Please start by introducing yourself and your project for anyone not familiar with your work.
I am Ash Coyote, a furry youtuber and filmmaker from Colorado. A lot of my work focuses on the LGBT community and the furry fandom. My current project, “The Fandom”, is a docu-series turning the lens on the artists and creators who help our community to thrive.
How did you discover the furry fandom?
I would say I have always been a little furry, I loved animal characters growing up. Robin Hood and The Lion King were my two favorite films as a kid. I think I first came across the term furry from a friend in high school. She drew this really cute anthro version of a stargate character and I was super intrigued. I asked her what she called that style of art, got the answer and away to google I went.
How did you decide the species for your fursona?
I wasn’t always a coyote. My first character was a wolf and then a dingo. I ended up settling on a coyote after I transitioned because it just sorta fit. The coyote is a little more weathered and wiser to the world. Also, almost all my friends are coyotes so there’s that too.
How many furry conventions do you go to in a year?
We usually try to hit up about three or four conventions. MFF, BLFC and TFF oh and then our hometown con Denfur.
What is your favorite convention experience?
I think my favorite con experience thus far was meeting some of the younger trans folks in our community that I have had a positive impact on. I had one that came up to me with their parents and told me how I had helped them come out to their parents… Their parents thanked me and it was just a ton of emotions. It was sort of a moment where you realize that something you did actually helped someone in a meaningful way.
How often do you wear your fursuit?
I wear my suit pretty regularly, usually several times a week for videos. Then of course at conventions I like to suit a lot there.
What parts of the furry fandom do you connect with the most?
I love that our fandom has helped to facilitate a positive community for LGBTQ individuals. It’s something that everyone needs in their life. Having furry as a support system through my life and transition has been incredible. It also offers a lot of artistic outlets that are less accessible in the outside world. I have friends whose entire business is based in the fandom and I think that is so cool.
Do you belong to any other fandoms?
I do attend sci-fi cons from time to time but nothing really beyond that.
What do you do outside of the furry fandom?
Outside of furry I am a photographer and worked about 10 years as a DoP (Director of Photography) on films and commercials. I love art in all its forms and love experimenting with new mediums. Animation has been an area that I have been playing around with recently but just on the “for fun” level, nothing serious.
What is the hardest part of what you do that most people probably wouldn’t realize?
A lot of folks approaching film nowadays think you just turn on a camera hit record and that’s the film. Things like lighting, composition and story are harder. I spend a lot of time in planning and preparation for my projects so by the time I get on location I know exactly what I need for the final piece to be complete. For the fandom miniseries we are wrapping up right now, I think we are north of 500 hours between myself, my husband Chip and my colleague Ash.
How did you get started making furry YouTube videos?
I started diving into YouTube because I saw an opportunity to help educate and produce content that could serve as a gateway into the community. Like I said before, the fandom really helped me by giving me a supportive community. In a lot of ways, I just want to give back so that others might benefit from it the way I have.
What’s your favorite part about making videos for the furry community?
I think my favorite part about furry YouTube is the absurdity of it all. A coyote talking about trans issues? I mean that’s kind of ridiculous in its own way, but it has a disarming quality to it, something that I don’t think I could achieve out of suit. It is sort of a means to break the ice on tough issues.
What inspired you to make a series about the furry fandom?
The Fandom was started as a direct response to the CNN documentary about furries, which while good, lacked a lot of what I felt the fandom actually is. I just wanted to share what makes this community so special with the outside world. It’s really hard to find good representations of us in the media. It sort of evolved into something a bit more in depth exploring the different elements of the fandom. For the miniseries, I approached topics like identity, media representation, suits, expression and a lot more.
What are your goals for this fandom documentary project?
My goal with this project is to give people a real life look at the fandom as represented through the people whole cultivate our community and help us to thrive. Furry is an incredible community but is still misunderstood by the outside world despite the progress we have made over the years. The fandom isn’t any one thing. It is whatever we choose to make of it.
Your next goal is to make a feature-length documentary after finishing the miniseries – what will that process include?
Our next project is a feature length documentary on the furry fandom with an eye towards our history as well as deeper exploration of the topics addressed in the miniseries. My hope is that we can turn this project into something that will share what we are with the outside world.
How will you be raising money for the documentary? And, how can people help if they are interested in doing so?
I will be fundraising through Kickstarter which will coincide with the launch of the series this month. We also have a Patreon associated with the channel if anyone is interested in donating before the Kickstarter is live.
What advice would you give a person just getting into the fandom?
I would say just go for it and find where you fit in. The fandom is a colorful bunch of critters and some of the friendliest folks that I have met. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and explore that identity within the fandom.
Is there anything that we didn’t talk about that you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for the interview! I look forward to sharing our progress on this and future projects with y’all down the road.