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Category: Personalities

Fursonas and Furries: A Tail of Two Docs (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

(Continuing yesterday’s Part 1.)

Here’s the thing – most of the anger towards Fursonas is because it wasn’t the doc we expected, or to some, what they wanted.

A lot of that comes with the general history of the fandom. How media took our hobby and portrayed it as a pagan cult of sex crazed orgies, by animal-suited maniacs.  From Vanity Fair, CSI, MTV, etc portraying us as a fetish rather then a community of artists, writers, dancers, and more.  The way they just don’t get what we are about is what many members in the fandom have been fighting to overcome for years.

And it’s been more or less a success, even with the press, as the fandom evolved to what it is today.  To how we see each other, what we believe in, and just enjoying the weirdness that we are.  After newly turning that corner, perhaps Fursonas could threaten to bring back all the negative old things they been working to overcome.

But that’s not what Fursona is or ever tries to do.

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[DR]: My movie is meant to question what a “negative view” of the fandom is. While furry is definitely an accepting place, I do think that there’s a double standard in this community. People want to be accepted for themselves, but sometimes find it hard to accept things that are outside of their own comfort zone. I see this all the time in communities and I see it all the time in furry. Just look at babyfurs, and how plenty of more “normal” furries don’t want to have anything to do with them.

I love this fandom so much that I want it to be better. I think if we’re going to keep patting ourselves on the back for being so accepting, that means having to ask some difficult questions of ourselves—how much do we accept? What is the price of individual expression in the fandom? What is a “good image” and much is it worth? I still grapple with these questions all the time.

This is something I agree with. Our fandom does have a double standard. I know it because as a gay man I’ve seen how a community that views itself as open minded and accepting of all walks of life is also filled with selfish, shortsighted, rude, or even despicable people. Same with the kink community, with it’s view of itself as open minded and accepting to all walks of life, only to see some sides view other sides as inferior or even taboo.  It’s the very same with the Furry fandom. We’re a community that is open minded and accepting, and guess what I’m going to say next.  We’re also regular flawed humans.  It’s not hard to see a pattern when you’ve seen it repeated many times.

This is what Fursonas talks about, and it’s not what everyone in the fandom wants. Which is why many have seen Furries as the preferred doc, with its more positive view of the fandom over Fursonas criticisms.

But here’s the other thing, Furries wasn’t made for the fandom. Let me ask you a question: if you’ve seen Furries and are a member of the fandom, what do you learn from it?  What information does it provide that hasn’t already been discussed time and again from other members of the fandom?

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Fursonas and Furries: A Tail of Two Docs (Part 1)

by Pup Matthias

(Note from Patch: thanks to the site’s valued long time contributor, Pup Matthias. As site manager, I don’t put a leash on writing, and this came from his self-motivated effort. Therefore, I’ll add a disclaimer that Matthias is sole author, independent from my previous posts and relationships or understandings with others. I had considered doing a followup about poorly-done mainstream Fursonas coverage called “furry is not a cult,” but then decided that enough conversation was already happening.  Uncle Kage, Dominic, Eric Risher and Matthias are all friends to me and all of them are doing great things for this community. If you only get to hear part of the story, let that say the rest. – P)

1462807202946This has been an incredible year for the Furry Fandom. Zootopia crossed over a billion dollars, fur con attendance continues a healthy rate of growth, more positive news about the fandom has been coming out, and Furry Network has entered the Furry website game. And we’ve got not one, but two documentaries exploring the fandom made by people inside the fandom itself. Yet it’s the last part that has brought on some of the biggest debates in the fandom.

Since the release of the two documentaries, Fursonas and Furries, there has been a lot of praise and criticism towards both, although Fursonas has been getting the more vocal criticism of the two.  Which isn’t surprising.  Fursonas features a lot of topics that depending where you stand, can be seen as exposing an issue most would rather hide, or a sensational attack that continues the negative image of the fandom we’ve been working for years to get over.

