CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Steve Schmidt is one of West Virginia's go-to guys when a seasoned hand is needed for a film, video, commercial or public TV project.
"I'll do camera for anything that comes through town. I'll do sound, lighting. I have my own equipment," says Schmidt.
The proof is in the production credits.
Consider the recent Greenbrier County location shoot for the film version of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," starring James Franco.
"I got called by one production person because I was recommended for the grip electric department. And I got called by another one to do sound. And they realized this was the same guy. What I explained to them is that we have to do a little bit of everything if we want to keep working here."
If you tuned in to the HGTV show "House Hunters" on Monday, you were hearing sound that Schmidt recorded for an episode on an area couple's search for a home.
And at this past weekend's Appalachian Film Festival in Huntington? One of the winning films was the Allegheny Image Factory documentary "Romeo Must Hang," about Harry Powers, a serial killer known as "the West Virginia Bluebeard" whose crimes came to light in Harrison County in the early 1930s.
Schmidt was director of photography and also shared a writing credit on the film.
"I'm proud of that because we've gotten good responses on the look of the movie, which, you know, was my job."
He knows what he has to do to pay the bills -- for instance, he regularly films West Virginia Lottery commercials and weekly drawings. At the same time, he pursues film passions on the side and tries to lend his hand -- on a camera, microphone or lighting rig -- to others with their own passionate projects.
"I don't have any illusions about the fact that I'm still going to be shooting infomercials around here. I'd like to work in all these other places, but I'm 42 now. I make New York and L.A. money, but I pay West Virginia rent."
He does some agency work in the state and name-checks Bill Hogan and Sharon Harms of Image Associates, who helped him get a foot in the business at a time when he was thinking of getting a job as a janitor.