What’s in a name….

Last updated on January 12, 2021

Over my decades in the post production and visual effects business, I’ve experienced many occasions where we’ve had to name a new computer, service or application. Sometimes we would ask people’s opinions, sometimes we didn’t. I’ve kept track of some of them over the years along with snippets of the conversations that took place when names were ‘discussed’. Here are a few of them, usually with two to five people at a time responding, verbatim. You just can’t make this stuff up and it will all end up in my book one day.

ME: “We’ll name the new giant killer render farm machines after monsters from old Japanese monster movies, “GodZilla, Mothra, Rodan….Cool, right?”

Why Monsters? Why not muppets or famous wrestlers, dude? Those would be way better. Why not just Farm1, Farm2, Farm3. That’s too confusing and no one will remember them.

ME: “We’ll name the business servers FS01, FS02, etc for File Server 1, File Server 2, etc…so people can remember them.”

The Crowd: “That’s boring and not very creative. We want to look creative. Why not use names of famous people like Sinatra, Davis, Martin….”

ME: “We’ll call the temporary directory “TEMP”, so you always know it’s temporary, ok? They’re only temporary so keep them somewhere else.”

THE CROWD: (at any future time) Why did the things that were in TEMP go away?”

ME: We don’t need another temporary folder. Just use the one called TEMP”

THE CROWD: “We need another and it should be called TEMP2. But it will be permanent.”

ME: “Isn’t that what everyone thing else, besides TEMP, is already?”

THE CROWD: “No, that isn’t clear enough. How about renaming the old TEMP folder JUNK. NO! How about STASH or GLOVEBOX?”

ME: “We’ll name the new media servers after pop culture waitresses, like Alice (Brady Bunch’s maid), Rosie (the Jetson’s maid), etc. Get it? They were all servers, right?”

The Crowd: “No one will ever remember those. Why not make ours Graphic Server and the other one Edit Server…?”

ME: “We’ll just name the backup server “Backup Server” because that’s what it is and does. Easy, right?

 The Crowd: “How are we supposed to know what it backs up?”

ME: “We’ll call the new universal encoder application nCode? Get it? nCode? Clever, right?

THE CROWD: Person’s eyes roll back into there head as they think ‘geek’.

ME: “We’ll call the app that manages all the jobs JobManager. Perfect and no doubt about what it does!”

THE CROWD: “Couldn’t you come up with a better name than JobManager? Not very exciting.”

ME: “We’ll call the Houdini Render Controller “Harry”. Get it? Harry Houdini?

THE CROWD: “Harry is a dumb name for a program.”

ME, a year later: “Since the Render Controller can now render things other than Houdini, we’ll call it “UltraRender”.

THE CROWD: “Can’t we just leave it as Harry? We want it associated it with Houdini?

ME, years later: “We’ll call NEWEST render controller “Miranda”, after the character in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” who watched all the ships from the attacking fleets crash into the rocks!”

THE CROWD: “What? Why can’t it just be called RenderController?”

ME: “We’ll call the new media server Kong, because it’s a giant monster bigger than anything we’ve ever had before.

THE CROWD: Why Kong? Why not just “Server”? Why not “GraphicsServer”? Why not “Jobs”?

ME: “What should we name the new Media Library application?”

THE CROWD: “Who cares what it’s called?”

ME, later: “We’ll call the Library Application Emily, short for Electronic Media Library”.

THE CROWD: Why Emily? Who’s Emily? Why not Library? Why not DAM? Who came up with Emily?

THE CROWD: “I really think this (JobPortal Server) needs a name. You know….like ‘Kong’…..but not like ‘Junk Drawer’ “

ME: sigh.

After a while, we stopped asking people for name suggestions. A former president once said to me “Questions I know the answer to, I don’t need to ask, right?”