Tim has been my classmate and my friend for a long time and from seeing his work every single week for years to now watching him on all these shows is just so fantastic and so worth celebrating. I think what makes it even more special for me is that he is an incredibly kind and supportive human being. And it always makes me so happy when nice people succeed. Tim currently appears on THE COMPANY YOU KEEP on ABC and TRUTH BE TOLD on Apple+, he has worked on HBO, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Disney, The CW, TNT CBS, NBC, ABC, ABC Family and Hulu, just to name a few. He’s appeared in award winning independent films like Sujata Day’s directorial debut DEFINITION PLEASE and the 2019 Tribeca Audience Award winning film PLUS ONE. He’s appeared on stage at the Geffen Playhouse, South Coast Repertory Theater, the Colony Theater, and East West Players. Tim attended UCLA where he was involved in the Asian American Theatre Company on campus, LCC, which had been co founded by Randall Park just several years prior. He would later join Park to form the comedy troupe the propaganda writers. In 2013. Tim won Best Actor at the NBC shortcuts Film Festival, which opened the door for the NBC pilot TIN MAN. And when he’s not acting, Tim is an avid gamer and cyclist and we are so so proud to have him as an SKS alum speaking here today. So Hi, Tim. I love to start, if you don’t mind, with the origin story of Tim Chiou – how did you start acting? When did you decide to move to LA?
Tim Chiou 01:55
I grew up in Southern California, and I kind of was introduced into acting through my student council advisor, actually, she was the drama school teacher. And I remember seeing a play- one of the school plays that my friend was in and just thinking, ‘oh, man, that looks so cool, I want to do that.’ And then I got involved in drama. And so, started doing the plays, and musicals from then on out. And then when I got to college, that’s when I met friends like Randall Park, and Michael Golan and some of the other guys from LCC, and I basically joined their group. And we produced our own content, our own theater, three times a year and just kind of developed this love for acting, and telling our own stories. And that’s kind of how I got into it. And after a while, I realized, you know, I sacrifice so much to act and I work long hours, annd I’ll do it for free…sSo I might as well try to do this for a living.
Amazing. Did you do sports in high school as well?
Tim Chiou 03:30
I did, I played water polo.
Did not see that one coming. Wow. Very cool. I love that. So did you enter UCLA as a drama major or…?
Tim Chiou 03:45
No, I actually came in undeclared. I was interested in being a filmmaker, but that kind of fell through. I realized that I’d be very selfish filmmaker and not a very collaborative one. So I shifted and that’s when I decided to focus more on acting.
Interesting. When you were at UCLA, did you focus on schooling and being part of the UCLA fam, or were you pursuing professional work as well?
Tim Chiou 04:23
No, I was more geared towards UCLA stuff and campus based activities, and stuff with LCC. And it wasn’t until after college, that we decided to continue on this tradition of telling our own stories and producing them.
I love that that came so early for you, because I feel like when folks find a desire to make their own stories, it often comes after a bit of years of frustration or, ‘I’m getting cast as one thing, but I really want to pivot this way.” Did that come through the LCC stuff that was already happening, that you were like, ‘we’re telling our own stories, we’re creating our own point of view.’
Tim Chiou 05:16
Yeah, I got really lucky because the community at UCLA was very supportive. And we were really interested in exploring ideas of representation, and being truthful to our own experiences, being Asian American. And so there was a huge community movement for that. And that was something that was important to me, to my identity. And I thought, my biggest avenue in terms of exploring this was acting and performing. And that’s what developed my love for theater and stuff like that.
Wow. Gosh, I love that so much. So then post college… what? I’d love to hear about some of the firsts: how did you get your first rep, how did you get your first acting job?
Tim Chiou 06:11
I volunteered as much as I could. I’d gotten in touch with theatre companies and volunteered for casting and crew on theater projects. And I think, after a certain amount of time, people recognized that I had a desire to learn and wanted to do more than just be a support – I really wanted an opportunity. People saw that in me and gave me a chance. I found my agent, my first agent, when I was running a casting, I was volunteering at a casting session for some musical. And the agent was like, ‘Hey, I don’t have anybody like you. Are you interested in being represented?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I mean, I need an agent.’ So that’s kind of how it happened. I met with her and I had these terrible headshots. And she was like, ‘Oh, my God, these are terrible. You need new pictures.’ I went on this journey with her, she got me a lot of my first gigs.
