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ithilienne

Looking for (Constructive) Panels Feedback

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Well, I had made a post elsewhere that was this:

<quote>

There were a number of programming problems and snafus this year... I want to make some suggestions for next.

1) Have someone keep a second set of information on panelists and workshops. As staff found out this year, computer crashes happen... You need a backup of information.

2) Consider making a "deposit" charged to panelists and workshopists. If these people quit or drop out after a certain date (like, day of con or said panel) they forfiet their deposit. If they do complete their programming, they get their deposit refunded to them post-con. Now this might mean a bit more work... but this also will help keep away people that app for a panel but never really finalize plans on showing up to Otakon as well as people that app as a "get in free" and then never show up for their panel.

</quote>

Now for deposit I'd only say basic con admission, maybe even the full discounted early-order cost, per panelist, rather than a full admission-per-hour rate.

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For example, assuming I do run this game at TMODE, I will have a back-up plan, another person who is planning to be at the con and can run the game and will have the cards, just in case...

Would it be too much to ask future potential Otakon panelists to have such a plan?

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There's a big difference between running a game and giving a lecture - ask anybody who's had to work as a substitute teacher.*

*Speaking from experience here - we had a noshow at our panel in 06 and covered decently, but only because we had done serious planning in advance, and even then our fill-in material was not as good as the original would have been.

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Okay, I may have missed something or other in the discussion(I eventually started skimming posts), but if you really want to charge panelists reg fees to be returned to them if they do their panel, then I think the most logical way of handling it would be to refund the money after their panel is over.

I mean, even if you refund it if they show up to pre-reg, that doesn't mean they'll still do their panel. They'll just get in and get their money back, and bingo: free entry.

So if you're super cereal about getting panelists to pay, cash back after the curtains. That's the only way to truely make sure they're doing what they're there to do.

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Okay, I may have missed something or other in the discussion(I eventually started skimming posts), but if you really want to charge panelists reg fees to be returned to them if they do their panel, then I think the most logical way of handling it would be to refund the money after their panel is over.

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If you mean onsite, again, that means tying up a staffer who has cashbox access or cheque-signing privileges. Again, logistics. Perhaps you'd prefer it if panelists should just pay their way in and then invoice the con for labour afterwards. At my standard hourly wages, I'd be taking home a couple hundred just in video compilation hours. Good for me, bad for the con.

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As someone who has been a panelist at Otakon and other cons many times, I have quite a bit to say about all this. However, I will force myself to keep it as brief as I can. Also, as panels at Otakon '07 had separate issues, I will speak about cons in general and not about Otakon specifically.

I basically think there are two things that all fan conventions, especially anime conventions, need to do in regards to fan panels.

First, the cons need to keep more tabs on the panelists. Have their phone numbers. Call them to remind them of their panel. Force them to come to panel ops as soon as they get to the con, so you can get on the same page. These people are getting free registration to conventions, the conventions are perfectly in the right if they get on these people's backs and make sure they do what they promised they would do. One convention I went to this year handed me a personal printed itinerary of all the events I had to deal with. That was very awesome.

Second, the cons need to have a lot less tolerance for panelists who are not prepared, professional, and punctual. There shouldn't be very much tolerance for people who show up to panels late, do a bad job, miss any deadlines for submissions, etc. Every panel has a staff member present to keep an eye on things. This person could also count the attendance at the panel as well as report on whether or not the panelists did a good job.

We have a situation where there are more people who want to do panels at conventions than there are panels to do. Thus, we can afford to be much choosier in determining who runs what panels. Obviously it is pretty much impossible to have a convention, especially one the size of Otakon, have perfect panels across the board. There is just no way to guarantee the quality of panels that are run by fans. However, I think we can reach a point at which most of the con-goers who walk into any panel at random will leave feeling like it was not a waste of their time.

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To Iserlohn and Blues:

Logistically if there was a deposit for panelists, it would be best if the refunds were given post-con, not during with needing someone to carry a checkbook or cashbox, which is a risk situation all it's own with so many people around. Also, I'm sorry to say, but if $50 is a major difference on your budget, you may want to consider skipping a convention (where people usually spend a lot more that just $50 after getting in) or making other possible sacrifices in your life to make up that difference.

To Apreche:

I do notice that some cons want panelists to give a number that they can be reached at during said con. I had actually tacked on my cell number in one of my PMs to the panel head and told them that if anything fell through I'd be happy to fill in with my panel if they would let me, I never got a call though.

And they really do need to have a low tolerance for a panelist blowing off their obligation if that's what really happened. There was one panel that got canceled this year at Otakon because of a schedualing error and the panelist was never updated on the correct time, so really that wasn't the panelists fault. Now if someone blows off doing their panel with no appropriate reason, I sure hope Otakon takes their name down as someone to not panel next year.

