Known to be the greatest photographer and editor of this generation, Novax has been making sound waves for quite some time now. Not only is he talented with photography but he is also a world class videographer. We caught up with him and we got a glimpse of who is behind Novax Visuals…
Okay, so we know Novax Visuals is quite a popular name but we want to know the man behind the name. Tell us about yourself, who is Novax?
So my name is Frank Gamba aka Novax. I am a photographer, graphic designer, motion designer, videographer and an ‘aspiring content creator’. So in a way I am a multidimensional creative. Novax is a brand really that came up back then when we were starting the movement. Back then my nickname used to be ‘Manrichie’ but as we were placing our names out there, it really didn’t have a nice ring to it. So my best friend, Naison, (shout out to my Day One) just started coming up with all kind of names. Then one day he was like what about Novax and I asked what it meant and he improvised with the meaning but he said something about how the universe was and how it was eye-catching. And from then the name kinda stuck. So Novax is a stand alone brand and we have been pushing it forward ever since.
Evidently you love being the man behind the camera. What made you choose it? Where did your fascination come from?
Well growing up we had a camera at home. It belonged to my father. So we would use it on each trip we took and my father was the one who handled it all the time. So I kind of got my interest from there and I would like how the pictures would come about. An idea then crossed my mind of having to handle the camera myself but I was not good at it. And my father tried to teach me once, I remember. When I turned 16 now, my aunt from Zambia came for a vacation around my birthday. She actually got me a camera for my birthday. And from there onwards, the frenzy started. I started taking pictures of everything and anything that came to mind. I loved every bit of it even though I was not very professional. Some pictures came out blurry whilst others were out of focus. But however the fascination just kept growing.
The entertainment industry in Zimbabwe is not all smooth sail. How do you maintain consistency?
Firstly, being in this industry is very hard and challenging. However I try to maintain consistency through hard work and remaining focused at all times. At the beginning of each year, I draft my goals and objectives that I want to work towards.Working towards the goals and objectives keeps me in check. The objectives act like blinkers to me. They help control me so that I stay focused in what I want to achieve. This has helped me provide the same quality service each time.
You have had projects ending up on TRACE and Channel O, how was that for you?
I remember when it all happened like it was yesterday. I was not at home at the time, so there was no TV around me. My If Naison called me and he told me he was watching a video I had directed which was being played on Channel O. I asked him which one was it and he said ‘Te-amo by Dalma Diamond’. I really could not believe it. So I got my phone and I called my sister to confirm if it was true and she actually confirmed it. At that moment, it really felt like I had made it. I then called Naison again and I told him that this was actually a milestone for us and that we had to keep on doing what we know best to stay in the game. I remember growing up my grandmother used to tell Naison and I that, ‘a demise of a friend is also your demise and the success of a your friend is also your success’. So from that point I felt like we had made it and I was rally happy. Because of that song I started to get link ups and a lot of people called in to do some projects with me. That project actually opened a lot of doors for us with a lit of people in the industry.
Film directing, how do you come up with the content and where do you get your inspiration?
For content creation, I am really the brains behind it all hence the title ‘aspiring content creator’. Some of the ideas come from my father. He understands the game and has been in the arts industry for quite some time now. He did a little bit of drawing and painting. He is always coming up with different ideas to me asking if I can produce this or if I can build something from a certain idea. As for some of the ads I do, I usually collaborate with my girl Tino. She is always great help when it comes to that. As for my inspiration, Uncle Scrugge stands out. He is my role model when it comes to filming. I always follow up on what he does, he is always focused and is always on top of his game.
Of all the projects that you have ever done, which one was the most interesting for you?
Well there are a lot I can name, but the video by Denford called ‘Waste no time’ has to be the most interesting for me. It was just the experience and how we came about to film the video that stands out. The basis of coming up with the video and visuals was quite challenging yet interesting at the same time. Denford wanted something that was totally different from the usual gospel videos in Zimbabwe. He wanted a very unique video and I was the one to deliver it. So I started brainstorming ideas for the content and locations and other stuff. I pitched him the idea which was very fancy and demanding in terms of resources. He admitted to being able to source everything out bit he was not sure if it what he was looking for, so I went back to the drawing board. At some point I then turned to my father for advice. He then gave me a few pointers and I made a pitch quickly after further brainstorming. Denford liked the second idea and that was it. We then shot the video and I tell you it was an amazing experience.
What are some of the challenges you have faced with Photography and also Directing?
In Zimbabwe we have a lot of locations that are perfect for my line of work however in order to use them one had to go through a lot of paperwork and there is a lot of consulting with the authorities. In some cases it ends up being a agonising process to the extent that you end up losing some things that add up to your content. So this had to be one of the biggest challenges I face all the time. Also I feel like there is no unity in the industry in terms of photographers. We should have a least a Photographer’s Act where we get to showcase our work and projects
What is lacking in the entertainment industry right now
Like I said before, there is no unity in with photographers and videographers. We can’t even come together to collaborate, so that is what’s lacking. The egos some of us bear are ruining the industry as it is and as creatives we have to come together so that we make great projects and do wonders for this country.
What can we expect from you this coming year?
Okay so this year, I have a project I am working on with other people. We are working on a series, a first of this time. It’s called Teenage Diaries. I think I will be directing it as well as filming it. I hope it will actually be a game changer becauseit’s our first series. As for now we are just going through a lot of planning and logistics and hopefully soon enough, we will start filming the series.
Any advice for the upcoming creatives?
Never give up no matter how much everything tries to push you away. Try to stomach the pressure and try to be in control at all times. Work hard because you will always be recognized with your hard work. It will always put you on the top. Also try working with other creatives and collaborate to produce quality projects.