|An Interview With The Bunny
||[Oct. 4th, 2013|02:57 pm]
Not long ago I was interviewed by Grease Coakes for Bixyl Shuftan’s Second Life News Blog. It took me a while to get around to viewing the finished result, and I found the editing to be embarrassingly bad. Which is disappointing since I was hoping to use it for a new “What Is Spectral Shadows” page, as it’s a rare demonstration of how I would explain my series if put on the spot without any opportunity to compose. But unfortunately the edit totally lost all that. Thus I will present here my own edit of the transcript from the interview, which I can link to instead.
It needs to be edited because the nature of chat windows causes the answers to questions to not always come out in the right order. Grease would move on and ask two or three questions before I could type the answer to the first, and then I would have to back read the other questions and answer them while he asked even more questions, making the transcript a difficult read. So I need to put the answers together with the questions. And of course it’s all very rushed. So there are a lot of typos to be fixed.
Another thing that is bad which I will leave in is that Grease used the interview to shamelessly promote his own writing projects. It was very unprofessional of him, but far be it from me to deny a fellow Furry some promotion at my expense. I just hope Grease realizes his conduct during this interview is all I have to go on in building the character he’ll be playing in Spectral Shadows. ~_^
The interview took place in the Spectral Shadows art gallery on Second Life.
Grease Coakes: Hi Coyote. Hi Perri.
Perri Prinz: Hi.
Grease Coakes: This gallery is amazing. This is all the Spectral Shadows pictures?
Perri Prinz & RECoyote Mindes: Yes.
Grease Coakes: Some of these pictures remind me of scenes from my own story I’m writing now. But what can you tell me about your series? What's it about?
Perri Prinz: It's a long gothic sci-fi adventure soap opera about a planet that has re-evolved into an anthro society after a genetic war, among other things.
Grease Coakes: Wow, so a lot of the characters are Furries like you and me?
Perri Prinz: Well, yes and no. On most planets in the Spectral Shadows universe the anthros are Furry standard. But on the main planet the story is dealing with now the anthros have internal sex organs rather than external. So they have no functional need for clothing, other than to denote their jobs or positions of authority.
RECoyote Mindes: All but two.
Grease Coakes: Oh, there's two humans? They must be the minority then.
RECoyote Mindes: One gets turned into a fox; the other is only there for a few hours.
Grease Coakes: Is that the picture where she looks in the mirror and she sees a fox look back at her?
[Note: I never got to answer that question. He was referring to the picture linked here.]
Grease Coakes: So in general they walk around naked and only show their sex parts if they intend to use them, except for the two humans?
Perri Prinz: Yes, sex parts only come out when in use.
Grease Coakes: Do these Furries [or] animal people live on Cygnus?
Perri Prinz: Yes, they live on the planet Cygnus.
Grease Coakes: So it sounds like your story is character driven as they go through life's challenges with their friends and foes?
Perri Prinz: Yes, it very much gets into the personal day to day trials of characters, most of whom are in unusual or controversial situations.
Grease Coakes: Like what? What's a fave scene or storyline that's a good example?
Perri Prinz: My favorite ongoing scenario involves the main fox girl character who came from a human world in the distant past and was then transformed into a fox so she can live more comfortably in the future. She basically explores the new anthro world and has to adjust to a very different type of society, giving lots of comparisons to human society and which aspects she feels have been improved, which have gotten worse, and which are just comically absurd. She tends to laugh a lot at the things she discovers.
Grease Coakes: So she's a stranger in a strange land where animals walk and talk and the things they take for granted shock her?
Perri Prinz: Yes. She feels like she's walked into a world populated by cartoon animals.
Grease Coakes: That doesn't sound so bad. I would imagine it's not a perfect world, but it's probably better than our real world.
I'd say Glenda and her roommate do run into an interesting situation. I know for one thing in my story they show a terrible event live on the news which scares my characters. It shows how the news always had bad news to show the TV audience.
Perri Prinz: There are news stories in my series as well. There will be a 9/11 allegory coming up in the serial next year.
Grease Coakes: Oh, ok. A major event like 9/11 sounds pretty big.
Perri Prinz: Yes, I expect the 9/11 scenario to run for quite a while.
Grease Coakes: I think characters is what makes and writes stories. The plot writes itself as the characters talk and react to each other as they follow their motives and personalities. What would you say to that?
Perri Prinz: Yes, it's very character driven, as is the nature of soap operas.
Grease Coakes: And I want to say that it's cool, Perri, that we use the same artist. By the way, how long have you been writing your soap opera series?
Perri Prinz: I started the first official writing in 1979, but I was conceiving the ideas as far back as the mid 60's.
