Panel Programming

Panel Programming

Our 21st year saw another amazing lineup of panels for attendees to enjoy. From Kit’s Birthday and Pokémon Bingo in the Children’s Programming Room to archery, cosplay and writing tips for all ages to all sorts of late night entertainment for our 18 and over crowd!

Please submit your ideas for ACen 2019! We are always looking to increase our educational panels offerings. If you want to run a panel but are struggling to come up with an idea, please consider one of the topics listed here;

  • Japanese – Spoken
  • Japanese – Written
  • Art in Japan
  • Gaming Trends in Japan vs US
  • Flora/Fauna of Japan
  • History of Japan (overall or a specific time period, event or individual)
  • Popular Music in Japan
  • Popular Films in Japan

Children’s Programming

We were very excited to see Children’s Programming have such an amazing reception in 2018! From the craft panels to the Children’s Costume Parade, we had a lot of new experiences and even more fun! We are very excited to continue growing our programming for the younger generation of fans that join us each year. For the 2019 convention we want to bring an even wider variety of programming for our 14 and under attendees. The Children’s Costume Parade a hit yet again and will be back again as well with Kit to lead the way! If you have an idea for something that you feel our 14 and under crowd would enjoy learning about Japan or Anime please submit your ideas through our Panel Application and make sure to indicate that it’s a Children’s Programming panel! If you would like to host a Children’s panel but are struggling to come up with an idea, please consider one of the topics listed here;

  • Japanese Children’s Games
  • Japanese Language For Kids
  • Japanese Art Project
  • History of Japan for Kids
  • Flora/Fauna of Japan
  • Children’s Stories from Japan
  • Cosplay Tutorials for Kids

Children’s Space Guidelines

  • Children age 14 and under may participate in Children’s Programming activities and events.
  • All children must be accompanied by an adult (no more than 4 children to an adult).
  • Children left unattended will be turned over to the Rosemont Police for parents to be contacted.
  • Adults may assist the children they accompany with the activities they wish to participate in but may not create their own. This is to allow for more children to participate and avoid a shortage in activities through the weekend.
  • No cursing, inappropriate conversations, rude behavior will be tolerated.
  • Adults not maintaining control over the children they are accompanying will be asked to remove themselves and the children they accompany from the Children’s Programming space.

Anime Central Panel Programming Office Hours

Panels Main Office: Donald E. Stephens Convention Center; Coat Check Area

Friday10:00a – 11:59p
Saturday12:00a – 1:00a; 10:00a – 11:59p
Sunday12:00a – 1:00a; 10:00a – 4:00

Anime Central Panelist Policy


All panelists are required to be aware of and agree to abide by the terms of this policy before being able to submit a Panel Application. If there is anything you do not understand about this policy, please contact us at and we will clarify it for you.


Panel Submission OpenSeptember 1st, 2018
Panel Submissions CloseFebruary 1st, 2019
Schedule Change Request Cut OffMarch 1st, 2019
Panelist Change Request Cut OffApril 1st, 2019

At-Con Membership Booth Pick-Up Hours

You can pick up your membership badges at either the self-service check-in or the will call station inside of Registration. There will be no Panelist Booth this year.

Cosplay Weddings & Meet and Greets

Those interested in holding a Cosplay wedding, gathering, meet & greet or similar event should contact Gatherings at

Game Shows, Concerts, ETC

Anything that could be considered an event, such as a concert, game show, etc., should contact Main Programming at

Video Games, Board Games, Card Games

If you wish to host a card game or board game, please contact our Table Top Gaming department at

If you wish to host a video game tournament, please contact our Video Gaming department

Speed Dating Panels

Speed dating panels will not be considered.

Lead Panelist

Each panel group must select one panel leader (Lead Panelist). The lead panelist will act as the point of contact for a panel group and has the responsibility of coordinating with Anime Central staff about the details of their group’s panel(s). The Lead Panelist is the only member of a panel that can make changes to a panel such as adding/removing panelists (unless a panelist is removing themselves), description/content changes, schedule change requests, etc. Any requests, questions or concerns should be directed to The lead panelist is responsible for ensuring that all members of their group are up to date on everything regarding the panel(s) as well as know, understand and follow the Panelist Policy for the current year.

