Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Some of the Things I'm Doing This Week

In order to supply gags to the ten or so cartoonists I send material to, I read constantly: The New Yorker, Newsday, The New York Times, Barron's, Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, Harvard Business Review (and I'm sure I'm missing something). I don't actually read every word of every publication. I have to pick and choose the sections and the articles. I also read stories on The New Yorker's website, mostly the political articles, to keep me up-to-date with what's happening.

Right now I'm also reading "Peter Arno: The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist" by Michael Maslin. I've been waiting for this book to be published to find out more about the cartoonist's life and where he got his ideas. So far the book is full of interesting material and very well written. I recommend it to anyone who's interested in New Yorker cartoons.

I own a copy of "The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker," which was published in 2004 and includes two CD's containing all the cartoons which ran in the magazine from 1925 to 2004. When I run out of ideas and need some motivation, I go through random years of cartoons for inspiration. It always helps.

Besides all this, with political news all around us, I get updated by listening to news radio and watching national and local broadcast news three to four times a day. I also get news briefs on my computer. And, my notebook follows me from room to room. I've got to write it down. I don't want to miss anything.

After this political season is over, things might seem quite boring.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Busy Writing Political Gags

This post will be short because I'm keeping very busy writing political gags. I live in New York which just finished off a very active primary vote. The newspapers, radio stations, TV stations and the Internet are full of stories - lots of material for gags. As I've said before, I read constantly and write down phrases and words that pertain to this presidential election. And, of course, the road to the White House has many twists and turns. You have to make comments about what's going on and, of course, you have to keep updating your material.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Using Trending Words and Phrases

We're in the middle of a very active political season and this gives the gag writer and cartoonist lots of material.

I read several daily and weekly newspapers plus a few magazines. I'm constantly looking for words, expressions and phrases that appear again and again during this political season. While reading news and feature stories, or scanning the internet for trending political buzzwords, I write down anything that I feel could be used in my gag writing. You want to find words and phrases that are familiar...and used over and over again. Just placing the familiar phrase in an unfamiliar situation can be the basis for a cartoon. You can take the phrase and use the opposite of it. You can also take the phrase and substitute a new word for something that was there before. Ultimately, you're trying to create a surprise.

I find that reading articles on The New Yorker's website,, brings me up to date with what's trending in politics. I also read various sections of the Sunday New York Times plus my local daily newspaper, Newsday. I'm also receiving a lot of political flyers in the mail and I read these as well. I also look through published cartoons and see if they generate any ideas that can be used. Certain situations are used over and over again: prisoners, heaven, hell, gurus on mountaintops, job interviews, the Grim Reaper, animals talking to each other, bosses talking to office workers. You can change the situation, or the caption...there are no limits to where you can go. But I think it all starts with the words (ideas).   

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Few Tips on Working Well with Others

First of all, I missed posting new entries on my blog for the past few weeks because, honestly, I've been very busy working, which is a good thing. I've taken on some new writing assignments lately and this has become a top priority. I plan to return to posting new entries on a weekly basis starting today.

You probably already know what I do. I provide gags for syndicated and non-syndicated gag cartoons. I see this as providing a service to my customers. I spend lots of time getting new customers and then keeping those customers happy. I guess working in print advertising sales for many years has given me this mindset.

Here are a few things I've learned over the years about getting and keeping customers:

1. ALWAYS TRY TO ACT LIKE A PROFESSIONAL. Be professional in how you approach new customers and how you deal with them when you have their business. If you're interested in developing new business for yourself, your website and your profiles on LinkedIn or Facebook should also highlight what you do, always in a professional manner.

2. WHEN YOU PROMISE TO DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE, DO IT. And if you can't, tell them why the work will be delayed or why you can't handle the assignment at all. Be honest. Don't make a lot of excuses.

3. WHEN SOMEONE PAYS YOU FOR WORK YOU PROVIDED, THANK THEM. Let them know you appreciate their business.

4. ALWAYS TRY TO BE POSITIVE WHEN DEALING WITH CUSTOMERS. Don't speak negatively of anyone, especially on the internet.

5. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT THE OUTCOME TO BE. Always be thinking of what the goal is (more sales together, usually).

6. DO MORE THAN WHAT IS REQUIRED. If some asks you to send them 10 to 20 gags, send them 25 good ones. Let that person know that you're reliable and are willing to give more.

7. WHEN ONE OF YOUR CUSTOMERS HAS A BIG SALE, CONGRATULATE THEM.  When the cartoonists I work with have a big sale to a national publication, even if I'm not the one who provided the gag, I try to send an email of congratulations. When you make a big sale people will congratulate you as well.

These are just a few things I've learned over the years. If you have any questions or comments, shoot me an email at: