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

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
GBOYA SOJI FRANK

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
)

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