by Patrick Oliver Jones
At the end of the first season of my podcast, Why I’ll Never Make It, I asked Joey Fatone to be the season finale guest as we headed into a summer-long break from the show. He graciously accepted and throughout the phone interview was surprisingly open and candid about the highs and lows of his career. He shared personal anecdotes of touring with *NSYNC and failing in auditions. At one point, though, the sound of wind and the rustling of bags could be heard. I asked him what was going on and it turns out he was at Chick-fil-A getting some lunch. While Joey was not the first guest to call into the show, he was the first and only one to do so from a fast food drive-thru.
Such was the laidback and easy-going atmosphere of much of that first season. Guests ranged from Broadway actors and singers to directors and even a dramaturg. Most of them questioned the name of the podcast: “Why I’ll Never Make It.” When I first had the idea for a podcast in August of 2017 and asked fellow actor Dewey Caddell to join me, we didn’t really know what we wanted to talk about. I originally called it “Podcast & Crew,” as I love puns and the play on words, but as we worked on our pilot episode, we hit upon a segment where we talked about the reasons we won’t make it and what keeps us from success in our careers. The few people we let listen to that initial episode all loved that segment the most, and thus was born the title of the podcast. Every reason for why we won’t make it, though, is always followed by what keeps us going in this business and why we don’t want to be anywhere else.
As I headed into season two last September, Dewey moved on to greener pastures, leaving me to helm the show on my own. I also had the "brilliant" idea of going from episodes every other week to putting one out every week. Little did I realize all the work Dewey had been doing in editing the episodes and posting them online.
Now, it's a one-man band as I handle the producing on my own as well as marketing, editing, writing, and, oh yeah, interviewing, which is actually the easiest and least time-consuming of all the hats I wear in making this podcast. Budgets are usually non-existent in the world of podcasting, unless you’re a big name celebrity or a part of the “Serial” franchise. So investiments along the way have been small but strategic, from buying microphones and Facebook ads to upgrading the hosting service from Dewey’s personal website to the more reliable Podbean.
However, the biggest commitment required for this, and I assume any podcast, is time. I’ve never been one who was great at managing it. I was the actor who went from audition to audition or show to show, learning what I needed at the time but rarely getting ahead of the process to prepare for roles and opportunities down the road. Having a podcast, though, has forced me to think ahead and plan out interviews and social media posts along with setting aside the time needed to edit and release each weekly episode.
But with all the stress and busyness that has come with season two, I’ve loved working on this show and adjusting the format to become more focused and insightful with the kinds of guests that come on and the topics we discuss. Artists have joined me to talk about the emotional, financial, and even medical issues that hold them back. It’s always interesting to hear their own take on what “making it” means to them and if they are, in fact, achieving it. “Why I’ll Never Make It” may sound negative, but it’s actually an honest look at the realities of this business and that despite the constant rejection inherent with auditions, we still keep going and loving our work as artists.
That continues to be my journey with this podcast: loving each conversation with those who are grateful for their successes and learning from the setbacks as well. I can’t wait for the upcoming Tony Awards season, as I will once again be interviewing those working on nominated shows and sharing in the excitement of all the Broadway buzz.
Above all, I am exceedingly humbled as the podcast has gained followers and engaged listeners who now reach out to me personally to say how much they appreciate the discussions we have, reminding them that as artists we are all in this together no matter the trails and tribulations we face. Going forward, I couldn’t wish for more than that… to have an impact on this ever-changing but vibrant theater community, adding a lighthearted voice of acknowledgement and inspiration to keep going.