That’s awesome. We all have a bad headshot to start, you know? We get a headshot that we will look back on and think ‘oh, if I knew then what I know now…’
Tim Chiou 07:40
Mine was in black and white, that’s how old it was.
Black and white – yes! So how was it first auditioning for TV and film projects? Did it feel like there was a bit of a learning curve? Or did it feel like stepping into familiar territory?
Tim Chiou 07:58
It was interesting, because I came at it with such a naive mindset. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And so I kind of just went for it. And surprisingly, I found a lot of success. I remember for one theater audition, I made out with my reader because she was part of the scene. And the reader happened to be the director’s wife. They were shocked, but apparently they they saw.. ‘there’s just something… he’s very committed and he just kind of goes for it.’ It took me a long time to realize there are certain things that you should NOT be doing. Yeah, so I kind of like went into a lot of roles, or auditions, just not knowing what I didn’t know and going for it. Yeah, people really responded to that.
Wow, wow. I loved that. When I first got to LA, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I had that desire to just go for it and have the attitude of ‘here the hell I am.’ I remember, if you don’t mind me sharing something, I auditioned for a PSA. It was about teens and drinking and driving and they wanted a monologue. And I did a monologue from Of Mice and Men. I’m playing Curley’s Wife and I was like, (southern accent) ‘I ain’t meant to live like this. I come from Salinas,’ and they were like… what? I was like I’m theater trained, hello? I didn’t book it, never went on to book that. But when did YOU start learning the rules or feeling a little bit like there… there’s boundaries for some of these things?
Tim Chiou 10:02
It started happening pretty quickly. I would go on commercial auditions and kind of learn and just go in with really open eyes and make sure that I was processing everything that was happening. I started to realize, okay, there are certain boundaries, and there’s certain etiquette that you should follow. I think, in a lot of ways that that very formative, because then I then started to hold myself back a lot. It was like a tough transition from going all in, all the way through and then realizing… okay, I shouldn’t step on these people’s toes, I shouldn’t I shouldn’t cross these boundaries. It took me maybe a year or two or three to kind of really learn the ropes of how things are supposed to go?
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Did you, in those beginning years, ever focus on branding, or figuring out your type?
Tim Chiou 11:11
I learned pretty early on that. People liked to see me as a cocky guy. So I kind of learned to lean into that. Yeah. Like a douchebag kind of guy. Even though I don’t think I am. I also leaned into my street speak, which was something that I just picked up. Growing up and being Asian, it’s pretty rare to find somebody who can pull that off, effectively. So I leaned into that. What I felt during my early years was that Hollywood wasn’t really interested in leading men, Asian American men. So I tried to find other routes, basically I learned to become a character actor because of that. If I saw a role, I would find a hook or an angle and kind of lean into that instead of just being myself. And that kind of affected my trajectory early on. It took me a long time to really kind of step into my own being, as an actor,
Yeah. When you say you felt that Hollywood, the powers that be, were responding to you being a little cocky – is that due to the kind of roles that you were brought in, you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m starting to see a trend or in the rooms, they seem to adjust me in a certain way.’ Or, I often feel like Hollywood, there’s a sort of a sorting hat like in Harry Potter, where eventually they let you know what they want you for – your type, you kind of start to understand it, rather than thinking you have to figure this out. It will help you figure it out.
Tim Chiou 13:23
I noticed that when there’s roles where I get to play a douchebag, that people really responded to it. And they were really like, ‘oh my god, you’re so funny.’ And I was and I’d be like, ‘I’m not trying to be funny, but whatever. You know. I’ll take it.’
Yeah. Yeah. I wonder if it’s, if you don’t mind me lingering on this for a sec, because you’re 6’1″ or so.
Tim Chiou 13:56
3, I’m 6’3,” but I say I’m 6’2″.
