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Why I'll Never Make It
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Why I'll Never Make It

Author: Patrick Oliver Jones

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Insightful conversations with follow creatives about the realities of a career in theater. Actors and artists face constant challenges and setbacks, yet we still continue to pursue the goals and dreams that keep us going.
63 Episodes
A surprise bonus episode this summer...I just couldn't stay away!- First and foremost, I'd love to hear from you and get your thoughts on this podcast. Share what you love and especially what bothers you about WINMI episodes or the blog or the online presence. It's all fair game in the Season Two Feedback Survey: There's also been a slew of Broadway show closings announced recently. By summer's end 16 shows will be gone, with two more set to leave Broadway in the Fall and Winter. Is this normal? Should we be worried about the state of NY theater? As always, money plays a big part in the equation, but there's also an interesting trend or market correction at play as well. Read more from Ken Davenport as well as Forbes and TheaterMania.- It's been awhile since I've mentioned it, but there's yet another reason why I'll never make it: my own lack of time management and keeping up with my schedule. I share a personal story of messing up big time, and it involves a former guest on the show. - And for the first time on the podcast, I answer a listener's question about moving to NYC, auditioning, getting an agent, and when is the best time to join Actors Equity:Hi! My name is Carley and I'm an actor that's living in Florida. I've been to NYC for "audition season" for the past 2 years to go through the motions. I haven't been too successful because I've been non-union, so I'm hoping that I'm seen more at this upcoming season in 2020. I was wondering if you had any advice for people who are living outside of NYC but still working to make it? I plan to move there soon. I'm getting married so my fiancé and I are hanging out here right now because it's easier to save but plan to move after the wedding that's in October 2020. So I guess I'm just wondering what advice you have for people outside of NYC, do any agencies take talent outside of the city, etc. I love the podcast. Thanks in advance!Thank you so much Carley for reaching out and hope more of you will do the same. (If you'd like your own question or comment addressed on a future episode, send your message to here are some of my thoughts on the issues you raised...• I used to live in Florida as well, in Orlando for nine years, and I was taking trips to NYC also for specific auditions. So I think it’s smart that you come up for the audition season as a whole. That way you can focus on getting seen as much as you can, which as you said is unfortunately hampered by being Non-Equity. But there’s still plenty of tour work and regional theaters that need non-Eq performers to fill out their casts.• As you prepare for 2020, I would say find as much theater work as you can there in Florida. Don’t hesitate to drive (if you can) to Miami or Jacksonville or Tampa for specific theater season or show-specific auditions. There are plenty of Equity theaters that could possibly get you your Equity card before you get to NYC, which would of course be such a leg-up in getting in the audition room. • You’re also smart about staying in Florida and saving. That’s what I did as well and had a nice nest-egg coming to NYC that helped tremendously. It kept me from having to find work right away so I could focus on auditions and getting theater work. I came alone, however, while you will have your fiancé. So it’ll certainly be an emotional and financial help to have both of you supporting each other.• Some agents will take out-of-town talent, but most want you in town of course. Having credits behind you or a recommendation from a casting director or another agent would greatly help you to get an initial appointment for possible representation. Also, colleges are a big deal here. So if you went to Michigan, CCM, Boston Conservatory, UPenn, etc. - those kind of rich musical theater schools have vast networks throughout NYC. I had no such degree, so I came here without any college cred or network behind me. It was a little more uphill because of it, but I was still able to make some headway.• If you know any directors in Florida who work in NYC, whether as a director or teacher, get in front of them again, especially if they’ll be in NYC auditioning. Connections and networking are a big help in this business, like schooling I mentioned above. It’s one of the aspects of the business I’d not given as much thought or attention to as I should’ve. So even after 11 years here, I’m still not known to as many directors and producers as I'd like.• As to the issue of when to join Equity, it’s really a different answer for each person. I would say that once your resume is diverse enough and has sufficient credits that show off the range of your talents, then you’re probably ready to make the leap. It’s all about consistency and having positive experiences in the audition room, whether you book the role or not. If you’re prepared to give that level of diligence each time, then you’ll be in a good place to handle the “clout” that comes with being in Equity. I put it in quotes because it’s more of a perception and is not a real indicator of talent or professionalism, but it still comes with some responsibility of maintaining and presenting yourself in the best light at all times.----------------Two ways to show your support for WINMI:1) Donating and helping to continue the work of this podcast as it reaches out and supports a growing community of artists. donate.winmipodcast.com2) Spreading the word and sharing these episodes with those who you think could benefit from the topics and issues we discuss on the show. 