Grease Coakes: Is there crime and violence in your stories?
Perri Prinz: Yes, there are gangsters and corporate criminals in the series, as well as political corruption.
Grease Coakes: Sounds like a dangerous world with animals. But looking at the pictures it looks like a lot of character interaction too. Not just mindless violence like in an action movie.
Perri Prinz: Some places on the planet are more dangerous than others. There are 50 or so towns on the only populated continent, each with its own peculiar religion based on some aspect of popular culture left behind by the elder race of humans. The town where the main fox girl lives has a religion based on black & white TV shows. It's one of the safer towns. But there are other towns with religions based on such things as gangster movies, feline totalitarianism, spy films and gothic horror. Life expectancy is not as good in some of these towns.
Grease Coakes: Wow, the gangster town sounds deadly. So the animal people or Furries base their lifestyle on TV shows and movies?
Perri Prinz: And literature and various other things left behind by the elder race. There’s a town that worships rock music, and another that takes The Wizard Of Oz to be a sacred scripture.
Grease Coakes: That would be interesting to run into. Wizard of Oz is a fun movie to watch, but it would be creepy to treat it as a religion. So they might try and kill witches with water and they build a yellow brick road?
[Note: I never got to respond to this. There probably is a yellow brick road in my Oz town, but I seriously doubt water would hurt the witches, as they aren’t really witches. Witch is just a political office in Oz Town.]
Grease Coakes: Elder Race? You mean the world was once populated by humans or some other race, and they are all gone now?
Perri Prinz: It was a human world before the genetic war melted all human and animal DNA into a slag from which the anthro species evolved.
Grease Coakes: Oh, I see. So the animal and human DNA melted together to make these Furries. No wonder each town has their own theme they see influences from the past.
Perri Prinz: The literary object of having all these towns is to create an allegory of religion itself, to show how anything can be made into a religion, as well as what good or bad may come from it.
Grease Coakes: I had a plot idea like that. Where the day before Glenda Griffin's appointment to get an abortion the abortion doctor gets shot and killed. When the government sees that the priest shot the doctor all the funding to that church is wiped out. Luckily Glenda Griffin has a couple wanting her perfect hybrid child for 100K in cash so that saves her day, and pays for her college education.
[Note: I did not respond to this on purpose. I had never read Grease’s stories, and I had my hands full answering questions about my own work. I was seriously thrown off balance by these unrelated interjections. For the most part I didn’t even have time to read them, let alone comprehend them well enough to discuss them.]
Grease Coakes: Oh yeah, did my character [appearing] in your story series do anything interesting? You said you turned him into a reporter.
Perri Prinz: Your character is just coming in to the story in the part I'm writing now. He will be used to bring out the fact that avians do not have the same rights as other anthros in the town where our main protagonist lives.
Grease Coakes: Really! Why is that? Actually I had an avian arrested for flying into the Cleveland zoo without paying. Daisy Shepard makes the arrest. Glenda Griffin wisely pays the admission instead.
Perri Prinz: Well, this re-evolved anthro society has a peculiar hang up about behaving like humans. They have established certain standards about how human an anthro must look, and they have decided avians do not look acceptably human, and they use this to justify prejudice.
Grease Coakes: This sounds a lot like how I was treated at that human club [on Second Life] as I was barred for being Furry. Well, not barred but kicked. So bird Furries are treated unfairly for how they look? That's not their fault. That seems unfair, like RL prejudice in real life based on someone's skin color.
Perri Prinz: Yes, the idea is to demonstrate the human tendency towards prejudice will always manifest itself in some form, even when humans have evolved into a species of such infinite variety that there can be no uniformity, they will still feel a need to mark some people as different and justify hating them.
Grease Coakes: That sounds like poor Greg Griffin, the son of Glenda Griffin. He's a boy and he's pink. Luckily for him as a perfect Hybrid. He can defend himself, but that's not a good thing, as sports teams won't let him try out for professional sports and he can't seem to get a bodyguard position either.
Pink makes him popular with girls, but stops him from getting jobs he can blossom in.
Difference will never be accepted. Lots of people identify with the white man in political power. I bet lots of people don't like the president now only based on his skin color.
Oh yeah the Catholic Church is very like that. Who can out Jesus, who? Most church goers are sane people, but some people take it too far.
So like sometimes in my stories your stories reflect goings on in real life in your planet of Furries? And shows in various towns how pop culture affects people if they treat it like a religion?
Perri Prinz: Yes, it not only shows how creepy religions can be, but also in a roundabout way how every religion is nothing more than an over glorified fandom.
I'm from the old school of Furry writing that thought everything in a Furry story should be an allegory of something in real life, a demonstration of the human condition, or an illustration of a philosophy. You will rarely find any part of my saga that isn't attempting to do one or all of those.
