Todd Sheets is a videographer and owner of Hutman Media in Hotchkiss. His films have been used in promoting the area for almost a decade. A former chair for the Delta County Tourism Council, he's helped promote the area "where the deserts greet the mountains and the mesas."
Sheets spent a 20-plus-year career in the competitive Los Angeles area. He originally planned to study electronics at College of Marin in San Francisco and switched his major after taking a film class. After graduation he completed several internships and moved on to paying jobs, including working on a science program on technology for PBS. It was a good experience, he said, and put him on the set with big names in technology, including Apple co-founder Steve Wosniak.
He later landed work in L.A., making big-budget commercials for high-end products like Mercedez-Benz. Along the way he worked with well-known names in the industry including David Fincher, and worked as prop master for Francis Ford Coppola.
In the early 1990s he discovered Western Colorado, purchased a piece of land outside of Hotchkiss and put up a Quonset hut. He split his time between the two states, using time in Colorado to unwind and work on his Quonset hut, which got him dubbed the "Hut Man."
In the mid-1990s he returned to Colorado and found work in adobe construction. Making a living here, he said, was not easy. After three and a half years he returned to L.A. as a prop master and began building up his own clientele. In 2008, Sheets committed to moving to Colorado. He signed up for a documentary class in Maine. In making documentaries he found great joy and satisfaction in talking with people, learning from them and telling their stories in video.
Shortly after, he opened Hutman Media, and from 2009-2014 managed to find full-time work in Colorado. His first promotional video was of Cedaredge singer/songwriter David Starr.
Sheets (not to be mistaken for Paonia drone video photographer Steve Huntley or the horror director of the same name) has completed more than 100 productions for local businesses, events and non-profits, including Solar Energy International, where he creates videos for the non-profit's online classes, which draw an international student body. "Their mission is in line with what I value," he said.
Other clients have included KVNF and Cedaredge-based Long Haul Folding Kayaks.
Thus far he's made five "event documentaries" for one of his biggest clients, the Colorado Grand Car Rally. The rally features an annual tour of the state in pre-1960s classic race cars and cars of distinction. In recent years, the Colorado Grand has given thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships to North Fork area non-profits and graduating seniors.
"They are great clients" and a very generous organization, said Sheets.
Sheets also taught film classes to local students through the Paradise Theatre's Paonia Film Festival.
Among his most recent work is two videos promoting David Starr's new album, including the title song, "Love and Sabotage," and "Long Ride Home (from the Bluebird Cafe)."
Sheets also served on the board of the Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce. He's worked with the Delta County School District and in 2015 created a video on the Flight of the Eagle Project to build a sports/educational facility at Paonia High School.
"It's difficult in Colorado to make a living as a filmmaker," said Sheets, who is currently working in Marin County. But, he says, he's not about to give up on living in Colorado. He still has projects here and is currently working on a video for SEI, and creating another promo for the Delta County School District. He also has a big project scheduled in Silverthorne this spring.
"My goal is to ultimately be here full time," he said. "I really care about the place
. . . I'm invested in Colorado."