You’ve had an idea for a panel for the last few years. This is the year to actually make it happen, so you send it in.
Almost two weeks later, you get a response.
Your panel’s been rejected.
Why? You did everything right, right?
Here are five common reasons why your panel was rejected.
If you have watched the video, here’s a brief in depth response to each reason for rejected panels.
Ran Out of Space
I kid you not, sometimes a convention will receive too many panels, workshops, and demonstration submissions that they will run out of space. For each day of the convention, there are blocked times for events to occur throughout the venue or venues involved.
Some spaces are reserved for large gatherings of 500 – 1,000 seating for Main event, Opening/Closing Ceremonies, and Guest panels.
Some spaces are reserved for smaller gatherings of 50 – 200 seating for panels, workshops, and open floor demonstrations. Not including artist alley and dealers room tables.
Plus, factoring in opening and closing times for each area of the venue does put a lot of constraints on time available. So, keep this in mind the next time you want a late night or early morning event.
It may sound good to you, but try reading it out loud a few times… with other people present.
Descriptions are all a programming director has to go on for your panel as well as a persuasive alibi that you are an expert on said topic. Any misspellings, dropped gaps of logic, and unclear summary of exactly what you will be doing from start to finish can spell doom for a panel.
Take the time to proof read; re-read the rules for the short and long description. If you have one on hand, take a look at last year’s program guide and read some of the panel descriptions.
Believe it or not, this is a very common trend at most cons.
A staple panelist sends in the same events every year (Swap Meet/Pokemon Live battle/ Cosplay Chess/ AMV League) and people notice when someone else hosts it. Some cons don’t mind it, but lately these copy cat panels are being screened harder.
Just because you think it can be done better, don’t expect Programming to choose you over “Veteran Stan”.
Instead, try borrowing aspects of what you liked and add what you think is missing. And for the love of poke balls, give it a different title.
I know. I know, sometimes its hard to tell what should go where.
Usually, in the the requirements there is an indicator for how to tell where your panel should go.
Workshops are hands on crafting events, Lectures are speakers giving in-depth analyse of subjects beyond common knowledge, Audience Q&A is getting the crowd involved in discussion topics while presenting in-depth analyse or open floor questioning about a subject, and so on.
If you really are stuck on what category your panel should fall under, look for an email to ask the Programming Department Head directly. Or join the community channels for that con and ask there.
Doesn’t Fit the Genre
I maybe on the far left with this one, because more conventions are starting to follow a mixed media format (Tv, Animation, Comics, Books, Games) rather than a single media format (i.e. Animation Only).
However, for smaller to relatively established cons there will only be one type of media their attendees will consume.
Think of it this way, why on earth would a Star Trek convention accept a panel about light bulbs unless it was related to Star Trek-esque lighting fixtures?
Panels should try to tie back into the audience you plan to share it with. Otherwise, no one is going to be sitting in on what you have to say.
Do you have any other tips or tricks to avoid having a panel rejected? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.