October 8, 2019
Actor Tim Lounibos wrote on his Facebook page about the positive changes he is currently experiencing in Hollywood.
We caught up with him to share his thoughts with us.
Asian Americans have historically found limited opportunities as actors in movies and television in Hollywood, but fortunately for Tim he had a great start as a busy actor in the 1990s, but then his career went off a cliff - temporarily.
We thank Tim for sharing his personal thoughts with our readers.
In the 1990's Tim Lounibos was a busy actor in Hollywood with roles in hot shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Suddenly Susan, and The Nanny, and recurring roles in Beverly Hills, 90210, The Practice, JAG and The West Wing, plus starring in one of the first US films shot in Hong Kong, Erotique.
At the local café with tears in my eyes – because of joy not sadness…
I’m an actor.
I left for seven years because of the lack of opportunity for those like me. That was heartbreaking but necessary. Family comes first. Always. On returning, I’ve been very fortunate; because as an actor, I’m relevant again and working consistently, but merely working is not the be all and end all.
Something happened that reminded me of why I act.
I was asked by Jess Ju and Michelle Sugihara to participate in one of their 2019 CAPE New Writers Fellowship Table Reads. I’m always down with supporting our community and helping upcoming artists (usually through coffee meetings where they can pick my brain or advice given through a variety of other means) so didn't even hesitate. If they need me and I'm available, I’m there.
Had absolutely no idea what I was in for!
On entering the WGA library, I immediately saw a table full of young actors (only one of whom I knew but had never seen act before: Intae Kim), found my seat, and then discovered that I was the lead for this read. It was a cold read. For these types of reads, I never look through the script to figure out what I’m doing; because, for me, it’s not about preparation, it’s about going for the ride--EXPLORATION. So I socialized with the others, said hello to the writer, got my three bottles of water…and then it began.
Words are not adequate to describe what occurred.
When I acted before, the roles afforded to me for film and TV were not challenging. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to work; but if I’m to be honest and frank (and this is no news to those who have walked in similar shoes or have been gatekeepers), the opportunities for really worthwhile roles – the extremely challenging and stimulating ones – were given to others. Opportunities of that nature were not available to the likes of me; so if I wanted to be challenged and stimulated as an actor, I needed to turn to theatre…and I did back then. But there is not enough money in the majority of LA theatre, so as the primary caretaker for a family of four (Jenny and I are truly a team in this), it has not been an option on my return (and I’ve painfully had to say no to a lot of theatre).
Last night, though, I had the opportunity to truly open my wings and soar!
It’d been so long that I’d actually forgotten what that felt like. This wonderful writer’s words allowed me to navigate twists and turns, access parts of my acting inner core that had been long-dormant, and go for a ride like an unabashed smiling (and crying and screaming and laughing) child with absolute and utter abandon. It was magical. It was joy. It was uplifting.
Just as exciting was being surrounded by such wonderfully talented young(er) artists!
In the 90s, I/we knew every Asian American actor, writer, director, producer, agent, exec, etc. and what projects they were working on. Now, with the real and lasting changes that seem to be occurring in Hollywood, there is so much talent coming up through the ranks that I’ve no idea who anyone is anymore…and that’s a good thing! Last night’s group at that table read is a microcosm of this wonderful change. We’re still in the beginning of it, but it IS happening (finally) and that excites me!
…for the reminder of my limitless ability and the fact that truly meaningful, challenging, and stimulating roles are seemingly right around the corner.
I’m a child, again, walking and running towards opportunities with joyful and unabashedly open arms.
This is why I act.