Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity
For years, longtime Affinity writer Lily Waywell has been penning thoughtful and eye-opening reviews on film and television. From classic Tarantino film Pulp Fiction to 2019’s smash Netflix hit The Witcher, she’s seen and reviewed it all, sharing her opinions and expert insights with our global audience. Her reviews have become a cornerstone of Affinity’s Arts & Culture website, as she’s consistently provided readers with glimpses of the trendiest TV shows and films from a unique angle.
That’s why it was a no brainer for the Affinity team to come together and select Lily as our July Member of the Month. Lily’s hard work and passion has helped make Affinity what it is today — a platform for young writers around the world to freely express their ideas.
Alice Ao: Tell us about your identity!
LW: I’m an Arts & Culture writer from a small town in the South East of England. I’m currently going into my second year of university, studying English and Film. I love writing, reading, film/TV, music, baking and travelling.
AA: What does your writing/review process look like?
LW: My review process varies depending on the show. However, generally speaking, I usually have a notebook on hand, so that I can write down anything that stands out in the show/movie I am watching — for example, any significant techniques used regarding acting, music, or cinematography that make the show unique or credible. After watching, I go straight to IMDb. It has become a habit to do this after I watch anything. I research the life out of the show/movie — from cast to crew to any other form of trivia I can find.
From there, I draft the article. Usually splitting it into sections and tracking through the film techniques. After this, I tend to take a break for at least an hour, and then go back to the article with a clearer mind set, and then change things and begin to edit. I think one aspect that is key for my writing process is silence, due to getting distracted easily.
AA: Why did you join Affinity?
LW: From a young age, I have loved writing but I never imagined it being a career. It wasn’t until my time in college that I became interested in a writing career. So one summer, I was looking for magazine commissions online, and I came across Affinity. It has been such an amazing opportunity to belong to a community of writers. I really can’t imagine not being a part of Affinity through. Affinity has allowed me to develop as a writer, alongside providing an excuse for me to focus solely on the things I enjoy — writing and film.
AA: What’ve you learned from your time at Affinity? How has Affinity helped you grow, both as a person and writer?
LW: Affinity has taught me many things. Firstly, I have learnt and am still learning the craft of writing. Affinity in particular has provided me with a writing platform to voice my opinions and develop my writing style. Furthermore, the editors have supported me hugely in improving my writing skills. Overall, being a part of the Affinity team has meant that I have been enhancing many essential skills such as time management, team-work and organisation. These competences are not only essential when writing, but also for life in general.
AA: What’s the coolest opportunity you’ve had from Affinity?
LW: One of the coolest opportunities I have had at Affinity was interviewing Elijah Boothe. He is an up and coming artist who has had two of his movies released during the lockdown and has been nominated for many film festivals. It was definitely fun and inspiring to learn about him. He is someone who is very driven in different artistic fields including his acting, music and modelling. Interviewing him was an amazing experience.
That aside, writing for Affinity, in general, is always such a cool experience. When starting off, I never expected to be in the TV/Film area. However, through the opportunity of writing one of the American Horror Story seasons, I realised how much fun writing reviews of my favourite TV/Films is.
AA: What’s one cause or issue that you are especially passionate about?
LW: One area that I have been passionate about for many years is the ocean. I have had a love for the ocean from a very young age. Prior to wanting to be a writer, I was very keen on being a Marine Biologist. I have done a great deal of research and reading around issues that have always been close to my heart, and something I think is necessary to be aware of, particularly the areas of captivity and plastic pollution.
AA: Outside of Affinity, how have you gotten involved with this cause?
LW: Recently, I have started my own small business. For a few years now, I have made a lot of ocean art. Though during this lockdown, I decided to hop on the trend and create my own ocean art small business. Though it’s still new and I only launched a few weeks ago, it has been something I have enjoyed hugely and am very passionate about. Particularly through my love for the ocean and marine animals. I sell ocean-themed bracelets, embroidered tote bags and stickers. I have been having lots of fun, exploring another area I am passionate about making art and the ocean.
AA: What are your future plans and aspirations?
LW: As a whole, I aspire to be a writer. More specifically, I would love to be a Screenwriter, and that is what I am working on currently. Through university, I plan to gain as much experience in the film industry, alongside hopefully submitting to some screenplay competitions. Aside from screenwriting, I love journalism, especially in regards to TV and film.
AA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
LW: Something that has always stuck with me, while growing up is ‘Never settle for less’. I think this is important. Not necessarily meaning that big better, because it isn’t always, but more so, if you want something, you shouldn’t be dissuaded. Goals are achievable if you put your mind towards it. This has been key in so many parts of my life, and has motivated me to keep going for what I want, no matter how much they may seem impossible. As many people say, life is short, and it’s important that you prioritise your own happiness, rather than settling for what is just ‘ok’.
AA: What advice would you give to younger students and aspiring writers?
Continuing from the advice I have received, I think it is relevant for everyone, especially younger students and aspiring writers to have your own dreams. It is so easy for people, including teachers, to tell you their opinions, and I have experienced my fair share of people telling me that my goals are unachievable, but I don’t think that is the case. If you want to be a writer, be a writer and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Try it, explore it. I would also encourage any aspiring writers to write every day, and also take any opportunity that comes your way.
Before Affinity, I had never really thought about being a journalist or even a screenwriter — I just knew I liked to write (essays and creative writing). However, through my time at Affinity, my career plans have changed drastically and for the better, and I am so passionate about writing, more than I have ever been, precisely because of these opportunities. Moreover, I would also encourage you to keep learning, I don’t necessarily mean in the education system, but learn about new things, educate yourself, you never know what doors might open or what new things you might become passionate about. Therefore, writer or not, take the opportunities, master your craft and do what you love.
You can check out Lily’s work here.
Want to write for Affinity? Keep an eye out for applications, which will be open soon!
All photos are courtesy of Lily Waywell, including our featured image.