008: Lily Williams: Informing through Illustration, from Sharks to Women’s Health

This week I talk to Lily Williams about her short film FINconceivable, an award winning informational short about the importance of sharks to our ecosystem. We talk about her upcoming illustrated children’s book called If Sharks Disappear which will be published next year through Roaring Brook Press. Finally, we discuss her newly released web comic that she co-created with Karen Schneemann, called The Mean Magenta. The Mean Magenta seeks to destigmatize periods by providing entertaining comics as well as health resources.

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  • Lily talking about interning at Sony and how she just asked to come back and they agreed. [00:02:19]
  • Lily gets to work with her career bucket list director, Lauren Faust, of My Little Pony. [00:03:34]
  • It’s exciting to see women in male dominated fields. It’s all about representation. [00:05:35]
  • Recording of Lily’s film Finconceivable starting with my narration [00:06:05]
  • How Lily came up with Finconceivable. [00:06:50]
  • How Lily met David Maguire, head of Shark Stewards and asked to make shark art for him. [00:07:20]
  • One fourth of sharks are endangered and Lily wanted to find an engaging, not gory way to talk about it. [00:08:50]
  • Lily’s work set a wave in motion of regular people thinking about sharks differently and getting more excited about conservation. [00:10:51]
  • Who is behind the adorable voice of Finconceiveable?[00:11:36]
  • When was the moment Finconceivable was viral? [00:12:51]
  • More about the success Finconceivable has had. [00:14:21]
  • Lily’s volunteer work with Shark Stewards. [00:16:51]
  • A review of Finconceivable from John McKasker. [00:17:36]
  • Another recording of Finconceivable. [00:18:36]
  • Lily gives some background to her book, If Sharks Disappeared, released in June 2017. [00:19:21]
  • When was Lily contacted to do a children’s book? Hint. Junior year of college. [00:20:51]
  • Has your editor been a mentor to you? Other mentors? [00:22:51]
  • How Lily is in a transition period but she knows she wants to tell educational stories. She clearly has the ability so she needs to do it! [00:23:51]
  • What is Lily’s method? Ask everybody so many questions! Spends her time asking people for their time. [00:25:06]
  • Final recording of Finconceivable. [00:26:51]
  • Lily talks about the Mean Magenta, her latest web comic about menstrual health. [00:27:51]
  • Who are the characters? [00:29:21]
  • Taboo of talking about periods. [00:30:06]
  • Marissa (me) tells a period horror story. Features white shorts and black roof sludge. [00:31:00]
  • How Lily came up with the characters. [00:32:51]
  • The characters are based off of different aspects of Lily and Karen’s personalities. [00:33:36]
  • We talk about the Chinese Olympic athlete who said she was on her period on international television. [00:36:51]


“One fourth of sharks are endangered and it’s not something we talk about. We talk about shark attacks and we talk about Shark Week and we talk about, like and I mean people think sharks are like sexy, they’re like cool, they’re trendy. But like no one talks about how we are just like murdering the hell out of them.” [00:08:50]

“I think it took most of the time I spent writing it. Cuz I wanted everything to be factually correct and entertaining. which is like a very hard combination to hit.” [00:09:51]

“Because a lot of like, people really tried, when I was looking online even to put information out there about it, it’s like there is so much information that is just like gore filled images and like, that’s not, like, that’s a way to get people angry, but it’s not a way to get people to learn.” [00:10:54]

“That’s what I wanted. I just wanted kids to see it and become as passionate about it as I am. and get involved. Because when kids get involved you can’t help but be involved. You can’t help but be involved because they are passionate and excited about things so that was my goal.” [00:15:51]

“I’m so passionate about telling educational stories and I think that needs to be told and I realize, clearly I have the ability to do it an way that a lot of people don’t have the desire to um or the time or the passion for it. It’s like, it’s all there so I need to do it. like, I’ve got this ability so I’ve got to do it.” [00:23:54]

“I have this practice where I try to contact people as much as possible so I email people, I call people, I am very consistent with asking people for things and I think that you don’t get anything in life if you don’t. Unless you ask for it. You’re not going to get a raise unless you ask for it. You’re not going to get a job unless you ask for it, you just have to ask people for things. So I spend a lot of my time asking people for their time.” [00:25:06]

“People who do menstruate and we know how to talk about it and we’ve all talked about it with each other but it’s so taboo to bring up to you boss or to bring up to anyone really when it’s such a big part of people’s lives.” [00:30:06]

“I mean like what 50% of the population has it and yet we completely don’t talk about it.” [00:30:51]

“Like I even remember like 4 years ago I just remember if someone would post something about their periods I would be like oh my god, I cannot believe they like posted that on the internet. Like woh. And now I’m like totally that person because I feel like liberated about it. But it’s like we shouldn’t be so ashamed about what our body is doing because our body is meant to be doing that thing. I mean granted some of us have bodies that might not be doing something quite right but like still our bodies are doing this incredible thing, getting us ready for like, this incredible thing later in life you know? Like everything has it’s purpose and it’s like so, I mean, I sound like such a hippie right now, but menstruation is so cool! Like, it’s not something to be ashamed of and yet we’re all still, I mean I’m still ashamed of it, we’re all still coming to terms with it because we’ve told to be ashamed about it.” [00:35:36]

Comment below with some of your favorite moments from the interview!


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