Having the staff that gets assigned to the room judge how good the panel was though? That's not such a good idea... What if it's a Resident Evil panel and they despise RE? They could give a bad review for a very good panel. And attendance being the judge doesn't always work as sometimes people make judgement calls on two panels they want to see but are at the same time as well as... well, in my expereince? Sunday panels have lower attendance than any other day regardless of what the panels are.

Example on that last thing: 2006 Internet RPG Panel was on Sunday, just after Sauske and Sakura VA's panel. Even their panel didn't fill the room, though I imagine if it had been schedualed on a Saturday they would have filled a lot more seats. During my panel, which I'm sure had less people present than the prior panel, I even had the problem of one person trying to wave people out because the person that was schedualed next wasn't coming and was in the dealer's room or something... (in hindsite I should have yelled at them that they should ask staff to update the schedual board and then leave rather than being rude and trying to wave people out).

Judging a panel on attendance is rather harsh given all the factors that effect the attendance of panels.

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Having the staff that gets assigned to the room judge how good the panel was though? That's not such a good idea... What if it's a Resident Evil panel and they despise RE? They could give a bad review for a very good panel. And attendance being the judge doesn't always work as sometimes people make judgement calls on two panels they want to see but are at the same time as well as... well, in my expereince? Sunday panels have lower attendance than any other day regardless of what the panels are.

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if $50 is a major difference on your budget, you may want to consider skipping a convention (where people usually spend a lot more that just $50 after getting in) or making other possible sacrifices in your life to make up that difference.

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if $50 is a major difference on your budget, you may want to consider skipping a convention (where people usually spend a lot more that just $50 after getting in) or making other possible sacrifices in your life to make up that difference.

Sacrifices? Screw that.

Now taking donations. Please PM me your generous offers.

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Greetings from the BCC!

As the con winds down, I wanted to make a topic here - an official one - where the membership could let me know its feelings about the panels this year. I've had a lot of very informative feedback from my staff, and from this side of the Panel Ops desk, but I wanted to know how everyone else felt.

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Duh... some how ended up with Duplicate posts.

F-

But while I am here, let me think the Staffers and Volunteers for all their hard work.

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In regards to clearing/not clearing the room...

I didn't get to see too many panels, but I was extremely pleased that they did not clear the room between AAA and the AMV contest. That worked out very well for many of us, and I'm sure it drastically cut down on the line to get in. I remember thinking they should have done that in 06. What a mess that was! This year, it was flawless. I suspect, that in many ways, it is easier to crowd control if they don't clear the room prior. Those hallways are crowded enough as it is...

And besides, i would think of sitting in prior panels as a kind of sitting in line anyway, as the obove poster did. Better yet, you get to see a panel and learn some things while you wait. That seems like a better way to go from my perspective, but that all depends on how full the panel rooms get I guess.

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Clearing the room before every panel would kill several hours of time every day, and we really don't have the space for the lines, nor the staff to handle the clearing. It would anger more people than it helped.

I understand your frustration with seat-campers, but what if you honestly want to see two panels back to back?

We did plan space in the schedule specifically for room clearings in some cases where past experience suggested it was necessary, and I suspect some panels will be added to the list -- but the sad fact is that no matter whether we clear or don't clear, some folks will be unhappy with that plan because it will prevent them seeing what they want to see. We just can't accommodate everyone.

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Clearing the room before every panel would kill several hours of time every day, and we really don't have the space for the lines, nor the staff to handle the clearing. It would anger more people than it helped.

I understand your frustration with seat-campers, but what if you honestly want to see two panels back to back?

We did plan space in the schedule specifically for room clearings in some cases where past experience suggested it was necessary, and I suspect some panels will be added to the list -- but the sad fact is that no matter whether we clear or don't clear, some folks will be unhappy with that plan because it will prevent them seeing what they want to see. We just can't accommodate everyone.

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In regards to clearing/not clearing the room...

I didn't get to see too many panels, but I was extremely pleased that they did not clear the room between AAA and the AMV contest. That worked out very well for many of us, and I'm sure it drastically cut down on the line to get in. I remember thinking they should have done that in 06. What a mess that was! This year, it was flawless. I suspect, that in many ways, it is easier to crowd control if they don't clear the room prior. Those hallways are crowded enough as it is...

And besides, i would think of sitting in prior panels as a kind of sitting in line anyway, as the obove poster did. Better yet, you get to see a panel and learn some things while you wait. That seems like a better way to go from my perspective, but that all depends on how full the panel rooms get I guess.

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ok, i'm getting to this a bit late, but here goes...

1) Thanks for everyone's hard work on the whole panel recovery. I know you dealt with a lot of angry and impatient people (me being impatient) throwing questions and concerns and general flames at you. I know you went through a lot to get panels off the ground. hopefully '08 can run as smoothly as '06 seemed to.