That’s amazing. I’m 5’1″, but I say 5’2″. So we’re gonna meet the middle one day. Because you’re tall and you have a bit of a deeper voice and are empirically speaking, very handsome… I wonder if those things speak to casting directors or to producers before they get to see your personality. Immediately. They go, okay, ‘he’s this kind of guy.’
Tim Chiou 14:27
Maybe? I think there are certain qualities but it’s something that I’ve learned over the years just being – I mean, growing up in high school, I noticed that bullies would come and try to pick on me because they thought I was being cocky and rebellious to them, stuff like that. I don’t know. I kind of think it’s just a vibe that people see on me. Yeah.
Okay, interesting. I’ve never have thought of you as cocky or “douchebaggy” at all. Do you think that Hollywood has become more open to the idea of leading Asian American men?
Tim Chiou 15:20
For sure. I’ve seen so much change over the past 5-10 years even. And it’s been great to finally see lot of projects where Asian men can be leading men and telling Asian stories in all their diversity, to be represented on screen. It’s really cool, it’s really – when I first started, I never imagined we get here. And here we are. I’m not saying everything’s perfect. But it really is kind of moving – we’re in a place that we can see the stories and roles out there that are available.
We’ll talk more about David Hill in a little bit. But I think you are fulfilling that leading man role so well, on that show (THE COMPANY YOU KEEP), it’s so thrilling to see – we’ll dive into that. I want to ask: how did you come to our studio? And how did it benefit you? What did you learn the most from us?
Tim Chiou 16:41
I was just searching for class at the time. And I asked a friend who was going – Cassandra Waterman? Yes. She was taking class with Stan. I remember asking her, what other classes are you taking, and she talked about this class. And I was really interested in checking it out. And I joined and I remember thinking, this is exactly what I need. I need the exposure to the right kind of material, the expectation of discipline, and personal responsibility when it comes to class, and the support of the class itself, and the students and the community. That was all so valuable to me. And then for me to dive into something every week that was different. Sometimes it’d be right up my alley, and sometimes it would really challenge me. That was invaluable to me. You know, I grew so much and I remember thinking, how little handle I had on comedy. Going through Stan’s class, I then felt like I can do this. I actually ended up finding myself in a position where I was, I felt like I was regarded as one of the few Asian American males who could do comedy in TV.
Hmm, that’s amazing. I do find the way that we talk about comedy at our studio, very pragmatic and functional, you can absolutely USE it rather than it’s this thing where if I’m not funny on the day, then I’m not funny, I can never book these things. Or if I’m not the funny one in my group, then I’m just always going to be doing drama. So I’m glad to hear that you that you feel that way too. What about the classmates that you were with? Did you learn a lot from watching people every single week?
Tim Chiou 19:04
So much. I mean, I was, we were in class with so many great talented people and just being exposed to them, you know, every week, seeing them go through material and sometimes struggle and sometimes just completely transform, so powerful. I felt like I was part of the well of talent and I felt safe – that I was able to develop with people who I’ve respected and admired and be in a sort of camaraderie with and it was just very valuable to me in that environment.
Yeah, I feel like my game stepped up so much when I was in our class, just surrounded by people… It’s like, they’re gonna bring it, you know? They’re gonna bring it. So what am I offering? How am I going to prep for this? And then supporting each other. I remember when we drove down to see Camille doing AVENUE Q. Just a group of us. And then we go see Jean Luc, film BABY DADDY, the pilot and just showing up for each other… I find that community so important.
Tim Chiou 20:37
Yes, it was so important. And I think that made you feel not alone in LA, which is very real. And you know, when you’re rooting for somebody else’s success too and not just yours, it makes a huge difference. Because if all you’re going for is your own success, it’s going to be challenging. But when you’re in a community with people who you also want to see succeed, and somebody gets something, some kind of achievement, then it lifts everybody else.
A million percent, it really does feel like all of our wins (although the residual check only goes to one address.) It’s like we all booked this, yeah! Okay, so let’s dive into THE COMPANY YOU KEEP. Okay, I love this show. And it’s done so well in the ratings, people seem to love it as well. We actually worked in class on the audition sides for your character… and I remember thinking at the time, this is a series regular, and it’s four pages, how in the world do you show them ‘I’m ready to work to be this character for seven seasons – let me show you in two minutes.’ How did you approach these four pages? How did you – tell me everything!
