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  1.  (10984.1)
    For another example Salvador Dali designed the logo for Chupa Chups, a less creative endeavour than this arguably. Does that invalidate him as an artist?
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2013
    Well, on the flip side, when you're a creative millionaire who has a bunch of ideas rolling around in your head, how do you prioritize? It's quite helpful when a company comes along and says "hey, we want to collaborate with you! Let's come up with a way to involve you + me + involving our fans and yours." You could be like "fuck off, corporate scum" or, realistically, utilize them as a jumping point to do a project you had in mind. You get money + a deadline + whatever else you need to motivate yourself to do something.

    Sure he could have done this the Amanda Palmer way and spent his personal time connecting with his audience to do a project together and then published it on his own blog, but that also won't get as far outside of his own fan base as when it's worked with a completely different demographic. He's a business man. He didn't get where he got by doing everything for selfless reasons.

    I think we'd all love to think that when we reached millions of dollars in our bank accounts that we'd do nothing but puff pieces for ourselves and never accept a dime of corporate money. But then again, why the hell not? I'm guessing that he doesn't think that BlackBerry is some evil company and considering that he has worked for and with companies for a lot of his career, they made a well enough pitch to get him to work with them - being able to choose your clients that you want to associate with (or do things independently if you so choose) is kind of the ideal. And who says that once you've made your first million that you're then required to become this mythical ideal of an artist?

    As well, I've never heard Neil Gaiman rant about the awfulness of doing collaborations with companies, so isn't this kind of pushing your ideals onto someone who doesn't share them? I'd have a lot more outrage if Bill Hicks lived on to do a series of podcasts with Pepsi. AND it's not like the end result is one big product placement. He's mentioning his sponsors & publishing on their site. Pretty benign.
    One of the reasons I was so defensive in my post (and had an obviously dickish choice in wording) is because a) annoyance at having things that one works on creatively be denigrated as worthless just because it was prompted by outside money, b) hearing the sell out argument as calling someone out for not pursuing a solely self interested path when that's not an accurate description of their career path to begin with.

    And I think that's where a lot of the rest of us are going "and so what?"

    We'd all love to have a company offer us money to do something we already wanted to do, it'd be a shame to think that there's a cap on your income where you're not allowed to do that.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2013
    The problem isn't selling out. I'd sell out in a second. It's that there's a hint that people will be asked to provide artistic work that will benefit a large company, that will probably insist on owning and controlling that work.

    It's not really fair to connect this with the Amanda Palmer Fuck You Pay Me debacle, but well, I'm gonna be unfair.
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2013
    There is a difference between asking musicians to play music for free and asking anybody in the world to give some creative input unsolicited.
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2013
    Glukkake worded it better than I ever could.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2013
    I think it boils down to this for me, if Gaiman releases a story in which a Blackberry is the hero it is perfectly valid to question his integrity but seeing as how that isn't likely, and he's going to use this corporation as a patron and their platform as a venue for his own ideas, we're golden. Hicks was railing against using your hard earned artistic talents purely to pimp soulless corporate products for a fat paycheck, which is absolutely compromising artistic integrity. Gaiman isn't the Black Eyed Peas, though.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2013
    I don't see why it's not okay for a company, or person or what/whom-ever, to commission an artist to write something/do something for them because they are in need of that skill. Maybe it makes that work of art less meaningful, but I don't think it cheapens the artist unless they're going against their values for the sake of money, OR if that's all the artist does (in which case, they're not someone who makes art, but rather just someone who knows how to work with their medium of choice). Like, I have no problem with Gaiman writing stories for Blackberry, whether or not the hero is a blackberry phone or his own character, because I don't recall Gaiman ever having been someone to be specifically anti-corporate or anti-cell phone. If he had been, then it would bother me on the basis that he turned his back on his values for the sake of a paycheck. But he didn't, ergo it I don't see any issue.

    They way I see it, maybe the fact that a corporate company is involved makes those stories less artistic, but it doesn't Gaiman's other stories any less meaningful or artistic, and at the end of the day Gaiman is still a good writer and he can still lend his skills as a writer to a corporate client, or any client. Like, say someone is an artist who makes sculptures out of wood, is it not okay for them to build a coffee table for someone who needs to hire someone who knows how to work with wood? Can a person not be both an artist and an artisan?

