Sunday, July 25, 2010

Theatre Company Progress

A few small, but important, developments for the theatre company. Yesterday, we had our first reading. It was just a private table read of a play by Jerry Lieblich, a friend of mine from college ... but good to get things rolling artistically. Afterwards, we had our first theatre company drinking session. Important steps.

Also, I got a certificate back from the Dept of State, so we officially have the name "The Well Theatre Group, Inc." reserved. I'm sending in the articles of incorporation tomorrow, so we will officially be a corporation very soon!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Theatre Company Project: Name and Mission Statement

It is official. Today, I sent in an application to the NYS Dept of State to reserve the name "The Well Theatre Group, Incorporated." I imagine we will probably go by simply "The Well," but that is our name, for official purposes. I should get a certificate back in the mail sometime soonish. The next step is to put together Articles of Incorporation, send it in to the Dept of State, and then we will be an official corporation. Small, but exciting, steps.

Also, the name application required a $10 fee ... see we are now officially $10 in the red. Hurray!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Resurrecting the Blog ... For Realz This Time

Projects for the Summer: Restart the piano project where I left off, Workout, Start a Theatre Company

The ball is official rolling with the soon-to-be-named theatre company. We had our first meeting a couple weeks ago, and we will have a finalized name and mission statement by the end of this week. Here's the mission statement as it stands:

[] Theatre Company produces engaging work, with an emphasis on developing and staging work by emerging artists. We are interested in substance over style; in leaving the audience with something truthful and thoughtful. We are a home for driven, passionate artists looking to find personal fulfillment by creating work that excites seasoned audiences and ignites a new generation of theatre-goers.

It will probably not change much ... maybe a couple words here and there. I'm pretty happy with it. People have been very supportive and right now I'm very excited.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blog is Back in Business

So, as you can see, this is my first blog post in over a month. In that month a fair amount has happened: I presented 20 minutes of "Theatre of Blood" (the musical I've been developing in the BMI Workshop for the last year), I performed in a show at the Red Room, I started a website (, and I've been very busy with tutoring leading up to the final standardized tests of the school year.

There's a lot to discuss, but I want to focus on a new project of mine in this blog post: I've decided to start a theatre company.

Now, I am not known for having excellent organizational skills or good business sense, so maybe this is incredibly foolhardy ... but I'm very determined to make it happen, and I feel like I have a lot of good people interested in getting on board.

The first time I ever thought about doing this was a few months ago. I was watching an interview with one of the creators and stars of "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" ... the interviewer asked him to give advice to young people starting out in the industry, and he recommended writing and producing your own material (Always Sunny started as a homemade demo/pilot).

After 2 years in New York, the obvious has been made even more obvious to me: acting is hard. Work is hard to get. So, why not make your own work? Not to mention that, as I have found out through BMI, making your own work is generally more rewarding than working for other people.

Suggestions for company names?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Acting Update

Just wanted to write a quick update on the reading I did last weekend in Hudson with HRC Showcase. I think I mentioned this a couple posts ago, but just to refresh your memories ... it was a play called Johnny Has Gone for a Solider written by William di Canzio, who, interestingly, is a Yale Drama School grad (for playwriting) and was Dean or Master (can't remember which one) of Trumbull from 1990-98. I thought the play was quite good, and the other cast members (four other actors) were fun to work with. The whole process was very fast and furious. We started at 10am (had to start driving from the city around 7am), and rehearsed until around 6pm with only a 30 minute break for lunch. We performed the whole deal for an audience at 8pm. I had gotten literally no sleep the night before because I had to finish a song for BMI, so I was in a bit of a haze all day, but I think I was able to pull it together and do a good job (at least the feedback was positive). It seems to be a place that likes to use the same actors for several projects, so hopefully this will not be the last thing I do up there ... very unique and enjoyable theatrical experience.

