(Pic of WWJ the night of 12/31/2019)
-It’s that time of year where all five of you (if I’m that lucky) get to check out my year in review series. This time we hit 2019 and, to be honest, I’ve been dreading this. I thought last year was bad…This has been the worst year of my life to date and it’s all because of one event-the death of my Dad. Even though this year was basically a “slow” year for me on all fronts (save music), everything pales to that one event. I did manage to get some stuff done with acting and, surprise, in music besides CAROLINE BLUE-which is taking too damn long in my opinion (and I’m sure in the opinion of many others (HA!)). Let’s go down the year, shall we?
-Of course, the first thing I must mention is the passing of my Dad-which was such a tremendous loss of unreal proportions for both myself and my Mom. While he did do his best to prepare me for that fatal day, it was thought of to be further down the road than when it did happen. Hence, while there are several things organized, there are a huge number of things that aren’t and, even without my own things to deal with, it’s a mess. Add my stuff to the equation and now we have a task of herculean proportions to overcome. While my life is being bombarded with overwhelm, all I can do is one thing at a time-one day at a time, so I will do my best to follow that. Most of what I would say about Dad’s passing was already said in my “tribute” to him last month-which can be read by clicking HERE. Butch Walker’s song lyric still floats in my mind (I created this quote pic btw)…
-One wonderful thing that did happen late 2019 was that we rescued another cat-an older kitty this time. He’s about ten and only has one fang (like Get Fuzzy) but is otherwise fine (no pain and checks out fine). His name is “Five-Paw” (he has five toes per paw) and is very laid back-except when near my baby boy Scruffy -who will be turning eight at the end of March. Gotta add a pic of Da Scruff for here too 🙂
-Maybe 2020 will see them become buds? I hope so. Five-Paw is basically now my Mom’s cat and Scruffy is basically mine-which is nice. If Dad was still here, I’m sure Five-Paw would’ve taken right to him as well…
-The third biggest thing to hit me in 2019 involves my own health. In 2018, while filming on “Johnny Z” I started developing this persistent cough every day-as well as daily bouts with being lethargic-sometimes to an extreme. On one of my trips back I was coughing so much that, on the phone, Dad said it sounded like I had walking pneumonia. I was unemployed at this time so, much like when I got injured on the set of “Battle Dogs” in 2012, I just had to deal with it and do the best I could with home care. 2019-the coughing wasn’t so bad anymore but I was still experiencing lethargy, shortness of breath, brain fog…Maybe the cause was aging? Depression? Those were certainly factors, but by mid-2019 I was employed again and now had health insurance, so I got checked up. It was discovered that I had multiple enlarged lymph nodes. Not good. The worst-case scenario was that I had Lymphoma- a slow-moving type of cancer. I had a biopsy done-my first time ever with any type of surgery-the same night I went to see KISS at The Amp in Syracuse, NY – how’s that for being a hardcore KISS fan? 😊 Here’s a little preview of what I saw…
-I didn’t have cancer, but I wasn’t in the clear. It was eventually determined that I had what’s known as Sarcoidosis-an autoimmune disease. There’s no known cause for it and, basically, I got it and my immune system goes to wipe it out, but it can’t-but they never get the memo that they can’t so they keep trying-hence why I get so tired and worn out easier. There’s no known cure and if it gets to a chronic stage it can kill you depending on where it hits. It can also do major damage to several body areas if left unchecked (via steroids-just what I needed right?). There’s not much I can do about this but be more careful and, especially, take better care of myself. Due to events-either physical, mental and/or emotional (or a combo of all three)-I have been in a state of regression in several areas for the last few (or more) years. Basically, I’ve kind of let myself go more and more, but with this, I must take steps to start reversing everything-if I’m not too late. Time will tell, but it goes back to my new mantra – “one step at a time, one day at a time.”