2) Monies and stuff: Deposits for panelists... NO WAY. first, i'm not even sure if my reimbursement for me and my one panelist is ever going to get to me, and second, that said panelist.... being able to help me host my panel and stay with me in my apartment is what was able to allow her to enjoy otakon in the first place. I know i can afford to put in a deposit, but that really might not be true for everyone, and panels may suffer. (she was a very large help to me). Also, in the event of a melt down like this year, i'm pretty certain we had submitted at LEAST all the panelists email addresses. I know i only come to the forums occasionally, but some of us not at all. so, by the time i found out i had to email info in or do the pre-register thing, it was already completely past the pre reg dates. Perhaps we can be emailed if that were to happen again?

3) Despite the program saying we were saturday at 9, thanks for those who came to see us friday at 8 for the Tales of... Panel. (and luckily i found some people wanting to see us earlier who were mistaken about the time so they could come :lol:)

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Hm...well for the money thing as those deposits WOULD help to make people try harder to actually come as they said, the deposit could always be something small that after Otakon is over, those panelists who came would get their money reimbursed.

It'd work, and we do it for some programs here, but I'm not sure if Otakon will feel like doing that. It's not much extra work but I'm sure someone would complain about having something else to do.

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And speaking of money, when can 07 panelists expect their reimbursement checks?

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If you all had your panel registration forms filled out correctly you should be seeing your reimbursements here soon. It took almost a month after the con for me to get mine, but that was expected and the same thing from last year.

Just send out a message asking about the status if it's gets any later.

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-I like the idea of the 'Resume' that some one said. After all otakon is a large con, so if some one is new to doing panels or public speaking in general then they should try smaller venues first.

-I think pre-reg is more then enough of a deposit. Some cons dont even reimburse you that money.

- Evaluating is a good idea. They do it at schools and other meetings. Not to realy evalute wether they liked the panel but more on technicall things, like was the audence seemed realy interested and interactive? Did the panelist had more then enough material for the block that they requested? Did they start on time? And were they able to anwser most of the questions related to the topic?

Objective stuff like that.

Not to keep new people out, so some one should not be denied of hosting a panel on one thing. However, if there is more then just a few 'red flags' then at least Otakon will have some clues ahead of time.

As for the submittions forums or screening for quality.. the only thing I can think of is doing it how people accept/ green light commurcials and comic publishing. Have the bare minimum of the outlineing and discriptions, but also allow people to send you more then just that. Some things like, powerpoint, full writing of the speech or even an online tutorial can at least give Ota an idea of the amount of work already put into the panel so it doesnt seem like a last minute thing thrown together.

I've only done 1 panel at a small con. I thought only 5 people was going to come since it's only my first year doing cons or having any online presence. So I'm not popular, but I made extra material for the next panels I hope to do in the future. Turned out that I had about 25+ come, so it's good to be prepared for anything. I also gave out survey sheets and many did come to my site to comment. This helps me with my prep work so Im sure this would help Ota out if they also got some feed back for panels/ panelist.

(end my long rant, but i still do have more to say...)

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Otakon 2008 was the "Year of Panels" for me. I don't think I'd ever attended an Otakon panel before this past year, but I went to FOUR of them! I was really, really pleased!

The "Cosplay Photography" panel was really well done. Very informative. I enjoyed that there was general photography information in addition to specifically cosply photography tips. Great job!

The "Takarazuka Revue" panel was really nice. I had never heard of this group before Otakon '08, but I definitely plan to find out more. I thought the panelists were well-informed, and while nervous, put on a great talk. The only complaint was with other guests to the panel, who continued to interrupt the presenters and point out minor flaws. I felt bad for the panelists, they did a great job regardless.

The "EGL: Beyond the Basics" panel was great, too. I liked the more in-depth information. The panelists were right, the time has come for more than just what styles exist. The panel, again, was really well-organized and informative. I loved the additional information for differently-sized Lolitas as well.

Finally, the "DIY Lolita" panel was perhaps my favorite of the weekend. I was glad to see that the presenter had won the Nana Kitade fashion show in '07. Her ensemble was so beautiful for the fashion show! This panel had some fantastic information! Including things that I would never have thought of, like the impact of fabric choices on the overall look of a garment. The sheet of Websites is great, too. It's always nice to know where other Lolitas who sew their own can be found.

Overall, I think that this year has definitely sold me on panels at Otakon. I've also realized what kind of panel I'd like to present someday. Great job, everyone!

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my friend was the one hosting the DIY lolita panel. i felt bad because it filled up and I couldn't get in to see her T_T

but as for reimbursements... still haven't gotten anything. I kinda forgot about it for a while, but since I was wandering around the convention center area today, it kinda reminded me.

I really hope this year flows a lot better

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