At the end of every great idea in the media world is an eternal struggle: naming it. This is the most unexpectedly difficult part of my job. One would think that if you have worked out the entire mechanics of a short film, from the narrative to the aesthetic right down to lenses you’re going to use to shoot it, that simply labeling it would be easy. And yet, there is something stupendously difficult about it.
When I was young, I was miserably unhappy with my own personal name. I cannot for the life of me remember why – my favorite athlete was John Starks, my favorite show was Johnny Quest, and my favorite president was John Quincy Adams (jk) – but for some reason I desperately wished to be called Nick. I remember feeling helpless, my unwanted name a symbolic microcosm of the terrible restrictions of childhood.
These two dynamics combined, you can imagine, have already given me terrible anxiety about what to name my unborn son.
The only names I’ve thus far eliminated are: Orangejello and Lemonjello (read Freakonomics), Colin (bleh), Barack (unoriginal), and Kony.
Everything else is fair game. That’s intimidating.
All of my experience in creative development has taught me that in brainstorming situations such as these you need a brief. What goals am I setting for the choice of my unborn son’s name? What criteria will this name be evaluated on?
The way I see it, the heir to the Weidman throne should ideally have a title that accomplishes the following things:
- Sounds cool as fuck
- Has an accompanying nickname that sounds cool as fuck
- Lacks permutations that will lead to vicious teasing
- Won’t be shared with three or four lame classmates
- Has a sliver of relevance to who I am (equivalent to the color choice of bathroom mats or the tenth tattoo)
With the metrics set, we can hone in on a strategic approach. How should I direct my thinking to lead to the best creative conclusions? What is the tactical infrastructure through which I will end up saving my son from years of yearning to be called Nick? And because there is only space for three perfect ideas in the entire world, and bikinis, cheeseburgers and Spongebob already exist, which of these the five objectives are most and least important to satisfy?
The first one is of course essential, as is the second one. The third one we can deemphasize a bit because if my son’s name is cool as fuck enough he will presumably not give a shit what his stupid classmates think about it. Ditto for number four, although that should be implicitly satisfied in realization of goals one and two. And five, honestly, who gives a shit about who I am. My dad named me Jonathan because his name is John AND LOOK WHERE THAT GOT ME.
On to the creative idea. I present for your evaluation (as you are now my reader/client) a series of carefully considered names and accompanying nicknames for my firstborn son:
Whiplash (Whip or Lash)
Another option is I don’t have kids.
Featured image courtesy of Web Master Grade