We had the good fortune of connecting with Tamir Yardenne and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tamir, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
Of all the words of Mice and Men, the saddest are “it might have been”

– Vonnegut

Remember the “why,” why you wanted it in the first place. Never give up on something that you can’t stop thinking about, that you’re passionate about. Yes, not every day you’ll be hanging from the ceiling with unadulterated joy. Life will continue doing life, it’s a life thing but our job is not to fight upstream but be in the flow as much as possible. The universe is rooting for us. To keep me inspired and moving toward my goals, I have a picture of my much younger self on my home screen to remind me of the promise I made to myself years ago. So, every time I grab my phone, there he is staring right at me and saying, “what’s up or remember me?

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about.
When you look at your favorite actors, talk about their characters, films, and the lengths they go through to take on these transformative characters, you sit in amazement. You say to yourself, I want to do that. Uta Hagen once said, “When you achieve that understanding of human beings, that ability to place yourself into the shoes of another human being and reveal that life on stage it’s, to me, the ultimate experience.” That piece of advice shaped my training. I’m a method actor and I have a process and one of the things that I do when I collaborate is, whatever the actor gives me, I use. Being present, being fully conscious of the moment, and free from the noise of my internal dialogue. When you’re in the moment sensations often seem sharper and you’re flying. When it’s right there’s a sense of experiencing life as it is and being free from the mind trash that can get in the way of a great performance or rehearsal. Writing and directing on the other hand takes me to a whole other headspace. I get lost for hours writing characters I simply fall in love with. At its core, I like to think writing human characters is something that intrinsically occurs when these characters come to life surpassing race, religion, age, gender, education, determining how they respond when faced with tough situations.

One of my proudest moments came when I auditioned for Steven Bochco for the role of Delray in New York Undercover. I had had my confidence tested the week before when casting director Scott Kinkinger called me in for a producer’s session for a recurring role opposite Vivica A Fox. I love me some Vivica, so I was busted. I wanted it so badly I was desperate. I was a mess and of course, I didn’t get the job, who wants that around? But to Scott’s credit, he called me in again to read for Steven. At that moment I didn’t care if I got the role or not. I just wanted to make Scott proud, because he had trusted me again. So with my Bronx attitude, I went in fully present, fully in the moment and I aced it. I got in my car and as I was driving off the studio lot my agent called me and said, “congratulations, you got the part.”

How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
This journey hasn’t been an easy one but with prayer, hard work, and determination I keep pushing. I’ve had many ups and downs, too many to count, jobs that would have changed the trajectory of my life and catapulted me the to stars. I guess those moments weren’t meant for me. What is meant for you will come. And, believe me, I wasn’t ready at the time. I would have acted a fool, probably broke, dead, and or on drugs. I was way too young. God knew what was up, lol. The times in between jobs are always the hardest because job security is not part of the job description. For me, it’s having faith in knowing that I’m exactly where I need to be, doing what God wants me to do, a lot of introspection, crying and meditation. These are the times where I’ve had the most growth personally and professionally.

What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Don’t wait for Hollywood to discover you. Discover yourself! I remember I walked out of a big audition and there were these iconic black actors, successful actors that had been around for years, actors I had seen in movies growing up, waiting to freakin audition for the same part as me. Well, damn, okay, universe, I get it!  I hear ya talkin.

Work is sporadic for most actors because of the level of competition, especially in major markets. So while you’re waiting for that big break, create your own – “ISH”

What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’m a kid from the Bronx and I had to fight for respect on the streets and what those lessons taught me are invaluable. Fight for your loves, whatever that means to you. For me, it’s my love of the craft. God has blessed me this far but if Hollywood won’t come to me, I’m creating my own Hollywood. Cuz, now filmmaking is so much more accessible than it was even a decade ago – both in production and in how our works get shown. I’m seeing more and more productions, which is exciting – our work doesn’t just have to exist as a sidebar but in lead roles in the mainstream. With my production company and me as the star, we can’t lose. Nothing beats a try but, not to try at all.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First off since I’m a real foodie our first stop would have to be the Vtree, a vegan soul food restaurant that is a one-of-a-kind experience with a selection of plant-based options that are derived from southern classic recipes. Yes, mama’s cooking done vegan style. Let’s just say this place is an absolute gem. Each option on the menu is seasoned to perfection and is a mind, body, and soul treat. So yummy and good for the waistline too.

Then we’ll have to walk all the food off because we’re so greedy at the California African American Museum in Exposition Park. It is apparently the first museum of African American art history. Well worth a visit if you’re traveling through Los Angeles; worth several visits if you happen to live here. I love to just sit outside and people watch.

I’ve seen the LA 1992 exhibit, heavy on history, sobering and informative, while the portraitures were joyful and visually stimulating. The CAAM isn’t huge, so you’ll be able to go through the whole museum in about an hour and a half

I love to go bar-hopping along Sunset Blvd on Saturday nights. It’s always a good time.
The weekend wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t go to Leimert Park on Sunday which is much more than a neighborhood park, Leimert Plaza Park has also been the site for decades of cultural celebrations, community gatherings, and a vital space for African Americans to raise their voices together in protest. The famed drum circle takes place at the park every Sunday, it is a blast.

Oh, and I can’t forget Midori Sushi, in Studio City. I love this place! I always drive here from LA for their all-you-can-eat sushi. The portions are generous and the amount of fish you get is great. It’s hard to find an AYCE spot that doesn’t just fill your sushi with imitation crab. Definitely recommend. Expect longer waits on the weekends.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

Oh, dang, there were so many interesting and amazing people who have guided me on my journey into this crazy world called show business. My parents encouraged my education. My mom even went back to school to get her nursing degree well after I was born. So not going for my higher education was not an option. I had only two schools I wanted to go to, Juilliard and NYU.

I auditioned for Juilliard first but I didn’t get in, how dare they? I was devastated and for months I cried like a baby. So, I headed back to acting classes, under the tutelage of Uta Hagen and Earle Hyman at HB Studios in New York. Worked with an amazing dancer and choreographer, Mickey Davis from The Venettes Cultural Workshop, where I got my start as a dancer at the age of thirteen. Ms. Davis choreographed a modern piece for my dance audition to Teddy Pendergrass’ Turn Off The Lights. So, with my Shakespeare monologue in one hand and my tights in the other I was ready.

The night before my big audition, my mother asked me, “why do you always reach so high? There are plenty of other schools out there,” she said. It took me aback a minute and to be perfectly honest it hurt my feelings. Did she not think I was good enough? But to be fair, as the parental protector, what she meant was, I don’t want you to get hurt again. Mom’s are always in protection mode. But I did it anyway and with Uta, Earle, Mickey along with sheer determination, I got into New York University Tisch School of the Arts. My heroes, thank you. Until this day, my parents are my biggest fans. Their confidence in me is what strengthens me when times get tough.

Website: www.tamiryardenne.com

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Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tamirfilms

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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/TamirYardenne

Image Credits
Adam W Iverson

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