In Hollywood, sharks are a bit like Christopher Walken – they always get typecast as the bad guy. Our friend Lily Williams doesn’t agree with that – so she’s made her own movie to change the way everyone sees sharks.
It’s not your average shark flick – it’s factual, adorable, and narrated by Lily’s 10-year-old cousin. So why did Lily decide not to take inspiration from Sharknado? We asked her a few questions to try and find out.
Why do you love sharks?
I love a lot of things about sharks! When I found out sharks have been on earth longer than dinosaurs and have survived several mass extinctions, all I could think was – “Wow, sharks are prime examples of successful evolution!”. A lot of people settle on the scary popular culture image of sharks…but sharks are much cooler than that.
Have you ever seen a shark in the ocean? If not, would you like to?
I have not yet, but I dream of seeing them first hand in the wild someday! I would love to swim with them.
A lot of people are scared of sharks – and some artists draw quite frightening shark illustrations. What made you decide to illustrate our finned friends the way you do?
I think the “scary shark” trope is overplayed. Yes, sharks are wild animals and fierce predators, but they do not hunt men as men hunt them. The sooner we stop fearing them, the sooner we can protect them… and we need to protect them. I make my sharks personable which allows us to relate to them.
Why do you think visual storytelling is such a powerful means of activism?
Thanks to the internet, we have access to so much information, yet it’s spread out over such a wide variety of sources. Effective visual storytelling takes all that fantastic information and presents it in a clear concise way that is easy to digest. When we make those visual stories accessible to all ages, it creates a diverse dialogue, allowing information to spread in a fun and positive way!
Congratulations on the success of Finconceivable! What’s been the best moment in the process of creating and getting the film out into the world?
Thank you so much! It’s hard to decide! The whole process has been very rewarding. Working with Shark Stewards, writing the film, coming up with the shots, painting, and working with my adorable 10 year old cousin, the narrator – it was all so much fun. Receiving emails from teachers worldwide about how the film has resonated with their students, has been a sweet moment. I am really glad my film connects to so many other students of all ages!
Check out Lily’s awesome infographics about how important sharks are to marine ecosystems! You can find much more incredible work at her website here. If you’re a teacher, parent, advocate – or just love sharks and want to use her work – get in touch with her here.