From: The Producer
To: Mr. Ernest Drudge, Screenwriter
Subject: First Draft
Dear Mr. Drudge:
I have read over the first draft of your screenplay for our new live-action adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, and I have but one question to ask you.
Where, Mr. Drudge, are the jokes about flatulence?
Having read your draft once through, I feared that I might simply have missed them. With greater diligence, therefore, I applied myself to a second reading, and still I was not able to detect a single instance of flatulence-based humor.
Perhaps you were not aware that we were attempting to produce a film for children, Mr. Drudge. Perhaps you had forgotten that our endeavor, as we set out upon this enterprise, is to bring joy to the hearts of youth.
I am not in this business solely to make money, Mr. Drudge. Other men in my position have grown cynical, but I have not. I still wake up in the morning with a song in my soul, knowing that my job—my duty—my inestimable privilege is to spread happiness across the angelic faces of little children, through the medium of flatulence in motion pictures.
I look back on each day and judge myself, Mr. Drudge. Have I brought a smile to the face of a child? Have I mined the rich vein of humor that runs through the human digestive tract? These are the questions I ask myself. If I cannot answer them in the affirmative, I count that day as a failure.
Flatulence is a glorious tradition in our literature that goes all the way back to Chaucer and before. Many beloved characters in children’s films are defined by their flatulence. Have you considered, for example, the possibility of having every disappearance of the Cheshire Cat accompanied by the sound of passing gas? The merchandising possibilities are staggering.
But I should not have to come up with these ideas: that is the purpose for which I have hired you.
You come to us with a good reputation. Your three Golden Globes, two Oscars, and one Nobel Prize suggest that you are capable of better work than what I see in this draft. It is, after all, an early stage in the writing; perhaps your early drafts are always unpolished in this fashion. If so, I respect your methods, and I assume that I shall be much better pleased by your next draft.
But do not forget the children. Their innocent laughter is, in the end, the only thing that makes our business worthwhile—that sets it apart from digging ditches or selling insurance. I could never forgive myself if I thought I had failed, through my inaction, to bring the same joy to the little hearts of the boys and girls that they expect from every De Novo film.
I have enclosed a whoopee cushion as a gift from me to you, and it is my sincere hope that this small token will serve as a source of inspiration as you commence your revisions.
Maximilian De Novo
De Novo Productions, LLC