Grease Coakes: Yeah I’m the same way. The end of my story, football players are part of a plot to sell Furry women to another town as prostitutes and kidnap them. In the real world a similar event was covered up by the higher ups in the town.
They had football higher than human decency, but instead in my story when the kidnappers and rapists are caught they are prosecuted. Glenda Griffin's future husband slams someone's head into a wall.
I give my characters astrological signs and D & D attributes to help define their character. Do you do something similar?
For example Glenda Griffin is a Scorpio and Phil her husband is a Virgo.
Perri Prinz: No, not as a rule. I generally start with an animal type, and then give it a personality type. Then, as I develop the character's background, a personality develops.
Grease Coakes: Oh ok ^.^
Perri Prinz: One thing in this particular story is that each character comes from one town or another. And the religion of that town will be a big influence on the character.
Grease Coakes: Oh yeah, I would imagine so. The Gangster town must be very violent. The Wizard of Oz town must be screwy in the head and not really connected to reality.
Perri Prinz: Yes, short life expectancy is a staple of the religion of the gangster town. The Oz town has an extremely corrupt government that consists of 4 witches that are either good or bad. But because bad witches can arrange accidents for the good witches and good witches can not do the same, there are almost always 4 bad witches ruling the town.
Grease Coakes: Wow, so sometimes being a good person can work against you. Playing by the rules doesn't always work.
Like for example Dusty Coakes shoots to kill when he confronts criminals. It might not be morally right, but as a cop he has zero tolerance towards lives being threatened. He picks the low road and shoots to kill to stop violent people.
Do you have any fave characters that your readers should look for?
Perri Prinz: Well, Christine, our main protagonist fox girl is pretty popular. As are her companions, Vicki the Blue Vixen and Kacey the pink geek squnk. [squirrel/skunk] It's through Kacey that many aspects of Furry Fandom and GBLT situations are explored. Kacey is the only one of my characters to have attracted a seriously obsessed fan who collects anything I can give him of her.
Grease Coakes: Really? You have a fan obsessed with your stories? That must be a mixed blessing.
I do have a girl on girl scene. It wouldn't work right with men. Sadly Wanda Wolf makes a big mistake afterwards. Her 10 Wis screws her up. But no one would read about characters if they did everything perfectly. People relate to characters in books and stories if they go through the same struggles of real life people.
[Note: I have no idea what Grease meant by “10 Wis.”]
Perri Prinz: Actually, I have several fans who contact me from time to time, but this one fellow is seriously obsessed with the series, and in particular the Kacey character. Yes, it is very much a mixed blessing having fans and being so readily available to talk to them. On the one hand it's very encouraging and an incentive to keep going, in spite of my failing health, but on the other it puts me in mind of my responsibilities to keep things going, which can be a bit hard for me to deal with in some of my weaker moments.
Grease Coakes: Wow so you create your own cult or religion with real life fans following you just like you a town in your own series. It must be a good series then.
Perri Prinz: I like to think it's a very good series. Certainly the fans praise it enough that I should believe it. But I work hard to maintain a high standard of quality, which is not easy to do with the volume of work that needs to be done.
Grease Coakes: Oh yeah. I have to go back lots and fix things. I had to change a whole paragraph as I thought about it and thought Glenda Griffin would be more thankful towards the cop that saved her life.
Perri Prinz: I try not to change things any more than necessary after something has been published, as some readers do not re-read. But before the point of publishing, my plans for future episodes go through many changes. But once something is published it’s in the official continuity, and I'm pretty much stuck with it.
I’m currently working on episode 132 of the current serial. I am expecting this serial to run well over 300 episodes.
Grease Coakes: Wow 132 episodes and you're aiming for 300? That’s a lot of work.
Perri Prinz: Yes, and that's only one serial in a series with 32 proposed serials.
Grease Coakes: Damn. It must be something that happens in the end for over 300 episodes. Something big, that is.
Perri Prinz: It is intended to be a series in the tradition of long running serials like Doctor Who and Dark Shadows. Much of the formatting of the series comes from those shows. The soap opera aspect from Dark Shadows and the episodic serial aspect of Doctor Who.
Grease Coakes: I know about Doctor Who, that brit show who travels through time and space in the phone box [called] the TARDIS. What's Dark Shadows about?
Perri Prinz: Dark Shadows was a soap opera in the 60's and 70's that involved gothic horror themes, centered around a single family that lived in a gothic mansion that was plagued with ghosts, witches, werewolves and vampires. And, no, it wasn't a comedy. It took it all very seriously. And that's a big aspect of my work. My concepts may often seem comical to describe, but they are all taken with unwavering seriousness, and they work when all logic says you shouldn't be able to do that and have it taken seriously.
