My journey to nerddom started when I first opened up a Sega Genesis in December of 1995. Or maybe ’98, I’m not too clear on that.
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.
Panelist 101: Part 1, Forge Thy Panel
If you’re like the average con crawler, I’m assuming you are if you found this blog, you probably have entertained the idea of becoming a panelist.
May be you saw a Character Q&A panel and thought, ” I could totally do this better”.
Or was it that one “How to jumpstart your Career” panel that peeked your interest?
Then let me tell you now, planning is half the battle. Actually pulling off a great panel or workshop, is a whole other animal. I would love to show you how to tackle this in a 3 part post of Panelist 101 series.
It’s not uncommon these days to see some form of fandom mashed to the tune of a charity.
What do I mean? Well, I’m sure you’ve seen many a “Cosplay for a Cause” articles.
Fandoms are a wonderful way to find common ground within your community to help rally others for a local cause. From Heroic Inner Kids to Extra Life to the famous, The 501st Legion. You don’t have to be a big name organization to help out your local cause, so long as you are starting with a solid idea.
Every con, big or small, has a department that helps ensure that programming runs according to plan. Or at least as close to the original plan.
So, how do you choose which department to sacrifice those 4 hours of volunteer work?
That, my dear, depends on what your skill set is and how it could be applied to any of the listed departments at your chosen con.
So, about that volunteering for an entire weekend in exchange for free stuff.
I know, I know. Not everyone wants to sacrifice any time with the waifu/husbando of your favorite fan fictions. But, hear me out, okay?
Not all volunteering involves taking on the masses that attend each year. In fact, you can choose how long, what department, and what days you’re available to work to earn that free thing.
Mind blowing, right?
And here’s the best part, you can choose how you want to volunteer at your specific con.
Be it working the sound and projector for a panel room to taking photographs of guests attending the major events throughout con. Depending on the con you have in mind, their departments might have use of your proven skill set.
Proven skill set, PROVEN SKILL SET.
That means, some departments will request a mini work history or even reference from other cons that you can “do the thing” you claim to do. Not really an actual resume, but ….you might need a resume. Again, that depends on what position you’re applying for.
Now, just to be clear, I’m referring to more volunteer heavy, staffed cons than your average mega, professional cons the likes of Wizard World Comic Con or even JapanExpo in Paris.
However, these larger cons do sometimes ask for volunteers in less intensive roles, such as running a Convention Information booths or organizing Panelist schedules.
Speaking of panelist, I seem enjoy earning my free badges by holding so many panels. Again, depending on the con you apply to, there may be stipulations as to many panel hours you’ll need to earn a free badge.
For example, Project A-Kon in Dallas, TX requires a minimum of 8-24 hours of program panels for a free pass all 3 days.
Seems like a tall order, right?
Not really, if you submit a unique panel that’s worth 2-3 hours of activity. Then you’re nearly half way there already with only one more submission.
In my next blog update, I’ll start breaking down a generic version what each department with a convention does. That way, some pot soul out there knows what awaits.
Plus, who doesn’t like advice about these things.