Today, I turn this blog over to my east coast arch-nemesis, Tara Yelland for her much-anticipated Q&A.  Tomorrow, I hit the mailbag to answer your questions. Hopefully.

Over to Tara…

TY: A note on the portrait: I’m not sure all of you fully realized this, but I drew that thing WITH MY EYES CLOSED! Try it! You’ll see that it’s not easy! And I did a pretty darned good job, I’d say. And yes, while Joe may not technically be bald, I do think of him as a bald man.

Also, why is my face so fat?

LisaR writes: “1) Where did you get the outfit in the second picture?”

TY:Mostly from an amazing costume shop–coincidentally, called “Amazing Party and Costume”. The skirt and tights are from American Apparel.

Look at her, all sassy and such.

“2) What is Joe’s most interesting quality??”

TY: I really can’t believe that he manages to write a blog every day. That’s dedication! I hope you’re all appreciative.

Michael writes: “You seem to have a wicked sense of humor, so any stories or jokes you’d be willing to share for a laugh?”

TY: No.

PBmom writes: “1. I saw on IMDB you were in the series Odyssey 5– good show — another show cancelled before its time. Are you a fan of science fiction?”

TY: Not particularly. It’s not a genre that I’ve ever really embraced. I do enjoy the idea of dressing up in costumes and going to fan-expos though.  And, to be completely honest with you all, I’ve never seen a single frame of Stargate. Maybe when Transporter ends and I’m unemployed again, I’ll have a marathon viewing session.

“2. What is a typical day like for you?”

TY: I drink a lot of coffee, I eat a lot of cheese, I walk around set and chat like I’m at a cocktail party…and very occasionally, I do some standing in.

Drinking her "coffee". That smells suspiciously like gin.

“3. Is Joe funny?”

TY: Yes. I mean, not intentionally though…

“4. Do you have pets?”

TY: Yes, a dog named Emma. She’s out of her mind, but lovely.

Sooo cute. And she's got Tara's ears!

“5. What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in your life? (Also Birdy’s question, “What was your first job in the industry?”)”

TY: I was a precocious 19 year-old, on set of Odyssey 5 as a background performer (extra). My role for the day was as a dead body in the morgue. I had spent about an hour with the special fx makeup team, getting a bad-ass autopsy scar put on my chest. Finally, it’s time to go to set– I’m given a spot on a gurney with a sheet pulled over my head. We do a rehearsal; the lead actor, Peter Weller–otherwise known as Robocop– comes over to my gurney, looks under the sheet at me, and continues on his way. We’re ready to shoot the scene, they call “rolling”… and suddenly the sheet is pulled back and Peter Weller is standing over me. He says, “hey, wanna be my personal assistant?”. I said, “Uhhhhh…”. I look over Peter’s shoulder and Greg, the AD, is nodding enthusiastically. I said, “what does that entail?”, and he said “it’s real easy… just phone calls and faxes”. I’m dumbfounded. Their shouting on set…clearly waiting on the lead actor to stop talking to me, so I said “can we talk about this after?”. He considered this for a moment, then said “sure”, and threw the blanket back over my face.

Now, I’m no dummy. I was highly suspicious that this man was offering me a job on the basis of appearance alone. So, like any good 19 year old, I called my mom. She said to go for it. So, I went over and told Peter that I would take the job. He walked me over to the producer and said that I was going to be his new assistant. The producer, Adam, took one look at me and said “no way”. But Peter got his way, naturally, and I started the next day.

I am happy to tell you that I had the time of my life for 3 months as Peter’s assistant. We got along very well and my fears of being groped on set were needless–in fact, he was very protective of me. Peter is a lovely, intelligent, and funny man. I ended up attending his wedding in Positano, Italy–he married a beautiful, sweet, Southern lady named Sheri.

Peter, who not only starred in Odyssey 5, but directed several episodes, gave me my very first on screen acting role. I played a nurse and had one line. I was terrified and lousy, but it got me in the union.

Tara's past assisting experience comes in handy when I require someone to watch my briefcase.

“6. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?”

TY: Mint chocolate chip, Neapolitan…

“7. What are some of the songs in a current playlist on your IPod/MP3 player?”

TY: From a current playlist:

1-Rolling in the Deep -Adele

2-Good Night – RZA

3-Auditorium – Mos Def

4-You Got Me – The Roots ft. Erykah Badu

5-Shadowboxin’ – GZA

6-Street Lights – Kanye

7-Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine

8-On the Vista – Blakroc

9-I’ve Been Loving You Too Long – Otis Redding

10-Superwoman – Stevie Wonder

Penny writes: “Celebrating my 30th birthday what’s the one thing I should do in the next year?”

TY: Something that terrifies and excites you.

