Neil Gaiman Launches New Crowdsourced Storytelling Project (Sponsored by the New BlackBerry)

The tech-savviest among us may greet the news of a new BlackBerry phone with an exaggerated yawn, if that. But we have reasons not to dismiss the latest iteration of Research in Motion’s flagship product entirely. The Z10 launched to record early sales in the United Kindgom and Canada. Both the device and the fresh operating system that runs on it “represent a radical reinvention of the BlackBerry,” writes Wall Street Journal personal technology critc Walt Mossberg. “The hardware is decent and the user interface is logical and generally easy to use. I believe it has a chance of getting RIM back into the game.” Even so, building the product amounts to only half the battle; now the BlackBerry brand has to continue gaining, and manage to hold, customer interest. That’s where a certain master of gaining and holding interest named Neil Gaiman comes in.

Say what you will about their phones; Research in Motion’s marketing department has shown an uncommon degree of literary astuteness, at least by the standards of hardware makers. You may remember Douglas Coupland, for instance, turning up in advertisements for the BlackBerry Pearl back in 2006. But the company has recruited Gaiman—the English author of everything from novels like American Gods and Coraline to comic books like The Sandman to television series like Neverwhere to films like MirrorMask—for a more complicated undertaking than Coupland’s. Under the aegis of BlackBerry, Gaiman extends his collaboration-intensive work one domain further. A Calendar of Tales finds him sourcing ideas and visuals from the public in order to create “an amazing calendar showcasing your illustrations beside Neil’s stories.” The short video above recently appeared as the first in a series of episodes covering this storytelling project. Of this we’ll no doubt hear, see, and read much more before 2013’s actual calendar is out.

Related Content:

Download Free Short Stories by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman Gives Graduates 10 Essential Tips for Working in the Arts

Download Neil Gaiman’s Award-Winning Novelette: The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains

Neil Gaiman Gives Sage Advice to Aspiring Artists

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.


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  • Stacey C says:

    Personally, I have nothing against Blackberry (physical keyboard shines!), but I generally doubt their potentials to rise up.

    It has nothing to do with how good the quality of hardware is, neither the fancifulness of OS, and definitely not the amount of popular APPS available—all 3 are anyway pretty much unreachable for a new comer in Smartphone market like RIM, by the way—but the survival factors rest inside the psychology of human minds:

    Which way are the general customer-base leaning towards? will the combined power of CURIOSITY and BRAND-LOYALHOOD prevail? or are people rather be PRACTICAL and SPARED of UNKNOWN BUGS by sticking w/ an OS and APP system they know well of?

    Besides, a fatal battle RIM has to fight is on how to break up people’s TIES with an OS system they’ve already shipped possibly hundreds of dollars in: On the surface it’s not like a heart-wrenching amount—nonetheless for the majority, it’s an “extremely upset idea” to pay for APPS greatly resembled to those on their current system, kinda feel like being charged for things already paid. And the HIGHLIGHT here is, it’s not just applying to stale smartphone market, but even part of RIM’s most promising buyers, people w/o a smartphone yet…but owning a Flatscreen! They’re also bounded down by the same APP system issue; People such as me, who didn’t notice about this locked-in state after already shoveling money buying a bunch of APPs, most of them universal; while the rest are buyers whose “brand-pref.” already played into their Flatscreen purchase.

    Anyway, my point is, RIM’s road towards becoming a hard smartphone seller seems especially bumpy. I will pray for them, though, since the idea of smartphone market coming down to be a 2-party nation is rather nasty!

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