Tim Chiou 22:18
I remember seeing the material and I looked up who the casting director was. And I remember, I had watched some of the shows that she had cast at the time, and I think it was like, DAVE, and something else – it was Wendy O’Brien. And I remember thinking, she is really into very grounded, very natural performances, but characters who feel they’re real. Yeah. And I kind of went in there thinking I just have to be essentially myself. I can’t worry about hitting a character or thinking about, am I going to be politician enough, I just have to go for it. And hopefully, they’ll respect it. I broke down the scene in my head and analyzed the script. When I read it, I made it all about the other person. That was my tactic. And I guess they really responded to it.
That’s amazing. Did you have a producer session or a test for it?
Tim Chiou 23:41
Yes. I had a chemistry test after that. And that was funny, because that happened in my car. No, really. I was on set at a commercial. And I then had a chemistry test with Catherine and I remember Milo calling me and I was in my car just you know it during lunch and and just doing the chemistry read with Catherine.
Wow. Via via zoom with producers on the chemistry read. Wow. Okay, that’s amazing. My mind has just been blown.
Tim Chiou 24:30
It was, it was crazy. I just remember gushing about shooting the commercial and everything. And I think everybody was amazed because there were people walking around in the background and the fact that I was able to just focus on the scene and be very present – people are really into that.
Oh, that sounds amazing. I think that quality that – you know, there’s so much stuff going on in the background, he’s doing a completely different job today, he’s in the middle of his lunch, and he’s connecting with Catherine. I think that the producers and the executives whoever they are, are thinking, ‘he’s going to be the easiest part of our day when he’s on set, because look at how he’s operating right now. He’s like, in the zone, connecting.’ That’s incredible, Tim.
Tim Chiou 25:25
Yeah, I think I impressed them all. I think Catherine said as much that it was really impressive.
Oh, gosh, I just love that. I love it so much. There’s a ton of focus right now in self tapes on how to get the lighting correct, the best sound ever… and I think what we often say, and it comes from Angela, one of our teachers, is ‘if you’re the girl, you’re the girl, if you’re the guy or the guy,’ there’s no there’s no amount of lighting, or people walking in the background while you’re in your car on a lunch break, that’s going to take away from you being the role.
Tim Chiou 26:04
Yeah. Yeah, I think people know right away, if you’ve got it in you. And whatever extraneous things are going on, that’s just, that’s whatever, it’s nothing.
Yeah. And was it challenging to act? So I’m imagining you like at the wheel of your car in the driver’s seat with like, Catherine on the phone as a small image? Did it feel challenging to connect with her in this small little image? Or did you just sort of hook into the human?
Tim Chiou 26:51
The cool thing is, Catherine is an amazing actress to work with. And she’s so present, and so giving, and she listens a lot. It was really easy to connect with her. So it ended up being easy, because I just had this image on the phone, and I just focused on her. And that’s it. You know?
Yeah. The way you say it, it sounds very easy. Sounds like ‘shit, I could do that, too.’ But it’s it also, I know that it takes years to make something like that feel easy. It takes a lot of time and a lot of “at bats” and a lot of being on set and a lot of acceptance of who you are, to make those few minutes on the Zoom call with them feel easy, and they got it. They knew you’re the guy, they saw your professionalism. That’s huge. Tim, that’s one of the coolest casting stories I’ve heard in a minute.
Tim Chiou 27:56
Yeah, thank you.
So when you guys filmed the pilot, were you aware of the arc that David has – the political challenges and the alliances..?
