This is yet another cautionary tale of media manipulation.
I’ve talked a lot about how I’m quite disappointed with my TV appearance and what a disaster I think it was. I get a lot of questions about what in specific I was unhappy with, so I’ve decided to make a master list of some points that explain how the mockumentary was manipulated! Let’s begin, shall we?
1. They filmed my portion of the documentary over a five day period, around eight hours each day. There were a lot of informative bits that were cut, including, to my recollection:
- portions of an hour long interview with me where I explain what it is like to be otherkin, and give a definition of otherkin that I feel is correct.
- portions where a tour was given of Kinmunity (then called “Wulf Howl”) was given, and I was interviewed regarding my inspiration for creating an online community
- Jade’s entire story, beyond being my friend.
- A final interview of me at the pier was cut heavily, only mere seconds of a fifteen minute interview made it into the final product.
2. A lot of the documentary was manipulated and/or edited. It wasn’t done so outright, more through clever coaching and framing together. Namely:
- The infamous quote and bark. I was told to bark at the water, and the quote itself and the bark weren’t even filmed in the same day.
- Shopping at the pet store was their idea. I attempted to arrange filming at a wolf preserve (that I visit semi-regularly) of me interacting with wolves. What would be a better visual of therianthropy than that? Apparently, shopping at a pet store.
- I had specifically requested, multiple times in multiple different ways, that my parents not be interviewed. They did so behind my back, assuming, because “it’s better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission”
3. Other people in the documentary did not accurately represent the community, some were not even members of it.
- Caleb and his group were active within the furry fandom, but not the therianthropy nor otherkin community. He loosely used the word therian prior to the documentary, but had no knowledge of nor did he participate in the greater community.
- wicthdragon (Ben) has participated in the community, namely on “The Werelist”, but is hardly a reputable member of it. I do not believe Luna participates in the online community at all.
4. Less than one minute into the montage, relationships and sex lives are discussed… and the “documentary” hasn’t even begun yet.
- Polyamory has nothing to do with being otherkin, and shouldn’t be a focus of a documentary meant to showcase otherkin.
- Ben and Luna’s description of their sex life was unnecessary and unwelcome.
- While the documentary does not directly state so, re-watching it, I feel as they were attempting to imply that Jade and I were a couple. She is a cisgender lesbian, and I had a mate at the time.
5. It mixes in a bunch of furries who have nothing to do with the otherkin community. So there’s that!
- I had stated multiple times pre-filming, during filming, and post-filming that otherkin and furry were entirely different concepts. This was COMPLETELY ignored.
- Visions of furries, not even those interviewed, were constant throughout the documentary when the word “otherkin” was narrated.
6. No respect was given to any of the participants being filmed.
- I was referred to as “Matthew” multiple times by the narrator. I requested, very specifically, that I be referred to only as Shiro, except in the specific context of mentioning my name change.
- Furry pornography present in another participant’s home was observed by the camera.
- The people filming would intentionally bring up “hot topics” during family dinners in order to spark a debate.
As much as I want to say that if I had a chance to “undo” the documentary, I probably wouldn’t. The experience was valuable and it did indeed result in me being rid of my birth name, something I had desired since childhood. I would, however, change how I conducted myself during filming. I would not allow myself to get comfortable with anyone, and I would have tried to present myself as respectably as possible.
It has also resulted in opportunities where I am able to clear up misconceptions about the community and act as a stronger ally for it; namely, I have been asked to do panels at conventions and elaborate on my experiences.