The reason?  In the second half of Fursonas, we see director Dominic Rodriguez get pulled over by Anthrocon staff, and he was subsequently banned from Anthrocon for breaking their media policy. The rest of the doc then paints the con chair, Uncle Kage, in a negative light criticizing his practices both with media relations, how Furries should interact (or not) with the media, and the way he “censors” certain figures and topics to make the fandom more acceptable to the mainstream.

Now to make things clear, I like Fursonas. I like that it brings forward issues I believe we should discuss and come to terms with. I think some of the criticism doesn’t come so much from the film itself as that it’s a film the fandom didn’t expect. I’ll go into detail about that later, but this article is not a Fursonas defense piece.  It’s about exploring the topics and reactions that have become clouded with all the drama surrounding the two films. I love that we have two Furry docs that explore two different aspects of the fandom. I’ve even talked to both directors, who wish to express their own thoughts about everything going on. This isn’t trying to end the conversation. It’s to add more and make sure what we debate about is what needs to be debated about.

So let’s first examine the main issue, Dominic Rodriguez being banned from Anthrocon. This bit of information alone has been the deal breaker on whether people should watch the doc. It’s as if because Anthrocon saw fit to ban a film about Furries, then it can’t be worth watching in the first place. When you watch the film, you see the topic of being banned brought up, but also the main reason for them to be banned was because they didn’t agree to a Production Agreement, which would have given some form of creative control over the film to Uncle Kage.

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The Enough Already podcast made me look at furries vs. conservatives, Gamergate and Trump.

by Patch O'Furr

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On this podcast, host Fingers Malloy talks about his visit to Rocky Mountain Fur Con in Denver. It starts 20 minutes in. Thanks to Kieran for sending this.

It’s a gentle outsiders’ look.  Fingers has a pastime of making fun of politics, but furries are spared overdone mockery. (“They’re not hurting anyone”, he says).  He mentions past negativity and compares it to picking low-hanging fruit.

Enough Already is for pop culture and conservative politics. In fact it shares some serious connections to senators, governors, Fox News, etc.

There isn’t a big overlap with conservatives and furries. We talked on Twitter after the show, and they were curious to know why? I gave a very generic reason of demographics.  There’s no politics about being a talking animal and we come in all stripes.  But young and queer people tend not to be overly enamored with the right-wing or christian fundamentalists. That goes both ways.

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Interview with a Secret Furry animator inside a top movie studio.

by Patch O'Furr

zootopiaRemember when everyone went nuts about Zootopia’s animators talking to furries, and even nutsier when it came out that they were intentionally marketing to us?  They noticed us!  

But could the conspiracy go even deeper?  Have you heard other furs wondering if we have insiders in the media (even celebrities), or Secret Furry animators making movies we love?

Here’s an interview with one of those animators. For obvious reasons, identifying details are protected.  I can’t reveal where they work, but I can tell you that they have animated characters in some of the biggest movies ever, as well as having a quiet presence on popular furry sites.  If I told you more, it could make your eyes pop out.  Please excuse me for keeping things vague and teasing you about juicy secrets for me to know and you to find out.

(Patch:) What’s your job like, and how do you like it?
(Secret Furry:) I love what I get to do for a living. It’s hard work and long hours at times, but each project brings new challenges and opportunities that keep things fresh, and help me better my skills. For as long as I’ve been at it, I still feel lucky and appreciative to get to do this every day.

Can you share a favorite movie, and a favorite furry artist?
Pinpointing a favorite movie is too hard for me. I’m an action, sci fi, and horror junky. Some films that I love include Die Hard, Aliens, Predator, Starship Troopers, and Hellraiser. I could go on and on, but you could probably see the direction I tend to lean. On the animation side, Aladdin, Lion King, Spirited Away are some of my faves. As for particular artists I can’t say I have a favorite as of yet. There’s so much great work floating around out there in so many varied styles.

Can you tell the coolest or most silly thing you have seen at work?
I can’t get specific here, but occasionally a celebrity will waltz though. I always kind of geek out when that happens. As for the “silly things,” they happen all the time.  It’s part of what makes the job light and fun even when the pressure and deadlines are on.

