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Why You Must Read The New Yorker

By Doug Shapiro

Hello Accelerated Artists!

Uncle Doug here with a very simple tip to enrich your business:

Subscribe to The New Yorker.

Yes, it’s true that the Shouts and Murmurs section at the beginning will enhance your own storytelling. Yes, it is also true that reading in-depth articles on topics outside of your usual form of artistic expression can only enhance the work you do, not to mention make you way more well-rounded in an agent interview. And the yessiest “yes, it’s true” of all? Immersing yourself in the way the best critics grapple with the art they experience will make you better at describing your work to others.

The work we do as artists is challenging to describe to our potential buyers. Our work expands through the pages of a novel or over the length of a performance. So how do we pin it down in such a way that encompasses what we do while providing them with the descriptors they need?

We need a branding statement. A branding statement provides a mental shorthand by aligning the work we do with known successful elements.

“This webseries is like Sex and the City as directed by Quentin Tarrantino.”
“I am the female Steve Buscemi.”
“My poetry structures themes of Toni Morrison with Walt Whitman’s rules.”
“I combine the intelligent charm of Kevin Kline, the physical wit of Groucho Marx and the sensitive soul (and hair) of Patrick Dempsey.”

There are many ways to craft your branding statement as you combine adjectives that describe you with celebrities you favor. It’s challenging, and luckily the writers of The New Yorker are second to none when it comes to juicy adjectives and descriptors we can use as launching points for our own branding statements.

Emily Nussbaum’s article “Queens Boulevard” in the May 4, 2015 issue of the New Yorker is one such goldmine. In talking about the television series “Wolf Hall” and “The Casual Vacancy,” she provides a sampling of phrases that could inspire our own representation:

“without irony and with a kind of innocence”
“stuffy, snoozy, and rather silly”
“faces like romantic ruins”
“internationalist MacGyver”
“At once a financial whiz, a legal genius, and a hard-knuckled mercenary”
“rather like one of those square-shaped fighting dogs that low men tow about on ropes”
“preening idealist”
“explicitly libidinal kicks”
“hellscape of gossip”
“luxurious airlessness”
“high-risk intimacies”
“manly fixer with a poker face”
“strutting, lusty paranoiac”
“mercurial jock”
“demonic floozy”
“legitimately seductive, witty and tough”
“the Anne Boleyn of Pagford”

or this last one, which is so delicious I had to include the whole thing…

“There’s something refreshing about this story’s furious smallness, which treats an addict’s need for food and transportation with the seriousness of some regal jock’s Italian divorce.”

So, my Accelerated Lovelies, if you need a launching point for your branding statement, turn to the New Yorker. You may not be the Anne Boleyn of Pagford, but you could be the Kim Kardashian of Little Rock. Your comedy might not be a “hellscape of gossip,” but could be a “hellscape of naughty bits.”

Enjoy the creation!

Ready to define your artistic brand? I’m at your service. We’ll begin with a 20-minute consultation when you click here.

Please share with your peeps!