Since the day I started acting in junior high, I've been waiting for my big break. After working in the industry for over 10 years, I can't complain too much. I have acted alongside some Hollywood greats—like Halle Berry, Mark Wahlberg, and Debbie Reynolds—and have racked up credits on shows such as Charmed, NYPD Blue, and The Bold and the Beautiful, to name a few.
I hadn't thought my big break would come in the form of a short film, but when a short I starred in, West Bank Story, won the 2006 Oscar for best short, I couldn't help hoping that my time had come. After the film won, a million thoughts ran through my head: I was going to be the Leonardo DiCaprio of the Middle East, the King of the Castle, the Big Cheese, and the Next Big Thing. It was only a matter of time before Tom Cruise and I were lunching together at the Ivy!
Not to toot my own horn, but West Bank isn't "just a short film," either. It's a 22-minute musical-comedy gem—the same length as a half-hour TV episode. The characters are fully developed, and my acting ability is definitely showcased. Some actors got their big breaks after briefly appearing in Oscar-winning feature films: Siobhan Fallon and Sam Anderson in Forrest Gump and Shaun Toub in Crash, for example. Surely my leading role in an Oscar-winning short film would lead to my big break.
As the buzz from the Oscars slowly died down, I waited for news from my agent and manager about my next big project. I decided that any offer from Spielberg would do, or if Jack Nicholson wanted me to be his wingman, I could manage that. But days passed, then weeks, and even months went by. I still had not landed a quality meeting with a major agency, and no one was offering me roles on a hot, new TV series. Not even a feature film was in my sights. I did receive press from my publicist, who got my name out there, and I have garnered respect from my peers after the Academy Awards, but other than that, zilch. I had to wonder, What went wrong?
When I ask myself, "What do I want out of this career, this dream that I have had for years?" the answer is simple: I want my talent to be recognized. I want to have the opportunity to be in epic films or TV shows. And maybe I want to be known for my dashingly handsome good looks—at least that is what my wife says, and yes, she is a kind woman.
As for now, I am on hold for a small role in an Adam Sandler film and will be shooting a larger role in a comedy-horror film at the end of the year. To keep my creative juices flowing during a little downtime, I directed a short film that will be hitting the festival circuit soon, but acting is still my artistic passion and true calling. I love the challenges, I love having the ability to express my thoughts and actions within a specific character, and that love is what keeps me going in this business.
I still believe that I will get my big break, and that someday someone will realize how much I have to contribute to this industry where dreams come true.