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 ...