10AND5 CREATIVES VOL. 02: MENZI MZIMELA ON MOUNT OLYMPUS
10AND5 CREATIVES is a spotlight series that seeks to highlight the best of what local talent has to offer, covering everything from the creation of local graphic novels to celebrating creatives who live fearlessly and authentically.
This week we caught up with Menzi Mzimela, AKA Anarchadium, creator of Youtube shows Microwave Boys, Broke N— and now an epic graphic novel – Mount Olympus. Read the full interview below:
Who is Menzi?
Menzi Mzimela is a 29 year old aspiring moviemaker. A curious creative desperate to do whatever it takes to bring a lot of his ideas to life.
How would your friends sum you up?
My friends would say I’m odd and awkward, thoughtful but very harsh. Very intriguing and unintentionally enigmatic, very talented.
How did you get into content creation & production?
My dream is to become a movie maker. Writing and directing movies. But I was not sure where to begin or who to speak to. I studied multimedia which helped me get into the advertising and television industry but had no idea how to be in a position to become a writer/director. So I started vlogging. YouTube was a great space to create with a lot of freedom to control how I create and curate my videos. I tried to be as experimental and creative as I can be with the way I told a story through my friends and through vlogging. It helped me and low-key changed my life.
What are some of your creative influences?
Casey Neistat, Jordan Peele and Okay Wasabi. I would say those are my biggest creative influences at the moment. I enjoy Marc Rebillet and I’m inspired by his fearlessness and positive energy so I would also consider him a creative influence.
What is Mount Olympus?
Mount Olympus is a world, an alternate South Africa where corruption and greed is entrenched into the law. A world where gangsters and politicians run the country hand in hand. Within this world, there are various stories that need to be told. But the first one is about a policeman who is desperate for justice after someone close to him is brutally murdered for doing what’s right.
How did you get started on it? / What made you want to branch out into creating a graphic novel?
My desperation to bring a story to life made me branch out into a graphic novel/comic. I had initially wanted to get a concept artist for my idea to visualize for when I pitch the show. I initially wanted a live-action. But when one of my friends saw the concept art he felt like I should just make it a comic, and see how far I can take it within that medium. Also the idea is too big for anyone to turn it into a live action in South Africa. So that would probably never happen. But no one can really stop me from illustrating it. I have a lot of control there. I cant direct, shoot or produce a live action, I don’t have the power or the capital. But I can draw the s**t out of it.
How did you choose which story to tell with Mount Olympus?
I wanted to put someone with good intentions in a situation where what they want transforms them into everything they were trying to destroy. a tragic story about the unexpected consequences of someone’s nobility and naivety in a world where doing the right thing is hopeless. I have a strange obsession with watching characters transform to a point where their old selves become unrecognizable. Life does that to most of us so it’s interesting to watch.
I also wrote the story first before realizing that I also have to create a world for it.
How would you introduce Mount Olympus to readers?
I’m going to give out the pilot for free. It’s going to look beautiful so they’ll be interested, and they won’t have to spend anything but 25 minutes of their time.
What’s the relationship like between you and Katlego Motaung, the illustrator on Mount Olympus?
I met Katlego in varsity. When I was in first year he was in his fourth year. He was a dope guy that me and my friends admired because he was quite gifted. He had notepads and notepads of illustrations. I reached out to him about two years ago on insta and he remembered me. He started doing my concept art which lead to him illustrating my whole comic after raising R25 000 through JumpStarter to pay him for his services. He’s not cheap, and what he does requires a lot of labour. What’s Funny is that I haven’t seen him in about 11 years but we are working on a comic book together.
What inspires you?
Movies and music inspire me. Watching movies and listening to music where I can feel that the artist was putting a lot of thought into how they wanted you to feel and how they wanted you to consume their work, I like that feeling. I am also inspired by people who use very little to say and do a lot. There’s a lot of that happening right now on the Internet.
How has your life influenced your art?
A lot of my work is based on my life in some way or the other. It’s the only way I can get attached to anything I create. There has to be a link to something personal to me. Broke N– for example was created because I felt like my friends were extremely interesting individuals but just weren’t aware of it. There’s a lot of people like that, they feel like the dope things they do are normal when it’s actually quite cool and holds more value than they realise. That’s how I feel about my friends.
What is the work you’ve done that excites you the most?
My YouTube content: Broke N– and Microwave Boys. I was truly happy when creating those shows. It felt right
If you had the chance to create an all star line-up, who would be on your starting 3?
One of my best Friends Cali who has been a key contributor to my work. Jordan Peele and Childish Gambino
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