NYWIFT Blog

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Taffy Lashley

By Guneet Singh

Let’s give a warm welcome to our new NYWIFT member, Taffy Lashley!

Taffy is of Afro-Caribbean roots and her love for telling underrepresented stories led her down the path of becoming an editor. She’s worked on interviews highlighting independent creators & their mental health, a documentary with the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, as well as with A+E networks and Reel Works. She’s grateful to network with inspiring women in the media industry. Her involvement with NYWIFT began as an intern and she’s excited to now continue her journey with NYWIFT as an official member!

 

NYWIFT Member Taffy Lashley

 

What brought you to NYWIFT?

My professor in college linked me to the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation which celebrates diversity in children’s literature. I worked with an Executive Producer there who knew someone on NYWIFT’s board. They recommended I do the NYWIFT internship because it’s a great network and community of women in the field.

 

What did you get out of your NYWIFT internship experience?

Lots of editing practice! I was able to edit different videos for NYWIFT. I also got the opportunity to see interviews, screenings and talk backs and learned about different roles in the industry. I especially loved volunteering at the networking events because it was a great way to meet other members. I’m lucky to have mentors in my life who have steered me in the right direction and I can’t wait to reciprocate and help other NYWIFT members.

 

 

Your first love is writing and you initially wanted to work as a television writer. Now you work primarily as a freelance video editor. What inspired you to make that transition?

In my undergrad, I studied creative writing and poetry was my concentration. At the time I found it hard to consistently write but I still want to pursue television writing in the future. I realized I still like to tell stories but I want to do it in a more accessible way. Part of why I went with editing is because it’s a visual way to tell stories. Reading and writing are the fundamentals of telling a story but more people objectively watch things than read them.

I decided to enhance my skills as an editor and it helped me as a writer too. Now I know when I write a script, I don’t want to be too verbose or have more telling than showing. When I did my short film, I wrote, directed and edited it. Editing was the part I enjoyed the most because I got to see it come together.

 

Congrats on being part of the first cohort of A&E Networks and Reel Works’ Career Accelerator program! That’s an incredible accomplishment. What was your experience like as an A&E Assistant Editing Trainee?

It was challenging but fulfilling because I learned a new editing software, Avid Media Composer. Because I know Avid now, I’m even more well-versed in Premiere. It’s like I can speak two languages now. I got to go to the A&E studio and tour it. I really loved my cohort and the people training me. Sometimes on a job no one has time to train you so in-depth this way. The people running this program volunteered their time to teach us this software that they didn’t have training for and that was a gift.

 

 

For those of us interested in going the freelance route, can you describe what that’s like and any tips you have?

There are a lot of benefits to freelancing like having the freedom to choose your own projects, work on your own time and collaborate with different types of people. If you want consistency, freelancing isn’t for you. You have to be open to new opportunities and experiences (within reason).

I find my freelancing jobs through networking. Don’t just go to a networking event with your elevator pitch. Be genuinely interested in getting to know the other person. I’ve gone to NYWIFT events where I’ve spoken to people and asked them how they got started in the industry. They all knew someone who connected them to something. Connections are key.

So many freelancing opportunities came my way when I approached networking that way. If you enjoy freelancing, you may want to start by building yourself as a freelancer while working a 9-5 and then eventually starting your own company or LLC.

 

What creative project are you most proud of and why?

One of my first projects was a short film called Eat, about a person of color with an eating disorder trying to navigate being around other people and advocating for their needs. It’s a topic I feel very passionately about. It got more views on YouTube than I expected and I got a lot of comments where people said they saw themselves in the film. You never know who else can relate to you. That’s the kind of impact I would like to continue having with my work. Sometimes people don’t have an outlet for what they’re going through and their only outlet then becomes television or the internet. It helps them when they can see what they’re going through is normalized. I want to continue being an advocate for people with mental health struggles.

 

 

You entered the industry during the pandemic and have already experienced some career ups and downs. Do you have any advice for our members about dealing with challenges around uncertain circumstances?

If you’re passionate about working in this industry, you can make it in some capacity, whether it’s doing the things you set out to do or something completely unexpected. Be open to change and things not going according to plan because nothing goes according to plan. Be open to accepting new opportunities coming your way. Even if it doesn’t turn out how you wanted, you’ll always learn something from it.

 

Connect with Taffy Lashley on Instagram at @taffadil_ and on LinkedIn

PUBLISHED BY

Guneet Singh

Guneet Singh Guneet K. Singh is a NY-based writer and producer. Her first job in the entertainment industry was as an NBC Page and she has since worked in development on multiple projects for NBC from game shows to half-hour comedies. Guneet graduated from Stony Brook University in 2019 with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Business Management. She's incredibly passionate about diverse storytelling and creating a more equitable industry. She is so excited to be a part of the NYWIFT community!

View all posts by Guneet Singh

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