New piano update should come within the next couple weeks. This current piece is not easy ... they keep getting harder.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

PROJECT 1: Piano

Finally, here's the next part in the Piano project. This is the Aria from Bach's Goldberg Variations. It's harder than it sounds; there are a lot of little details that don't necessarily come across because the recording quality isn't that great. It's a very beautiful piece, so it's kind of a shame to play it on an electric piano. Doesn't really do it justice. But I'm glad to have it done. Moving on to Variation 30 of Goldberg next, which is also going to be difficult.

Aria from Goldberg Variations by Bach from Bix Bettwy on Vimeo.

Yoga and Theatre

I did my first Yoga class last week. I came to the painful realization that I need to get in better shape and am not very flexible. But it was very good for focus and physical awareness.

I'm going up to Hudson, NY, on Saturday to do a reading. The play is called "Johnny is Gone for a Soldier," and I'm playing a community college student who's called up to Iraq. I'll write a post about how it goes when I get back on Sunday.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I've been pretty lazy about updating lately, so I'm going to take a moment today (in this post) to sort of regroup: reiterate what projects are still in play, eliminate/alter existing projects, and add a project.

PROJECT 1: Piano
Going as planned, so far. Right now I'm working primarily on the Aria from Bach's Goldberg Variations. I'm also peeking ahead to Beethoven's Pathetique and doing some work on that. I've still got several Mozart pieces to learn, but Pathetique is going to be a challenge and is going to take some time. It's also a really awesome piece that's worth spending time on and perfecting.

PROJECT 2: Screenplay
Not going as planned. I have dropped the ball on this one. However, it is a project I want to finish, so I'm going to pull it together and start over on Monday (going to New Haven this weekend).

PROJECT 3: Monologues/Plays
Again, not going as planned. I've kept up with the "play" part, but I haven't learned a new monologue yet. I'm going to keep pushing ahead with this one.

PROJECT 4: The Musical
I'm going to scrap it, for now. I have to work on it independently of this blog, so I'll continue to post recordings and such, but it's not going to be a "project." I may start a project having to do with the musical later, when effort independent of a workshop is required.

PROJECT 5: Physical Training for Acting
It has become apparent, through acting class, singing lessons, and Alexander technique, that I have a lot of physical tension that is getting in the way of my acting. So, to combat this, I am going to focus more on physical training. Yes, I'm going to try to go to the gym more, but that's more of a general health issue. I want to focus specifically on becoming more relaxed, more flexible, and more generally aware of my body. My acting teacher recommended boxing, and I have been thinking about yoga for a while. So, I'm going to start going to yoga and boxing classes at my gym. My goal is to so a class each week for both. I will do my first yoga class tomorrow. I'm not sure what to do about boxing. I don't think I'll be able to do it through my gym, so I may have to go elsewhere. More on that later. But, for now, I'm going to start with the yoga.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another Piano Update

Here's the next (fifth) piece of the project. Prelude in C Major by Bach. Very pretty, very simple. My interpretation is definitely not "accurate" by Baroque standards, but I like playing it this way. The next couple are pretty difficult (the Aria de Capo and Var. 30 from the Goldberg Variations by Bach). So it will probably be at least another week until the next update (unless I throw in another take of Invention 13, which I may).

Prelude in C Major from Bix Bettwy on Vimeo.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Piano Update

First of all, I'm aware that the audio file from my BMI presentation isn't working for many of you, so I will repost it as soon as I figure out how to fix it. I'm not terribly tech-savy.

Also, Invention #13 is below. This one has been a real pain in the ass. I'm still not 100% percent satisfied with this. The middle section is a little sloppy and I'd like to get the tempo up a bit, so I will most likely give it another day or two of practice and make another video. But I was inpatient to get up a video to show my progress. Enjoy ...

Bach - Invention 13 from Bix Bettwy on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

File working?

If that music file in my last post isn't working for you, let me know.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Theatre of Blood

Today I had a presentation of my next Theatre of Blood song in the BMI Workshop. I recorded it and you can listen to it below. The recording is not terrific, but it's decent, you can hear everything fine. This is the second song in the show ("Once More into the Breech"), sung by Richard Lionheart, the main character. We got very good/helpful feedback, so we'll be making revisions and doing it again in a few weeks.

