Trevor Tom is one of the people whose camera tells stories and captures the heart. In an exclusive interview he had with My Afrika Magazine columnist Sympathy Sibanda (SS) he had this to say:
SS: Take us through your journey on how did you start?
TT: It all started with a strong connection with nature. Whenever I would travel anywhere, if I see a nice rock or bush or scenery, I would stop and take pictures of those things and those journeys would become longer but satisfying. The curiosity grew steadily and it became so obvious to my partner and wife that she bought me a powerful Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 pro. That changed the perspective of everything and I started taking higher quality pictures and videos with a lot of self-teaching and research. I met like-minded friends who encouraged and inspired me a lot and we started working together and eventually I did my first professional “Visual mentary” for Mannex Motsi on a reggae song by DJ Adrenalinjunkie.
SS: You are a naturally happy person with a contagious vibe. How important is it to have that vibe in your industry?
TT: Thank you for the compliment, I actually think I’m a serious-faced person most of the time. But yeah, with video and photo directing you have to make the “subjects” very comfortable if you want to bring out their natural attributes and so far, I’ve realised the shortcut for me is to engage in conversation a few minutes before we begin and this warms up the environment and makes the work easier and more fun. More importantly, you meet a lot of different people with different backgrounds and personalities as potential clients or even as we work, so connecting positively from the onset of things is quite important.
SS: What was the dream back in school?
TT: I’m trying to think if I ever dreamt in school. I was an academic and I grew up in an environment where my dad wanted me to be a medical doctor so I guess I walked in that path for the longest while. That “dream” got shattered when I couldn’t get into medical school but ended up doing Biochemistry instead.
SS: Sport was a great part of your life. And now?
TT: It really was, my memories of my younger self in school are largely sport. A lot of soccer in primary school and then volleyball in high school and college. I actually feel very alive when we talk about our volleyball days with my old teammates.
But now is a different story because I still love sport but I don’t actively participate anymore. Tried social volleyball some years back but that’s just about it. These days is a lot of watching sport and encouraging our kids.
SS: How important is family to you?
TT: My roots are deep and they come from a long way, from the village of Pimbi in Mozambique. We are not many in The Tom clan so how we relate is something we treasure. My mother and Nyasha’s side compliments that though, they make the circle much bigger and add more love to the mix. My family is my biggest support structure and source of inspiration, strength and we always try to teach our kids how important family is and how to use those bonds wisely.
SS: What’s your 5 year dream?
TT: Filmmaking is the only thing that I want.
SS: Do you think the Zimbabwean creative space is conducive for growth?
TT: Yes definitely. Zimbabwe has a lot of opportunities, a lot of untold inspiring stories and I believe where there’s opportunity there’s growth. Of course, there are so many challenges but that just makes everything more interesting, doesn’t it? If you really look closely, you will notice there are so many people who have started showing the rest of Zimbabwe that we have a rich creative space. I can mention so many, look at what Nijo the Slick Pastor recently did with Crossroads, you can trace where he started and where he is now, that’s growth from where I’m standing. Brian Katai of KAT films, just look at how he tells the wedding stories, to me that’s growth. And I think we are then forced.
SS: Who is your market and how can they reach you?
TT: Someone recently told me that the beauty of freezing moments is that we always get to relieve the memories in the future….. And I believe everyone wants that and that’s what we are here for. So everyone and anyone is our market and that encompasses any business sector with products and services to showcase. As long as Videography, photography, graphic designing and social media management are needs, that’s our market. My social media pages are T3 Media Zimbabwe.
SS: What’s your advice to those who want to venture into this field?
TT: Media is an art and as much as there are basics on how to do videos or take pictures and so on, there are no rules or limits to what you can create. Do not be limited by thinking you are not good enough because you have seen some other photographer taking glamorous pictures that you feel you can never take… Start where you are, with what you have and learn everyday from people in the industry and youtube and your own intuition, ask those questions, make those mistakes…. Take that negative feedback from unsatisfied clients or people and have fun all the way.
SS: Any last words?
TT: I would like to revisit the need to surround yourself with like-minded people. My story would not be this version if it wasn’t for the kind of support and network that has developed around me and still developing. My professional everyday circle has: 1. Lipa Tee of Stereo 025 2. DJ Adrenalinjunkie of Hwinyo Productions 3. Takudzwa Chiringa of Micara Corporation 4. Milton Mavhusa 5. My partner, Nyasha and 6. Everyone else we consult and comes in to assist us when we are in total need. You can never make it alone.
We have created a network of ideas sharing, encouragement, challenging each other for growth, opportunity identification and immense support and for me this is the foundation to everything that T3 Media Zimbabwe is building.
SS:Thank you Trevor
TT: It is my pleasure