Can you tell the coolest or most silly thing you have seen in furry fandom?
I love walking around the open areas of cons, and just people/furry watch. There is always something funny going on, be it a furry on the ground covered in doughnuts, or furs doing fun a creative and spontaneous mini skits to entertain. At this years BLFC there was a guy walking around with a giant die, handing out prizes. Two thumbs up for that!

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Dogpatch Press and Adjective Species covered by The More You Know podcast.

by Patch O'Furr

The More You Know is a new video podcast hosted by Victor Dimitroff. Season 1 Episode 4: Media in the Furry Fandom talks to guests Pup Matthias (David) from Dogpatch Press and Makyo from [Adjective][Species]. While Victor is still in the beginnings of building his channel, I see a lot of promise in his approach to finding guests and planning notes for good conversation of interest to furries. Take a look.

This is about media by furries, not outsiders.  Specifically the kind that covers what’s going on within the subculture.  There’s much more than you would realize just from talking to friends.  That’s why it’s so fun to start and run your own channel.

Victor comments about how Dogpatch Press seems to find endless stories to fill our regular posting schedule. So how do we find them all?

For the answer, watch Victor’s Q&A and then read our site(s).  You see, it’s a bit of a secret recipe.  But the foundation of everything everyone does in this fandom is about participation and loving what we do. That’s not really a secret at all.

With all the stories out there about furries deserving to be known, and all the dislike for the trashy kind in the mainstream, I take it as an informal mission to Be The Media. I am furry fandom, and so can you!  (Ha).  Check our About pages for how to share your story tips or guest posts. We want you.

Thanks very much to Victor, Makyo, and Pup Matthias.  Everyone had in depth chat the whole time.  I wish I could have been present to give more details about the site founding, mission, and investigating stories (I’ll be there in the future.)

It’s a watershed year for furry stuff, and it’s going to be fun to look back in 2017.  Hope you look forward to many great stories to come.

More from The More You Know:

  • Episode 1: The Tech Trio (using Google Hangouts on Air.)
  • Episode 2: Zootopia (with guests November and Kristofur.)
  • Episode 3: About the Host.

The Raccoon’s Den – The First Docudramedy Series in the Furry Fandom.

by Pup Matthias

See The Raccoon’s Den on Youtube. Thanks to Bandit and Pup Matthias for collaborating on this special guest article.  

When I say the word ‘creator’ in the furry fandom, what do you think of?  Mostly likely TRD_2016 Poster (sml)you would think of artist, writers, musicians, animators, game developers, fursuit makers, etc.  One type that doesn’t cross most people’s minds are video creators.  There are examples like EZ Wolf and Duke the Dog with their shorts and music videos, Culturally F’d with their educational videos, and this year has brought us Dominic Rodriguez and Eric Risher with their respected documentaries exploring the fandom. But it’s a relatively small pool compared to the others.

Part of that lies with platform. Most furry sites don’t offer a way for video creators to showcase their work and build a presence like the others. They’re always having to link to YouTube or Vimeo and hope someone will click the link. Furry Network looks to be the only one working on offering video creators a player to support them.  Time will only tell on that front.

(Note from Patch: the medium also brings challenges.  That’s why our ‘Special Features and Top Articles’ just added a section about THE NASCENT FURRY MOVIE SCENE.)

What’s truly sad about this is the way video creators have the best opportunity to explain and showcase what our fandom is.  Capturing the moments of celebration, joy, hardship, misunderstanding, and exploring what makes the furry fandom what it is.

There’s a series for that already. It’s been going on for over seven years, with almost one hundred episodes that explore what the fandom is. That show is The Raccoon’s Den.

Christopher Parque-Johnson, creator of the Raccoon’s Den, is better known as Bandit in the fandom. He was introduced to the fandom from a fan-made forum for the film ‘Over the Hedge’, which inspired him to have a raccoon fursona after the title character of the film.