Grease Coakes: So Dark Shadows was meant to be taken seriously with gothic horror themes that was serious. That sounds familiar somehow.
That's true Glenda or her daughter being able to launch into full speed flight by jumping off a wall or floor seems out there, but it seems reasonable.
Perri Prinz: Dark Shadows introduced the concept of the sympathetic vampire. There would be none of the vampire series they have today without that alteration in the vampire concept.
Grease Coakes: Ahhh, I didn't know that. So no Buffy or Angel without that show or being human from the UK.
So every episode the gothic family had to slay a werewolf or ghost?
Perri Prinz: Actually, it was more like they had to find ways of saving the ghosts, vampires and werewolves from themselves. Such things, even death itself, were like afflictions that could be overcome.
Grease Coakes: Ahh, sounds interesting. So it was more like helping the werewolves and ghosts from their own faults and flaws?
Perri Prinz: More like someone would be cursed with one of these afflictions, and others would help find ways of getting them out from under the curse.
Grease Coakes: Sounds like a neat show where monsters and vampires were treated like people and not beings to be feared. Well, mindless beasts from the movies, I guess
Perri Prinz: Yes, it ran for something close to 1300 episodes, if I recall correctly.
Grease Coakes: Damn. 1,300. You mean the Dark Shadows show? That's crazy.
Perri Prinz: Yes, Dark Shadows, but that is the nature of soap operas. One continuing, ever developing story, containing many sub-plots that come and go, following the storyline of multiple characters at the same time, and airing 5 days a week over a number of years. The episodes add up to staggering numbers. And that's the format I'm working in with Spectral Shadows.
Grease Coakes: Wow.
Btw what species am I in your story a full bird or griffin?
Perri Prinz: You're a Gryphon in my story, based on the picks you posed for.
[Note: Grease was invited into the cast of Spectral Shadows because he works on the Second Life newspaper Bixyl owns. And I thought it would be cool to have both characters involved with the same newspaper in Spectral Shadows. Grease is seen below modeling for his role in my series at this link.]
Grease Coakes: w/b Coyote
RECoyote Mindes: ty. What is the tinkling?
Grease Coakes: tinkling?
RECoyote Mindes: The chimes.
Grease Coakes: Oh that's my chat ao.
RECoyote Mindes: They’re rather painful.
Perri Prinz: I have no idea what's tinkling. Perhaps REC would know. He built this gallery.
[Note: You can see here that I’m too busy trying to keep up with the questions to be paying too much attention to who’s saying what. I had actually been thinking for some time that the chimes were coming from something REC had installed in the gallery. It just seemed natural to me that Grease would be asking what they were.]
Grease Coakes: Oh, cool, ok.
Perri Prinz: REC is another big fan of the series. He sometimes keeps track of the continuity better than I do.
Grease Coakes: Oh cool ^.^ Coyote did a great job. I don't build very well.
Perri Prinz: Yes he did.
RECoyote Mindes: ty
Perri Prinz: REC also plays a character in my soap, as does Bixyl and Jasmine, and a few other friends from SL who asked for their characters to appear in it.
RECoyote Mindes points to a couple pictures on the back wall and says “I'm even in the art.”
Grease Coakes: Really? He must of done a lot in the story.
RECoyote Mindes: He gets a crash course in Suburbia weirdness.
Grease Coakes: *GIGGLES* :)~~~~ sounds fun.
RECoyote Mindes: Me I’ve been working with Perry for over 5 years, and nothing ever seems normal. Chico alone shown me that.
Perri Prinz: There is art of Bixyl, but I haven't published it yet. Bixyl has almost become a main character.
Grease Coakes: One last thing and your article should be finished. I want to post the email of The Punk Hippie if someone wants to hire her for her work. Her drawings and art work are part of the story as your stories themselves.
Perri Prinz: The Punk Hippie is better known as Tigers Kitten on FA, and would prefer that you use the Tigers Kitten name. Her FA is here. http://www.furaffinity.net/user/tigerskitten You should be able to get any info you need there.
[Note: This statement was totally ignored when the interview was published, and they did not use the Tigers Kitten name. Sorry, TK.]
Grease Coakes: And does your story series have a website where people can read along as your write a new episode?
Perri Prinz: Yes it does. http://spectralshadows.livejournal.com/
Grease Coakes: Thanks for the interview, Perri ^.^
Perri Prinz: You're very welcome.
Grease Coakes: I sent the article and pictures to Bixyl. So it should be up soon ^.^
Grease Coakes: Night Perri. Take it greasy.
Perri Prinz: Night night.