Only the Lead Panelist will be contacted regarding a panel’s status. It is the responsibility of the Lead Panelist to communicate any information to the rest of the panelists.

Panel Applications

All panel applications must undergo formal submission, review, and approval before the panel is included in Anime Central convention programming.

DO NOT SUBMIT PAYMENT for your membership before your panel is approved if a discounted or complimentary panelist membership is desired; YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A REFUND. Payment is due only after a panel request is approved/denied (See section on Panelist Memberships below).

  1. Panel Programming ONLY supplies a projector, sound system and mics. Panelists are required to provide all additional needed equipment.
  2. Anime Central DOES NOT provide the following:
    • Any sort of computer/laptop/tablets.
    • Electronics outside of the projector/TV, sound system and microphones provided for each room.
    • Any sort of cable needed to plug YOUR equipment into the technology we provide (projector, sound equipment, etc). If you need to know what type of cable is needed please email us at
    • An internet connection. Internet connections cannot be purchased for any specific room. You will need to purchase a wireless connection through the venue space that your panel is being held in.
    • Pens, Markers, Pencils or Sharpeners, Paper, Whiteboards, Sign Stands, or any other general office supplies. Panelists will need to provide these if they are required for their panel.
  3. To conduct a Japanese Language or Educational panel verbal and/or written proficiency in the language or topic must be demonstrated. Any Panelists that wish to run such a panel may be asked to interview to show proficiency.
  4. All decisions regarding acceptance or denial of panel requests are made at the sole discretion of the Panel Programming management team. A panel may be denied with the exception that it can be re-considered if all management requested changes are made.
  5. Panel applications will be considered on a first come first serve basis. Those who apply first have a greater chance of getting a panel slot and their requested date/time. After the February 1st deadline applications will be put on a wait list and will be considered only if we have space available.
  6. A single panelist may not participate in more than 5 panels total. This is to avoid difficulty in scheduling everyone’s panels. If a Panelist is involved in 5 panels the 5th panel will likely be scheduled on the Sunday of the convention.
  7. Panel members may only be changed prior to March 1st. Changes must be submitted by either the panel leader or the panel member with the panel leader copied on the request email (if the panelist is stepping down). After the March 1st deadline all Panels will be locked to the Panelists that are registered for it.
  8. Panelists cannot limit the attendance to their panels outside of the room capacity.
  9. Panelists cannot provide preferred seating to their panels. This includes, but is not limited to, only allowing those in cosplay to enter, allowing family and friends to enter the panel first, etc. This excludes attendees with Accessibility Pass badges (see PANEL MANAGEMENT section below).
  10. A panel cannot charge their attendees money. Panelists may not sell anything during their panel including but not limited to merchandise or supplies. Any panel found participating in these or similar activities will be canceled and will not be allowed to return.
  11. A panel may not pass out or sell ANY food or drink, store bought or home made. This includes, but is not limited to candy, chips/pretzels, pocky, ramen, water, soda pop, tea and coffee. Any panel found participating in these or similar activities will be canceled and will not be allowed to return.

18+ Panels

Any panel that is identified as adult material or may be viewed as inappropriate for minors by either the panelists during the panel application or by Panel Programming management during review will be marked as 18+. All panelists for 18+ panels must be 18 years of age or older on the day of the panel, no exceptions.

Panel content that may be marked as 18+ upon review include, but are not limited to;

  • Adult Language/Cursing
  • Hentai
  • Nudity/Nude or Partially Nude photos or videos
  • Sexual Intercourse
  • Sexuality/Orientation
  • Yaoi
  • Yuri

Attendees for 18+ panels must present a government issued ID at a wristband location showing that they are 18 years of age at the time they receive their wristband. No attendee will be admitted to an 18+ panel without the official wristband. This includes Anime Central staff wishing to attend an 18+ panel.

Panelist Memberships

A panelist membership is issued as a form of compensation for the service of conducting one or more panels for Anime Central. A panelist membership badge provides admission equivalent to the purchase of a Full Weekend membership. It does not provide any back-stage or privileged access to the convention beyond the ability to conduct their specific panel during its allotted time period.