THIS terrifies me. Tara offering me something "out of the goodness of her heart".


TY: Well, I’m glad you asked. Now that Joe has a bit more free time, he has given me his word–I think, if I’m not mistaken, he may have even swore on his mother’s life–that he will devote his attentions to completing the pilot episode of The Untitled Tara Yelland Project; it will be a fast-paced, sexy, action-adventure/comedy. Look for it in fall of 2012.

In all seriousness, my dream is to just work. Be it commercials, bad  MOWs, or infomercials– I’m the actress for you! There’s my pitch. My agent would be proud. Also, I would like to do more comedic roles.

Tara and fellow stand in Robert Morse make it a point to go through every scene each morning, loudly critiquing the dialogue within earshot of the writers.

Patrick Considine writes: “1. What is the best thing about Joe?”

TY: He never fails to make me laugh. Also, he was very kind to all of the crew members on set; he bothered to learn our names, and refrained from calling us “peons” and kicking us as he passed by…he only did that the first week, then Paul made him to stop.

“2. What is the worst thing about Joe?”

TY: The menacing way he tells me he’s going to cut me.

“7. What is one thing you could change about yourself/your life/the world?”

TY: I wish I didn’t have asthma.

Ponytail writes: “1. Have you gotten to borrow the Audi yet and take it home for the weekend?”

TY: No, and I would be terrified to drive that thing. It’s like a misbehaving robot. There’s so many buttons and features. I drive a 2005 Chevy Aveo and I’m quite pleased with its ability to take me from point A to point B.

She's got her driving boots on.

“2. Why do you think Joe calls you Lemur-eyes?”

TY: This Sunday, I was with my boyfriend in Kensington Market and we stopped for coffee at this little place. And on the wall was a drawing of a lemur drinking coffee! So of course, I thought I have to take a picture of this for Joe. As evidenced by this photo, I look exactly like a lemur…we both have big eyes…hence the nickname.

Uncanny, no?

“3. Did you have any nicknames for Joe?”

TY: I don’t know… Joe? Have I ever given you a nickname? How about Joey McBald? Are you guys sure he’s not bald?

“4. Do you have a favorite Transporter: The Series episode yet?”

TY: Yes, episode 103 – “Sharks”. It’s my favorite episode because I’m in it, playing the sexy Helene…not that I’m biased or anything.

Tara's response to my simple request for her to do some filing. And get me a coffee.

“5. Joe once said you ate 3+ pieces of blueberry pie – more than any of the crew guys. What do you eat to keep so trim?”

TY: The thing that you all need to realize about Joe is that he’s a liar. Well, that’s a strong word…he’s an exaggerator, who tells you a fabricated version of the truth (i.e. liar). I had one piece of pie, and I was forced to eat it. He threatened to fire me if I didn’t eat the pie and pretend to enjoy it. Tyrant…

Does this look like the face of someone who DIDN'T have three pieces of pie?

“6. Who is your favorite cast or crew member?”

TY: Well that’s tough. There are a lot of fun people on set. My stand in partner, Robert, deserves an honorable mention. He makes me laugh and puts up with me, even when I’m cranky.

Homeless Rob

“7. Do you have a favorite Steampunk writer?”

TY: Not at all. The photos that Joe posted were from a friend’s wedding that had a steampunk theme.  I had never even heard of it prior to that. I do enjoy the style though.

“8. Did Joe “not-Paul” ever get on your nerves? What was he doing?”

TY: Oh, sure. He talks incessantly. When Joe was on set, he would seek me out so that he could natter away about nothing in particular, holding me captive like a prisoner, while I was trying to pay attention to the monitors. The A.D.s, whose job it is to keep the set quiet, would shoot me dirty looks and shush *ME* because they can’t tell the producer to keep it down. Joe, being aware of this, would just talk louder. Tyrant.

She always seems to suffer these mystery migraines when I'm talking to her.

SiSi writes: “1. Do you like to read? If so, what are some of your favorite books/authors?”

TY: Yes, I do. A fun fact about Tara Yelland–I have an M.A. in English (literary criticism) from UofT. My favourite books, in no particular order: The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger, Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters – J.D. Salinger, The Sound and the Fury  – William Faulkner, The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison, A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole. The last book I read was Tina Fey’s autobiography, Bossypants; it was very funny and offers some interesting insights into being a woman in the entertainment industry, as well as being a “boss”.

“2. What TV show(s) would you most like to guest star on?”

TY: Mad Men or Game of Thrones.

“3. What do you enjoy most and least about being a stand-in?”

