Womenize! – Inspiring Stories is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Caroline Fangel, Art Director at PortaPlay. Read more about Caroline in this interview:
Hi Caroline! How would you describe the Danish indie games community?

Corona has changed things a bit, and I don’t know how, yet. Before, there were many small events here and there that created a very social community. It has strengths since people who weren’t in a job, yet, could network at these events. This has created a close knit community, where many people are friends across various companies. It’s a special feeling where you work with your friends and a strong sense of belonging. I think it also keeps the companies less corporate, and keeps the hierarchies more flat.

It also has some drawbacks of course. In a less corporate and flat structure, where your friends are also in your work life, responsibility can sometimes fall between chairs, and leadership can be blurry. It seems to me that a large percentage of the indie companies in Denmark are people who came from a game education background. That means we often lack people who know business development, leadership, marketing and trade. We kind of learn that by ourselves. Hopefully it makes us more creative, but it can be challenging to not have the basics of a corporation when you run into issues.

Another important factor for the Danish indie community is alcohol. In my opinion, it is domineering in Denmark in general, and also in the game industry. 90% of the game events revolve around drinking. I love doing it myself, but I’m also sad that it’s taking up so much space. I wish we were better at doing stuff without alcohol, but I don’t think that’s a mountain we can climb alone – and it might need change on a national scale.

What do you enjoy most about your current position as Art Director?

Knowing the right decisions are made (lol). That’s probably my selfish answer. My sensible answer is that I get to combine working with people and working with art. Only focusing on developing art for games can feel very much like a grind. Getting to also plan things with my colleagues and set the course of action gives a break from the grind. I’m a social person, so I enjoy communicating at work. I’ve also dealt with pain in my arms and shoulders for over 10 years, and I just can’t draw and model all day sadly.

Do you have any advice on how to find a good balance between a fulltime job and freelance creative work?

I only do small tasks next to my full time job. It’s an inherent dilemma for many artists. We wanna make our own art, but the stability of a fulltime job can’t be denied. I’ve accepted three freelance gigs this year, so far. Two illustration gigs and a 3-day workshop at the Danish Film School in September. I think that’s just about what I can handle. If I wasn’t a lead at my job, I might be able to take more. I’ve had some really stressed periods in my life, when I was desperate to kickstart my game dev career and do a million things at once, and I’m very done with it. So I’ve gotten better at saying no. Having a career going well also means I don’t have the constant worry whether I’m good enough for my dream jobs. That helps a lot when setting your own boundaries.

Thank you for your time, Caroline!

Caroline’s links: Official WebsiteLinkedInInstagram

Womenize! – Inspiring Stories Feature by Sophie Brügmann