  • Panelist Membership Badges ARE NOT mailed out.
  • All membership badges are available for pick up in the Registration area of the convention center.
  • A photo ID is required by all Panelists age 16 or older to pick up their membership badge.
  • A panelist can only pick up their own membership badge, not co-panelist membership badges.
  • Accepted panelists must register prior to May 1 in order to receive their discount. Discounts are not applicable after May 1.

The discount for hosting one panel is 50% for the first three panelists (Lead Panelist, Co-Panelist 1 or Co-Panelist 2) listed on a panel. Any additional panelists listed will not receive a discount on their membership. Participation in a second panel as one of the first three panelists listed will provide a 100% discount. Each panelist is tracked separately, meaning that if someone participates in one panel a group of friends and then participates in a second panel on their own, they would still receive the full discount.

There is no discount provided for panelists listed as Extra Panelists on a panel and no additional discount provided for those listed as one of the first three panelists on more than 2 panels.

The discount does not apply on top of any other discounts such as tier discounts, group discounts, service member discounts or child memberships.

  1. If a membership is purchased prior to the approval of a panel request and application of their discount, NO REFUND will be provided. NO EXCEPTION will be granted under normal circumstances. If a panel is canceled a refund will not be granted.
  2. In the event that a panel request is denied, the registration pricing tier that was in effect at the time the COMPLETED panel request was received will be applied. If the application was submitted during Tier 2, and denied in Tier 3, the applicant will receive Tier 2 pricing.
  3. Attendee memberships are non-transferable and non-refundable. But the status of a Panelist membership can be transferred to another attendee if that panelist is leaving their panel and a new attendee is taking their place. Example – A member of a panel quits, they will lose their panelist membership status (while retaining Attendee status) and the person replacing them gets the Panelist status instead. If a Panelist drops from hosting their panels they will lose their discount and be required to pay for their membership through Registration in order to attend Anime Central.
  4. If you lose your membership badge, there is a $30 replacement fee. A membership badge can only be replaced once; if it is lost a 2nd time the replacement comes at full at con pricing.
  5. A maximum of three (3) discounted panelist membership may be granted per panel group (Lead Panelist, Co-Panelist 1 & Co-Panelist 2). You may have more than 3 panel members but additional panelists will not benefit from the discount and will need to pay full price for their memberships unless they are involved in other panels where they are listed as one of the first 3 panelists.
  6. All listed panelists for a specific panel must take part in performing the panel. Anyone not performing in the panel they are registered for will have their applied panel membership discount revoked.
  7. If you are also an Artist participating in Artist Alley, your Artist Alley membership takes priority over your panelist membership. You will not have 2 membership badges; you will only have an Artist membership badge but your panelist discount does still apply.
  8. If a panel group was a no show at the previous year for Anime Central they will not be eligible to receive a panelist membership or host a panel for the current year.

Panel Scheduling

All panels are a minimum of 1 hour long. Time will increase in intervals of 30 minutes. (1 hour, 1:30, 2 hours, etc.) Panelists should consider the time it takes to set up and/or break down their panel (10-15 minutes) when requesting their time slot as additional time over what is requested will not be provided for this.

  1. Panelists MUST begin wrap-up a minimum of 10 minutes before the scheduled ending time. This is so they will be able to tear down and end in time for the next panel to begin. Staff will enforce this.
  2. Panels that begin late due to late arrival and/or problems setting up equipment that was not provided by Anime Central will still be required to end as scheduled.
  3. Panels that begin more than 15 minutes late due to the late arrival of the panelists will be canceled.
  4. Anime Central Panel Programming staff must be informed in the event of an emergency or other occurrence that will prevent the panelists from conducting their scheduled panel(s). You can email us at
  5. Anime Central retains the right to reschedule a panel to a different time or room at any time for any reason. The Panel Leader will be notified if any changes are made to their panel.
  6. Panelists may request a change to the scheduled date/time for their panel before March 1st. It may not be possible for Anime Central staff to grant all time change requests. Time slots and room locations are given out on a first come first serve basis.
  1. Panelists must inform us of when they are absolutely not available due to arrival/departure times, work schedules, or involvement in other ACen events such as fashion show, masquerade, etc while filling out the Panel Application. We will consider this when placing panels into the schedule. We must be informed of this in the application form. Any times selected as available will be considered during scheduling.
  2. In the event of a situation outside of Anime Central’s control that prevents panels from running during their scheduled time (such as a fire alarm, tornado drill, etc) panels that are in progress when the event occurs will be notified by Panel Programming management if they will be allowed to run past their scheduled end time, and told their new time frame if an extension is possible. Panelists who do not return after the event will be considered a no show and the panel will be cancelled.

