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How to Make a Panel That Doesn’t Suck What would you like to see?

#1 User is offline   therobd 

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 11:36 AM

My friends and I love doing panels. We love to share our passion for anime and East Asian culture with our audience and help them have a good time at whatever conventions we attend. At this point, we've done dozens of panels at conventions across the country, and we want to give back to the con scene and share some of the wisdom we've (hopefully) accumulated by this point to fledgling panelists. Here's a sample of the panels we've hosted at ACen:

- Everyone in Your Party Has Died: Let's Play Oregon Trail
- Cowboys and Giant Robots: America in Anime
- The Other Way Around: Localized American Comics in Japan
- Anime Madlibs
- Master Plans Gone Wrong: Big Bad Buffoonery
- Video Games That Push Our Buttons

In "How to Make a Panel That Doesn't Suck," we're going to share our creative process for writing a panel from scratch. We'll talk about everything from coming up with an idea for a panel to actually hosting the panel. It's not always easy to get in front of people and speak in public, especially if they're willingly spending some of their precious convention time with you and are expecting to be entertained, so we hope that we can add some value and make that process easier for starting and/or hopeful panelists.

To get to the point, what would people like to see in this panel? We have a pretty good idea of how we're going to run this (and plenty of good stories to tell), but if anyone could give us some good ideas, it would be the people browsing this forum. :P

This post has been edited by therobd: 28 March 2013 - 12:50 PM


#2 User is offline   BadAnimeGroup 

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:59 AM

Really interested in attending this panel, it sounds like a good'un. Speaking simply out of a personal experience that gave me a wealth of information, you may want to talk about panelist hostility and audience treatment.

There was a panel I attended in the past that had an interesting concept, but the panelist was so hostile to the audience that it was uncomfortable to watch, and even worse, made the panel uninteresting. Every time an audience member left, she would look at them at let out a sarcastic, lilting, "Bye!" If the audience had nothing to add to something she had said, she would appear offended and berate us. I can understand the frustration, especially if a panelist designs their presentation with audience participation in mind, but I personally believe the burden to keep the audience entertained is on the panelist. For example, she made it very clear that she was enamored with Ouran High School Host Club, and when she presented a question about it to the audience, the lack of response made her visibly irritated. Only speaking for myself, it seems she didn't think of the possibility that some people hadn't actually seen the show before, and thus has nothing to say (I'd only seen two episodes at that point).

I really don't want to sound too condemning of this panel, since everyone is fallible in one way or another, but this example sticks out in my mind as "the one panel to avoid being like." If the audience doesn't know something, then it's the panelist's job to edify them with their specific knowledge. That's the point of holding a panel... Right?

Again, looking forward to seeing your panel. Good luck!

This post has been edited by BadAnimeGroup: 29 March 2013 - 10:00 AM

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#3 User is offline   therobd 

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 12:25 AM

View PostBadAnimeGroup, on 29 March 2013 - 09:59 AM, said:

snip


Thanks! We're definitely going to cover panelist-audience relations. I've seen plenty of panelists get haughty and offended when their guests leave. I agree that it's nothing to get angry about. Sometimes you're not on the same wavelength as certain members of your audience, and you have no right to judge them for choosing to spend their limited time somewhere else. As one Jello-shilling actor said, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." He may have followed it up with some "Zip zop!"'s. I'm not really sure.

I actually have some experience from the other end of the spectrum that I'll use for the panel, too. At a fighting game panel I did at Youmacon '11 that involved some time for Q/A, two girls kept asking questions about Silent Hill to heckle my group. I think they were there for the next panel and decided to spend the hour before trying to ruin my panel for fun. It didn't bother me too much... There's really only two ways you can go in a situation like that: Heckle them right back or reply completely earnestly and deadpan. I happened to know a bit about Silent Hill, so I chose the latter. There's not much to say when you receive a valid reply to your sarcastic question. :P

As anyone who's ever done any public speaking can tell you, there's a tenuous, unpredictable relationship between the speaker and the audience. The speaker has much more control over the direction of that relationship than any individual audience member, but no matter who you are, it can get nasty sometimes. Everyone gets heckled eventually, and everyone bombs at least once.

I'll tell more of those stories at the panel!

This post has been edited by therobd: 31 March 2013 - 12:26 AM


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