The song is performed (wonderfully) by Scott Mikita, the lyrics are by Billy Hipkins (the guy who's doing the introduction), and the piano is being played by David Gaines (also in the workshop). Enjoy!

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Save File: Once More.mp3

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Coming soon ...

So, it's been a rough week ... I had lots of work this week preparing students for the SAT today, so I had to set aside a couple of these projects for the time being. However, I've been keeping up with the piano and going to auditions regularly again, so this week was certainly not a loss. Also, one piece of relatively good news: I got wait-listed by the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA program. So, we'll see what happens there. I absolutely intend to go if I clear the list.

In the next week, I should have Invention 13 up.

On Tuesday, I have a presentation of my next Theatre of Blood song in BMI, so I will either record video or audio of that and put it up ... probably. I need to double check with my lyricist (Billy) and the performer if they are ok with me putting this material on the web, though I imagine they won't object.

Also on Tuesday, I'm doing a scene from Doubt in my acting class. I wish I could record that and put it up here, but I think that's probably rather tasteless to record things in acting class.

The screenplay I've set aside until I finish this next BMI presentation. Didn't want to do it, but I feel like I have to focus on the song for now.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Finally, an Update

So, I got pretty bad about updating every day this week. That being said, it may be a better idea to do fewer updates anyway. Maybe two or three times a week. The goal is to put in time on these projects every day, but there's not always anything interesting to post as an update.

So far, I'd say I've been moderately successful at doing this whole blog thing. I have been been keeping up my piano project (today was the first day I didn't get in at least 1 1/2 hours of practice ... I'm at my grandparents place for the night without my piano books, but I still managed to get some playing in). The screenplay project has been a bit more sketchy, I haven't touched that in a few days. I have read the plays (True West and Doubt, so far), so I'm keeping up with the play-reading. However, I may abandon that as a blog project, since it's really more of a guideline than a project with a finite goal. The piano and screenplay projects are good because I have defined a goal. I'll also keep the musical project, even though I have to do it anyway for BMI, because, again ... specific goal.

This post was mainly for me to think aloud. Thank you for indulging me. More updates to come (and, possibly, a couple new projects) in the next week ...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

General Update

So, I recently missed a couple days on here, but I haven't been slacking off in these projects. I've started work on Invention 13. It's pretty tricky, a bit harder than the previous two that I did, so it may be longer than a week between video updates. The next song is not as hard, though, so that should follow soon after.

Still doing the initial brainstorming process on the screenplay. I should have a more interesting update on that in the next couple days.

I finished reading Doubt, and I'm almost done with True West. Then I'll move on to something else (perhaps one of Leah's suggestions.

I'm going to add a new project soon having to do with singing. I need to figure out exactly what my goals will be, but the gist of it will be to improve my singing and do better in musical auditions.

Monday, March 1, 2010

PROJECT 1: Piano - Invention #8 by Bach

Ok, so I have something of a dilemma. How well do I have to be able to play each song before moving on to the next one?

For example, when I sat down to record Invention #8, it took me about 35 minutes to get a solid take (and even then, there are a couple small mistakes in the final product). Part of that is attributable to the recording process (nerves, striving for perfection, etc), but the piece is certainly not at "performance-quality" yet. However, I did get a good take. So, am I done? At least for this piece I'm inclined to say that I am, because I don't find the Bach pieces particularly fulfilling (and I think they get on Josh's - and the rest of the building's - nerves a bit). But for future pieces, I guess I'll have to make a judgement call. On one hand, it seems silly to learn a piece if you can't perform it for people ... but on the other hand, I'm mainly working through the Bach because it's good technique-building music, not because it's musically satisfying. Thoughts?

Bach - Invention 8 from Bix Bettwy on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day Off

Bach Invention 8 coming tomorrow ...