For the final episode of Season 2, Ben Davis joins me in St. Louis to talk about the life of an actor on the road and in New York. His accomplishments on Broadway and elsewhere are many and magnificent, from his award-winning turn in La Boheme to the epic leading man in BBC's Kiss Me, Kate. His journey is both inspiring and instructive in what it means to make it. "Davis' seductive baritone is swoon-worthy."-Fran Scheck, The Hollywood ReporterFollow Ben on Instagram and Twitter and see more on his website.-----For the next couple of months I'm taking a break to finish up Kinky Boots at the Muny and then head to North Carolina for Bridges of Madison County. Keep up with me this summer on Instagram and Twitter and find out how you can become a part of the WINMI team for Season 3 starting in September. Stay tuned!As you have enjoyed these guests and conversations each week,please consider buying me a coffee to support this podcast.I wouldn't be here without listeners like you,so your donations are greatly appreciated.
Audition season is winding up here in New York City as we prepare for the summer months. I hope you have some good plans for the summer. For myself, I will be doing a couple of shows: one in St. Louis the other in Raleigh. My special guest today is also keeping himself busy. Ethan Paisley is a writer, producer, and director, with a TV series this summer on DVD Netflix called Set Life. Other projects include the feature film .453 which is on Amazon, two films that have screened at the Cannes Film Festival...and when it comes to awards Ethan is no stranger. He won Best Overall Film at the San Mauro Torinese Film Festival, Best Young Filmmaker at the Los Angeles Film Awards, and Best Young Director at the Young Entertainer Awards. Just how young is he? He's accomplished all this by the ripe old age of 18. So when I ask myself why I'll never make it, it's guys like this that have the drive and ambition to keep them going. He and I discuss his rapid rise to success and the setbacks he's faced in getting there. He has definite points of view on filmmaking and auditions and directing. It's a fascinating interview with a talented, young, and upcoming artist.Go to Ethan's website and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.Also check out his growing list of IMDB credits.
The Tonys have all been handed out and another Broadway Season comes to a close. While the trophies themselves are the main attraction, it was really the speeches and heart of the awards ceremony this year that captivated my attention and truly moved me.I talk about some inspiring acceptance speeches from winners like Andre DeShields, Rachel Chavkin, and Ali Stroker as well as the acceptance speech Sam Mendes never gave. Then, I give some background to one of the names In Memoriam that was a first for the Tonys.Read all the speeches here and the full list of winners here.
Welcome to WINMI's first international episode!Joining me on the show today is Sherryl-Lee Secomb from Australia. With over thirty-five years on stage, creating roles in musical theatre, farce and dramatic works, she began working as a freelance theatre director, creating large scale musical theatre productions in her home town of Brisbane, Australia.​In 2011, she was appointed as Communications & Online Marketing Manager to Savoyards Musical Comedy Society, a large community-based theatre company, and began the process of creating their online presence.In 2014, an experience with a another passionate but under-resourced regional theatre company, inspired her to begin a blog, An Idiot On Stage, highlighting ways community theatre organizations can improve and grow.But Sher's work not only focuses on the theater companies themselves but the artists and actors and technicians that make up the whole creative team producing and making art on stage. She gives plenty of insight into how to approach art as a business while still maintaining the creative vision and passion.Follow her on Instagram and read her blog.-----As you enjoy these guests and conversations each week,please consider buying me a coffee to support this podcast.I wouldn't be here without listeners like you,so your donations are greatly appreciated.
The third and final Awards Season Bonus Episode features Kelvin Moon Loh of BEETLEJUICE, nominated for eight Tony Awards.We discuss his audition for the role of Otho...or rather lack of an audition. Then there's the other fellow performers who Kelvin simply gushes about, sharing his love and gratitude for such a wonderful group to perform with. But we also delve into the business itself and what keeps us going and how to treasure the moments along the way.It's wonderful and far-reaching chat about this fun show about death as well as the Great White Way that keeps us all striving and hoping for our chance to one day be under the big lights.Follow Kelvin on Twitter and Instagram as well as BEETLEJUICE.-----As you enjoy these guests and conversations each week, please consider buying me a coffee to support this podcast. I wouldn't be here without listeners like you, so your donations are greatly appreciated.( out more about the WINMI blog and other episodes,go to
Broadway is all abuzz with the latest shows and performances making all the headlines. But theater in New York is so much more than what happens on the great white way. There's important and significant work being done off-Broadway and by theater companies around the city. One such company is Leviathan Lab, and today I'm talking to Ariel Estrada . . . an actor, singer, arts advocate, producer, and Founder of Leviathan Lab. They are an award-winning not-for-profit creative studio whose mission is the advancement of Asian and Asian American performing artists and their work. With Leviathan Lab (now celebrating its 10th year), Ariel has produced acting and writing salons, cabarets, fundraising events, staged readings, showcase productions, and short films, including the award-winning film Two Weeks. But today's conversation is so much more than just shop talk about auditioning and producing and running a non-profit. Our conversation really digs into some weighty topics of race and opportunity for people of color and the struggles that go with that. Ariel is quite candid and open about his experiences and how they've shaped his career.This is an episode you don't wanna miss!Follow Ariel and Leviathan Lab on Twitter.-----As you enjoy these guests and conversations each week, please consider buying me a coffee to support this podcast. I wouldn't be here without listeners like you, so your donations are greatly appreciated. For more info on WINMI go to the website.