-I didn’t really do anything to further my writing aspirations in 2019. There is a short story I’m writing that I’ve been proof-reading albeit at a snail’s pace that should be done by next year. It’s part of a writing course that I took a few years ago where I have, I believe, three other completed ones. Maybe I’ll post them here one day… Some of you may recall thru out the years of me joking about writing a memoir called “WAYNE-THE BOOK.” I have to say that, with the events that have happened this year, not only have the seeds for that been planted but watered…Will they bloom or be stillborn? Things may change, but at some point, I will commit to doing that. Not right out of the gate, however. It’s on the drawing board though so time will tell…Like I don’t already have enough to do right? 😊
-With Acting, 2019 is probably the slowest year for that since I started (officially) in 2011. However, more often than not, I made up the lack of quantity with quality. I got the male lead role in an 80s horror film called “Babysitter Massacre: Heavy Metal.” Produced by Henrique Couto and written by Dan Wilder. I believe this will be the most screen time I’ve ever had to date (now watch, during editing, a lot of my stuff gets cut-HA!). Not only that, I was able to modify not only a good chunk of my own dialogue (women, in general, are going to HATE this role-HA!) but even add some stuff to the script-which nabbed me an “additional material” credit for this on IMDb. While working with high-level talent like actress Jennifer Lefsyk (pictured with me above) was a major plus, I have to admit to some concern because this was the fastest shooting I’ve ever been involved in. If memory serves, I think everything was shot in a week-maybe two if that? I feel good about it, but time will tell…In addition, I know that songs by CAROLINE BLUE will also be featured in this so there you go \m/
-Filming also started on “TALES OF DRACULA: Dracula Meets the Wolfman” (WOLFBAIN PRODUCTIONS) after several false starts in the past. Of course, I reprised my role as “Dracula” in this and we have maybe 40-60% done as of this day. My look (costuming) has changed as well as my acting (a tad) but overall it was great to be back in this role. The first Tales of Dracula was actually released, in full, on YouTube this year and can be seen below (you can also see the full version of “Transformation” (HEWITT FILMS) right below that…) 😊
TALES OF DRACULA
-Hopefully, filming will be all finished for this in the first half of 2020. I’m not 100% sure how Tales 2 will be released but I guess you’ll have to ask the production team about that one…
-I also reprised my role as “Johnny Red” for Pirates Weekend at Turning Stone this year. My third time in a row-and it’s always a trip each time cause it’s virtually all improv and based on how people react to you. Considering how I act in this role, let’s just say the response to it casts a rather wide net 😊 This might be something to look into in regard to expanding in other areas as well. Not to mention it’s always a blast to work with THE PIRATE QUEEN QUIGLY.
-I also did some background work with BLIND COP 2 as well as Season 2 on HBO’s SUCCESSION -although with the later all the stuff I was in was left on the cutting room floor. It happens and is part of the business. I was paid and fed well though so that’s a plus 😊 Click HERE if you want to see pics /recap from that. Warning-“rant” approaching…There were several other parts (of various types) that I was initially in the running for-at least there were talks about it. Yet, more often than not, when it came time to go to the next step, I got no reply-only to see an announcement online of either someone else getting the role and/or production has started and no word to me and time marches on. I understand, to a degree, why this is done per se- but that doesn’t make it any less annoying and I’m already starting to take steps to hopefully limit this type of treatment cause, to be blunt, it gets old real fast. Like I said, I basically understand why it’s done cause if you contact someone to tell them they don’t get the role, that can lead to some major stress with the actor trying to change their mind. I might do that one time with a single reply-but if no change then fine. I DO know there are tons of roles out there and if you don’t get one, there’s more to go after. To add to this, some of the people I dealt with on this-they should know me better. Guess not. Now when it comes to questions/suggestions about a role-yeah, I tend to go a little overboard at times 😊 Maybe more than a little (HA!) 😊 In addition-some short films/anthology episodes I’ve done in the past were released this year-two being “Hex” (AKA ‘She Dances With Matches”) and “Drive” which can be seen below…BTW-from last year’s entry, when I mentioned I’d auditioned for an iconic role and even got a standing ovation for it? That was an indie short film that was based on The Joker. I also auditioned for Batman as well. 😊 To my knowledge, it’s not happening so…” Zillafoot” (SRS CINEMA LLC) was also released and the trailer for it can also be seen below.
DRIVE- click HERE to see it-I’m in episode “Race.”
ZillaFoot from SRS Cinema on Vimeo.
-I also went back to Virginia to do some more re-shoots for JOHNNY Z (Hurricane Bridge Entertainment). Hopefully this will be released sometime in 2020. I’d made a joke sometime last year that I hopefully wouldn’t be called back for re-shoots cause I’d lost like 20 pounds by mid- 2019 (and unfortunately gained some of it back by year’s end) and wouldn’t you know it-I got called back 😊 For 2020-unless I’m forgetting something-it seems like I just have to finish up on Tales 2. I’m sure projects will be popping up throughout the year like they usually do, but at this time the only other thing I can see on the horizon is the sequel to NIGHT OF SOMETHING STRANGE-which might not even happen till at least 2021…
-in addition to doing less filming this year, I also did fewer interviews. Some would say me doing less talking is an improvement (HA!). I still got some in though. The first is with the SACRIFICIAL TERROR PODCAST with Sam Mason, Zombie Barbie, and Lance Wagner. Joining me was director Ron Bonk and the main topic was one of his films HOUSE SHARK. This was a fun time and a lot of laughs. Lance, in particular, is a hardcore fan of my role in the film “Darth Squanto.” Ron could make a fortune by just cranking out new Darth Squanto merc for Lance to buy every year (HA!) 😊 On a side note, I got a nice shout out for the role by the crew at BLOODBATH & BEYOND as seen via the clip below…
