Disclaimer: This post is based on opinion and observation and past observations of certain things! Please respect the author’s post!
Hello and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! As promised I am posting the first ever Panel Hosting Tips! Yes, it’s time for it since Metro, well the horrible Fairy Tail panel and the certain commenter’s comment, I was inspired to do this post. Since I seen good and bad panels in the past, it is high time to give new panelists advice in hosting panels in the future since I am a panelist myself and have been since the first time Blind EXP was first hosted. I know Tsubasa Talk, another panel me and my fiance did in the past, that was kind of a fail and I will say why possibly in this post. But let’s see what my tips are in Panel Hosting 102! And also, I am opening up to comments to see if this should be a panel for any conventions since there are new panels being brought every year by attendees and new guests! So comment here or if not, on the Facebook areas I post the link to this blog! Let’s get started!
1. Come Up With a Good Concept! There are times when panelists come up with good ones and bad ones and once that good concept gets placed there are times it doesn’t go well when it is hosted! Panel concept planning is very important, especially if it is done with a group of people, because hosting the panel and getting it to the convention you want are the most important things of getting the concept together and getting it out there. On top of that, convention staff tend to look for panels that have a great concept since they want new and different panels being presented at their con and there are times when the audience want it back after attending it. So, try planning a a good concept and also if it’s a group thing, run it by the rest of the group so they can work on it more during the time before the convention once it gets accepted!
2. Pick A Good Time Slot! I know this sounds a bit of redundant if there are panel hosting things that were made in the past but this is also important because of how the convention is three days and getting a good size crowd to see your presentation is also important! What are the best time slots since I mention choosing a good one? Friday evening, Saturday Afternoon through Night Time and depends on the lingering crowd, Sunday afternoon after 12 O’ Clock and through the time before closing ceremonies! The first couple slots are best possible slots because hosting on a Friday afternoon after the convention opens is not great! Why? Because had it happen to the Blind EXP during 2011 when we hosted at dealer room open time and when everyone was checking into their hotel rooms when they reserved for Friday through Sunday. This is true because there are conventions held at convention centers or at hotels and there are times when people have Friday check-in times at around dealer room opening hours or a bit after opening ceremonies, depends on reservations being made for that weekend! And of course if people check in the day before, they want to head for the dealer room first and the crowds aren’t big during the afternoon. So, Friday evenings are the best along with Saturday! What about not getting the time you want? There are times when the panel staff can be worked with in finding a slot that would work, but be specific in saying you want a later slot on Friday or an early one for Saturday if it’s available since the convention hall will be filled by the time the dealer room opens. If only we kept our slot back in 2011 instead of being pushed earlier? ::sighs:: Thank you Metro! That’s another thing I need to add, if a convention has a service that lets you pick your slots, make sure the room that you want to host in doesn’t have other events in the slot you want! Trust me, had fun last year finding the slots for Blind EXP and True Tips and Tricks! Unless you have problems, try contacting the panel staff for help since they are there to help questions.
3. Have All Items and Bring Your Own Equipment That Is Needed! Why I make this one big tip is because it falls in the same idea. There are times when conventions get held at the convention centers and the parking lots are sometimes close by or if you have a hotel close by, you can get access to the items and equipment needed in your car. You can also carry the necessary cords and smaller equipment in your bags since it would be easier to carry, make sure you keep an eye on it if you carry the small stuff, especially back at the hotel room and keep it safe. If you’re in a group and staying with them, carpooling with bigger items will be handy, just ask before doing it and ask for the keys if you need to get the stuff before panel time. I would say go an hour to 45 minutes before the panel to get the stuff and have some help if necessary!
4. When Hosting an Anime Themed Panel, Read and Watch the Source Material Beforehand! Yes, research! Why? Knowing that there are a lot of panelists that want to do these kind of panels and there is the right way and the wrong way to do it and it is best to do it the right way! I seen good anime themed panels hosted in the past and one of them happened to be a DuRa Rara panel back at MegaCon 2011 and it was right before we had to do Blind Exp and what we caught was very informative! The hosts did their research and even answered questions with facts that the person didn’t know, for instance the series Bakano was one of the predecessors to DuRa Rara and we didn’t know that, we even took a look into it two months later and see how the gang idea came to be for DuRa Rara. What about a bad example? I know I will get the “Freed Cosplayer” (The quotes will be explained in the next tip!) is the Fairy Tail panel that me and my fiance and many others witnessed at Metro! How was it bad? If you haven’t read the Metro review, here it is, it felt as though that some people in the panel didn’t read the series or watched the anime and we heard bad fan fiction about the characters! Here’s some examples of that and the false statements about it:
• Lucy was arrested for prostitution: This was said when me and four or five other Lucy cosplayers were in the room and wearing the various other outfits that you see her wear in season 1 and the first part of season 2, but I was wearing the default outfit she wears and it is not that revealing, just a top, short skirt, belt slanted, pouch for keys, and knee high boots! I would understand Virgo would be a cuase for concern but not Lucy! Even there were some girls in the tank top and skirt she worn after the Nirvana Arc! Yeah, I understand they want to poke fun but not say that when there are Lucy cosplayers, plus I did offer to be a part of the panel, I should’ve gone up there anyways.
• Kana is a drunk: Which she is not! According to my fiance, she gets buzzed when she drinks a lot and the only time you really see her drunk, SPOILER!, is when she is at Lucy’s house drunk before the S-Rank exam and is depressed from failing it so many times and thought she wasn’t making her dad proud since he is S-rank himself. So, kana is not making the guild go broke since she has to go on missions herself like everyone else!