Friday, February 26, 2010

PROJECT 2: Screenplay Loglines

I wasn't going to do a screenplay update for a couple days, but the exercise I'm doing right now is pretty fun and I'm interested in your feedback. I'm in the preliminary stages right now, just fleshing out a story, and I'm supposed to create a potential "logline" for my movie. For example, the logline for Desperately Seeking Susan is, "A life so outrageous it takes two people to live it." Without knowing anything about my initial plot ideas (for most of you, at least), let me know if any of these catch your attention. Also, bear in mind that I'm still undecided about what direction I want to go with this movie thematically (as you can probably tell from the range of loglines I've banged out so far).

"His masterpiece is your nightmare."
"Art just got a little scarier."
"Lights. Camera. Money. Action."
"How far would you go to capture real life on film?"
"Spend enough money ... and you might just make some art."
"It's simple to make art. For the right price."

PROJECT 3: Doubt, True West

This week I'm reading Doubt and True West. In the next month I'm doing scenes from these two plays in my acting class (as well as a scene from Some Girl(s)). I'm almost done with Doubt. I saw the movie but had never read the play before. What a great play! I'm doing the scene between Sister James and Father Flynn for class. Little out of my age range, technically ... but it's just class. Should be fun.

Either tomorrow or Sunday I'll be putting up Invention 8 (the next installment in the piano project). The screenplay project and the music project are both going ahead as planned. I'll have updates on those in the next few days.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

PROJECT 4: The Musical

So, this might be cheating a little bit, since I have to do this anyway, blog or no blog ... but maybe including it here will encourage me to record more of my work so I can upload it here.

For those who didn't know, I write music, and I'm right now doing the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop (2nd year). As part of this workshop, I'm developing a musical (with my lyricist, Billy Hipkins). It's an adaptation of the old Vincent Price movie, Theatre of Blood. If you've never seen it, it's worth checking out. Essentially, it's a campy horror flick where an old Shakespearean actor (Vincent Price) goes around killing critics ... and every death is modeled of off a death from one of Shakespeare's plays. We've written three songs (more or less) at this point, and we're beginning work on our fourth at the moment. We're presenting it to the workshop in a little over 2 weeks, so I'll try to remember to make a recording of it and upload it for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PROJECT 3: Monologues/Plays

Two things I have been meaning to do for a while are to read more plays and to learn more monologues. So, I'm going to make this goal concrete: I will read a new play each week, starting this week, and I will learn a new monologue every month, starting with March. Unlike the other projects, this one is sort of open ended, which might be breaking the rules a bit. It might just work as an open-ended project, but I might refine this later so that I have a definitive end to this project. If you have any suggestions, let me know ...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

PROJECT 2: Screenplay - Starting Out

Today, I started work on my screenplay. I went out yesterday and bought How to Write a Movie in 21 Days by Viki King. From the title, I wasn't sure about it (sounded a little like 8-minutes abs, or something), but it got overwhelmingly good reviews on Amazon. Most reviewers said that, while it actually took them longer than 21 days to complete a screenplay, the overall method is very effective. From what I gather, Viki King's idea is to get things down on paper quickly, and then refine from there. This seems perfect for me, since I have a lot of trouble with second guessing myself and not being able to complete projects (who doesn't?). My dad is sending me the Syd Field book, which is considered the bible of screenwriting, or so I have been told.

Now, I'm not sure how this is going to work in terms of sharing work, because, although the only people I've told about this blog are close friends, everything on here is theoretically public, and I don't necessarily want to share everything I write with the world. So, for now, I think what I'll do is share my progress on the blog (what writing exercises I've done, what pages I've written, etc.), and, if you're ever interested in reading what I've written so far, just shoot me an email. I'd be very interested to hear feedback, especially since I've never done this before.

At this point, I've done a couple stream-of-consciousness exercises, so nothing interesting to read. But the process has begun!

