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Old February 28th, 2013, 09:01 AM   #1
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We or I?

I"m re-designing my website right now but I start to wonder, if you work alone do you describe yourself on your website as "we" or "I"?

Logically I"d say "I" but it sounds so strange to each time say: I do this, I supply that, I guarantee, you can contact me, well, you get the picture...I always do fear that first impressions of clients might be that someone working alone can't do a good job and they might contact you faster if you speak of "we". That question with how many you work might pop up when you first meet but at least you have them in front of you to convince them that one person can make a quality video as well.

Anyone any suggestions?
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Old February 28th, 2013, 09:36 AM   #2
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Re: We or I?

If I'm talking about myself, it's "I," and if I'm talking about the company (a sole proprietorship), then I say "we"... main reason being, there are (admittedly rare) times when I may elect to hire on an assistant, sound recordist, second shooter, or sometimes even get sick and have to hire a replacement.
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Old February 28th, 2013, 10:17 AM   #3
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Re: We or I?

I refer to Shaun C. Roemich (me) as "I" in all written or verbal communications but use "Royal 'We'" when talking about Road Dog Media.
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Old February 28th, 2013, 12:07 PM   #4
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Re: We or I?

For the company, "we". It allows for future expansion, even if only hiring a helper for a day.
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Old February 28th, 2013, 02:12 PM   #5
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Re: We or I?

When I was Mike Watson Productions, I referred to "I". When I hired an editor, we came up with the name "Video Approach", and we now refer to ourselves as "we".

If you are Mike Watson Productions and employ 20 people, you will always sound like an "I" company, and anybody you send out to do *anything*, the client will wonder (or say), "Where's Mike? Are you Mike?".

Once you become Video Approach, you can send out anybody you want, and as long as they're wearing the Video Approach polo shirt, they're just what the client ordered. (After that first two years where all the clients still remember you as Mike Watson Productions.)
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Old February 28th, 2013, 02:19 PM   #6
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Re: We or I?

Of course, when accused of something, use the term, "they". ;)
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Old February 28th, 2013, 09:33 PM   #7
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Re: We or I?

That's funny Jon! and true...
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Old March 1st, 2013, 01:39 AM   #8
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Re: We or I?

My friend is a plain ol' freelancer just like me, but refers to his company in the third person in his ads and marketing materials, sometimes "we" (we have everything to suit your needs etc. etc. ). He has a philosophy of always trying to sound "bigger than you are", which includes things like, if someone asks about a piece of gear ("do you have a jib/arri alexa/slider/whatever"), you simply say yes instead of "I can get that for you" or something similar. I've never been entirely comfortable with this whole approach as I think it's a little cheesy and disingenuous. Just like I don't like it when potential clients approach me trying to sound like their project is much more prestigious than it is, I feel like I shouldn't have to BS and "act like a bear" (trying to seem bigger than I am -- see what I did there?) to get hired. Then again, he works a lot more often than I do, and often on larger scale projects for more prestigious clients!!!!!! So maybe this is what clients like/what works.

I also currently don't have a company name, just go under my own name. Maybe I'm a moron and I'm doing it all wrong.

Anyway, good thread. Keep it going.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 02:39 AM   #9
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Re: We or I?

Thx for the reactions so far

Quote:
Then again, he works a lot more often than I do, and often on larger scale projects for more prestigious clients!!!!!! So maybe this is what clients like/what works.
Exactly what my feeling was, I mainly do weddings and there I don't see it as that big issue to tell I work alone as my prizes also reflect that but the past years I have been able to get a few bigger assignments, I needed to be very clear to them that I work alone but their only concern was if I was able to finish the project within a deadline. Having your potential client in front of you gives you a very big advantage to show they came to the right person, where if you would have used the "I" form on your website you might never get contacted by them in the first place.
I ofcourse will refuse a assignment if I"m not able to handle it within deadlines and I don't like to hire extra people to get it done, or I can or can't do it alone.
I think I prefer the "we" and "I" term combined depending if you speak for the company or for yourself.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 03:57 AM   #10
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Re: We or I?

But here's the thing: shouldn't the work speak for itself? If I have a website with samples of my work, regardless of we or I, shouldn't a potential client be able to say, "hey, this is pretty nice", or "eh, this sucks," and go from there as to whether to hire me or not?

Another thing is I don't LIKE the producing aspect, and try not to court that kind of business. I like to be brought in as a lower level crew member (camera guy, grip, etc.) and possibly editor, not development consultant, script writer, guy who has to frantically call around to hire ten other people for something, etc. etc. I feel like using the "we" language encourages folks to think you ARE a full fledged production company, and could lead to a lot more confusion and me having to turn away business I don't want (did I just say that? I did).
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Old March 1st, 2013, 12:52 PM   #11
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Re: We or I?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Bass View Post
But here's the thing: shouldn't the work speak for itself?
In an ideal world, the work would speak for itself. On the other hand, some clients prefer working with bigger operations. They might cost more but they reduce risk. A one-man crew is a single point of failure. Do you have comprehensive insurance? Do you have backup if you are hurt or sick? Is there an office with an assistant that they can contact when you are unavailable? Do you have deep pockets that they can sue if you cause harm?

And then there's that marketing/image thing. While your body of work should do the talking, just last week, Silvio Berlusconi received over 29% of the vote in Italian elections, even though he has been convicted of fraud and like Monty Python's Brian, has been "a very naughty boy." That said, he has unbeatable name recognition and his image has a certain level of popular appeal. I'm sure that there are many competent, honest people with a far superior body of work who didn't get 1/100th of his vote total. The moral of the story is that marketing and image can easily trump a body of work. Oh well...
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Old March 1st, 2013, 02:17 PM   #12
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Re: We or I?

+1 on "we"

Companies always sound better as a "we" even if its a "wee" small group of one.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 06:36 PM   #13
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Re: We or I?

From a business POV our business is a family partnership consisting of my wife and myself (the accountant suggested it actually as it gives her the flexiblity to offset tax at the year end) so although my wife is not involved I can technically still use the word 'we' or 'our' when talking about the business! I still might also use the word 'I' later in an email to re-inforce the fact that I'm the actual videographer and the buck stops with me and brides like the fact that the people they are talking to at the initial stages of booking is the person at the wedding.

Being a solo operator does has it's advantages too!

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Old March 2nd, 2013, 06:43 AM   #14
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Re: We or I?

I'm an 'i' person, not many (at least here in Ireland) would be impressed by the plural especially for a one man band!! down the country, people much more prefer the personal touch as opposed to getting in contact with a sort of corporate type entity. I've seen some use it here ok, but I think lots of people only see it as pretentious and just wouldn't be impressed by it.

:-)

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Last edited by Rob Cantwell; March 2nd, 2013 at 06:47 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old March 2nd, 2013, 08:02 AM   #15
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Re: We or I?

I always used "we" in my sole-ownership company because, as others have suggested, I not-infrequently hired in additional crewing depending on the job and for the duration of that job, those crew were part of my company so we were a plural (!)

However, if anyone specifically asked, "is the company YOU?" then I would explain that it was so but that other personnel were hired in as appropriate.

I would never lie about it if asked directly but preferred "we" as it sounded bigger.

Regards
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