Tim Chiou 28:16
During the pilot, the goal of the show was one thing. After it got picked up by ABC, there was a bit of a pivot. Early on, it was kind of obvious that David would struggle with being the guy – the perfect golden son – filling in his father’s shoes and being the perfect candidate. I talked with Catherine and we made sure that we established a really strong relationship between David and Emma, so that we both had a sense of grounding. There’s a scene that was the audition scene that got cut out of the pilot, but that was the first clue of what they wanted the sibling relationship to be like, and we definitely leaned into that. So for the rest of the show, we always took time to make sure that we, as siblings, saw each other for real. As far as David’s arc of stepping into his own and finding himself out from under his parents shadow… that was kind of something that was obvious. It was cool because I had a similar issue myself with my parents and always being the guy who did, what they wanted me to do. And then when I decided to become an actor, that was me kind of rebelling against them. And I was able to kind of marry a lot of those ideas and those feelings with that.
Wow. When you are on set shooting, I oftentimes feel that I have these plans for the ritual I will do and the things to prepare… and then I get there and I feel like I just land in hair and makeup and they’re saying, ‘How long before Colleen, is done?’ It’s so fast! And so furious!
Tim Chiou 30:44
How do you find a moment? Or do you have a moment to ground yourself before it starts, or while there’s all the chaos of everything?
Tim Chiou 30:55
Well, I love to show up early, at least a half an hour early, if not more, so that I have the time to sit in my trailer and just kind of plot everything out. And I also like to prepare for it all. Because as much access as I have to the writers and the producers, the directors – they may have a different idea. And the physical realities of the set may change the way the scene plays out. And so you kind of give yourself room to be prepared for circumstances, different circumstances. And I kind of like walk through some of those in my head, just to be sure. And then when I show up to set finally, I try to be as flexible as possible. I love that. That’s fantastic. When I first started working in TV more regularly, I was surprised, I really thought I’d get more like direction, there would be more perhaps more collaboration. And someone told me: if they don’t talk to you, that’s a great sign. Do you often interact or ask questions of the directors? Do you just sort of think, if there’s no feedback we’re doing great, smooth sailing? It depends. You know, sometimes I will have questions. A lot of times, I think what they respect is, if you just make a strong choice, it’s like, they’ll kind of see what happens during rehearsal. And they kind of say, okay, that’s what they’re gonna do. So they respect it. Because I think a lot of times directors, because they change from episode to episode, they understand that the actor has spent more time with the character than the director has, you know, they’re more interested in getting the shot. So if you have an instinct, they will try to follow it.
Oh, that’s pretty fantastic. I love that. I love it a whole lot. It’s brilliant. I just think you do such incredible work on this show. Tim, if I didn’t know you, I would think, this is a politician who they were like, ‘Would you mind auditioning for our show?’ And oh my gosh, he can speak and walk and hit a mark. You’re so believable in that particular line of work and the dynamics with of course, Catherine, but with your parents, the work on your political team, your director of social media, of course, and also the guy running your campaign. It’s just a fantastic dynamic you created Tim. Yeah. Also currently airing is TRUTH BE TOLD.
Tim Chiou 33:20
I filmed that quite a while back. So actually, I was shooting TRUTH BE TOLD around the same time as the pilot (of THE COMPANY YOU KEEP). So there are a couple episodes of TRUTH BE TOLD where I’m clean shaven because I, you know, I chose for David to be clean shaven as a politician. And they wanted my character for TRUTH BE TOLD to have facial hair. But because I’m, you know, on an ABC pilot, they’re my first position. I’m going to do what they say. Yes, it was crazy. Balancing both shows at the same time, because they’re such different characters.
Yes. Yes, I have so much to say about that. Would you also mind explaining what “first position” is to everybody?
Tim Chiou 34:52
First position basically means who you give first priority to so if you are series regular on the show, that’s usually your first position. And then if you’re working on something else, like a guest on another show, then you usually have to defer to the show that you’re a regular on – your first position.
And I want that for every single one of us – yes! So ABC is first position, Apple+ you’re in second position, you’re gonna get facial hair. I love that. I think that’s fantastic. So even though Detective Sun and David are such different characters, you’re both wearing a buttoned down shirt and suit pants but one has a gun on his hip one doesn’t. How did you, if you’re shooting them both, let’s say within a two week period, you’re shooting both characters, how do you make sure that you are fully in one world versus the other?
