The experience for 2016 was indeed the hardest one to build so far. Why? Because I decided it was time for a big transformation.
We have been changing things in the Main Event experience for the past three years, basing our improvements on the Tribe's feedback. We listened to everyone, whether it was the speakers, attendees, or THU Team. But for 2016, I knew I wanted to do more than just improve.
Of course it's no secret that this year we had more help from our partners, Lenovo, Portugal, and the City Hall of Setúbal. This allowed for us to concentrate all our energy in making this year's experience the most unique one possible.
I did a lot of research on human behavior and psychology, and learned what sort of activities are better for us according to our body clocks.That's what pushed me to change the habits of the attendees and our schedule. Unlike other events that have talks all day long, we have a different activity planned specifically for each time of the day.
If you pay for a ticket for THU, you don't do it to stay at your hotel sleeping or to be seated in a esplanade enjoying the view, relaxing. You are at THU to be part of the experience, to learn and share, so I decided that we would help you do that by telling you when to relax and when to be active.
It's a bit extreme, perhaps, but we believe this is one of the reasons THU is a success. Our environment / strategy obliges the attendees to spend more time with each other and build the bonds that are the basis of the Tribe.
And we are not just strict with the attendees, but also with the speakers. Many speakers used to stay at the hotel in the morning or take a naps in the afternoon, or sometimes go to bed straight after dinner. That's why we designed a plan that would make it hard for them to do this; every part of the day has an exclusive and unique activity with its own goal.
Morning: Masterclasses and Co-Labs. This is the hands-on part of the day. We selected an incredible group of teachers to design something useful, practical, and creative for you. Who wants to be sleeping when Brenda Chapman is hosting a masterclass on story creation?
For our friends watching us from home, unfortunately these activities are not going to be broadcast, since not all activities are and there is no point in broadcasting something as practical as this. There are things that happen in Troia and stay in Troia. Try joining us here next year!
Afternoon: Talks. The secrets, the stories of some of the greatest minds on this planet. The Tribe will spend 5 hours receiving and processing information. Going to the talks is fundamental in a lot of ways for the experience. It's here that you get the information to bond with the speakers, to understand what they did right and learn from what they did wrong. Also, who wants to be sleeping when Doung Chiang is revealing about Star Wars secrets?
There will be three talks going on at the same time, so it won't be easy to choose which one to attend. However, most of them will be available on THU TV after the event, so just prioritize while you're here, but, the good news is you won't have to miss out on any!
As if this wasn't enough, we decided to improve the THU Gallery, but as we began planning it, we realized it took a life of its own. Every day there will be 5 incredible artists in there, just doing their thing, and you can join them to learn from them, to be inspired, or to create with them.
But I'll tell you more about the galley at the end of this chapter...
Evening: Sunset drinks and Family Time. After hours of hard work, it's going to be time to relax. We arranged a special location for you to chill out in and have a drink before dinner. Dinner is what we call family time because, as you know, family usually bonds over a meal, and that's exactly what we want you to do: sit down with our large and diverse family of talented artists and eat! It's as easy as that. We have also increased the dinner time compared to the previous editions, so there's no hurry.
Night: Inspirational Talks. All of the talks that take place at THU are inspirational, of course, but these ones are special as they tend to be even more personal. This is the only time of the day in which the whole Tribe is in the same room. Some of the most memorable moments of THU take place in this time.
Scott Ross , Alfonso Salcedo and Loic Zimmerman had the stage in 2013 and this year we invited Mikki Willis, Shuzo Shiota, Brenda Chapman and David Lee Strasberg to bring their stories to the THU Stage.
The goal is simple: after a crazy day of activities it's time to reflect and learn to look at life in a different perspective.
Late-night: Round 1 - Mentorships. This year the night will end in a different way and the attendees just won't want to go home. During this time, you can finally sit down and process all the info you received during the day. You will have a different mentor every day and with a special bonus - the Happy Hour. We decided to offer you a drink towards the end of the day, so enjoy a THU Beer, THU Wine, or a cup of tea while you're discussing your doubts and ambitions with a mentor.
Let me Know if you still want to be in bed or outside, enjoying the incredible location of Troia, when you have this happening.
Plus, it's not over yet.
Late-night: Round 2 - The Gallery. The Master Jeremy Mann has prepared an incredible show for each night, and for the first time ever, we will have late-night drawing sessions with the themes "The Brothel”, "The War”, and “Afterlife”. The attendees will experience something completely new and we hope this will inspire them for the next day.
If changing the schedule and organizing new activities was indeed a major challenge this year there was another thing that stole my sleep: the food and drinks experience, which complements the whole event.
Everyone knows how important food is for me (no comments on my belly please) and how I've been fighting to join the Tribe at the same table as them. If we are a family we should eat together , we need to share this moment. However Troia doesn't have a space that allows 600 people to eat at the same time. So what could we do? We decided to create that space - the THU Oasis. This is a special venue in a garden where the Tribe will have access to incredible food with prices between 2.50 and 7 euros.
We designed this place to be a meeting point for the Tribe: a place to sit, eat well, drink, and talk in a relaxed way.
Apart from all these novelties, there are still many surprises I can't reveal. I'm sure THU2016 will be a completely new experience, but just as unforgettable and life-changing as the previous editions.
You know, THU is all about details. We truly respect the attendees who travel to Troia from all over the world for the love of art, and appreciate the speakers who take their precious time to help us in building this unique experience. The least we can do is make sure that you have everything you need to accomplish your goals. The least we can do is make sure that those details are there and that they are perfect. It's always the small things that make the big difference.