TY: I enjoy meeting talented, creative, funny people…and I enjoy having a job that feeds me at work– if I had to feed myself, I would probably starve. There’s a great many things I dislike about being a stand in, but what I like the least is the the lack of expectations and challenges placed upon me. It’s too easy to become bored and complacent…I’m sure many people could say this of their jobs. On the best of days, I think: “wow, I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this”. On the worst of days, I think: “they’re not paying me enough to endure this”.

Tara and Rob in sunnier times.

Birdy writes: “3) Was there ever anything besides acting you considered doing for living?”

TY: If I were creative, interesting, or clever, I would be a writer.

“5) What is your favourite dish?”

TY: The first conversation I ever had with Joe was about food. He asked me to recommend a good restaurant in Toronto and I immediately informed him that he was asking the wrong person. I am not a foodie. In fact, I don’t even care about food. I like things plain–no fancy weirdness in my food, thanks. So favorite dish? Pizza.

She says she doesn't care about food but she sure as hell seemed to care when I walked in with some Booster Juice, practically knocking me down to get at it.

“6) Do you actually know how hot you look in a leather jacket?”

TY: I try my best.

Tam Dixon writes: “Dog or cat person? Where are you from? Where would you like to live most?”

TY: Cat person, but current dog owner. I am from Toronto. I would like to live in New York City…or some sort of tropical island paradise.

Noelm writes: “Now that Joe is losing you as nemesis, what qualities would you advise him to look for in a new nemesis?”

TY: Joe is not losing me. I will haunt his life for years to come. Don’t forget: The Untitled Tara Yelland Project, coming fall of 2012.

“What is involved in being a stand-in?”

TY: Set ups can take a long time, so rather than have the actors lose their energy waiting around, they use stand ins. We watch the actors rehearse the scene and remember what they do, and then we work with the camera and lighting departments to set the shot in place of the actors.

Watching the rehearsal. And, evidently, the Kentucky Derby.

“What would you like to be doing professionally five years from now?”

TY: Consistently working as an actor.

24 thoughts on “September 20, 2011: Actress, Assistant, Stand-in, and Nemesis Tara Yelland Answers Your Questions!

  1. Thanks for answering our questions, Tara. You were very interesting and funny too.

    Hope everyone has a great evening!!!

  2. Tara, thanks for answering our questions. Your list of favorite books is similar to mine–and I also have an M.A. in English. Maybe there’s a connection there. I look forward to The Untitled Tara Yelland Project in Fall 2012.

  3. Thanks Tara, so something that terrifies and excites me?? Guess I need to save up to get my pilots license. I’m afraid of heights but always wanted to learn how to fly. Another item on the bucket list to cross off one day.

  4. Great Q&A! Must be the fastest turn around of answers ever! Thank you Tara Yelland for taking the time to answer all those questions! I can see why Joe likes you so much. You are funny and entertaining, and you do have Lemur eyes after all. Don’t worry about Joe’s portrait. Trust me, it was obvious you drew it with your Lemur eyes closed. 😛 Emma is a good looking dog.

    “TY: Joe is not losing me. I will haunt his life for years to come.”
    Joe if you are not careful, you will have nemesis from coast to coast in every city you live more than 6 months in.

    @ sorrykb – very sorry about your parent’s cat Roxie. Makes it even harder when something like that happens and you are so far away from home. My sympathies to your family.

    @ kabra – sorry you had an abusive job, but congratulations on telling them where they could put it! It is good you are moving on to something better. That will be good for you mentally and physically too. Good luck!

  5. Dang, I totally forgot about the questions for Tara. A bit distracted lately…and I have the both the attention span and the memory of a flea. A flea with advanced dementia. 😛

    RE: The Lemur Painting. Sorry…that is no lemur. That’s a mbwun, or some other scaryass monster. Tara, you are a bazillion times cuter than that painting. 🙂 I can’t say that you are cuter than real lemurs, though…especially having just watched the furry little stinkers playing at the local zoo. Too adorable, and we all know a grown human cannot upstage a cutesie furball. But on the plus side, you don’t have a bushy, ringed tail…I HOPE.

    Have a good night, Joe!


  6. Dang…that was supposed to be bold, not italics, for Tara’s name. Oh, well…making lots of mistakes lately, demented flea that I am. 😛


  7. Some really great answers Joe. Now what does Tara think? Just kidding. It was fun to read the posting. Best wishes to Tara

  8. Joe, if you take a year off who are you going to terrorize? Yes we know you really are a benevolent dictator. Your contemplations on how they are plotting revenge on you is what makes this blog such a joy to read… That and the doggy pics. But doggy pics are like candy, you can only consume so much before you need to switch to the salty and bring on the assistant terrorizing…

    Joking aside, thank you Tara for the great Q&A.

    Oh wait maybe you can pitch a sitcom about the overworked television writer and his terrorizing of the office assistants and how he constantly escapes from their revenge.

