Wednesday, 6 August 2014

World Exclusive! Bella Adenuga’s Cinematographer opens up on the secret of stardom + Why Nigerian Big Shots crave for his work + Folorunso Alakija, Mo Abudu & others makes client list

By on 11:20
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Gboya in real action
The story of Gboya Soji Frank (GSF) is one that is much more in the realms of tales by moonlight as his runaway success in the art of cinematography across the world is something that has earned him credibility in the eyes of the high and mighty of society.
At age 11, Gboya (Which literally means “Strong Hearted”) was disown by nobody else than his own father, and what could have been running in the mind of a young soul at that very tender age?; rascality? Definitely that was not what fate bargained for this Ondo state, South West Nigeria born world class Film maker who has made his mark across the world within a short period of time. For Gboya the word of philosopher Confucius is true that “What the superior man seeks is in him and what the small man seeks is in others”.
 Gboya who has shot Classic Videos for top Nigerian celebrities across all sectors among whom are Television baroness Mo Abudu, Africa’s Richest black woman Folorunsho Alakija, oil baron Otunba (Dr.) Mike Adenuga’s daughter, Bella and a couple of other big names in the Nigerian social sector is one guy that comes to the table with long years of experience and a Midas which the up class earnestly crave for. Gboya is equally a phenomenon  in the black community in America, London, Spain, Paris and South Africa where he paid his dues in the business of cinematography in a decade plus. Highly travelled and well connected, this ebony handsome Nigerian business man opened up to your African Number 1 Celebrity encounter blog asabeafrika during a recent visit to Nigeria to record the wedding ceremony of a top APC Chieftain’s son in Lagos. Coming across Gboya was a privileged miracle as the very busy photo maker was almost on his way out of the country for another engagement in Australia. Gboya who has travelled to major continents of the world is taking his first trip to Australia in couple of days from now and that was what we found out in the exclusive encounter which took place in a cozy environment in Lagos. Gboya told asabeafrika the whole story of his ghetto to greatness, zero to hero, from sitting across benches on the street of Ebute Meta, Lagos Mainland to sitting across comfort pads in air buses across seas. It is a story that every down hearted youth must read and this blog sincerely believe it will act as a tonic to ginger  broken hearts  to  gear up and fly with an aspiration that is like that of the eagle.  Enjoy the read. 
Gboya with Comedian Gbenga Adeyinka
Gboya inside the Cabin of a gulfstream jet
How it all started
Meeting Gboya in his element you discover that the young man is rare specie of a professional with a pleasant character, a blend of humility, compassion and generosity of ideas. He started by giving us a brief of his entire life and how he unknowingly walked into success through an act of selfless service “I was born in 1981 and I will say I am one of the people that came from a very humble background. Let me give you a brief of how I got to this level; I have always had this love for photography as a child but I didn’t have the avenue to achieve my dream. Haven come from a humble background, I decided to go learn how to repair electronic appliances and due to some circumstance that I found myself then, I discovered it was going to be difficult to further my education. I started learning at the age of eleven after school hours. Then, I didn’t have money to do after school lessons.
“Two days to our departure back to Nigeria, two guys absconded remaining just two of us. On the very day of our departure, our flight was to leave in the evening, I think around 4pm and around 10 am that same day the other guy absconded remaining only me. There was no way I could get in touch with them again because there was no communication channel. But when I was packing my load, on the brink of taking off, the leader of the white team came into my room and said “Gboya, I am happy to tell you that we are no longer going to Nigeria”

