Blazing A Path Less Traveled

Find a job you love and you'll never work another day in your life. These individuals have found happiness in unconventional careers.

“helping people express their feelings and touch the lives of others” (as stated in the company big), Centeio found plenty of validation, both for her passion and her talent.

Anyone who has ever attempted to make it in Hollywood knows that your big break could come at any moment, often when you least expect it. Such was the case with Rudolph Hunter, 49, who began making what he refers to as his “annual trek” to his CBS boss’ office about 15 years ago, while still a technician working the lighting console for various shows.

“I would go up to his office to discuss my desire to further my lighting career with CBS,” Hunter recalls, noting that the network typically promotes from within. “His response was always the same, `We have you in mind, but there’s nothing open right now.’ And then, when an opening came I would be overlooked.” Others would have given up, gotten angry, filed law suits. In fact, some did. But not Hunter.

“I was making a good living in an industry others only dream about,” Hunter reflects. “I had a job I liked. I enjoyed being on the set and being a part of the shows. That was a precious thing to me.”

Looking at Hunter’s history, it’s easy to see why. Having tried several careers over the years, he hadn’t taken to any like this one. The Houston native dumped his electrical engineering major in 1971 when he heard about an affirmative action program in theater arts at the University of Las Vegas. There, minority students were being taught the basics of direction, lighting and stagecraft while getting paid to learn. Hunter, whose goal was to produce and direct, moved to Los Angeles in 1977, but found few opportunities. Clearly, being black did not help. He tried his hand as a producer, model and fashion designer, but found security and what he thought might be his calling as an entry-level lighting operator at CBS. That was 20 years ago. Soon after, his quest for advancement began.

Three years ago, frustrated, Hunter had decided to pursue other options. Before he could, he was offered a lighting director’s job on the network’s top soap, The Young and the Restless, and its sibling, The Bold and the Beautiful. His big break had come.

Lighting directors design and set ail the lamps, which you don’t see on screen, but which make what you do see visible. It is an intricate process that involves understanding the mood of each scene and how to enhance it with lighting, while also making a completely artificial environment (i.e., a huge, dark indoor studio) appear to be something else entirely (say, a sunny park). Occasionally the soaps shoot on location, as The Bold and the Beautiful did last fall in Italy, which involves a whole other set of lighting challenges.

It’s Hunter’s job to know the quirks and capacities of the myriad lamps at his disposal. He has to be aware of their color, temperature and intensity,

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