Whisperpost: On Names

Let me tell you a story about how things get their names. It is a story about inside jokes and those funny things in the world that just sort of stick with us.

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a young woman named Dorothy McQuaid was listening to such podcasts as Welcome to Night Vale and Sayer and she, idea-driven as she tends to be, decided it might be cool to find people who were interested in podcasts who might be into the idea of creating their own. She posted about it in various social media outlets, and one such post appeared in a Facebook group for fantasy/sci-fi nerds. The Fantasy/Sci-Fi group hosted monthly book club meetings and received a decent amount of traffic, so as soon as one person bit into the idea it exploded into a thread with over two hundred comments. The basics were as follows: Yes podcast. Very interested.

About ten members of the group promptly moved over to a new Facebook group, aptly entitled “Podcast Collab Thingy,” and what followed were many days of ideas and the slow trickle of other interested parties into the group. Dorothy was committed to keeping the group as collaborative as possible and did not want to be the sole administrator, so she added Shelly, Louisa, Madeleine, and Rebecca as administrators to the group since they had expressed interest. The five administrators then began a Facebook group chat, hoping to address some strategies for moving forward with the group and developing a leadership structure because it had become clear that trying to do everything related to podcast development with a committee of 14 was terribly inefficient.

While the administrators attempted to keep the group involved in discussions and decisions as much as possible, some tension arose since the administrators were making decisions without actually having been elected to leadership positions. In a conversation about this disconnect and how best to deal with it, Dorothy made a comment about how she wanted to ensure that people did not feel the group was run by the “backroom whispering” of the administrators. The “backroom whispering” referred, generally, to the admin chat, but quickly developed extra layers of meaning. Admins and group members alike were pleased by the irony of the phrase, the double secrecy of whispering out of sight, in the backroom. The idea of “backroom whispering” came up on many threads that followed, largely as a joke, but occasionally seriously, as a reference to the constant struggle between keeping the group collaborative and having effective leadership.

When it came time to name the quickly-developing production company, Rebecca posted an open poll for name suggestions and began the poll with “Backroom Whispering Productions” as somewhat of a joke, since it had been mentioned jokingly in a previous name discussion thread. She realized, as did the group, almost unanimously, that it was actually a good name for the group. After some research it became clear that this name was not taken by anyone or anything else, and so the “Podcast Collab Thingy” adopted “Backroom Whispering Productions” proudly.

I tell you this story because it is a story, and we at Backroom Whispering Productions are dedicated to the telling of stories. I tell you this story because it is a true story, and I never shy away from an opportunity to tell a true story. But mostly I tell you this story so that you might understand something about Backroom Whispering Productions, something about the nature of collaborative creative groups, maybe even something about the power of inside jokes.

While I work very hard to create worthwhile and quality projects, I will never abandon my dedication to silliness. This silliness is in my roots, at my core, and worn as a badge in the name that was and still is an inside joke for me. Now you are in on it, so join me as I continue to have fun, and make fun things, and bring that silliness to the world.

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