I am obsessed with the history and etymology of names. It’s one of those weird interests that only pops up now and then when I’m deep in a Wikipedia rabbit hole and I realise that I have been comparing the slight changes in the names of streets on the outskirts of London since the 1800s. In particular, brand names have always fascinated me. From what the name means to how it was developed and how external influences have affected these decisions, I have always wanted to know WHY.
That’s why, when I got talking podcasting during my visit to the US and the topic of a rebrand came up, I was excited. Jason and Christina had just made the decision to end the Movie Night Crew podcast, and we all were in a bit of a goal setting and review period when Zach vocalised what we were all thinking: we need to rebrand. The reasoning was as clear as day—the Movie Night Crew Network as a name did not align with our projects, and we felt that there was a better name that fitted who we are while still allowing for potential growth.
What followed was the most chaotic creative process I have ever witnessed. The whole Richmond gang came over for a party that night and we left post-it notes and markers on the table, encouraging everyone to write down their suggestions and stick them on the wall with the hope that we would strike gold. The aim was simple, but we missed spectacularly. From LoTR references to the most intelligible handwriting I have ever seen, the notes were chaotic to say the least. The next morning, we went through the name “candidates” over Alex’s legendary breakfast nacho casserole and quickly realised we were back at square one with no real idea of what we wanted.
We then discussed—sober now—what we wanted out of a name. It had to be short, catchy, unique and broad without being too broad. It also had to be available on social media and as a website domain name. This discussion led us to the infamous James River in downtown Richmond, where we relaxed and kept yelling names at each other over the roar of the probably-not-poop water. The main problem was that the names that sounded good were too narrow, and the ones that seemed to fit what we do on this network missed every other requirement.
The curveball was Content and Capable. The podcast all about adulting didn’t fit the fandom-led lineup of the rest of the network. That and the potential of future podcast projects made it hard to find something that fitted. The conversation drifted away from names for a bit, and Zach’s bird Rory was mentioned. Suddenly Charlie and Zach started riffing on bird-themed names and landed on Screeching Bird Media. We all thought about it for a bit and explored how it would work. It sounded good, and we liked it. But something was not quite right about the name, and the conversation moved away again. It seemed to all of us that we weren’t going to have a new name after all.
Suddenly all attention was on names when a riff on “deus ex machina” turned to Deus Ex Media (we had gotten into a chronic bit of adding “media” to every phrase), and it all seemed to click. It was short, unique and recognisable while still allowing for further growth and change. It also immediately gave us ideas of a network sting and logo —something that previous names hadn’t prompted.
An example of the bit still lasting almost a month later.
The drive back home was a flurry of planning and preparations. We checked social media and reserved the domain as well as started writing briefs for the logo and sting. We pitched it later that night to the movie night crew (lowercase, meaning the people who simply attend movie night at Tina’s house). After answering questions and explaining our thought process, we felt confident in our decision. A few weeks of preparation later and we are here, ready to rebrand and grow further into the future.
The funny thing about changing names is that there is a period of transition. Normally you get it wrong the first few times you say it, and it takes days, weeks, months and even years to get the hang of the new name. I still remember mixing things up when my parents changed their minds on my little brother’s name only a day or two after making a decision. It takes practice using the name and exploring its intricacies before it feels as well used and comfortable as the old name. We don’t expect to be perfect and don’t expect for you all to be perfect either.
This rebrand ultimately is a shift in focus for our amazing and lively team. Coming from a variety of backgrounds, ages and locations, it was hard to figure out how we identify as a group beyond our passionate friendships and our love of podcasts. We are confident that Deus Ex Media is the name for us and hope that you love it as much as we do!
by Sam O'Brien
Hey y'all and thanks for checking out our Accio... Something Else episode! A huge thanks to Adal Rifai (from Hey Riddle Riddle and Hello from the Magic Tavern) and Zach (from My Cabbages!) for joining me for this episode. Here's our Big Fuckin List of Shit You Should Watch/Read/Play/Listen To. I've added links to where you can find this stuff -- streaming links work in America but if you're abroad no guarantees.
If you’ve explored the Deus Ex Media podcasts, it will probably come as no surprise to you that we love books here. In August 2021, we decided to make that love official and launch the Deus Ex Media Book Club.
Book Club Facilitator Taylor has done a ton of work in developing the Book Club and making sure it runs smoothly from month to month. She created and manages the Book Club Discord server, where participants can come and go to chat about the Book Club selection or other bookish topics.
How it works
Participants take turns leading Book Club each month, with careful support from Taylor and other Deus Ex Media leaders. While participants are not required to lead any Book Club selections, it has turned out that most of them want to! We hope that by creating a positive, safe environment to share our favorite books with each other and explore new books as well, more people will join up and get to book chattin’.
The book of the month is chosen a week or more before the month starts to give participants ample time to purchase or check out from the library. Sometimes a host has a particular book in mind; often, they have a couple of choices, and the entire Club has the opportunity to vote on which they’d like to read.
As the new month begins, each participant is welcome to read at their own pace. Our Discord server is set up so every couple of chapters gets its own channel for discussion, so it’s easy to chat about what you’ve read so far without risking seeing spoilers.
Around halfway through the month, the host will begin posting discussion questions in the Discord server. Participants are welcome to engage with those questions or simply watch others discuss; some participants don’t have time to hang out in the server, so they only attend the end-of-month Book Club Zoom meetings.
Typically on the final Tuesday of each month, the Book Club meets over Zoom to chat face-to-face about what they’ve read. The host will lead the discussion, often with the help of a PowerPoint presentation. These conversations tend to be very open-ended and help to bring together all of the disjointed chats from the Discord server!
By that time, the next month’s book will have been chosen, and after the meeting, focus shifts to the next book.
What we've read so far
All book descriptions are adapted from StoryGraph.