Lights, Camera, Action: D-B grad, Carson-Newman senior headed to California film program

Rick Wagner • Updated Dec 24, 2018 at 9:28 AM

KINGSPORT — Rashad Hunter, a Dobyns-Bennett High School graduate and 21-year-old senior at Carson-Newman University, plans a career behind the silver screen or the smaller screen of television. He is looking to direct and/or edit.

Hunter is headed to California early next month for a semester at a film studies center that will give him 16 hours of credit toward graduation in May, and he has the direct cost of the program covered through financial aid, student loans and money from working at an arcade in Pigeon Forge. However, he needs some help with food, travel, books and miscellaneous expenses and has implemented a do-it-yourself version of a GoFundMe page by seeking donations for his expenses.

“I’ve always been interested in all of it (film and television editing and directing),” Hunter said. “Hopefully this will put me in the direction I’m most interested.”

His degree will be in film studies and digital media. He said he first was introduced to video while in broadcasting classes taught by “Mr. Mac,” Joe McMakin, the broadcasting teacher at D-B. “That class helped me grow this intent,” Hunter said.

Part of the Bestsemester: L.A. Film Studies Center program is an internship in Los Angeles, and Hunter said those in the program sometimes get job offers out of those internships. He applied for the program early his junior year after hearing a presentation by a former participant from Carson-Newman during his sophomore year.


Hunter is the son of Warren Hunter and Gloria Butts and has a younger sister, Ashley Hunter, who is a senior at D-B.

He attended the Kingsport Boys and Girls Club, where he participated in sports activities and “did a lot of homework while I was there after school.” In eighth grade, he  became a member of New Vision Youth and is still active as a mentor, speaking with the youth when he is available. At D-B, he played football, took theater classes and was a member of the Dramahawks.

At Carson-Newman, he is a three-year Eagle Scholar Athlete Award recipient. That program recognizes academic achievements among student-athletes. He played football as a walk-on for the private, Baptist-affiliated university.


“The program in Los Angeles will count as my final semester as a film major at Carson-Newman University,” Hunter wrote in an email about his situation. “I can use my financial aid, such as student loans, for the program, but I cannot use the scholarship of $6,000 awarded to me each semester from Carson-Newman University. I worked through the summer to obtain the funds needed to assist in paying the fee balance in full for the program.”

“I am requesting financial assistance for books, food, gas, parking, and other living expenses during my stay in Los Angeles,” Hunter wrote about his stay from Jan. 7 to April 19. “I am also requesting funds for travel expenses to and from Los Angeles. The program suggests bringing your car to aid in everyday travel and internship opportunities. With planning to drive to California, I would also like to have a tune-up on my car to prepare it for a 34-hour road trip.”

However, in a Thursday interview, he said his plans to drive have changed because he is uncertain if it is wise to start a cross-country trip in a vehicle with more than 200,000 miles on it, but Hunter said he likely will try to have his car shipped to him because the program recommends participants have a vehicle. He said his car needs a tune-up which will cost more than $600.

All told, his estimated expenses come to about $4,200, not including local travel expenses to and from internships, laundry, moviegoing and other social and tourist activities.

Checks for donations should be written to Rashad A Hunter. They can be mailed or delivered to Regions Bank, 415 Broad St., Kingsport, TN 37660. Checks also may be mailed to Hunter’s father, Warren A. Hunter, 1352 Warpath Drive, No. 2, Kingsport, TN 37664. Hunter may be reached at [email protected]


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