I got into the furry fandom after seeing “Over the Hedge” in 2006, joined a fan-made forum and a friend on there made an RP account for RJ the Raccoon on MySpace (back when people used it). I joined the fandom on July 20th and up until 2009, I was just another person on the internet who liked being part of the community. I felt welcomed and accepted for being myself here and that was something I wasn’t able to feel outside of it.

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Fursuiters on Food Network, and Cosplay celebrity wants a suit – NEWSDUMP (9/30/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race features Fursuiters.

I’m told that a minute of air time was recorded during a “furry scurry” in Chicago.  (I’m pretty sure I have heard of such an event, but can’t find it at Lake Area Furry Friends.) I hope one day that term replaces “furmeet” for meets that get you out of the house, and maybe involve Street Fursuiting (my favorite thing.)

Cosplay celebrity Jessica Nigri wants to join the Furry side.

Nigri is known as a model/promoter for video games, and interviewer/correspondent at cons.  It’s amazing when a subculture grows large enough to have it’s own hired sub-services… when is it no longer “sub” culture?  (Imagine if “popufur” actually meant anything to anyone besides furries?)  Popularity-wise, I suspect she’s famous-for-being-famous, but I don’t know enough to judge. I just hope this involves interest in what furries actually do.  It’s a new item for the next “Celebrifurry” list:

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A chat with Uncle Kage about Anthrocon’s amazing achievements in 2015.

by Patch O'Furr

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This year, it seems like more great press attention went to Anthrocon than ever before.  Take a look!  (Here’s everything I could find in July.)

Why was there rising attention?  One of the big reasons was the fursuit parade.  For the first time in an almost two-decade history, the con took an amazing spectacle seen in private out to a public street.  A lot of the locals must wonder what goes on behind the doors of the con.  Getting to see it drew an enthusiastic crowd of “normals” almost as large as the convention itself.  Apart from the furry/crowd interaction, this was a big deal because of all the logistics and relationship building behind the scenes.  It promises great things to come.

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Swat Kats creator gives an interview about the show, with a few days left on Kickstarter!

by Patch O'Furr

Enjoy Christian Tremblay’s interview with Dogpatch Press below, and help make a cool show happen.

The campaign ends 8/22/15:  SWAT-KATS REVOLUTION, by TREMBLAY BROS STUDIOS.

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Demand from devoted fans is bringing back the Swat Kats TV series for the first time in 20 years.  Fandom kept the show alive since it was canceled in 1994 with only two seasons.  If you missed it, here’s the lowdown from Swatkats.info:

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President Obama’s fur meet – The “Celebrifurry” List, PART 1: Politicians and VIP’s.

by Patch O'Furr

Mr. President, why are they so sexy?Obama hangs out with furries!  The proof is below.  Mr. President, why are they so sexy? 

This tiny subculture has more influence than many members even realize.  The topic grew from a furry influence article that drew extra high traffic: (Mainstream advertising: “More and more, Furries are being hinted at in marketing media.”)  Advertisers covet “street cred”, and subcultures have it.  Even tiny notices are new and different, because they show a subculture on the rise.

Now, many people want to know:  Are there any secret furry celebrities?  Who likes furries in the mainstream?  Here’s a Buzzfeed-esque topic that will fluff your fur, or raise your hackles!

  • PART 1) – Politicians and VIP’s.  
  • PART 2) – Actors, comedians, and media personalities.
  • PART 3) – Musicians.

This is a non-fandom list.  And OK, “celebrifurry” is exaggerating.  Almost none have “come out of the kennel” as BEING furry.  Keep low expectations.  This is “15 seconds of fame” encounters, coincidences, and near-rumors.  Celebrity confessions of cartoon crushes can make the list (because getting hot for Robin Hood is a Thing.)  The list also has some animal costuming that hints about association.  But let’s avoid lazy exploitation (like talk shows or Howard Stern), because they’d exploit any group with little recognition beyond stereotypes – and you’ve seen all that hype before.  Many of these items are overlooked or ambiguous, so it makes a short, incomplete list.  This is as good as it gets so far… but wait until there’s a fursuiter campaign for president.

Politicians and VIP’s

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