Following the same format as years past (and yes, click that link for background), I’ll now do:
- 2013 Goals Review
- 2013 Accomplishments
- 2014 Prioritized Goals
2013 Goals Review
In January, I laid out my prioritized goals. I blogged, “At P&G, we used Start-Stop-Continue to figure out what we should, well, Start doing, Stop doing, and Continue doing. The idea is that if you want 2013 to look different and have all these goals, then the time has to come from somewhere. Here’s where: Basically, I’m not going to worry about money and I’m going to stay in LA a lot more. I’m also tasking others with some projects (an assistant with landing gigs, a friend with managing Make Chai Not War, the cosmos with Standpoint Agency, and my loosely-affiliated sketch troupe with… sketches).” In broad strokes, I did that. I made a lot less money but I stayed in LA, tasked others with projects, and created a lot of content. I knew 2013 was going to be primarily a rebuilding year. Below, I dive into specifics. Just as in years past, I’ll award myself a 0 for nothing accomplished, 0.5 for something significant accomplished, and a 1 for fully accomplished.
- Write and deliver an hour’s worth of very good standup. 0.5. I did about 15 minutes. How is that a 0.5 then? Well, I also had other goals not listed – be more in the moment, have fun, slow down, and do more crowd work. I did all of those things. I also did write over an hour’s worth that has not been delivered. All the material that didn’t make it into my one-person show (OPS) will become a comedy special with the theme of dating.
- Get at least one standup set on TV. 0. This didn’t happen but I didn’t focus on it.
- Perform and release one-person show as DVD. 1. I know I’m moving the goal posts a bit here, but delivering the one-person show was my biggest professional accomplishment so I cannot stick anything less than a 1 beside it. Besides, I do have a high-quality tape of it. If I’d wanted to drop it online, I could’ve. But, tho I was happy with it, it’ll improve over many more performances.
- Establish the podcast as one of the best in the game. 0. I can’t call it that. I do believe it is but it’s far from being recognized as such. What I did do was create a new page for it and get it properly loaded into iTunes. I only recorded 9 episodes and have only thus far released 7. But I wouldn’t say this was a big deal.
- Interview at least three high-profile guests. 0. I interviewed Kumail Nanjiani, which was good.
- Play as many LA rooms as I can. 0.5. I continued to play the Laugh Factory weekly or biweekly, which I don’t take lightly. The Ha Ha Cafe and The Ice House started booking me more regularly. And I did Flappers. But I didn’t do a good job of being on the scene, which is necessary to achieve this.
- Book at least one theatrical and one commercial acting job. 0.5. I booked my first theatrical acting job – a non-speaking role on Nickelodeon‘s Big Time Rush, which is a good and fun credit. But I didn’t book an ad.
- Get featured in at least two major news outlets (one’s already done – NPR’s All Things Considered again). 0.5. The NPR was one was great – Fx also covered us. To be featured twice on All Things Considered is no small feat. And I got a great review of my OPS in a small online magazine. And India Abroad Magazine covered it well in a three-page layout. But I’d need another NPR-level type thing to give myself a 1.
- Get at least one blog post published in a major publication like Cracked or HuffPo. 0. I did release six solid blog posts. But I didn’t try to get them syndicated.
- Record one episode of talk show in either LA or Cincinnati. 0. I started to set this up but decided it’d be too much online noise as I continue to promote my OPS. I’ll aim to do it next year.
- Release October 2012 DVD. 1. I did this in April 2013. I wish it’d have sold more but that would’ve entailed getting some good reviews from major outlets. It was disappointing to realize that I wasn’t in a place to make that happen. I’ll change that in 2014.
- Deliver 12 more monthly newsletters. 1. I’m getting ahead of myself as December’s has to go by 12/31, but 11 in a row this year gives me confidence I’ll make it.
That’s 5/12, or 42%. That’s my lowest ever, compared with 54% in 2012 and 2011. But I’ll take it, because…
… My year didn’t really start until July. I accomplished most of what I did in 5 months. I was in a relationship that ended in May. I flew to India to see her in January so most of that month was shot. We broke up mid-May but were in tatters for weeks beforehand, so I didn’t do a DAY’S WORTH OF WORK in May and June. And tho I was riding high personally in February, March, and April, three hours at the peak of every day (due to the time zone difference between LA and Bombay) were lost talking to her. So, the fact that my 2013 was a success at all – and I’d say a solid success – is in itself an achievement.