Having already won the Best Musical award from the Outer Critics Circle. James Monroe Stevko and the entire FIDDLER cast and crew wait to see if their winning continues with the upcoming Drama Desk Award.But before becoming the rabbi's son, James was an instrumental musician and at the age of 18 decided to become a dancer. Transforming himself into a dancer through college, he landed his first job before graduation in Milwaukee Ballet II. And he's continued to become a successful storyteller through song and dance, telling stories through movement in America's top musical theater houses, including performing alongside the Rockettes in New York City's longest-standing theatre tradition - the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  FIDDLER IN YIDDISH marks James' off-Broadway acting debut, directed by Academy/Tony/Emmy Award winner Joel Grey.James shares stories of auditions, learning languages, becoming a dancer, and working with icons like Joel Grey. Earlier this year in The Ensemblist, he wrote about his experience with such a familiar work like FIDDLER in an unfamiliar language like Yiddish. FIDDLER was originally performed in the Museum of Jewish Heritage before moving to its current home at Stage 42 (formerly known as the Little Shubert Theatre).Follow James on Twitter and Instagram...and learn more about FIDDLER in Yiddish! L'chaim!-----As you enjoy these guests and conversations each week, please consider buying me a coffee to support this podcast. I wouldn't be here without listeners like you, so your donations are greatly appreciated.
The job of a stage manager may be behind the scenes, but all that they do makes its way into each and every performance we actors give onstage.Matthew Stern joins me today to explain the very nature of their work, giving insight into the art and craft of stage management. He recounts of his time with LES MISÉRABLES, 700 SUNDAYS, SPIDER-MAN, and other shows in New York and on the road. This is a must-listen for any actor wanting to know more about what SMs do and all the grunt work they go through to make our shows happen.In addition to his time backstage, Matthew still finds time to share and give back to the next generation of stage managers, as he teaches at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Design and Technology.  His work in the classroom, sharing his Broadway experience and having his students observe his productions, has shown the incredible benefits students receive with access to Broadway.  By combining his love of teaching and experience on Broadway, Matthew has created the Broadway Stage Management Symposium.The Symposium is an incredible opportunity for those interested in stage management, considering a career in the theatre or anyone interested in how Broadway really works. There are a variety of registration options available to keep the Symposium affordable for students. See the website for more info. Follow Matthew and the Symposium on Instagram and Twitter.-----As you enjoy these guests and conversations each week, please consider buying me a coffee to support this podcast. I wouldn't be here without listeners like you, so your donations are greatly appreciated.Find out more about the WINMI blog and other episodes,go to
The first Award Season Bonus episode of 2019! And it's a musical that's tied for the most Tony nominations with 12, including Best Musical. (A full list of those nominations can be found here.) Joshua Morgan plays Shelly Berger, who was the real-life manager of the Temptations as well as The Supremes and Jackson 5. Josh is no stranger to Broadway as he was in the closing cast for the most recent revival of LES MISÉRABLES, which played at the same Imperial Theater. I first met and worked with Josh at Theatre Under the Stars in Houston, Texas where we performed HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING. And in this episode we talk a lot about succeeding in this business and how hard that can be. he give great insights into the mindset and discipline needed to withstand the rigors of rejection and persistent which are essential components of any actor's journey. Follow Josh on Twitter and Instagram and find out more on his business, Artist's Strategy.------As you enjoy these guests and conversations each week, please consider buying me a coffee to support this podcast. I wouldn't be here without listeners like you, so your donations are greatly appreciated.Find out more about the WINMI blog and other episodes,go to
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