December 29, 2003
Year in Review
Shoot, I haven't written anything in a while. Well, by now you know me to be a creative, "think-outside-the-box" kinda guy, so for my final entry of the year, I'm gonna do something crazy and completely ungeneric: A year in review!
It's mindblowing! I know! Don't try to stop me!!!
I started the year well -- On Jan 6 I shot a commercial for AT&T Wireless, which was going to premiere nationally during the Superbowl!! It was a blast, everyone was friendly, it was just a matter of waiting for the checks to roll in. I tuned in to the Superbowl (which I woulda done anyway) watching every commercial break with more attention than the actual game. Finally, the spot came on -- but I was cut. cue trumpet: wah, wah, wah. (Side note: is it 3 wah's, or 4?)
I began work on a school tour for the Mark Taper Forum, under the impression that they would be flexible if pilot season got busy. For whatever reason, they weren't, so I had to leave the show. While it was extremely difficult to be seen as difficult and to burn a bridge, it was a decision that I had to make. And it ended up being the right thing for everyone.
I booked a pilot! Not a series regular, but a solid costar part that I was really proud of and really7 had a lot of fun with. By now you've probably read all about it at http://www.amirtalai.com/journal/journal.php?pagedate=03032003, but in case you haven't, enjoy. My final callback for it was one of the best days I've ever had in LA.
I had been working on Crime Scene at the Sacred Fools Theater for a while, and when I asked long-time writer Bob DeRosa if he'd write me some small part, I never expected him to write The Luckiest Man on Earth, the first thing I've ever really had a starring role in. It was a hilarious script and an amazing show, and I got to work with some awesome people, all of whom showed a faith in me that was truly heartwarming and unexpected.
I shot a role in a small film called November. It was so low-budget that all the actors had to share one trailer, which meant I got to hang out quite a bit with a certain Ms. Courteney Cox, who was charming and beautiful and articulate and sweet. I found out recently that the movie will premiere in January at Sundance.
Crime Scene had its final performance, followed by a huge party. It was a bittersweet night willed with sadness, fond memories, and much drunken debauchery. The next Saturday I took it easy and had a huge birthday party and housewarming for the condo that my brother and I now live in. Side note: living with my brother in my family's very own condo is one of the best things about my life.
I didn't *work* much, but I did go to San Francisco to be the best man in my cousin's wedding. And of course, my speech was a rousing success. While I was up north, I went to see Legally Blonde 2 with my family, and I found out I was cut. Here's something interesting: in July I went on several auditions that would turn out to be very important things for me: Jihad, Jesus' Kid Brother (AKA JKB), Bombay Dreams, and The Untitled Sketch Movie. So whoever told you that LA is dead in the summer was, as the kids like to say, "a damn lie!"
August was boring. LA is dead in August.
I rehearsed JKB (ok, we actually started in August, but it wouldn't have been as funny that way). Rehearsals were actually far more time-consuming than pretty much everyone thought they'd be. My good friend Navid and I also shot Jihad, a short film about 2 terrorist whose plans to bomb the airport are altered by the fact that they just won the lottery. You know, I'm gonna stop calling him my good friend, after all he's done for me. How's "guardian angel" sound?
JKB opened, to rave reviews. The cast, through much adversity, became one of the most (if not the most!) tight-knit casts I've ever worked with. I also had my first, real live "showmance". If you wanna hear how that went, ask me. But I'm sure you noticed the past tense I just used. Also in October, I flew to NYC for callbacks for Bombay Dreams on Broadway. I didn't book it, but being that close was awesome. Also in October, I got an unexpected call from the Mark Taper Forum, which hired me to work on the play of my favorite playwright, Charles Mee. I got to meet him and that was a huge honor.
A solid month of work: A little time working for Disney (or "The Mouse", as it's affectionately called), a couple quick stints on Leno, lots of airtime for my Office Depot commercial, and my parents came down to spend Thanksgiving with me and my bro. As good as November was, I smiled more that weekend that the rest of the month combined. Until I got the stomach flu.
JKB closed, and it was definitely an emotional night. I started work on the Onion movie, definitely my biggest job ever. It's been a blast, and I'm not even done.
Overall this year, I grew up a lot. As a businessman, but also just as a man. I think I learned a lot about myself and others this year. And I obviously made great strides in my career. Thank you all for your support, both personally and professionally. See you in 2004!