Style Of Eye - Love Looks
This video has to be one of my most memorable experiences with a project. The idea was for me, my DP, and producer to go to Portland and catch a glimpse of what life as a furry is like. Portland was having their second ever furry convention and it was our job to make a music video that captured the event and lifestyle, but we got so much more. First off, we weren't allowed to film anywhere at the convention because as it turns out, Portland furries HATE media. Luckily I did my research before hand - I went onto the newly founded event's Facebook page and began approaching individual furries, telling them about our project and how we'd love to spend some time with them around the city to capture their stories and personalities. My producer and I searched forums and message boards for local furries - the furry community in Portland was very small and new, and it seemed local furries were just learning how to discover each other in the city. We made it clear that our project was to celebrate the furry culture and show the real and human side to it, but many of them were afraid to get involved, and quite a few even treated us with hostility. Apparently the year before, MTV came to the first convention to film and put focus on the idea of furry culture being a sexual fetish - a common misconception that I too was under the impression of. It turns out that only a small percentage of furries sexualize it, but that's what the media tends to cover because it's the most shocking and attention grabbing. In reality, we met all kinds of different people, all of which have the same interest in anthropomorphism - meaning an animal that walks on 2 legs. Some wrote fan faction, others drew anthropomorphic creatures or wore fur suits or tails, and all of them had their own "fursona" or animal character they have created and identify with. Days before the convention, we met with the furries we had approached online who would be attending, and we spent some time with them individually. The most interesting person we came across was Scooby Jim - an older man with a Scooby-Doo obsession. And I must say, obsession is an understatement. When we first drove up the long dirt driveway to his house, I could see him in the distance, wearing his tail, and dancing by himself. He was extremely happy and excited to meet us, and he showed us around his house he had bought from his parents after they passed. Everywhere you looked, the house was absolutely covered in Scooby-Doo merchandise. Towels, lunchboxes, mugs, puzzles, you name it. He said he's been addicted to collecting Scooby-Doo stuff since he was 11 years old, and that the first time he ever saw Scooby, he was in love. Scooby Jim was interesting because there was a kind energy and an obvious loneliness to him. But he knew exactly who he was, and he wasn't going to change in order to find acceptance. It was also obvious to me that he was new to being a furry - maybe because they would judge him less for his Scooby-Doo affinity. He told us that the upcoming convention would be his first time interacting with furries, and that he was very nervous and excited. Since we weren't allowed to film at the 3-day convention, we spent our days walking around the convention and warming up to furries, getting involved in their games or small events - we sang karaoke with them, played board games with them, and ate lunch with them. Some of them really liked us, others hated us and refused to look at us, and it was obvious that the furries who wanted to be a part of our project were scared of what their other furry friends would think - it was a very small community, and our presence was definitely stirring things up. On the second day of the convention, we got on a panel which addressed the concern of us being there. I got to openly speak for a while about our project and how we wanted to show the real side of furries that the media doesn’t cover. Ultimately I was asking permission to let us get footage around the convention, because by that point we had plenty of footage of individual furries outside of the event, and all we needed was some group shots of them all in one place to give the viewer context of how this is a community. We could tell they really wanted to trust us, but decided the no-film policy would remain. So instead of filming the conventions' dance competition on the 3rd day, we rented a hotel conference room a few buildings down, and hosted our own dance party for any furries who wanted to join - with the understanding that they will be on camera. We provided a DJ setup and pizza for a few hours, and surprisingly, a lot of the furries we had rubbed elbows with came out to dance, film interviews, and hang out. The best part was that we all had a great time.