Limping Towards Babylon – the Antagonist

We’re off to a great start on the LIMPING TOWARDS BABYLON Kickstarter campaign, but as statistically happens in all Kickstarter campaigns, there are mid-section doldrums where contributions slow way down.

So, I’d like to ask everyone to help get the momentum re-ignited by sharing this project on their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. pages, either with those handy “share” buttons on the front page, or by telling them to go to www.limpingtowardsbabylon.com

So, on to the post: an element of the story that I didn’t have time to explore in the teaser video was the character of the antagonist Professor Bligh, and yes, I’m deliberately referencing Captain Bligh from “Mutiny on the Bounty” in more ways than one with the character’s name.

I asked Adam J. Smith if he would take on this part both because he’s an excellent actor and he has a natural like-ability. It’s important that the professor also be charming, even when he’s being a jerk.

And to show off Adam’s range, here he is in a scene from the Pasadena Playhouse production of “Intimate Apparel”:
Adam J. Smith and Vanessa Williams in INTIMATE APPAREL at The Pasadena Playhouse.

(from LA Magazine’s review: “It doesn’t hurt the production that Ms. Williams is so simple and graceful as Esther, I could have watched her for hours. I didn’t say watch her act because her performance is so sublime and simple that I felt like I was not watching an actor, I was watching Esther. The same can be said of Mr. Smith. Their scenes together are so loaded with tension that in lesser hands would feel like a soap opera.”)

The scene below precedes the scene in the teaser video where the anthropology doctoral student and Teaching Assistant, Thomas (Josh Breslow), is drunk and is shouting up at the professor’s window about the theft of his dissertation title.

Josh Breslow as Thomas railing against academic theft

Josh Breslow as Thomas railing against academic theft


That drunken action by Thomas then unintentionally precipitates all of those kissing scenes (and eventually more) from the teaser video:

INT. ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT, PROFESSOR BLIGH’S OFFICE – LATE AFTERNOON

Thomas is packing his papers into his bag. Professor RICHARD BLIGH walks in carrying a box of books.

BLIGH: Oh, Thomas. Good, I caught you.

THOMAS: (Surprised) Professor Bligh. Uh, I just finished meeting all of the students. I’ll have their grades ready by tomor-

BLIGH: Good, good. I have something more important for you to do.

He places the box with a SOFT THUD on his desk.

BLIGH (CONT’D): Sit. Sit…. I just received the review copies of my new book. Here’s a list of my colleagues at other universities that I’d like you to send one to each. And, uh, ask them in so many words whether they’d write a blurb, which of course, I’d reciprocate, etcetera, etcetera, for their next book, etcetera.

Thomas opens the flaps of the box and takes out a book. It reads “Shamanism: Gift or Curse?”

BLIGH (CONT’D): Nice cover, isn’t it?

Thomas just stares at the book. Bligh’s voice is heard.

BLIGH (O.S.) (CONT’D): The photograph of the shaman in trance on his spirit journey adds a mystique.

Thomas continues staring – broiling inside.

THOMAS: Uh, huh.

BLIGH: (Sincere) Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot to mention that I borrowed your title because it was so pithy. I didn’t think you’d mind…

THOMAS: (Lying) No, no. Of course not…

BLIGH: And after all, it’s just a dissertation title. Not an actual book title.

THOMAS: Of course, a title can’t be copyrighted… (He makes a weird little laugh sound.) …after all.

BLIGH: Well, you don’t have to do this now. First thing in the morning is fine….

(Scene continues…)

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Dialogue sample from Limping Towards Babylon

Here’s a dialogue sample of the script I’ve been working on intensely with a great group of actors. If you want to support it by watching the video, sharing it on your platforms or better yet, direct communication, just go www.limpingtowardsbabylon.com

Karen Sours and Josh Breslow in a scene from the teaser video

Karen Sours and Josh Breslow in a scene from the teaser video

AMANDINE
Ah. He meant “E”…. We are a crazy bunch of people in this house, no? So much love, all for the wrong people.

She laughs. He half-laughs to hide that he doesn’t like the truth of that.
Then, she pulls her chair right next to his, and puts her head on his shoulder.

AMANDINE (CONT’D)
Oh, Thomas. I am such a bitch.

He wants to put his arm around her, but instead picks up one of the students’ papers and tries to remain casual.

THOMAS
No, you’re not.

AMANDINE
But I am so dramatic!

THOMAS
That makes you interesting.

She takes her head off of his shoulder and looks him eye to eye.

AMANDINE
If I was your girlfriend, you would not say that.

She stands.

THOMAS
Oh… uh… I might.

AMANDINE
Ah! That’s why I love you Thomas Babcock.

Amandine’s accent makes her insert an extra half vowel into his name, sounding something like Toh-mas Bab-i-cock.

AMANDINE (CONT’D)
You lie to me so sweet.

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“Limping Towards Babylon” now on Kickstarter

Not “Chicken…” news, but I’ve been working intensely on this script for the past year and a half (though the seed began even earlier) with a great group of actors. Speaking of seeds, trying to raise the money to raise the (big) money.

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LIMPING TOWARDS BABYLON – rejection and resilience

So, I just read the coverage for my script LIMPING TOWARDS BABYLON. I had applied to Film Independent’s Screenwriter Lab. Film Independent logo I was not accepted and coverage was mixed, but overall was slightly more positive than negative.

I am going to make the supposition that I at least was strongly considered if not on the cusp. Here’s an example of push me-pull you critique (and let me say, he/she seemed to have given the script a close, careful read even if I don’t always agree with the conclusions): “The dialogue can be very smart in places, and the long conversations between characters — while often unnecessary — certainly have verve and a feel to them that holds our attention.”

Now, when I finished the script it was literally the day before the FIND deadline. I’ve made the script even stronger since then… still it’s a disappointment and only further convinces me, I just have to make it myself because I believe in this script.

And it’s not just that I consider the best thing I’ve ever written, I believe in its universality… of what it means to love in the wrong direction and also the zig zag steps toward maturity and becoming one’s own person.

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