- Sold out both performances (230 tickets @ $15) of my one-person show.
- Got into the Congressional Record as MCNW was mentioned on Capitol Hill by Sen. Rand Paul to Secy. of State Hillary Clinton – and got coverage: 2nd feature on NPR’s All Things Considered, Fx TV channel, and India Abroad Magazine – and won the International Breakthrough Comedian category at the LA Comedy Awards and a Recognition Award in Kochi, Kerala, India.
- Released first-ever 1-hour standup comedy special.
- Booked 1st theatrical job – Big Time Rush on Nickelodeon.
- Headlined the Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP) annual gala.
- Launched a new & improved website, featuring own-name branding - www.rajivsatyal.com.
- Launched the website and animated video for www.StandpointAgency.com.
- Created a lot of video content: two Top Guys videos (this and that), Headshots in Motion, OPS promo, Russell Peters promo, and two for #Instacurity – this and that – that established a pretty cool character for me – the ironic counselor.
- Launched podcast page for www.TheTanGentShow.com.
- Did 10th P&G show.
- Featured at the Vegas Improv for the second time – and got notice that the next time would be as a headliner.
- Attended Kevin Nealon’s 60th birthday party.
- Performed as part of the NY Comedy Fest for the second straight year.
- Performed at Penn State, making it halfway through the 12 schools in the Big Ten conference.
- Co-Wrote two more State Farm ads for the South Asian US market.
- Released nine podcast episodes, including one w/ Kumail Nanjiani.
- Delivered 12 monthly newsletters.
- Dropped 6 blog posts.
2014 Prioritized Goals
In 2013, I started to realize that, while it’s great that I’ve created a ton of content – blog posts, podcast episodes, sketch videos, etc. – standup’s really my thing. It started to take on various forms, whether that was getting more personal in the OPS or using Power Point slides in my corporate gigs. As such, even tho I’ve already signed up for an acting course and will make that even more of a priority, I’m going to focus on standup even more heavily in 2014. I also got rid of the idea of hiring assistants (after having one for 4+ years) so this forces me to only take on what I can finish. With (hopefully) an entire year to achieve these goals and a “12 Months of Rajiv” plan to do even more personally, I hope and believe that 2014 will be my breakout year.
- Get a late-night standup set.
- Tour and release the OPS as a special.
- Book one theatrical and one commercial speaking role.
- Regularly perform on big standup shows in LA.
- Build an even stronger relationship with Laugh Factory (more videos on site, more hosting spots, name on marquee).
- Make bulk of income by developing relationships with California corporations, colleges, and the South Asian community.
- Get on Comedy Central.
- Get standup on radio – Pandora, Spotify, XM/Sirius, et al.
- Get on Bob & Tom.
- Put out sizzle reel of talk show.
- Do network diversity showcases (CBS, ABC, NBC).
- Create Material Pipeline, which lays out the bits to be written.
- Write and perform one hour of dating standup.
- Land two programs for Standpoint Agency.
(I’m already thinking that in 2015 I’ll record a music video, film a live talk show in Cincinnati, create a calendar, make an Indian “viral video,” do a one-person show about the history of music, and develop characters for TV/film.)
There are upsides and downsides to narrativizing your own life (since, as Tim stated in The Office (UK), “life isn’t about endings – it’s a series of moments”), but my life really does seem to fit in neat, little boxes. Some of that is a self-fulfilling prophecy, meaning that the mere act of year-end goal-setting and reviews drives me to look at my professional life this way. If that’s the case, then I can label the last three years – and the fun thing is that I was able to see each of these things at the end of each year. As I enter 2014, I’ve been doing standup for 12 years total and 8 years full-time. And here’s the recent past:
- 2011 was the year I knew I’d be OK.
- 2012 was the year I was actually OK.
- 2013 was the year I became an artist. I’ve always said that entertainers do it for the crowd; artists do it for themselves. I’ve always been an entertainer. But this year, I took the personal pain of my breakup and converted it into my biggest professional achievement.