    Clearly, the skills artists have can be used for things other than meaningful art. Why is that so wrong to do as long as you're not going against your values?
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2013
    I do think it is possible for someone to have wonderful, personal, expressive art AND still do commercial gigs that are completely devoid of artistic integrity to pay the bills without the latter tainting the former. That's how life goes. Basically it is a semantic argument. Everyone is a commercial artist so I don't think the doing-it-for-money argument is valid but if all you have to say with your creativity is "buy doritos", you aren't making art. You are making advertising. A lot of advertising is very nicely manufactured and shows a lot of skill and technique but so what? I might be guilty of expecting more from creative people than is reasonable in this day and age but I won't back down on that. In my admittedly cynical and narrow view on this subject, art is a term to be reserved for more important creations than selling a phone. Just to reiterate, though, I have also stated that I believe Gaiman will likely create something wonderful inside the structure of this business relationship he has with Blackberry.
  2.  (10984.9)
    Whether or not we want to give away our ideas/writing/illustrations for free, Twitter has proven that there are millions of people that are.

    My own opinion on this is that I feel a little strange about it - not the corporate issue, no [because if we were all honest with ourselves and Blackberry paid us a fuckton of money, whether we already had money or not, we'd take it] what I'm concerned about is the fact that Neil is essentially going "Hey, INTERNET, write these things for me and I'll make them pretty. Through a little editing and my usual IDEA+MYTH+DEBATABLE-POETRY=RESULT PEOPLE LIKE, I'll make a lot of money and you'll remain anonymous as writer but hey one of you lucky illustrators out there might - just might - get to sit alongside my work."




    Actually, no thanks, Neil; pay me because I'm a writer and I don't like giving you ideas when I'm working my ass off each day to make original things and you're playing aggregation while kicking back on the fat paycheck.

    Though, of course, we're all aggregating all the damn time, it's just that some of us are trying hard to do it on our own and not taking advantage of a large group of people who worship our floppy hair.


    This is, admittedly, not really thought out from Neil's perspective but you have to admit it feels a little...icky, no?
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2013
    Well, one could argue that the internet's ideas aren't writing the story for him so much as giving him a prompt to work with. You could give someone the best idea in the world but a shitty writer won't be able to make jack-squat out of it. Meanwhile, a talented writer can make artwork out of the shittiest ideas.

    I should point out that at this point I'm just playing devil's advocate. I actually totally see the case for the above argument, and as for "my usual IDEA+MYTH+DEBATABLE-POETRY=RESULT PEOPLE LIKE," Edgar and I have often talked about how many of Neil's stories are just variants of the same story. That said, I also do like each variant, so there's that.

    Though, of course, we're all aggregating all the damn time, it's just that some of us are trying hard to do it on our own and not taking advantage of a large group of people who worship our floppy hair.

    Sure? But it's also amazing to what degree an established fan base is ready to start spewing ideas out at you. It's not like Gaiman made his career out of playing aggregation. Again, playing devil's advocate, here.

    art is a term to be reserved for more important creations than selling a phone.

    I do agree with that. I'm just arguing that someone doesn't become less of an artist if they occasionally work on an ad here and there, is all. Like you said, the ads don't necessarily taint the art, in which case, I think the person who produced them is still an artist in that they made art.
  3.  (10984.11)
    @ben I think that's a bit of unfair portrayal. Firstly the quote below certainly suggests people's contributions are not going to be used anonymously;
    No, you do not have to use a BlackBerry for anything in this, although you might want to follow the @Blackberry twitter account as it would be useful for when they need to DM anyone whose tweets I do happen to use as a story prompt. (But if you don't follow them, I'll wave at you to remind you.)

    Secondly this isn't Neil walking into writer's group, asking people to write down their ideas, then sneaking off to write them up as his own stories. I would guess most of the people contributing are not writers, just fans. I mean the prompts were things like happiest memory of April, not write me a synopsis of a story about loss in post soviet Russia.
    Also lets face facts. It's not like he's ever been short of story prompts of his own. For example look at the scenes in Sandman where Madoc can't stop having story ideas.

    Full disclosure I chucked a couple out, but I'm not really concerned with Neil Gaiman using the fact that one of my favourite places to be in June is sat in Munich's Englischgarten with a dunkelsbier, writing, anymore than an overheard conversation of mine ending up in someone's novel. Apart from this time I've made a conscious choice.