Panel Management

  1. Attendees with the appropriate indication on their EAS Badge are given early entry and/or seating, and are allowed to bring up to three companions. Panelists must be aware that people using wheelchairs or scooters will be requested to park in front of the first row. Anime Central staff may, at their discretion, either A) allow them to enter during setup time (preferred), or B) allow the handicapped party to enter first once the room is ready and hold the line back until they are seated.
  2. All panel rooms are seated on a first come first serve basis. They will be cleared of attendees after each panel has ended.
  3. Panelists MAY NOT seat friends or family before anyone else in line unless they fall under the EAS Policy.
  4. ACen does not allow priority entry. Panelists may not only allow certain groups to enter the room (such as only attendees in cosplay outfits), or allow certain groups to enter before others are admitted into the panel. The line will be let in as a first come first serve while keeping the EAS policy in mind.
  5. Panelists must yield to Panel Programming Staff and Management decisions. Any violation of this may result in panels being cancelled and the offending panelist(s) being prohibited from applying to participate in future Anime Central conventions. This includes following direction given by staff, and conduct with staff. Belligerent and/or rude encounters will be subject to disciplinary action.
  6. Panelists must begin their panel within 10 minutes of the start time. If pre-setup is required it needs to be done and the line let in by 10 minutes past start.

Panelist Conduct

Panelists are expected to behave in a professional manner when coordinating with Anime Central staff and while conducting panels at the convention. For policy violations see the section on Disciplinary Actions.

  1. Inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated. It is Anime Central staff’s right to determine what is considered inappropriate.
  2. Panelists may not consume alcohol just before or while conducting a panel.
  3. Panelists may not offer food and/or drink to attendees while conducting a panel. This includes, but is not limited to candy, tea, pocky, etc.
  4. Behavior deemed inappropriate during panels where legal minors (defined as those under 18 years of age) may attend could result in the termination of a panel in progress and/or the cancellation of a panel group’s scheduled panel(s).
  5. 18+ panels – Government issued ID will be checked at the issuance of 18+ wristbands. We require people attending to have one of these wristbands on them prior to entry. If there are any signs of tampering entry can be denied. No panelist participating in this panel may be below the age of 18.
  6. Panelists may not present materials that violate copyright or other intellectual property rights within the United States. Reasonable Fair Use exceptions may apply. FanSubbing – fan-subtitled content is a violation of copyright laws in most countries including the US unless permission is granted by the party holding the copyright to the material. See this link for more information

Disciplinary Actions

All disciplinary actions are at the discretion of Panel Programming management and may vary in severity based on the violation. Violation of the terms of this policy may result in:

  1. Termination of a panel in progress and/or cancellation of a panel group’s scheduled panel(s).
  2. Membership badges which have the panelist membership discount applied will be revoked.
  3. Probation for the next convention year that a group requests to conduct a panel.
  4. Panelists violating the terms of this policy while on probation will be subject to being banned from conducting a panel for a minimum of two convention years. During this time, banned panelists may not submit panel requests to Anime Central or act as panelists during the convention.

Join our Panel Programming E-Mail Mailing List!

Get updates on policies, changes, and everything we think you’ll need to know when hosting a panel at Anime Central. Apply to join at the following link!

Important Note Regarding E-Mail

If you do not receive an email from us after you have sent an email, or received one from the mailing list, please check in your junk e-mail folder as it may be there. We recommend that you add the following emails to your address book or to your SPAM “good” list or “whitelist”. Doing so will help identify us as an organization you recognize and expect to receive email from. It also allows our messages to reach you in a quick and timely manner.

Below are links to instructions on how to add Anime Central to your address book.

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