Jerry Werthman, who entered the world of videography after retiring from the Air Force, never expected to win an international award for his work. In 2006, he submitted a memorial video of a military honors burial, titled "Monte Owen Lillard," and it received the 2006 Creative Excellence Gold Award by the Wedding and Event Videographers Association International (WEVA).
The Fairfax Station resident, who has advanced degrees in business and information systems management, started his videography company, Cameo Video Productions of Washington, in 2002. Werthman's philosophy is quality over quantity, and he brings this philosophy to all his projects. Recently, he answered a few questions about himself and his work in videography.
How long have you lived in the area and what brought you here? I’ve been here since June of 1989. I was in the Air Force, and I had a joint staff assignment at the Pentagon. I changed jobs — I went to air staff from joint staff and spent the last 10 years of my 22-year Air Force career here in the D.C. area.
Family: I’ve been married for 21 years, it’s my second marriage. I have one child of my own and two stepchildren. My stepchildren are 32 and 32 — they’re fraternal twins — and my daughter is 26.
Education: I was in Air Force ROTC at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I spent all of my teen years in Omaha. In the Air Force, I went to South Dakota, West Virginia, Texas, Turkey and here.
How did Cameo Video Productions come about? My parents were both master photographers, and I was given a camera at age 5. My dad critiqued my work, and while I can’t say I enjoyed the criticism, I learned a lot from it ... photography did not appeal to me as a career at that point. I wanted something different. Most of my Air Force career was spent in human resources project management, for the first half, and for the second half in human resources systems development and management. When I retired here, there were a couple paths retired officers could take, and one was working for a defense contractor. I wanted to try something different, and as an Air Force officer, we were encouraged to get advanced degrees … I wanted to tell stories, to put projects together.
Describe the award-winning video: It was the second funeral I shot and was at Arlington National Cemetery. The qualifications I gave were that I was retired military and was familiar with that aspect, and that I had seen an award-winning video that was a memorial service. The daughter was from Atlanta and the widow was from Tennessee … I always make recommendations but people are not always accepting of them. But in this case, I made suggestions, and she took the suggestions. I had free license to make the best quality video I know how to do. I submitted four entries last year, and this was the only winner I had. It’s a very tough competition, you never expect to win.
How do you feel about the award? Very excited. I was awestruck at the quality of WEVA productions. To get the Gold Award, especially, is a great honor.
Activities/interests/hobbies: I’m a jack of all trades … walking, for exercise, traveling, gardening, and woodworking.
What has been your most memorable project? This year, I produced my first Hi-Def wedding, for a very, very meticulous couple who let us know up front that they were going to be meticulous.
Community concerns: Obviously, traffic is one of the negative things I experience. I enjoy working from home because I don’t have to fight traffic. When I do travel, it is usually Friday of Saturday, so I miss the brunt of the traffic. Whenever I get back into it, it makes me cringe, because I did this for many years and know people struggle with it … housing projects are going up, trees are going down. It saddens me to see that, to see the land stripped bare.
What music is on your stereo right now? The fact of the matter is that I listen primarily to music my clients provide, I hardly ever listen to music on my own. One type of music I listen to on my own is movie soundtracks … I’m attuned to what music is playing during a movie, because I may want to go back and use it. All my Christmas presents this year were movie soundtracks.
What are your favorite places to hang out in the community? We’re one row of houses away from Burke Lake. It’s great for walking. Sitting at a computer all day, editing, puts on the pounds faster than anything so it’s important to exercise.
If you could go on a road trip right now anywhere in the U.S., where would you go? There are two places my wife and I have talked about going: in southeastern Utah, there are some rock formations we’ve never seen. Also, Alaska is a place I have always wanted to go and never found the time to do that.
Personal goals: Our grandchildren. We have two at the moment, our daughter just got married this year so I don’t know what that holds in terms of grandchildren. I look forward to have time to spend with my grandchildren. Beyond that, I will continue to build the video business and try to make the most of it.
— Lea Mae Rice