Conceived on a rugged bay named Fortune on the island of Newfoundland, he was born where the cry of the seagull, the spray of salt air and the North Atlantic meet in Nova Scotia, Canada.
He cut his teeth on dried codfish and learned to walk with the roll of a boat. And from the time he first rowed on the Atlantic as a small boy, wanderlust grabbed his soul. Indeed, one of the first books he read was Mutiny on the Bounty. It was no surprise that he dreamed of being a pirate.
His great Grandfather was a schooner Captain out of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and his father's father, an entrepreneur and the town Mayor. On his mother's side his heritage was steeped in the arts. A great grandfather who was a lead violinist in an English orchestra and his mother's father a hair stylist extraordinare, a ballroom dancer and a breeder of prize canaries.
His parentage was a father who became a Canadian banker quite young in life, and his mother, a war bride from the class of English gentility. They met romantically, while signaling to each other during WW2, but their marriage was not to last. At the age of six, the boy experienced a journey in what was to become a lifetime of adventures. He was kidnapped by his mother and taken to live in Devon, England, where thirteen years later on return to Canada, an English accent followed him back to North America.
As a youth living in England, the theatre seemed to call him, both at school and at home, as his mother let her own theatrical desires direct her to become a semi-professional actress and a musical hall performer. Showbiz seeped into his blood as he explored the hidden world of backstage adventures. In this world, he would watch directors create the theatre, the magic and the realm of make believe. This intrigued him. But it was the yearly circus that came to town that really inspired him with the color and the piazzas of showbiz. "I always dreamed of being a clown in a circus." he would repeat often.
A dreamer he was, and a dreamer he decided to stay. Then reality set in as a teenager, and practical matters of needing to find a trade surfaced. He naturally thought of entertainment until being offered a job as a beach photographer in the northern English seaside towns of Blackpool and Morecambe.
However, it was while watching movies like Lawrence of Arabia that he began dreaming of what could be. Here he found his life’s passion when discovering photography as an art form. But he needed to know more. College was the place, Photographic Art School. And while working as a photographer, he trained in fashion, portraits and industrial photography. In his first year he photographed almost fifty weddings. But he really dreamed of being a cinematographer; a director of photography behind the camera on epic films like Doctor Zhivago.
At the age of nineteen he hopped a boat back to Canada. He had originally thought of going to Hollywood but all new immigrants to the USA were sent to Vietnam and he had never dreamed of being in the military. He enrolled in Ryerson College in Toronto to learn filmmaking and television production.
Fortunately the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was looking for assistant film cameramen, he applied, and the career of a lifetime took him on a ride of wonders. He traversed the globe as a documentary cameraman, to the farthest reaches of humanity, to film the greatest of stories. For many years he was the youngest director of photography on television films and series at the CBC. After fifteen years on staff, he became a free agent and spent the next fifteen filming US, Canadian and international television and feature films.
It was a highly successful filming career that had him photographing more than three hundred feature films, TV shows, TV series and documentaries; a remarkable accomplishment. Through it all, he climbed the highest mountains, the Himalayas. He sailed the seven seas, and he flew the world over. And he was one of the most versatile and unique cinematographers in Canada.
Throughout his career he also directed television shows, corporate films and many of his own productions. He expanded his own production company The Robert-Royce Company where he produced and directed corporate productions for business, fundraising and non-profit organizations, music videos, biography productions and select specialty productions.
A lifetime of creative and professional achievement has garnished numerous awards, nominations and accolades. Through his business he has been able to donate time, talent and resources to producing short films for selected charities. In recognition, The Association of Fund Raising Professionals awarded him Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year in 2004.
As a member of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles he sat on Boards as International Director 2006-08 and Chairman of International Humanitarian Projects. He also created three Rotary themed short films while on trips to El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama. In consideration for his personal generosity, he was awarded the Rotary Community Service Award. Brian also sat on the Board of The Association of Fund Raising Professionals Greater San Fernando Valley, as VP of Public Relations 2007.
As President of his local Toastmasters club, his club acheived the highest distinction in Toastmasters, "Presidents Distinguished". He was also awarded Area Governor of the year and is a Distinguished Toastmaster.
Brian now lives in Victoria British Columbia with his wife Cheryl. He is semi-retired, teaching creativity, and runs a local sketching group that meets regurlary to practice grass-roots art through urban sketching, drawing and watercolour painting.
To quote a famous song, "He’s been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king", also a maverick, an entrepreneur, a songwriter, an environmentalist, a sailor, an adventurer, a philanthropist, a humanitarian and an artist, He has held almost every conceivable creative job in the entertainment industry, except a clown in the circus. Although some may disagree.
Personally, he is a man of integrity, conviction and dreams, and he has found many callings with many more to come, but he now knows what he really wants to be … himself.
Brian Hebb, that's life.