Tim Chiou 36:00
It comes down to, for me, being able to lean into an aspect of the character. So for TRUTH BE TOLD, I knew that there was a particular way I was going to inhabit Detective Son. And I kind of envisioned him as a former jock. And so his stance and his speech and the way he carried himself would be a certain thing. When I showed up for TRUTH BE TOLD, I always kind of knew that I could lean into that, and find myself in the character again. And then for THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, I really kind of found myself in David’s shoulders and the way that he had to, he felt like he had to carry a lot of of his parents’ baggage, but still kind of stand tall. So that was kind of what helped me ground myself into the two different characters.
Wow. The hit of the detective as a former jock – how did that come about? Is it one of those things where you’re like, ‘oh, yeah, he feels like a jock, like a former jock to me,’ or was there something in the scene, in the text or…?
Tim Chiou 37:41
Well, the character of Detective Sun, he was an interesting guy, when I auditioned for him, I didn’t really know much, I didn’t know where the character was gonna go, I didn’t know that he was going to end up being so significant in the show. Basically, the description was something like a rising star in the police force, but morally gray. And I kind of thought: what kind of guy would rise really quickly amongst the police force, who could also be capable of being dirty or whatever. And I just thought, this is a bros’ bro, you know, a guy who knows how to talk to guys who knows how to get along with guys, you know, he knows how to code switch. So I really kind of chose that as his background.
I love that. Speaking of code switch, the show takes place in Oakland, correct? Was there anything that they suggested, or that you found, that you wanted to make this feel a little like Oakland?
Tim Chiou 39:02
Honestly, there wasn’t much for me to play with the idea of Oakland. But I did ask for my character to have a tattoo that, I don’t know if you’ll see it in the show, but I wanted it to kind of call to sheriff’s gangs tattoos. So that that was kind of a secret that my character had, that he had this tattoo on his in his inner sleeve. It was kind of symbol of who he was.
Wow. So who do you ask that question to you? Can I can have a tattoo?
Tim Chiou 39:41
I actually wrote the email to the showrunner and she was like, I love it and and then of course, we got the head makeup person to coordinate what it would look like and where it would be and so we coordinated with the art department and they sketched something up and created it.
That’s fantastic. That is so freakin’ cool. I’m so glad that we have this opportunity to chat because I haven’t gotten a chance to, talk to you about this acting, nitty gritty stuff. And I’m so grateful because I’m learning so much from you. And I feel so inspired. It’s all just so cool. I want to talk a little bit, before we open the floor up to everyone else, about some of the disappointing times – there’s so much to celebrate – but this business is a roller coaster. And not only is it up and down, but the highs are high and the lows are low, very low. So how do you deal with disappointments? How do you maintain work/life balance?
Tim Chiou 40:59
I’ll tell you a story.. when I was chemistry testing for CRAZY RICH ASIANS, Constance Wu, asked me ‘how do you get by when things are not going well?’ I responded, ‘I’ll do theater.’ And which was true. After I didn’t get CRAZY RICH ASIANS, I ended up doing some theater and stuff. But, yeah, I find that when the business of acting is really overwhelming, (it’s about) rediscovering just the pure joy and the pure artistry of acting. Because you don’t do theater for money. You do it because you love it and you’re passionate about it. And because it gives you an opportunity to do something that you would not even be able to do in film and TV. And so for me, theater was a way for me to kind of rediscover my passion for acting. And as far as finding a work/life balance… I think it’s all about keeping things in perspective. And understanding that you are in this for the long haul. And it is okay to live your life and to experience things other than work. Yeah. And to allow yourself to do that.
I love that. I love that. What did Constance Wu say in response to that?
Tim Chiou 42:57
I mean, I think she was thought, that’s interesting. Funny enough, I think she just did a theater show at the Geffen.
Yeah, she’s like, ‘I remember, this amazing actor said to me, do theater.’ That’s incredible. I so appreciate that. Okay, last question I have for you because I know you are part of this world… what do you think about THE LAST OF US? Have you watched it? Do you love it?
Tim Chiou 43:26
Yes. I love THE LAST OF US the show, I played the video game. And I thought the video game was one of the most phenomenal pieces of storytelling in the medium. And I thought this would make a great film, and then they made the show of it. And I thought it was fantastic. What I love about the show is that it kind of highlights the beauty of of human connections and human relationships. In such dire circumstances, but is also is able to show how deep and dark people are able to go.