• Gray and Juvia In Love? Yeah, I know the two cosplayers as Gray and Juvia are actually a couple but to be in character is that Gray is indifferent about Juvia and is supposed to have Juvia do all the love stuff like in the anime!
What should the panel be like? It should be more of a way of Q&A like we had to do for Blind EXP at Metro, which we had people asking us questions about Fairy Tail more than at theother one since people got so mad and left! Plus, one bad thing of this is that people get told not to go to this panel, even our friend was told not go to the Fairy Tail panel and that is a bad sign. I would still give props to the Loki and Loxsus cosplayers, at least they knew the series, especially when Loxsus had looks of “WTF?” for all the fan fiction spouts. So, please research the titles you are presenting on! Hell, I would even do a DNAngel panel since I am a huge fan! (Knowing I may get requests for it too, I would do it despite I can’t read the manga anymore). Still, watch the anime since it does get streamed, even Funimation does it on their channel once it gets licensed and dubbed so you can get a better idea of the material that is being presented on. Another thing is that if anyone that is in your audience may not have heard about Series X they can check it out for themselves, which would give a nice add-on to the fanbase for the series. So, like what Jeriyah in Naruto does, RESEARCH YOUR MATERIALS!
5. When Cosplaying for the Panel, Get Your Cosplay Ready In Time for the Panel! Remembered when I put quotes around the Freed guy? Well, he didn’t cosplay for that Fairy Tail panel and I have to do this! Like Linkara says it…YOU FAIL! ::hits the fail button to emit a buzzer sound:: If this becomes an actual panel, we need to put that in there. Anyways, if you are hosting a panel with a group and going to cosplay as characters from the anime that was being presented on, get the cosplays complete in time for the convention! I know there are people out there that want to make their costumes look good and as detailed as possible but once the panel gets accepted, you really need to work on it and get it done before the convention arrives, even if you can get easy to find parts at Good Will and have to alter them. What if you can’t afford it like the “Freed Cosplayer” (I know you will comment on it but seriously dude, read my response to your comment), tell the group you can’t do it! A good amount of panelists are adults and will understand that you can’t get it due to lack of funds, especially when you are a broke college student surviving on ramen noodles! Unless you can try and improvise the costume, there may be time to get to a Good Will in the area and a wig shop before it closes when you check in or find the wig stands in the convention room, there are times when you can get a costume done on the spot. For instance, a girl made her Link costume in the dealer room at MythiCon. If you can’t do it, you can’t do it and just watch the panel in the audience.
6. Check Your Audio Equipment Before the Convention! There are times when audio equipment busts at the convention or breaks after using it a certain amount of times and it is a good idea to test it a month or two before the con and a few days to triple check that it works so your panel won’t become a flop and many other panelists’ panels won’t flop, so staff test yours as well since we need to use it. With new equipment you may need to buy, try testing that as well to see if the sound or even the projection works because there are times when items bought on the net and at the store get shipped broken or came in faulty and if this happens, keep your receipts, because there are Best Buys and Radio Shacks around the convention city that you can visit if necessary and call in about hours just in case if you need to get something replaced before going to the con or afterwards. Also double test if you need to use the convention equipment and have a volunteer as back up, because things can happen at these events and need to make sure it’s tip top shape before the panels start. SSo testing will come in handy.
7. When the Panel Flops, Try Having a Back Up Plan! So glad we did a Fairy Tail Q&A when Blind EXP flopped and did a debate thing instead at Tsubasa Talk (we didn’t know we had to talk to the guests at the con to get them to come) as a back up! Like many things when they go bad, there is always a back up plan and is best to go with that! If this had to happen, remember there is always next time and more conventions to sign up for! That is why we signed up for Holiday matsuri and still waiting, still we will come up with a back up if need be! What kind of back up things you should do? There are plenty, like what I mentioned before, Q&A’s, debates if the series kind of went weird or is on-going, or talk about cosplaying characters, there is so much you can do! Don’t do the bad fan fiction thing like I mentioned in tip 4! Still, a back up plan is always great when something flops!
8. Let the Guests Know About Your Panel! This tends to give them a bit of interest and can sometimes let their fans know that it exist if they can’t go! I did it with the Blind EXP when I met Crispin Freeman, John Swasey, and Dan Southworth when I first met him, heck even told Scott McNeill when he asked about my eye condition after our interview with him (don’t worry, still getting it from my fiance), still it shows the guests that you appreciate what they did for whatever series you are basing the panel on and sometimes other fans overhear and get interested, especially when they check their handy dandy convention guide so that they can check it out!
Well, that is it for my tips! Please comment if you want to see this live at a convention here in the comment box below and on Facebook when we post it! To the people who hosted that Fairy Tail panel, I know I was harsh on the panel but after reading what I had to say, especially with my tip on researching the series, I know you guys had fun but attendees and cosplayers left in how it was presented, especially with how mad the Lucy cosplayers were besides me. If you are going to do this panel again, please take these tips to heart so you can host it a lot better.
So, what’s next? I am still working with my fiance to get the interview stuff, but I will be doing my September and October Favorites in the meantime since it is already November! I know the year is slipping away from us again! Yes, I will be doing Bests and Worsts of 2013 again, but before that, I will be posting my Gift Shopping tips here and have new tips added to them so you can see what I have to say with gift advice! See ya next time!