and know how to balance these to make people look their most attractive and natural without causing them to sweat to death. The work is intense and the hours are long. But the pay is good. Lighting directors with major studios, such as CBS, make as much as $70,000 base salary, which requisite overtime can boost to $110,000. The money is well earned during 12-hour days, says Hunter, adding, “You’re actually making people look good. If you could see some of these [actors] in the morning, you’d realize it’s not an easy thing to do.”
The best lighting directors have something no amount or training can give. Says Hunter: “You have to have an eye. I always did.” Yet, because of his long road to the director’s seat, Hunter felt he had something to prove. He did just that in 1997, becoming the first lighting director to be nominated for Emmy awards for two shows simultaneously. He won for his work o
n The Young and the Restless, and for a moment the spotlight was on him.