Gboya with ace comedian Basket Mouth
Gboya inside the air bus on one of his global trips
So, what I did was to go and learn electronic. We were about sixteen apprentices then under my boss at Ebute Meta here in Lagos. In my second year of my apprentice, a customer who was an army officer came and gave my boss a plasma television for repairs. As at that time Plasma Television was a very rare thing to get, you only see it in the circle of the rich and my boss collected two thousand naira from the soldier and he couldn’t repair the plasma TV because it was new technology and he couldn’t refund the money. So, for like three weeks my boss couldn’t come down to the shop because the client was a soldier. But I kept coming everyday; I close from school at 2pm, get to work 3pm and I don’t leave until like 11pm everyday and my boss just kept off shop as a result of his problem with the army officer and we were not yet in the computer age by then.
So, I had to see what I can do on my own and one day I brought out the Plasma and I just started working on it; I worked on it for about three days and on the third day it came up but it wasn’t showing pictures; it was just showing  a blank white surface. So, the owner came as usual and requested to see my boss and I said he is not around but ‘sir, this plasma has come up o. We have really tried to bring it to this level’. The man called me and said ‘young man, you said your boss has not been coming to the shop, so how did my plasma TV come up?’; I answered him, I said ‘See, I just did a kind of trial by error and followed some graphs’ and the soldier said ‘Oh, you are so brave, what would you like to be?’ and I said ‘I would love to become a journalist’ and he promised to help me make that dream a reality. So, he registered me in a film school back then where I supposed to learn for six months but I was able to complete my training in three months”.
Gboya with TV Gal Labi Layori
Gboya with some white fans in Paris
When luck came calling
Gboya who was able to use the scholarship given to him by the unknown soldier to learn how to handle a film camera in the film school soon found the skill handy and for him, that was the beginning of a journey to the land of success. Hear him; “The World Health Organization (WHO) was caring out a couple of sensitization programs then with some youths in my area in Ebute meta, since I now knew how to handle camera what I now do was to go out there to borrow a camera for two hundred naira with my own money and cover the events and documentaries for WHO and I will give them the copy free of charge.
Gboya with his weapon of mass creativity
And you could imagine what it takes, two hundred naira normally takes me like four to five days for me to make and people tell me ‘are you mad?’ but I told them I am not doing it for anything in return, it is my passion, you know! I am just doing this thing because it is my passion. So, it got to a point that they (WHO) wanted to do something in Abuja and that was actually my first time of entering an aero plane; and they said “go and call that boy that used to do video for us”. So they called me and said ‘Abuja’. I couldn’t sleep for two days and when I eventually got into the plane, I said ‘aaah! This is a dream come true’. So, I stayed in Abuja for two days and as God would have it, after about two weeks of our Abuja transaction because then there was no GSM, they looked for me again and they said there is a program in South Africa and that they will also want me to be part of the team to go and cover it and I was really surprised at the turn of events in my life”.
The Celebrity Cinematography with Hip-Hip Star Dapo Oyebanjo aka D'Banj
Gboya with Football legend Kanu Nwakwo
How my plan to abscond in SA was aborted by fate
Gboya was the only cinematographer allowed to cover the wedding of Billionaire Mike Adenuga’s daughter Bella and hubby, Jameel Disu two years ago recalled how his plan to abscond while with the white team in South Africa was divinely aborted by fate “The Organization actually took three of my friends with me to South Africa and sincerely speaking, we four all had a secret deal that when we get there we would abscond and that was the deal because for me it was like a dream come true. We were eager not to return to Nigeria again.  Lo and behold we got to South Africa.
Two days to our departure back to Nigeria, two guys absconded remaining just two of us. On the very day of our departure, our flight was to leave in the evening, I think around 4pm and around 10 am that same day the other guy absconded remaining only me. There was no way I could get in touch with them again because there was no communication channel. But when I was packing my load, on the brink of taking off, the leader of the white team came into my room and said “Gboya, I am happy to tell you that we are no longer going to Nigeria. We got a call that there is going to be a conference in Spain and in Italy and I think the same team will be going”. I almost fainted. I was dumfounded that this is me that want to run away, what of if I had run away? What would have happened to my career? I mean I wanted to abscond and disappear into South Africa and here I am submitting my passport for an onward journey to Spain.  I didn’t even see the consular and I got two years multiple entries with work permit in Spain.
From there I went to Madrid that is the capital city of Spain, I went to Rome in Italy, I went to Paris in France and several other capitals of the world and that marked a turn around in my life. And the passion has kept growing from then till now”.
Gboya the travelling Film maker at a local airport
Gboya with Rap Star Naeto C
Nigerian politicians are not intelligent
Speaking about how he made success at a very tender age, Gboya recalled why success was easy for him abroad than at home “My breakthrough actually came around 2001 because I left my parent at the age of eleven. I started fending for myself at the age of eleven and it wasn’t that rosy.  And the Nigerian spirit was the only motivating factor and that is why at times I sit down and i think our politicians are not wise. Majority of our people don’t want the big houses, they don’t want the luxury cars; they just want to eat their three square meals, they just want to be comfortable.
Just give them the basic things of life, let there be good roads, affordable and durable electricity with affordable shelter. Basic things and life will move on because sincerely between you and me, the only continent I have not touched is Australia. And I am doing Australia by mid-August. I am visiting Australia by mid-August. So, I have not seen it all but I have seen some things and there is no place you can compare to this country.  I was able to make a breakthrough in Madrid because of the kind of society the government gave her people over there. You don’t need to pay heart killing NEPA bills without the NEPA work; you don’t have to fend for your own water, security and health protection. Government has done all that and people can genuinely learn to live like human beings and forge ahead in their day to day activities”
Gboya ready for another global trip inside an air bus
Gboya with Music icon, Asha
My Spain experience
Gboya shared part of what life looked like for him during his sojourn in Spain “Since I had a work permit and I had a multiple entry visa I was going in and coming out of Spain and I was just trying to lay my hand on one or two genuine businesses again. I started shuttling between Dublin, Spain and Mexico because I wanted to learn Spanish and I also speak Spanish right now because I am this kind of  guy that ask for more; so I eventually spent about two years in Mexico where I learnt a lot about the Spanish economy and culture. I studied lighting in Mexico and I went to study Cinematography in California, USA where I did many creative exploits before returning to Nigeria.
Gboya in his US home
Gboya in Marina, Lagos
It was such a huge experience for me; an experience that can never be compared to anything else. Learning abroad opened my eyes to so many things and today I and my team have brought a lot of innovation into the way and manner things are being done in the Nigeria film making sector. I have worked with several artistes, celebrities and society big wigs. In 2012, I was the official cinematographer for Bella Adenuga’s wedding and I saw it more as a privilege than a right. Shooting an event for one of the richest families in Africa is not a token task; it comes with lots of challenge. You must put best practice to place and call the best of your shots to action. I also covered Mo Abudu’s 40th birthday couple of years ago and I was equally privileged to cover some event for Mrs. Folorunso Alakija, I understand she is now the richest black woman in the world. These are rare privileges you can’t buy with money”

(Watch out for the Part 2 of Bella Adenuga’s Cinematographer, Gboya’s exclusive titled “WHY I HATE TALKING ABOUT DAD on this blog in 24hrs time)

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog


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