    As a writer you have to set your own boundaries which you will not cross. I have mine (eg I will never pay to submit my work anywhere) and you have yours. That's fine, but I think this needs to be seen as more of a competition aimed at fans than a way of harvesting story ideas from writers.
  4.  (10984.12)
    [because if we were all honest with ourselves and Blackberry paid us a fuckton of money, whether we already had money or not, we'd take it]

    Seriously?! I find this attitude slightly insane. I mean, What Would Alan Moore Do for example? I am broke as fuck right now and things like laundry are a financial challenge, so I can't say I wouldn't. However, if I were independently wealthy (or even just comfortable with my own means of survival) I can tell you with confidence that I would not take a fuckton of money from a large corporation for advertising if I didn't need it. This is really not such an anomale.

    Like I originally mentioned, though. There are projects that need fuckton money, like Oldman's 'Nil By Mouth' funded by his appearing in 'Lost In Space'.
  5.  (10984.13)
    I think it comes down to having that personal boundary you won't cross. As long as you stick to that whether you're Gaiman, Moore, Dali, or Mucha then that's your business. The problem for me arises when someone is extemely vocal about accepting commercial money, especially when criticising others, then accepts commercial money.
  6.  (10984.14)
    D.J. hit the nail on the head, I think.
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2013
    Added thought: How is doing paid work for Blackberry really any different than doing paid work for Marvel or DC?
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2013
    Just to reiterate; my personal objection isn't that Gaiman is taking money from Blackberry, it's that it seems like illustrations are going to be crowd sourced, which Blackberry will almost certainly insist on owning as soon as they're submitted.

    Ideas are easy. Most of us have potentially bestsellingnstory ideas every twenty minutes. But drawing is hard.

    Sure, plenty of people do remake/remodels and other drawing type things here without expecting any recompense, but I doubt the feelings about these would be the same if Avatar took ownership of this work.

    Of course, I could be surprised at how Blackberry does things, and i hope they do let the contributors keep ownership, or just have pics linked to a tag or something, but thats got so much potential to go wrong that its just a bad idea.
    • CommentAuthorKradlum
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2013 edited
    Blackberry have subtly been sponsoring Gaiman for a few years, but no-one complained before:

    Blackberry Girl
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2013
    to be honest, gaiman is one of my favorite writers. I SWOONED when i met him, but its not like he's getting story ideas or plot points from people, just individual flashes that he will use his writing to put into something greater than the sum of its parts.

    Icky? No.

    Also, i fucking hate Bill HIcks, going on about how accepting money for a job, regardless of its 'artistic merit' (which is all perspective anyway) just makes you look like an asshole.
    Honestly i'd love to see a Hicks video where he makes people laugh at something funny rather than cheer along with him expressing his gospel for an hour.

    I'm not a writer, i'm not an illustrator but i'll contibute what i can, regardless of payment or credit, its the chance for a lot of people to contribute to one of there favorite authors latest project. Anyway, Gaiman pretty consistantly donates his fee's for stuff like this to CBLDF. I wouldn't be surprised if hi dd for this too.
  7.  (10984.19)
    @Rachael - Don't get me wrong, I've no wish to roll around in a bank vault Scrooge McDuck style but if I was well off and Blackberry said "Money? Fuckton?" I'd think, "What can I do with that money?" To make an obvious example, I could make things a whole lot easier for a whole lotta people - like Alastair said, Gaiman gives to charities. I hope we all would if we had as much money.

    Just to clarify, I stated "icky" because I don't feel terribly strongly about the issue: icky is just a little bad, not terrible.
    I guess I just don't like the idea of anyone taking other people's work but Steve Toase is right when he says it's more for fans than for creatives.

    Finally though, and without wishing to derail the thread, it's possible Gaiman's been playing aggregation since the late 80s - Sandman is, after all, all the gods in one place with 7 newish anthropomorphized versions of constructs already considered - and as such, Gaiman's just doing what he does.
    [This isn't me complaining about that, by the way, just offering an observation and hoping to find a middle ground.]
  8.  (10984.20)
    And Sandman himself is taking an old character, who appears in the imagination of the boy in the Dollshouse collection, and re-imagining him.