What is Yonkoma Pitch?
Yonkoma is a 4 panel comic format from Japan. «Yonkoma Pitch» is a project where through that format I explore on possible IP ideas that have been brewing on my mind. An illustrated «I have a great idea for an X» if you will.
Recently the UK culture minister all but admitted that returning the stolen Parthenon sculptures will "open a can of worms" that would undermine the ownership of many of the works inside the British Museum. And if that doesn't sound to you like the best premise for a heist I don't know what does.
Here me out, there is this building, owned by the real world equivalent of a cartoonishly evil empire, that is packed to the brimmed by stolen artefacts from underdogs the world over. It's heavily guarded and surveilled, plus, the artefacts range form small, to literal walls of stone and bronze. This is a heist waiting to happen.
Enter, The Getbackers, a cross between Ocean's Eleven and a James Cameron morality tale. A heist with clear cut hero's and villains, stealing not for gain but for the dignity of people's right to their heritage.
This inspires him to go around the world and target stolen works of heritage and repatriating them back to their rightful owners. No one is safe. Pictured here, magazines suggesting his exploits such as getting back the bust of Nefertiti for the Egyptians, while entering a billionaire's mansion to steel something.
But the motherload awaits, the ultimate heist. Stealing all misappropriated artefacts from the British Museum back to their homes. From famous pieces like the Rosetta Stone, Moai heads, the parthenon sculptures, and the Benin bronzes; to the more obscure but no less important pieces like Tipu's Tiger. This will take a team, so he assembles the best of the best, the Getbackers.
So him and his team make a plan, deal with the unexpected and hit the Museum. Thomas Crown is child's play. Will they get away with it? Will they get back the artefacts to their rightful owners?
THE PITCH: A ANTI-COLONIAL HEIST
If this pitch entices you in any way I urge you to listen to Stuff The British Stole. I mature this concept whilst fuming listening to that podcast. There is increasingly more and more anti-colonial content going mainstream, not only that podcast but films like RRR, or the Black Panther corner of the Marvel Franchise. A wave is coming from global audiences wanting to vindicate their narratives in the theatre of pop culture.
This might not be an action movie, but it is action packed. I love heists, they are the perfect genre to me, and not because of the usual penchant for directors to use it as a thinly veiled metaphor for movie making (i.e. Inception). Rather, because I find that everything that a movie spectacle should have is in a heist: smart characters, chic fashions and locations, snappy dialogue, clear cut intentions but grey morality (audience is rooting for criminals after all). Updating the heist for a modern audience with a twist of anti imperialist sentiment is bound to ruffle feathers, but also rouse audiences globally (just think of all the ex colonies that would love this movie).
When someone asks me what my favourite movie is my answer hasn't changed, Ocean's Twelve (tied with a couple other films). This always baffled people as they half expected me to answer like someone who studied film, with some obscure or snobby European movie. But no, Soderbergh made one of the most glamorous, smart, and plain entertaining flights of fancy with that sequel. And this project seeks to capture that essence, of globe trotting, road movie but about stealing stuff.
Structurally I imagine it like the four panels before. Act I (of five), the gentleman thief finds a new mission in repatriating the art. Act II he steals but knows that he's just scratching the surface and thus he needs to make a statement. Make it clear that no artefact is safe, hence the British Museum. Act III he assembles the team and plans the heist. Act IV, day of, they set off to rob the museum blind only to be caught. Act V, the capture was part of the plan and the artefacts are repatriated. They escape towards the sunset.
Production wise this ain't easy. His majesty's government would never consent to letting a production anywhere near the museum to shoot this script. But I believe that through smart production design, scouting, and also the use of virtual volumes one can achieve this without breaking bank or needing the crown's approval.
This idea, is the reason I started this blog. I always wanted to make a heist. Maybe it's still in the cards for me to make this, I've written the script, may I'll make a graphic novel first. Who knows, this dream project will one day come true.
Tell me what do you think about this pitch?
POST SCRIPT PITCH - THE PARMESAN HEIST
Since we're speaking about heists, somebody needs to get to making on about the famous vaults of parmegiano reggiano that banks have in Italy. It's begging to be made.