Interview with a Secret Furry animator inside a top movie studio.
by Patch O'Furr
Remember 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!
How did you get into furry stuff?
I don’t remember exactly the point at which I got swept up into the fandom. It’s odd because the costume characters at Disney Land always terrified me as a kid. I also remember really enjoying anthropomorphic art back when the internet was slower then dirt. I loved shows like TMNT, and Gargoyles. Brooklyn was my fav. Out of everything I believe that cartoons and art were probably the gateway drugs. Also, Halloween was and still is my favorite holiday. I use to love to dress up as monsters and buy all kinds of masks. Getting to be something else was so freeing and fun.
Did you get into it before taking a professional path?
I was into it in when I was in college, but had other interests that dominated more time. However I didn’t fully embrace it until around 3 years ago. Now I have a suit under commission, and draw furry art more then non-furry.
What does furry fandom mean to you?
It’s a fun and creative community, with a unique and varied fan base that is welcoming and tolerant. It’s also so great to be part of the social outlet the fandom provides.
Do you do a lot of furry stuff in person?
I’ve gone to a few particular cons 2-3 times over the past 3 years as well as a local dance event regularly. I’ve also gotten to meet a lot of great people and gone to a few meet ups and parties.
How much do you keep closeted or “in the kennel” about furry?
Though I wish I wasn’t, I’m extremely “in the kennel” about my furriness. My family doesn’t know, and my co workers don’t know. I actually feel as though it would be detrimental if some of my interests became known. This causes me to live a double life which is exhausting. 2 sets of friends, social sites, etc.
Is it just a hobby, or more complicated with other identity?
I identify with my character for sure, and have a lot of emotional investment in him. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the “real” me. It’s more of “another” me. I also have a pup persona as well.
How hard is it to keep it to yourself, whether practically or emotionally?
I think it would be harder if I didn’t have a partner or furry friends I could share my interests with. Thankfully I have both.
How many people do you let in on all the details?
I have told a few of my furry friends about more specific details, but it’s after I have known them for a while and feel like I can trust them. The first time I told someone it was hard but there was also a small element of relief. Having people you can trust is an emotionally healthy thing to have, and getting that within the fandom is awesome.
Are you strictly a pro at work, or is there any blurring of the boundaries – like have you animated characters that felt furry?
Well I keep things professional at all times at work, and while there are things that lean towards the furry direction, I have never personally worked with anything that was 100% furry.
How do you feel about NSFW dirty furry stuff?
Totally fine with it. Some of the art I draw, as well as some of the art that got me into the fandom in the first place is absolutely NSFW. However, I tend to feel my fursona is much more of a fun loving innocent character. My in person debauchery tends to be committed when i’m in pup mode, but not all the time.
Does being a Secret Furry make anything different about the dirty stuff?
I don’t get more excited about the dirty stuff because it’s a secret. I just like it, though I don’t know exactly why.
Do you know of other Secret Furries, colleagues or not?
Nope. As far as I know I’m an army of one. If there are, I’m sure they keep it under wraps for the same reasons.
What would happen if you couldn’t keep furry stuff separate from work?
I feel like it would for sure change the dynamic of the way people interact with me, and quite possibly hurt my longterm career. I don’t know that for sure but I just get the feeling. What wold probably be even worse would be if my pup stuff got outed. It’s seems to be seen by the public as a fringe and “crazy” thing to be into.
Have you seen others affected by being private or open? What happened?
Not personally, but I see quite a few jokes made that are about furries. I kind of just chuckle along
Were you aware of stigma about this in the past, and do you think it’s changed?
I feel like it’s always existed, be it though jokes my friends would make, or internet memes, or media coverage. It’s kind of made it even more difficult to imagine ever telling anyone outside the fandom.
Years ago, a talented furry was fired from a high profile mascot job they loved, because they were seen in the background of a TV show about Fur Con. They called it a “morals” issue. What would you say, if you could say anything to anyone involved?
I don’t know any of the personal details about this, or anything about the person who was fired, but it certainly sounds like an ignorant decision. I’d probably ask them to reconsider and try to explain that it’s fantastic hobby with many aspects positive and creative branches. It can even be a therapeutic way for those that battle social anxiety, to get out and have fun. I’d ask if the person fired had been seen at Comic Con dressed as Rocket Raccoon alongside Star Lord, would he/she still be fired? People seem to connect the furry community directly to sexual behavior, and while some of that does exist, it’s not the majority, and besides, a person’s sexual interests – (as long as it’s not breaking any rules/laws, or harming anyone) – is their business. Ultimately this just seems discriminatory.
Do you have anything to say to people who wonder about Secret Furries?
Like anyone who keeps a secret like this; part of the reason we’re closeted is because of a fear of social rejection. It’s a fear that’s justified by jokes, social media, and obsessively misguided journalism. It’s a hobby like any other and poses just as much of a threat as them. It’s different and can be visually arresting, but the people involved are kind, amazing people. Keep that in mind next time you put a joke in the cannon.
Have any advice for furry artists?
About furry art, no. I’m horrible. (Not true – Patch) For artists that are furries, I’d say there aren’t many artist jobs out there that cater strictly to the furry stuff. If that’s your only interest you may find getting a job difficult. Always strive to do what you love, but realize you have to develop skills that people are looking for, and you’re better off casting the widest net. I apologize for the vagueness but I could probably give more direct and tailored advice to artists in my profession.
Any other thoughts about furry fandom?
Keep being, fuzzy, fun, and adorable!
Any other thoughts about animation and movies?
I would love to see the industry offer more of a varied range of films across genres and ratings. The American market directly connects animated films to family films. There have been a few outliers here and there; most recently “South Park” and “Sausage Party,” but these types of movies are far and few between. There just doesn’t seem to be the market for that kind of stuff like there is in places like Japan. Come on people. Let’s make it happen!
Thanks to Secret Furry for sharing. The international conspiracy is real!
I think keeping things so vauge hurts this, really nothing to latch onto, or any in depth answers! Gear idea though
I know! 🙁 And thanks. It was hard to even get agreement to share this much. Being more specific could easily narrow it down to a handful of people because that industry is so specialized. So, maybe in the future there will be an Andrew WK moment of a famous furry being revealed because they’re too loved to hate.
Sadly it can’t be helped due to the nature and concept of the piece. While you might not be able to get direct targeted answers, I think there is still fun incite to be gained though about the mentality and thought process of someone in that position.
Also I bet they are super awesome and the best ever… Clearly they are also super smart and super cool.
Good read! Another who comes to mind is Emmy Cicierega, a toon Disney animator. She works on Ducktales and worked on Gravity Falls and also was behind the once-famed Potter Puppet Pals with her brother. But before that I think she arrived on the internet around 2001 same as me. Her fursona was a cream tiger named Bindi who she posted on DeviantArt a lot.. and I think fanart.lionking.org as well? Sadly, she drew Bindi less and less after taking on other projects like PPP.