Continuing the series
With this week’s topic “Never be the last one in the pool”.
Why do I do this to myself?
This week’s topic is a doozy. I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I picked this list of things to write about, or why I thought I could punch out 1500-ish words about being the last one in the pool. It occurs to me that I could just skip this topic and no one would be the wiser because:
- None of you can see my list
- Even though I mentioned 38 topics when I started, I’m pretty sure no one is keeping track…and
- I’m not completely sure anyone reads these posts anyway
Two truths and a lie
Ever play that game? I have. Anyway, that last item on the above list isn’t true. I know SOME people read this because occasionally they comment. And that makes me happy. So, if, despite this week’s topic if you’d like to make me smile, go ahead and leave a comment. And you folks advertising Viagra and porn sites, disregard that last comment and don’t bother. Comments are moderated so they won’t get published anyway.
So, what is a pool?
Most people, me included, think of that backyard body of water when someone mentions the word pool. Interestingly, it occurs to me that a pool could be one of several things. It CAN be that small body of water in your backyard that requires massive maintenance and expense (have you figured out how I feel about owning a pool?), it could be billiards and it could be a group of people. I’m pretty sure we’re not talking about billiards since you can hardly be “in” a pool table. Therefore, we’ll just ignore that one.
What does “last one in” refer to?
It also occurs to me that the original author could have meant a couple different things when referring to being the “last one in” as well. Do they mean never be the last one to ENTER a pool? Or, perhaps, they mean never be the last one REMAINING in the pool. So many choices, but let’s tackle each one separately.
Last one entering the body of water
Hey, everyone else is in the pool splashing around and having a great time. Why are you standing around waiting? Have fun, get in the water. No one likes to be “on the outside looking in” when everyone is having a great time, besides, if you are standing on the edge of the pool you’ll be the one who has to constantly run around retrieving balls and frisbees from the yard. Unless you’re like me and want to cannonball everyone else, don’t delay, get in the water!
Last one leaving the body of water
When it’s time to get out, don’t linger. You may turn into a prune, and you’re also likely going to get the dregs of the food after everyone else has eaten. And if the owners of the pool have all gone to bed for the night and you are still languishing in their pool then it is a pretty safe bet that you’ve overstayed your welcome.
The pool as a group of people
In my 61 trips around the sun (WOW, I am OLD now!) I’ve been in a lot of pools. Every fall, here in the US, there is a tradition of Football pools. We Americans do love our football…which is what the rest of the world calls soccer BTW…and there is always someone putting together a weekly football pool to see if you can predict winners and losers and maybe make a little cash. Apparently, we also love gambling.
While there are unlimited things we could bet on in a pool, one of my all-time favorites is an anchor pool. In the Navy, after a deployment, we almost always try to predict the minute we are officially “home”. In other words, exactly what time will we drop anchor (of course, sometimes an anchor pool predicts when the ship is moored, but we still call it an anchor pool). I never won one of those, but I ALWAYS enjoyed coming home and returning is a win all by itself!
Last one to enter
If you are the last one to enter these pools, you won’t be left with many choices and your odds of winning the pool go down dramatically. Since it costs money to enter, never be the last one!
Last to leave
Let’s face it, once you’ve paid your money and made your selection, there is no getting out. So, this can’t be what they are referring to.
It’s pretty clear to me that we’re not really talking about getting into or out of these types of pools. Probably not talking about a pool at all! Here’s the thing, it’s not really a good idea to be last at anything, at least not consistently. For the sake of the rest of this discussion we are going to concentrate on being the last person to enter the pool, since the last person to exit the pool usually gets the job or promotion.
For those of you who have day jobs (thankfully, I do NOT), there is probably that one person at work who is ALWAYS the last one to show up for work. Probably late a lot too. How do you view them? Odds are it’s not favorable, and it’s likely that management feels the same way. If that person is you here’s a piece of advice: Stop that! In the military we say, “If you’re 15 minutes early, you’re late!”. I understand that everyone is late sometimes, what I’m talking about it being consistently late.
The entertainment industry
While being a performer isn’t really a steady “day job” type of job, this principle holds true in this industry as well. A production is usually a huge project with a lot of moving parts. Any one of those parts being late throws off the whole production. And that means money. It costs an awful lot to put together a radio spot, TV commercial, film or TV show, and delays are very expensive. If you want to keep working, show up on time and be ready to do your part.
Even before you get the job
Believe it or not, there is an awful lot of work that needs to be done BEFORE you even get the job. As a freelance performer it’s part of your job to look for and find opportunities. If you’re the last person to find an opportunity it’s quite possible that before you are even aware of it, someone has already been cast. You’ll miss an awful lot of opportunities if you are not “Johnny on the spot” in seeking and finding them.
This is where I believe a lot of performers miss the mark. Most opportunities, whether they be for voice over, theater or screen acting, come with a deadline. You submit, get asked for an audition and are given a date/time by which to have your audition recorded and submitted. If you are consistently submitting auditions at the last minute, chances are you are not booking very many jobs.
The early bird gets the worm
In this case, the early bird gets the work! If you’re familiar with freelance performing, you already know that, as Michael Kostroff points out in his Audition Psych 101 webinar, odds are you’re not getting the job you audition for, even if you are early AND the best person for the job. And BTW, if you have anxiety or nerves about auditions at all…this is an awesome course for you! In VO the average booking rate is between 2-5% of the jobs we audition for. If you’re always the last person to submit, that average is lower.
Think about it
Have you ever lost your wallet (or purse for you ladies or guys who use a purse)? Once you find it, do you keep looking? No? Of course not. If you consider that a casting director gets, say, a hundred submissions for each role, when they find a good fit on the 40th submission, how closely do they watch or listen to the remaining 60? Probably not very closely. You want…no, you NEED…to be in that first group to have a fighting chance. It’s already difficult enough to get booked, being last torpedoes your chances.
If you happen to be lucky enough to be the last person to get OUT of the pool, in this instance, it means you got the job…so congratulations!
Remember that in life, and especially in freelance performing, Never be the last person in the pool!
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Jon Gardner says
I’m sorry, Gary, but I don’t have time to comment on your blog today. I am too busy catching worms.
Gary Mason says
That’s OK Jon, I understand…those worms can be slippery fellows! Hey, at least you’re neither a Viagra salesman or hawking your porn site!