Welcome to part 2 of Panelist 101.If you read through Part 1 here, then you’ve already narrowed down what your panel will become content wise. Now, let’s start to make it uniquely, you.
Wait, wait, wait. I already checked that my panel would stand out. What else do I need to do?
Ah, my young Padawan, there is still a few simple checks to see if this is really a legit panel. Just like a teacher runs tests through anti-plagiarism machines, so should you go back and look up your panel, before submitting it to that local con this year.
Is the panel you submitted the same panel you’re presenting?
You’ll probably disagree with me on this, but I’m gong to use Character Q&A panels as example for this one. Let’s be honest here, its no surprise that Character Q&A panels are notorious for being rejected at conventions. This might not be a problem in your neck of the woods, but from my understanding, these forms of panels, while on a good day are scripted, tend backslide into 18+, Slash territory. Some attendees might not think there is a problem with a panel turning from its regular programming, however the people that approved your panel won’t be so forgiving.
Check your material.
Run it by a test group of friends or family to get some feedback on your panel. I would make a little, hand written handout with the description of the panel you plan on submitting and maybe two or three questions to fill in what they learned from the test run.Believe me, this will save you loads of trouble and headache later.
Are your sources and skill level current for supporting your panel?
It’s okay if your not a complete expert on a subject; that’s why a partner is always great when putting on a panel.When your writing in why you should be allowed to present on your chosen subject, let the convention know what your skill set is in relation to the panel. For example, your trying to submit a panel on the science behind the Fullmetal Alchemist series. While you a might be a college student studying to become a museum curator, you also have access to local historians that specialize in Medieval era chemistry that could assist with research. You could even mention your findings while researching real world applications of the show in creation of the fabled, Philosopher’s Stone.
Did you give credit to the panel(s) that inspired your panel?
No one enjoys being called a copy cat, but it does happen even with a slight adjustment here and there. Give the credit where its due and mention how you came up with your panel. It could give the Program Director a point of reference for your panel if the idea is still not reading enough. Another good rule of thumb when naming your panel: keep it simple, but also catchy.I know, I know that’s easier said than done. But…I will say, keeping it interesting and still be understood is even better. Or you could put, “50 shades of ….” in front of anything and you’ll attract attention. Stay tuned for part 3, yes, part 3 of the Panelist 101 series.