In the header image, Mike is working at a Garth Brooks concert
Mike Breece, son of Mac and Sherry Breece, was born in Nashville in 1965. Thirteen months later the family returned to their Hickman County roots. Growing up in Centerville, Mike was a Boy Scout and played basketball and tennis. In 1979, at the age of 14, he became interested in audio at a local church. He was taught about sound boards and microphones there and continued to operate the sound board for over two years. Later the church decided to start airing the Sunday service on the local public access cable television channel, so they bought the necessary equipment.
It was at this time, at the age of 16, that Mike got his hands on a video camera for the first time. After operating the camera for over a year at church, Mike came to the conclusion that it would be great if he could get paid for something he actually loved doing, so he started a plan to get more education and hands-on experience. He met with George Goldtrap and others at different television stations in Nashville who had been successful in the television field, both in front of the camera and behind. They gave him pointers and tips on how to go about making television a career.
After graduating from Hickman County Hich School in 1983, he took those tips and ran with them. He signed up at Nashville Tech for a Audio Visual Technology class. Even though this was a trade school and not a four-year degree college, it was no easy class. In fact, of the forty four students who started the class, only ten graduated. Mike managed to be on the President’s honor roll all four quarters and managed to graduate at the head of his class with a 3.927 GPA.
He applied for an intern position at WSMV Channel 4 Nashville. He would spend the next nine months there, serving three consecutive internships after being asked back every time his internship would come due. There he learned to light, shoot camera, and operate a teleprompter for the six o’clock news. Working at the local TV station, Mike developed special skills. Between shows he swept the studio floors, proving to the seasoned crew, who had worked there for many years, that he was a good sport. He was hired as a permanent part-time cameraman. He continued to make contacts in the industry while at WSMV and started freelancing at The Nashville Network in 1985. After almost a year of running camera on a freelance basis when he could take off from Channel 4, Mike landed a highly sought after position at TNN and was hired full time in January of 1986. At TNN he learned to polish his skills shooting a variety of different shows which was now at a national level instead of local. He shot country music shows hosted by Ralph Emery and Crook and Chase, to NASCAR and drag racing events all over the US. He continued to work for TNN for over thirteen years, learning how to operate very kind of camera they had to offer, from Steadicams to Camera Cranes or Jibs, as they are often referred as. This is where Mike found his niche, operating the long camera cranes. Later in his career at TNN, he got the idea of forming his own company and working for himself. He designed a plan to buy his first camera crane and pay it off while working at TNN to keep the overhead down when he decided to take the plunge and leave the company.
He did just that in July of 1998 and walked away from a great paying job to see if he could make it on his own. Mike started Pro Jib, Inc., a camera crane company that supplies cranes, camera support equipment and operators for television shows all over the world. He not only made it, but within the first three years he had bought three cranes and hired other operators to work his cranes for some of the biggest shows in Hollywood such as The Academy Awards and The Grammy Awards. He sent equipment and personnel to Salt Lake City for The Winter Olympics in 2002. He now owns four cranes and has been in business for over ten years and has worked high profile shows from the Czech Republic to Japan.
Mike has been behind the camera in the presence of five presidents, including the Inauguration of our latest President in January of this year. For thirty plus years, he continues shows in Washington, D.C., such as The Memorial Day Celebration and The Capitol Fourth. He has been active with the special music presentation with the President at the Ford’s Theatre.
He has focused his camera on actors such as Burt Reynolds, Ann-Margret, Paul Newman, Patrick Swayze, and John Travolta; and musicians such as Madonna, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, U2, Billy Joel, Gloria Estefan, Garth Brooks, Vince, Gill, Faith Hill, and most recently, Paul McCartney at Shea Stadium in New York.
Mike has shot a stack of music videos, including Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning by Alan Jackson; So Small by Carrie Underwood; Our Song by Taylor Swift which received the Video of the Year Award at the 2008 CMT Video Awards, and Concrete Angel by Martine McBride.
After being nominated for a National Emmy Award four times prior, he along with his fellow camera operators, were fortunate enough last year to win an Emmy for the category of “Outstanding Camerawork” for their work on the 50th Annual Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles earlier last year. The Emmy’s were held on September 13, 2008 in Hollywood.
In 2015, Mike won another Emmy for his camera work on the show Bluegrass Underground. That incredible accomplishment was repeated in 2017 when Mike won another Emmy for the same show. Mike traveled to Cuba with the Bluegrass Underground crew to shoot a show and documentary on the lead singer of The Mavericks, Raul Malo. That show will air October 6, 2017 on PBS.
Mike and his wife, Kelly, have been married for eighteen years and are raising their two children, Shane, age 14 and Saylor, age 11 in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Mike’s life came full circle when on January 28, 2017, Mayor of Centerville, Gary Jacobs, honored Mike with the Key to the City of Centerville. Mike continues to travel the world doing what he loves and is proud to call Hickman County, Tennessee home.