Bad IdeasIdeas/Commentary

Executive Notes for ‘One Froggy Evening’

Toronto screenwriter Denis McGrath imagines what kind of notes today’s industry executives might give to Chuck Jones’ classic Warner Bros. cartoon One Froggy Evening. They are all too real.

From McGrath’s blog:

I was just looking at the Froggy Even cartoon again, and while I appreciate your enthusiasm that it is some sort of “classic,” in the making, I’m afraid there are a few notes that I really think we should deal with before moving forward.

-First, in the scene with the “Free Beer,” the men rush into the theatre having been promised free beer. And when the curtain comes up they see the frog and get angry. Does this track? Are they getting angry about the frog not being able to sing, or the lack of free beer? In fact, the whole concept of the “free beer” and the loss of it seems to get lost.

-Where do they get the rotten fruit to throw at the guy? They came in looking for free beer. Why would they suddenly have fruit? Could you rework so this makes sense, please?

-I’m not feeling I know enough about the backstory of the construction worker. Who is he and where does he come from? Presumably, since we see his apartment and it seems to be modest, he is single, and you drop a hint that he is very mistrustful of traditional authority (ie: he hides money under the bed) Am very excited by this. Could we make more of this?

-re: the frog. Have you done research on Frog’s lifespans? Does it track that this frog could survive from 1892 to 2056? Is his long lifespan tied into his ability to sing?

-Do they allow mental patients to keep pet frogs? Is it a companion animal thing? Will have to explain this, I think. The audience will want to know.

-Please reconsider the choice to have the frog be the only one who speaks. I think this keeps the audience at a distance. Could you perhaps take a look at Family Guy, where they have animals who talk and other people can hear them? Just a thought.

-Is the frog singing the right songs? Could we have him sing something that speaks to our demo better?

-I’m just throwing this out there — wouldn’t it be more satisfying if, in the end, maybe by accident, the guy actually gets the frog to sing for someone else? Might make for a more uplifting ending — give the guy more of a ‘win.’

We’re very excited by this Froggy Project and we’re sure that with these few minor changes it’s going to be something really special.

(Thanks, Warren Leonhardt)

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