-The second interview was for CHILLIN WITH THE RICK– a local CNY Music Podcast where I currently hold the record for the longest episode (surprised?) 😊 There’s a lot of good info in this one and I had a great time doing it. There’s talk of a follow up episode sometime in 2020 but contrary to what Rick has said, there won’t be an acting skit in it (your show is a MUSIC show Rick-not acting 😊 ) Speaking of music…
-I’m ending 2019 with being in-basically-three bands (!). Nice huh? The first is one that I became involved in was thru a benefit show for Jerry Yerman for a former band we were in called Four Large Men. Jerry passed away this past February, and a benefit show was done for him on July 5th. I only played on three songs but I guess I made an impression cause months later I was being recruited for BETWEEN WORLDS (MY FISH RECORDS) featuring Ronny Monroe (Metal Church / TSO) along with Roy Coston, Scott “Rif” Miller, Justin Zych and B.J. Zappa based, in part, from my performance at that show. We’re amid recording a covers CD with Mike Merrifield on drums so ¾ of Four Large Men are recording and playing together again. Who would’ve thought that would happen again right? Below are video clips from that tribute show for your dining and dancing pleasure 😊
-In addition to that, last year I joined a dance/rock/funk band (well-not only was I not allowed to say “no” for an answer but they are extremely accommodating when it comes to how hectic my schedule is-which is deeply appreciated) as lead guitarist. No band name as of yet and it’s been slow-in part due to my schedule and in part because members come and go. Hopefully, this will get some shows going in 2020. I did come up with a name for the band but time will tell if it’s applied. Above is a possible song we might be covering 😊
On top of that, this could very well be the year that CAROLINE BLUE finally makes a “comeback” per se. I’ll be aiming for it…The band has been only me and assorted musicians (when I need to hire them) since 2011 so, in a traditional sense, it’s not around-yet every year something has happened with this band and I’m working one step at a time, one day at a time (where have I heard that before?) 😊 to repair all the holes in the good ship CAROLINE BLUE. A new song has been recently finished (finally) called “My Fingers” ( a different mix of this was slated for the indie film “Romeo 3000” but since that has now become such an epic clusterfuck…even back then though there was always a version for that film and a “CAROLINE BLUE” version). I’m aiming to have the website finally up and running as well as a new CD out-and hey, maybe even a show or two or more…- and maybe even a surprise or two…by year’s end. 😊 Nothing with CB should conflict with the other two bands though. Kind of the freedom a band set up like CB currently has right? \m/
-So for 2020, I hope this is a better year overall-at least better than 2019 (in the above video pretend I’m my cat Scruffy and Dancing Stark is 2019-HA!) It would be nice…For those of you saying “it can’t get any worse”-I’ve learned to never tempt the Gods by saying that because it can ALWAYS get worse. The fact that I have future losses to deal with, at some point, as well as possibly my own weighs heavily on me …While mortality has been ever-growing as a subject in my mind for a number of past years (just read past Year in Reviews plus my depressions don’t help with this), this is the year I’ve become oversaturated in it-and it’s not just because of the passing of my Dad. I’m not sure what it is but 2019 seems to be the year that A LOT of people that I know and/or associate with (to whatever degree) either lost a parent, grandparent, spouse, child, pet, close friend and/or co-worker. I guess you could say my awareness of it has expanded exponentially… There seem to be even more celebrity deaths than usual this year (among them being Tim Conway, Grumpy Cat, and Lil Bub). That’s part of getting older. The longer you live, the more you see people on the path of life getting off it, whether they want to or not. Whether they’re ready to or not. I was fortunate to be by my Dad’s side when he passed but the events that happened in the days and weeks before that (as well as that night) …haunt me still… I do plan on completing several projects in various areas of my life this year but also “patching up” and resolving several “open wounds” that are currently unresolved from past years… Perhaps I should expand my writing aspirations to writing on this site about various things…But again, “One step at a time one day at a time”-especially now that I basically have three “kids” to take care of… The first thing is to stop the hemorrhaging and get back on an upward swing while working on bettering things-like somehow being able to adapt to my work place’s horrendous new work schedule which, for the last few months, I can’t seem to adapt to sleep-wise and it’s just augmenting all my issues…Maybe I can even get some headway going with WWJ PRODUCTIONS-what a concept right? 🙂 Time will tell…
-I don’t really want to end this on a morbid note so to end on a lighter tone, here’s a song that was just released about a week or so ago and it’s already my favorite song of 2019. I absolutely love it and so do millions of others-judging by the YouTube plays alone. Warning-it’s catchy and Baby Yoda makes a cameo 😊 If you go out New Year’s Eve don’t drink & drive. Your pets won’t know why you never came back…Be careful and wishing you all a Happy New Year and a great 2020!
BONUS- Bonus? Isn’t this damn entry long enough? (C’mon-I know you’re thinking that-HA!) 🙂 Below are links to the previous Year In Reviews. If I can ever find/recover the ones pre-2014 I’ll list them here and in future YIRs. Now, if you’d like, you can see how I’m progressing thru life (or is that regressing-HA!). For example, back in 2014, I mentioned the 2-3 people who would be reading these. This year that number has increased to 5-I’m moving on up! (like at the end of the following clip-HA!)