Yeah. Yeah, it’s beautiful. It’s so much more than zombies.
Tim Chiou 44:21
Yes. More than zombies, it’s more about the people in the world. Yeah. And when were put through enough pressure, what are we capable of?
Yes. And what actually matters to us when the going gets tough? Yeah. Yeah. Amazing. Awesome. Does anyone who’s here have any questions for Tim? Yeah, Rashaun!
Rashaun Sibley 44:49
Hi. Nice to meet you. Thanks for making time for this. I was wondering if you had any advice for how you handled yourself as a business, were there any business moves that you struggled with as you were coming up or any advice with how to handle yourself when it comes to that aspect?
Tim Chiou 45:08
I would say, ultimately… know your value. You run into a lot of people who do kind of see you for who you are but other people who need to know what your value is. And always keep that in mind.
I told someone that I was coaching recently, ‘I think you should pass on this.’ And she was like, ‘are you telling me that as Colleen now? When you were in my shoes, with my level of credits, would you have passed on it?’ And I was thought, ‘oh, I probably wouldn’t have passed on it, but would have been pissed that I had to do it, then feel angry that I didn’t pass on it. It’s… I feel like I’ve grown in confidence over the years, about my my worth. And sometimes, it’s good to have someone who’s like you 10 years from now 15 years from now saying, ‘let me tell you what I would have done.’
Tim Chiou 46:15
You know, especially early on, we’re always so worried about, how many opportunities we come across and fear of turning down anything because we’re so desperate for every opportunity. But in the long run, if you know what you want from yourself, it gives you better focus on what opportunities you will give yourself and what opportunities you’ll you’ll let go. Because you can also waste a lot of energy just chasing every single opportunity that doesn’t serve you.
Yeah. Gosh, I so agree with that. Yeah. Delilah, feel free to ask Tim your question.
Delilah Andre 47:12
Hi, thank you so much for being here. I came on a little bit later, but I’ve literally been blown away by everything you’ve been talking about. You spoke about doing theater when times are down or you’re having downtime… I found that creating my own content, making my own film really helped me. And I was curious if you had thought about creating your own content or anything like that.
Tim Chiou 47:43
I actually had thought about creating my own content. I think that’s also a very valid way, it is similar to theater, you’re diving into something because you’re passionate about it. And you’re not waiting for someone to tell you what to do. It is coming straight from your heart. And I think that’s very valid, as a way to rediscover what you love about acting, you’re able to hone your voice too and I think it helps people shape who they are and how they build themselves. And I think it’s fantastic. That’s great.
Delilah Andre 48:35
One more question. I’m just curious. I know there’s this potential writer’s strike happening in May – how does that affect people? Let’s say if someone’s already on a series, like you, or someone who’s about to start a project, how is that affected? I’m just curious if anybody knows.
Tim Chiou 49:01
I’m not sure about it… who knows what TV is going to be like, TV and film. We may go back to all reality all the time for a while. And I’ll just be waiting around to see if our series gets picked back up. It is kind of daunting for a lot of people – and I can tell you that a lot of people I’ve talked to have expressed a lot of cynicism about this year, in terms of opportunity. But I think this is a really good time for people to self develop and really hone themselves, you know as an actor, and as a storyteller, and really dedicate themselves to improving, so that when we come out on the other side of this, we’re more than ready.
Caroline! Hey, girl, hey. Good to see you.
Caroline Bible 50:25
You too. Tim, thank you so much for taking the time. I’m fully obsessed with THE COMPANY YOU KEEP – I’ve been binging it. So much fun. Working with episodic directors, you talked a little bit about how oftentimes the actor knows more about the character than the directors coming in… have you ever had an instance where you had a director give a note that you knew was not like the Showrunner’s vision or vision of the character? And if so, how did you handle that?
