How to Become a Cartoonist

1.Begin by taking drawing classes and creating cartoons for your high school or college newspaper.
2.Understand that even though higher education is not mandatory, appropriate college courses will polish your writing and artistic skills. Consult your high school guidance counselor for advice related to furthering your education.
3.Peruse the National Cartoonist Society (NCS) Web site (see Related Sites) for professional advice about becoming a cartoonist.
4.Assemble copies of only your best work in a professional-looking portfolio. Bring it to interviews you set up with advertising agencies and local newspapers. Many of those organizations frequently use freelance cartoonists.
5.Keep abreast of current events, since popular cartoon storylines often evolve from the daily news.
6.Read books listed in the Cartoonist's Library (see Related Sites). They will give you valuable information and may help keep you motivated.
7.Make a copy of the NCS Newspaper Syndicate Directory Web page (also under Related Sites) for syndicate contact information. Also consult the Writer's Digest and Writer's Market guidebooks to find out about cartoon syndicates and their submission requirements. Realize that you will be competing with professionals if you send in submissions. 
You must be able to communicate succinctly in only a few written words. If you cannot express yourself without writing long sentences, this may not be the career for you.
A sense of humor is required for success in this field. 
Warnings: Realize that no one starts out in syndication and that most cartoonists never achieve that distinction.   Steps:
1.Decide – now that you are most likely a teenager with years of difficult practice behind you - if you want to devote your life to dance. Be honest with yourself. If the answer is yes, take a few steps to make certain you are on a level playing field with other dancers.
2.Make sure you're attending a dance school that is giving you excellent training in ballet and any other form of dance you are studying. Compare it with other dance schools in your area by arranging for several interviews.
3.Ask for information from each school about how students can prepare for and obtain professional auditions with regional ballet companies or national dance companies. A good school should have some connections.
4.Go online to receive further information about the dance field and training. Visit the National Dance Association Web site (see Related Sites).
5.Remember that there are always local events at which dancers appear. These will give you practice performing before the public.
6.Consider that a full-time college education immediately after high school might work against you if you put off trying to get those all-important professional auditions when you are 18. If you wait until you graduate from college, you will be competing with younger dancers who have been concentrating on their craft.
7.Work toward a bachelor's degree if you decide you want to teach dance in a school or university setting. Go to the National Association of Schools of Dance Web site (see Related Sites) for a list of accredited colleges offering dance programs. 
Be prepared to join a union if you get a job as a professional dancer. That means you will have to pay an entry fee and union dues.
Keep open the option of eventually going to college or community college for a degree unrelated to dance. Even successful dancers often go on to other careers after they retire or are injured. 
Warnings: Most dancers live in large cities where there are full-time dance companies, theaters, television studios and concert halls. Remember that large cities are expensive and that a beginning dancer's salary is often low.   Steps:
1.Take drawing courses while you're in high school.
2.Be prepared to receive a college degree in fine arts or advertising with concentrations in graphic art and computer graphics. Although it's sometimes possible to work as a graphic designer without having a degree, much of your competition now graduates from college.
3.Visit the National Association of Schools of Art and Design Web site (see Related Sites) to compare the offerings of schools in which you have an interest. Make certain they offer training in current graphics-related computer technology and that their electives include business and finance courses.
4.Contact your top school choices to see if they require samples of your artwork along with an application. Be prepared for a possible interview.
5.Get an internship in the design department of a company near your college. It will look good on your résumé, and you might make valuable career contacts.
6.Do freelance work whenever you can so that you will have a solid portfolio to show prospective employers when you graduate.
7.Pay attention to packaging designs and advertising trends in all forms of media. 
Be prepared to contact employers for interviews, even if they have not posted classified ads.
Make certain your portfolio showcases only your best work. 
This is a career in which about 1/3 of the individuals are self-employed. You may need to be constantly on the lookout for your next job, especially during the early years.
Expect to work long hours when a project is nearing its deadline.  Steps:
1.Peruse the National Auctioneers Association (NAA) Web site for an overview of the auction world (see Related Sites).
2.Attend auctions for insight into the pace of the work. Also view the increasing numbers of auctions on TV and contact the sources they provide to gain information about the field.
3.Look into attending one of the auction schools listed on the NAA site to develop your bid-calling skills.
4.Understand that many auctioneers today also receive college degrees, with coursework in public speaking, marketing, acting and business. Find out if your state is one that requires licensure and a college degree to attain it.
5.Realize that you might begin working for an auction service as a ring person, who is an assistant responsible for confirming bids and attending to the small details of an auction. This work is a good way to get hands-on experience, since different types of auctions involve different procedures.
6.Become an expert in a few areas – for example, real estate, art and livestock — so that you will gain a solid reputation in those specialties.
7.Expect to eventually have to run your own auction business if you want to become very successful. 
You need a strong voice to be able to bid-call for about 4 to 6 hours during an auction.
Become proficient with the computer software used at auctions.
Consider expanding the size of your audience by using online auction services. 
Expect to work for a daily fee or a percentage of the sales. If you need a steady salary early on, you will probably need an additional job.
Travel is a part of this career and does not always involve luxurious surroundings.   Steps:
1.Begin preparations for campaigning in August, the starting point for many studios. View rough cuts of yet-to-be-released movies to get an idea of potential nominees.
2.More often than not, think conservatively. The members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are notorious for their traditional tastes in film and their affinity for commercial successes - remember "Shakespeare in Love" and "Titanic."
3.Time the release of the film for the last three months of the year. The academy's members tend to have short memories for movies.
4.Start a rumor. Have your publicist circulate reports of potential Oscar nods as your film is released.
5.Advertise, advertise, advertise. Starting during the holiday season, take out the biggest and best spaces money can buy in "The Hollywood Reporter" and "Variety," as well as general newspapers. Warning: A full-page black-and-white advertisement can cost $4,500; a color ad can cost as much as $7,000.
6.Tout the talents of potential best and supporting actors and actresses by featuring them in your movie ads. If the individual has mastered a foreign accent (Gwyneth Paltrow, Meryl Streep) or portrayed someone who is mentally challenged (Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks), the Oscar nod is more likely.
7.Make sure you've gotten a good viewing. Send out videotapes of your film, especially if it is a smaller picture, to academy members. And for the more traditional lovers of the big screen, provide a press-free screening of the film in New York, Los Angeles or London. 
How much can you shell out? Major studios have spent six figures or more to promote their films.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional group of about 6,000 men and women; each holds a distinction in the arts and sciences of motion pictures and has joined by invitation from the Board of Governors. Each member votes on the nominees for best picture and for his or her specific craft.
Then final votes are sent to the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which tallies the votes and keeps the results secret until Oscar night. 
Warnings: Are you willing to do some mudslinging? Studios have been known to resort to occasional negative campaigning.   

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