Aikido, Creative Work, Photography & Documentary.

We Are Ronin

 Japanese Kokeshi Samurai

After months of hard work and development it feels great to officially launch the We Are Ronin site. We have been taking things slow over last few years; completing work on tow features docs and developing some smaller brand documenaries with various partners.

The Name

Ronin summarises the personal journey we have taken to arrive at this point in our lives, and to some degree reflects and how we approach our work. The ‘We Are’ represents everyone who is on the journey with me, from my partner in crime Emilie, to the crew I work with and the people we work for.

So what is a Ronin?

“A ronin (浪人) was a samurai with no lord or master during the feudal period of Japan. A samurai became ronin from the loss of his master.” 

So, it stands to a reason a ronin might be:

- Different
- Rebellious
- Free to choose their own path
- For hire

Then what do I mean by a samurai?

“Samurai were noble warriors that fought for their clan and its beliefs, whilst following a moral code (Bushido) that governed their life. Bushido dictated that a samurai strives to better himself (or her) in a multitude of ways, including cultural and artistic endeavours.”

The eccentricities of a Ronin combine with the values of the samurai:

- Respect
- Politness
- Understanding
- Honesty / Loyalty ie. Honor
- Life long learning
- Commitment to the arts

I like to believe that these values or traits make up the professional person I aspire to be everyday; and those elements are distilled into the business and its name.


The Ronin brand has been created with person to person interaction and experience in mind, less social media and more social face to face. I am on a journey to 'de-tech' my self and the business just a little, focusing more on the artistic, human, emotional side of production. I actually prefer to call our new work films, as I think that better represents what we are trying to achieve - I have always felt video to be a more a technical term - hopefully film implies a good story, some magic and a touch of art sprinkled in. 

Oh, we do have a mission too:

“We tell stories that connect, motivate and inspire through professionally crafted, emotionally engaging, moving images. We are here to have adventures and do the best work of our lives with others who are doing the same.”

To incorporate this ethos into our marketing we made some decisions early in the process to 'keep it real.' That means sending actual letters, designing ink stamps, embosser dies, writing by hand, sourcing gorgeous quality stationary and business cards. We want to be as friendly, helpful and down to earth as we can. We think the tactile nature of the brand reflects this, who doesn't love 'real' materials, deep inks, analogue photography, gorgeous paper, recycled card and everything in between. 

 Hand Printed

Hand Printed

The Work

I want to do the best work of my life, now, today. This really matters to me, that sense of continual advancement. Movement is life after all.

So with two feature length documentaries behind me its a good change of pace whilst also being a step up in production standards. Ronin is very much focusing on feature docs and high end brand docs with gorgeous lighting, sound, visuals and of course, story. Taking we have learnt over the last few years in documentary production with our pervious commercial experience. The outcome is improved standards, not just technically through better equipment but creatively, as storytellers crafts people.

The new methodology when proceeding this kind of work also feel liberating. 

We are very lucky to have some great projects lined up in 2017, can't wait to share more details as things happen.

Reflecting on the journey I have gone through to get to this point I still find my motivation comes from same place as my documentary work. A desire to experience the world, the exciting journey of meeting people, seeing interesting things in amazing places. Stuff you normally never get a chance to experience like flying in helicopters, visiting futuristic power stations or going fishing with a trawler-man miles at sea.

The feature documentary work is continuing, lots of planning and preparation for the next project within a few years. No doubt another blink of an eye. For now here is the new showreel for We Are Ronin.

Production, CreativeJames Stier