  9. for the love of Beckett: We have 4 “regulars”, Toddycatt, Bobbykitty, Peaches and Extra Cat. There’s a white kitty who comes by every other day or so for food, has had a terrible eye infection forever but won’t let himself be caught with a trap or otherwise. It’s heartbreaking to see what some animals go through in their lives. A couple of nights ago, there was a Siamese outside that I’ve never seen before and another very pretty black cat that ran off as soon as I opened the door. I’m just glad the ones that are here have been spayed or neutered!

    @sorrykb: So sorry to hear about the kitty. My condolences to your family.

    Elway’s seizures finally stopped on Sunday afternoonish, he’s fine now, like nothing happened, but Mr. Deni and I are still exhausted and jumping every time he so much as wiggles in bed. You think we’d be used to it, right? Have a good night, everybody!

  10. Marvelous Q&A! Thank you, Tara, and all best wishes.

    Joe, is the outline for the Tara Yelland Project done yet? You don’t have forever, you know, and a good nemesis deserves a good script.

  11. Awsome q&a joe and by the you are appreciated for doing this blog I’m hooked if you were to stop I would go through withdrawls.

  12. @Tara:

    Thank you for the Q&A; neat background on what a Standin is.


    Maybe take an introductory flight at a local airport. I hate heights but I never feel that way when flying. YMMV though.

  13. @kabra: I hope you have better luck with your next job. I’ve also been through abusive situations at work where the boss is the bully. Invariably, management sides with the boss. And, sadly, leaving and looking for a new job doesn’t really fix the problem because you are likely just taking a job that the previous employee left for the very same reason you left. I.E., another abusive boss. There are far too many of them in the world and management would rather ignore the problem than deal with it, even though it costs the company money to keep replacing workers. We need stronger laws to solve the problem. The best solution is to research the most effective ways of dealing with bully bosses. Good luck.

    @sorrykb: I’m so sorry to hear about your parent’s cat. It certainly will make the rest of your vacation less pleasant. At least now you don’t have to find a way to rush home. Know that he/she had a good life, and was happy. That’s the best we can all hope for.

    Hugs to both of you.


  14. Thanks to Tara for taking time to do the Q&A, such a cute and nice person, not sure where you get the nemesis part Joe.. And Tara, we really never have seen the back of Joes head, are you trying to tell us something??,,hmm, its ok though, my hubby had the somewhat less hair look and its ok fine with me.
    I love the dog Emma picture,(cute dog) how clear and portrait like, nice job. maybe Joe can get a camera like that. I think he was looking for a new one.
    @sorrykb, sorry about the kitty, always hard to lose a member of the family.
    @kabra, good luck on the new job hunt, things happen for a reason, so a better one is out there, fingers crossed for you.
    Joe how was Max’s dr visit? Is all your packing just about done? Is Akemi excited to go back to Van? Bet the dogs can sense it, that is if they are settled down since this last big adventure. Thanks for sharing your family with us.
    Have a great day!!

  15. Voted for Baby Cat, and I think he’s adorable. 🙂

    @Penny: Like JeffW said, go and take an introductory flight at a local airport if you can, you’ll love it. That said, be warned, flying is horribly expensive and highly addictive!

  16. Thanks for a very entertaining and strangely educational Q&A Tara!

    I’m glad that you will continue to stay in contact with Joe – he needs more nemeses in his life! Keeps him on his toes.

  17. This post is embarassingly funny, had to take a break midway to stop the giggles so that I would not alarm the other cubicle dwellers. Oh my heck those are some funny captions, poor Homeless Rob, who is seriously cute btw. Tara does have “yeux des maki” in that empty pie plate pic.

  18. @ Tara — Excellent Q&A. What an enjoyable read. Thank you x 3 for being Joe’s portable nemesis! Looking forward to more sleight-of-wit in the blog comments to come. 😀 Thanks, Joe!

    @ Deni — Am glad that Elway is better! (We had a German shepherd with epilepsy once.) Good to hear that your feral kitties are already “fixed.” Ours are not, and we’ve had a heck of a time trying to get through to the local feral organization and the human society. The city, and the rescue system, is overwhelmed with ferals this year.

    @ Das — I didn’t see Damian at the Irish Fest this weekend, but there were lots of guys wearing kilts, and not just the older bagpipers, either. Fun times. The music was great, with multiple Irish bands. “The Elders” I liked the most. What a romp. Below is a link. (The youtube vids weren’t as good.) Next up, the Highland Games in October. 😀

  19. Ah yes, another Q&A, nice. Okay here are 2 recent questions for ya:

    Have you done or thought about doing a Q&A on Dark Matter?

    Do you use or know of any computer programs that help with organizing ideas for writing stories?


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