Saturday, August 25, 2007

TimeOut Gives Me a Timeout

As of last week, I will no longer be doing The Talking Points cartoon for TimeOut magazine. For those who come here to get an earful of old-fashioned freelance lamenting, this post is for you.

I was fired after a new editor was hired for the section in which my column has been appearing the last few years. Since it was her first week I try to make it go smoothly by providing her more sketches/ideas than usual (3). Ideas have to get approved before they go to final and she approved the 4th (!) idea, the cartoon sketch seen in the previous post. But the night before deadline she asked me to come up with another new cartoon. By that time I simply didn’t have enough time to start and finish a new idea – I would have liked to help out but it takes me many hours when I know what the text is. Instead, a story went in place of my cartoon and when I contacted the new editor later she would only tell me the editor-in-chief would be getting in touch with me. He nicely explained that TimeOut would be like to try other cartoonists, adding that maybe I would appear again at a future time. I thanked him for giving me the opportunity for doing the cartoon in the first place (he “inherited” me from a different regime) and expressed my desire to return at a later time should things change (like that editor who got me fired moving on).

There lies the essence of a freelancer’s lament with all the insecurities and frustrations that come from this business; because you’re not there at the office, you really don’t now what’s going on, what people are thinking. Nor are you able to defend yourself. I'll never really know what explanation was given that I didn't have a cartoon for my editor. Like why we can’t put metal in a microwave – it will remain a mystery. Well, that's the joy of freelancing, there are other places to move on to to get fired from.

The Talking Points cartoon was a wonderful opportunity and, in it’s inception, was very creative and exciting. I know many enjoyed it as I received fan mail from all over and offers from agents and TV people. But in the last year most of the time my ideas were rejected and I frequently did editor’s ideas and asked to simplify the cartoon. Hopefully they will receive some feedback that I am missed and I get asked back.

For old time’s sake here are two appropriately themed cartoons from the past:

Illustrated Guide to Breaking Up in the 21st Century
Do you know what the problem with The Break-Up is? No, it’s not Jennifer Aniston. The problem is that the way they split up is so old-fashioned. Isn’t that what the Information Age is for—to make our interpersonal conflicts quicker, cleaner and more e-tastic? Here are some products for the new Apple MacBook we’d like to see that would offer the advantages of both distance and drama:

Giving someone the heave-ho has never been easier. With this combination of Apple’s patentediSight and iChat AV technologies, you can dump anyone and have supportive pals close at hand, through a video conference call.

Intuitive iPhoto supported by X-Blocker remotely accesses your computer via cellphone, scrubbing your hard-drive of any images related to your ex. Perfect for when you break up on vacation and don’t want to come home to bad memories.

Creates an obsessive library of DVDs, books, and personal items to sort, divide and fight over viaiSync and a special home page,

This easy Web-page setup lets you flaunt new liaisons using QuickieTime.

Smart e-mail with iGnore software automatically filters and responds to pathetic pleas to get back together.

Looks like I’ll be sending out this resume again.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Cartoon Killed

This cartoon was to appear in TimeOut in a piece called Illustrated Guide to Summer Comebacks but was killed the last second for being crap. This is just a rough before I was to clean it up and color it. I will be talking to the staff to discuss whether I'll be staying on or moving on. More soon.

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Congratulations Barry Bonds – Your Impact on Our Pastime is Immeasurable

(This cartoon was part of a series I did for The New York Times called The Wide World of Scandals.)

Here is the follow-up to the last post regarding phony photos published in TimeOut.

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Friday, August 3, 2007

Reaching to Out to Others Instead of Kicking Them While They're Down. Constructive Criticism for Lindsay Lohan

I just finished making this photo of human car wreck Lindsay Lohan as a public service of what could be done to deter her from getting into trouble and into a car. It was to appear in TimeOut magazine about phony photos (due to the fact the topic is reported in the current issue of The American Journal Review). It's become a real problem in the media with award-winning photojournalists getting fired for eliminating and adding extraneous elements from their reporting/photos, distorting the truth. All of this, like the infamous doctored war photo containing cloned smoke of one year ago, places a black cloud over our trust and makes us wonder if Wikipedia is any worse than any other information source. Hypocritically, not only did I just link to Wikipedia, but I just modified some pictures in my upcoming column myself.

So what gives? My personal stance is that under no circumstances should one cheat with Photoshop, distorting the truth...unless it makes something funny. And also if enhancing various "things" for various "reasons" could lead to better job opportunities and social status. E.g. Hilary Clinton cleavage controversary in The Washington Post last week may actually have an effect on the presidental election.

My editor and I did not see eye to eye on this piece – he was set on having a large ball and chain attached to Lohan. I wanted to give her a dog cone. I know, I know. Why even have a picture of Lindsay Lohan? Haven't we all seen enough of her? Well, yes, but we haven't seen enough of her wearing a dog cone was my reasoning.

Enclosed here is also a portrait of Vice President Dick Cheney, which also got cut.

Meanwhile, I just finished a job for The New York Times where they give me carte blanche editorially. That piece, about the recent rash of sports scandals, will appear this Sunday (August 5th) in the sports section.

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