Tim Chiou 51:01
The the issue with finding the director is there’s never enough time on set to get into long discussions. So I think the easiest way to go about it is to say, ‘let’s try one your way and try one my way.’ You know, that way, we’re still shooting. And you know that it goes up to the edit, basically. At the end of the day, when you get into long discussions, it really kills the time. So I’m always about, finding a solution. I’ve done that on THE COMPANY YOU KEEP where I feel something is a little weird. But these are problems that it’s not up to me to solve, you know, it’s up to the editor, or it’s up to somebody else, and we just have to make our days.
There should be a name for the fans of THE COMPANY YOU KEEP – Caroline, what are we – ‘The Company Keepers’? Yeah, I don’t know.
Tim Chiou 52:23
I think the writers room had been like pulling Twitter about this. And I’m not sure exactly what they came up with.
We’ll have to stay updated because we are part of the club. Beautiful. Akim?
Akim Black 52:36
I want to say I just started watching the show today when I saw you the post about this. So I’m still on episode one. But I’m enjoying the show as well. So I might binge watch it the rest of the night. So I had a question… I’m not sure if there’s two parts of the same question. But the way you approached your auditions, now that you’re a series regular, does that change how you go into auditions now?
Tim Chiou 53:22
It’s challenging because you’re in production, and you’re trying to keep your head on the episode that you’re doing, but also dive into maybe a character that’s completely different. And what I have found is that I have to kind of just say, ‘Look, this is going to be a read, this is going to be a pass of me doing it, not my best shot.’ Because I just don’t have the time to dive into – I had this audition for this Netflix show and it was like 15 pages. And it was like all monologue. It was crazy. It was intense. And I had to kind of give it my best shot, knowing that I could have done better. But at the end of the day, I had to let it go because I just didn’t have the time to devote. I think you have to be able to trust that casting will see you for who you are. And that’s going to be enough. You know, I love to be off book, I love to be 100% on words during my auditions, but sometimes the reality is just don’t have the time to kind of pull that off. And you do the best you can and hopefully, casting will see who you are. And I think being a regular on a show now, I’ve had to open myself up to that feeling more.
That’s empowering. That’s really empowering. Thank you so freakin’ much. I’m so grateful for your time here. And I love talking shop with you, hearing some of the things that you’ve done for your character work. The door’s always open, if you ever want to come back and talk more. Kristyn, do you want to add anything before we hop off?
Kristyn Daniel 55:30
Thank you so much, Tim. I was also getting emotional, hearing you talk about being in class and you guys reminiscing about that. I had no doubt you wouldn’t have the success you have. But I look back on that time, I think here you are, being our guest speaker, a series lead on this incredible show with Catherine too… I get emotional when I see Ray on QUANTUM LEAP… And I just you guys are all – I’m so proud. And I feel so honored to even have been on this journey in some small way, and have been able to witness – and it really is a testament to anyone who’s on here… Tim is where like, he didn’t come here and then a year later, is a series regular. All of these people have worked their asses off and continue to do so. So please look at yourself as a lifer. You’re here, this is your career. This is not something that has to hit tomorrow. It’s not something that has to hit next year. Please don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s journey. You’re just a testament to that. So thank you so much for doing this for us, I know how busy you are. Thank you all for being here, in the middle of the day on a Thursday. I thank you all and I just appreciate this community so much. And talking about community, Tim is so correct and so is Colleen, this community is unlike anything that exists in LA and part of what we’ve done is we’ve created an online community as well. We have our classes and we have people who coach and we have our bootcamps, and within the class people are very tight and they’re a family. But we’re really wanting all of the classes to know that Sunday’s students and Monday’s students are also a resource for each other and they’re also part of the family. If you’re interested, it’s a free online community but people post, ‘Hey, I’m auditioning for this casting director – does anybody have tips on them? I’m looking for a headshot photographer in New York. Do you have experience with this reel company? I’m looking for someone to cast in my short film.’ It almost like it looks like a facebook group page – join that, be a part of our family. We’d love to just continue on this journey with you and I hope all of you are a zoom guest sometime in the next 10 years – wouldn’t that’d be amazing? Zoom guests every day of the year. It’ll be amazing. I just love all of you.
Have a wonderful day everyone. Thank you so much, Tim! The Company Keepers – we are out!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai