banacek

Batman

View Show Page
Robert Dickinson on being in awe watching episodes of Batman being filmed

Beverly Hillbillies, The

View Show Page
Robert Dickinson on being in awe watching a special of The Beverly Hillbillies being taped

Democratic National Convention

View Show Page
Robert Dickinson on lighting several Democratic National Conventions and inaugural balls

Grammys, The

View Show Page
Robert Dickinson on lighting design and rehearsal for The Grammys
Robert Dickinson on lighting Kanye Wesy at The Grammys

MTV Video Music Awards

View Show Page
Robert Dickinson on working on the first MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs)

Olympics

View Show Page
Robert Dickinson on working with producer/director Don Mischer on the Salt Lake City and Atlanta Olympics
Robert Dickinson on the highlight of his career - the Athens Olympics and 1984 Olympics

Solid Gold

View Show Page
Robert Dickinson on lighting design and winning an Emmy for Solid Gold

Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, The

View Show Page
Robert Dickinson on lighting design for The Tonight Show with Conan O' Brien
Topics

Barack Obama

View Topic
Robert Dickinson on lighting Clinton's second inaugural ball and 4 events for Obama's inauguration

Bill Clinton

View Topic
Robert Dickinson on lighting Clinton's second inaugural ball and 4 events for Obama's inauguration

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Robert Dickinson on his first Emmy win for lighting on Solid Gold
Robert Dickinson on how winning an Emmy changed his career

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Robert Dickinson on new lighting technology used for the Atlanta Olympics
Robert Dickinson on the next big thing in lighting and how television lighting has changed
Professions

Lighting Designer

View Profession
Robert Dickinson on the role of a lighting designer
Robert Dickinson on lighting design for Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
Robert Dickinson on drawing blueprints for lighting design
Robert Dickinson on lighting design for Solid Gold

Lighting Director

View Profession
Robert Dickinson on lighting for specific celebrities/individuals
Robert Dickinson on the next big thing in lighting and how television lighting has changed
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Robert Dickinson on light design and winning an Emmy for Solid Gold

Sports

View Genre
Robert Dickinson on working with producer/director Don Mischer on the Salt Lake City and Atlanta Olympics
People

Chevy Chase

View Person Page
Robert Dickinson on Chevy Chase's late night talk show

Roy Christopher

View Interview Page
Robert Dickinson on working with production designer Roy Christopher on the 1983 Academy Awards
Robert Dickinson on lighting the 1983 Academy Awards - his first live broadcast

David Copperfield

View Person Page
Robert Dickinson on working with David Copperfield on television specials

Ellen DeGeneres

View Person Page
Robert Dickinson on lighting design for Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres' talk shows

Monty Hall

View Interview Page
Robert Dickinson on working on a special with Monty Hall - Lights, Camera, Monty

Arsenio Hall

View Person Page
Robert Dickinson on working with Arsenio Hall and designing his talk show

Don Mischer

View Interview Page
Robert Dickinson on working with producer/director Don Mischer
Robert Dickinson on working with producer/director Don Mischer on the Atlanta Olympics

Conan O'Brien

View Person Page
Robert Dickinson on lighting design for The Tonight Show Starring Conan O' Brien

Rosie O'Donnell

View Person Page
Robert Dickinson on lighting design for Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres' talk shows

Dolly Parton

View Person Page
Robert Dickinson on Dolly Parton appearing on Solid Gold

Marty Pasetta

View Interview Page
Robert Dickinson on becoming director/producer Marty Pasetta's go-to guy

George Schlatter

View Interview Page
Robert Dickinson on lighting a special with The Rat Pack and Liza Minnelli

Frank Sinatra

View Person Page
Robert Dickinson on lighting a special with The Rat Pack and Liza Minnelli

Gary Smith

View Interview Page
Robert Dickinson on working with Gary Smith

All Interviews

Q
S