Monday, February 22, 2010

PROJECT 1: Piano - Invention #1 by Bach

As promised, here is the second installment of the Piano project. The first song was easy, and this one I had been working on a bit before I started this project, so it may be a little longer (maybe a week) before I do the next song (Invention #8). The time between posting songs will vary a lot depending on the difficulty and length of the song. I may do a "progress report" video if a song is taking particularly long. For now, enjoy this one ...

Invention #1 by Bach from Bix Bettwy on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

PROJECT 2: Screenplay

My second project is going to be to write a screenplay. I have basically no experience writing a screenplay (I took one class on screenwriting in college) ... but what the hell? It's something I've always thought about doing, so I might as well do it. Tomorrow I plan on posting the next installment of the Piano project. More to come on the screenplay in the near future.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

PROJECT 1: Piano - Minuet in G by Bach

So here's the first song. As you can probably gather, this one was pretty simple. Off to a pretty easy start, but gotta start somewhere.

Also, for any of you who may be Bach aficionados, I think the version in the book I'm using may be missing a couple ornamentation markings. But, my main concern is with improving my skills, so this serves it's purpose anyway.

Bach - Minuet in G Major from Bix Bettwy on Vimeo.

PROJECT 1: Piano

The first project is to learn all the songs in the Casio Celviano Music Library Piano Scores. It's just a book that came with the piano that Josh and I bought when we moved in, but it's got a good collection of songs. It goes chronologically from Bach to Satie (unfortunately, nothing more modern than that). Right now I've finished Klavierbuchlein fur Anna Magdalena Bach "Menuet". I'm almost done with Invention #1 and I've started working on Invention #8.

Each time I finish a song, I will record myself playing it and then move on to the next one. I'll do a video on the Bach Menuet tonight and a video of Invention #1 in a few days.

The book has 50 songs. I wanted to finish them all by the end of the year, but that seems a little unrealistic. No need to rush it. I'm just going to keep practicing at least an hour each day and see where I get. When I'm done, maybe I'll do a little piano recital or something. But this is going to take a fair amount of time, so I'll cross that bridge when I come to it ...

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Path

Where to begin ...

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bix. I live in New York right near Port Authority (the cultural center of New York, for those who didn't know). I am an actor/composer/musician/SAT Tutor/heavy drinker. I recently finished applying to grad schools for MFA Acting programs. Not a terribly productive endeavor, but a good character-building experience, I suppose. I got a few initial callbacks, so I guess that reaffirms that I'm at least a mediocre actor. So THAT's good!

Technically, there's one school left (Brown) that could potentially admit me, but I'm resolved to move on with my life. Assuming Brown doesn't come through, though, I'm planning on applying again next year. However, not getting into drama school has been somewhat of a wake-up call: if I want to make it in this "business we call show," I'm going to have to make it happen myself. I'm going to have to overcome the bad case of complacency I've developed since graduating college and become ... more better.

So that, my friends, is where the aptly named "Bix's Path to Self Improvement" blog comes in.

I guess the main reason I'm creating this blog is for the amusement of my friends so that they can make fun of me for starting a blog on self-improvement. Other than that, I figure it will offer me some motivation to get shit done so I have something to write about at the end of the day. My hope is that I will look back on my old posts down the line and see some progress. Either that, or I'll just get really depressed.

So, at the moment, my goals are (1) to become a better pianist, (2) to write more (both music and words), and (3) to be more proactive about my acting "career." I have a pretty clear idea of how I'm going to accomplish #1. I'm going to practice at least an hour a day (have already started this routine), and I'm aiming to learn every song in the "Casio Celviano Music Library Series" (there are 50 total) by the end of the year. I'll discuss this more in my next post. The other two goals are still a little abstract, so I'll develop those more as this blog continues.

Also, usually these posts will be a bit shorter, since most people don't have time in their day to read through all of this (and, anyway, "brevity is the soul of wit") ... but I figure I get some leeway on my first post. Next post coming soon ...