Conversations with fellow creatives aboutthe realities of a career in the arts.
PATRICK OLIVER JONES
Host / Writer / Producer
I grew up the only child of a single mother, only to discover in his 20s that he actually had a half-sister and then later on three more half-sisters. (Thank you Ancestry DNA!) These twists of fate have continued to follow me as I've moved from Disney World in Orlando to Jubilee! in Las Vegas, from cruise ships to national tours. But biggest of all was getting married in September 2018!
Now I live in Manhattan, doing commercials and docudramas and performing in staged readings here and there, but I tend to leave NYC more often than not for work in regional theaters across the country. So until I can put the suitcases away for good and enjoy that long-awaited Broadway contract, at least I've got this podcast to help me dream big while living small.
How did it all get started?
Back in August 2017, Patrick approached Dewey Caddell about starting a podcast. "You and me riffing on various subjects or maybe just one topic or field. I don't know. It's just an idea and wanted to get your thoughts." Dewey was intrigued and curious of what the format would be.
A couple of months of messaging back and forth, they met up to brainstorm some ideas. And a few weeks later recorded an initial episode (originally called "Podcast & Crew") which they shared with a few friends. After their feedback the two finally landed on the main thrust of an entertainment podcast -- sharing stories of what holds us back in the performing arts but also what keeps us going. The intent was to focus on the work-a-day professionals grinding it out and making a living in theater.
On December 28, Why I'll Never Make It was born and gave birth to its first season: 13 regular episodes with Patrick and Dewey co-hosting, and 5 Tony Awards bonus episodes featuring Patrick and other Broadway performers and creatives. In Season Two, Patrick became the sole host of the show and introduced The Spotlight Series, featuring those making a difference in the arts and beyond. Season Three begins September 2019!
Why such a negative title for your podcast?
This question is asked a lot. And to be honest, it's not negative at all, but merely the reality of this business. Most plays, musicals, books, TV shows, and films never become blockbusters or household names. Most auditions never lead to being cast. Most Broadway shows never recoup their initial investment. Failure is a given and rejection is common in theater. And making it big is simply a rarity. Most of us get by from job to job, making a living and enjoying the modicum of success that we hope will come our way.
But within this reality comes great lessons and inspirations and some funny stories along the way. On the podcast, every reason of "why I'll never make it" is followed up by "why I'm still here" and what keeps us going. As Bill Gates said...
It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.
But you talk to people that are famous and have made it.
True. People like *NSYNC's Joey Fatone, FROZEN's Jelani Alladin, and THE PROM's Caitlin Kinnunen have been guests on the podcast. I mean, we gotta have some inspiration, right? Something to shoot for! Besides, this little podcast was greatly helped by these famous friends coming on the show.
But most guests (including the host, Patrick) are simply creatives who get the work done, day-to-day living and doing what they love. And mostly out of the limelight. Whatever applause may come from our work pales in comparison to the days and weeks and months of rejection and persistence that proceed any such recognition. It is this central message that is talked about on our show, even with the most successful or recognizable guests.
The life of any non-profit is not an easy one. Spotlight focuses on why people and organizations do the work they do, how they handle setbacks, and the difference they are making in people's lives through the arts. These bonus episodes will be interspersed between the regular WINMI episodes. Find out more about this series and listen to the latest episode here.
These bonus episodes give an inside look at some of the best shows on and off Broadway, featuring cast members and creatives from nominated shows as well as the Managing News Editor at PLAYBILL. They take us behind the scenes of what it takes to make it in the Big Apple.
The reasons for not making it may be countless and sometimes arbitrary, but the reasons to keep going are even more numerous and rewarding. Just like the podcast itself, this blog covers both sides of that struggle through humorous anecdotes, motivating articles, and most importantly personal stories from listeners just like you.