How would you describe your overall experience at Trojan Horse was a Unicorn?

I am a relatively new member of the THU family, but I have nothing but good things to say about it! The first time I heard about the Tribe was in early 2022 on a Portuguese game-dev discord server, and it instantly caught my attention. Firstly, because it was an incredibly unique and ambitious project with the mission of empowering and connecting creators and artists working or wanting to work in the entertainment or creative industries – and secondly, because its main event that year took place in Portugal, my home country!  

Since then, I have attended one in-person event last year and two online Career Camp editions this year, and I plan to attend all the following events, including THU's Main Event in 2024.
So far, it has been an amazing experience meeting new people, networking and connecting to industry veterans and recruiters, learning more about the industry, and sharing my love for art and games with other artists! 

In what ways (if any) did the Main Event at Tróia contribute to your professional development and growth? Mention your favorite moments from THU 2022!

THU's Main Event in 2022 was my first time attending an event of this kind, and my first interaction with the Tribe. There, I had the amazing opportunity of meeting and casually chatting with some of my favorite artists in the industry, getting some personal insights from them, attending different portfolio reviews, and even a couple of job interviews with some of the best companies and studios in the digital entertainment space. And even though I didn't land a job, it taught me a lot. These were, in fact, my very first job interviews, like ever!

THU was a great way to step out of my comfort zone, face and conquer the unknown. Art is usually a very lonely and personal experience, and I can attest to that as an artist myself. Trojan Horse was a Unicorn does a great job providing the right space and energy to make people feel like home and be comfortable sharing experiences with other members of the Tribe. Like the slogan suggests, the 2022 edition of the Main Event was a place for me to become more social, a better artist, more motivated and self-aware, and part of the Tribe.
I have many great memories and moments I cherish from the event, like watching Jesper Ejsing and Kim Jung Gi painting and drawing live, showing my portfolio to many amazing artists that have inspired me to pursue a career in this field, like Evyn, Terence, Rembert, Julian and many others, and attending the many life drawing sessions (for the first time) and talks that were available throughout the week. I also met someone I knew from an online mentorship I had taken earlier that year, so that was really cool! 

You attended two Career Camp events after THU. How did these events complement or build upon your experience at the main event? In what specific ways did these events contribute to your ongoing professional development or networking opportunities?

The Career Camps are awesome! They provide lots of value to the community by being completely free and online, so people worldwide can participate and instantly connect with, let's say, other job hunters and company recruiters. It's like a demo version of the main event, and I love it. In my case, both Career Camps I attended this year were incredibly helpful for me. 

They helped me actively apply for jobs and get valuable feedback through online mentorships and portfolio reviews. Sometimes, it takes work to get this kind of personal attention outside of events because people are busy and might be unable to take some time off to respond to emails or LinkedIn messages asking for feedback. These events are beneficial if you have any questions about the games or animation industries.  

In addition to these mentorships, portfolio reviews, and job interviews, there are many talks, both presented by invited veterans in the industry and, more recently, members of the THU community like me. This is a great way to give a voice to anyone who has something to share, be it a specific tool or skill to achieve a particular look in, let's say, digital painting or a more personal story about how to give better and receive feedback more beneficially and positively. There's a little bit of something for everyone, which I really liked about the Career Camps I participated in. 

Can you share a specific achievement or success that you attribute, at least in part, to your experiences at THU or Career Camps?

Yes! It was at THU 2022 that I got my first job interview ever after graduating.  
It was an intense and nerve-racking experience for me, mostly because I didn't know what to expect. Still, Richard and Michele from Sumo Group were very nice and relaxed, making it feel more like a casual conversation while still keeping it professional. I was taking mental notes of every observation and question they threw at me and got very useful information about what qualities they were looking for in a candidate for that position, which has been incredibly valuable for my career as a freelance concept artist so far. 

If you could highlight one significant benefit or impact on your career from attending our events (in-person and digital), what would it be?

Attending the events has helped kick-start my career working as a freelance illustrator and concept artist for small indie projects, but I would say the main impact that THU has had on me was a mindset shift, a realization that there's so much more out there and so many talented people, much better than me and more that I could have ever imagined, from all parts of the world! It really was a shock to me. After getting over the initial anxiety and self-doubt of not being good enough, motivation started to kick in like I'd never felt before in my life – and it was all thanks to THU. I am and will always be genuinely grateful for this rekindling of my childhood spark and joy for art. 

What's your favorite thing about THU as a brand?

I love that THU is a Portuguese project, and I feel like it's awesome to have this kind of international representation. The entertainment industry is not particularly developed in Portugal, and I think THU is on a mission to change that.

As a Portuguese person, I feel represented and love that THU originated in Portugal. In my opinion, Portugal doesn't get enough international recognition, especially in the digital entertainment sphere, so I think Trojan Horse was a Unicorn did and continues to do a great job, not only by allowing Portuguese people like me to get in contact with people from other countries who work in the industry without having to travel to another country but also to introduce the world to our country, our people and what great things we have to offer. I wouldn't have had all my experiences at THU 2022 if it wasn't hosted in Portugal, so I'm incredibly grateful!

I also like that THU welcomes everyone who joins "the Tribe" and promotes a culture of mutual help, fellowship, and learning. Every staff member is incredibly friendly and helpful and is always available to answer any questions or fix any problems. Your discord server is also a great way to share your creations with everyone, ask for feedback, or find new friends to hang out with or share a place to stay for the main events!