By: Peggy Sue Wood | @pswediting
Hi, Everyone! Last week I discussed my attendee experience at 2022’s Kumoricon. However, now I’d like to discuss my experience with presenting.
The deadline for submitting the panel application was around the end of the summer season. This felt pretty standard to me, as most calls for panels, papers, and other forms of submission are often called a season or two before the event is set to be hosted. (So, if you are interested in submitting a panel idea for an event, start looking at least around 4 to 6 months before the event for a deadline.) Then you play the waiting game, hoping that the programming officials accept it and put it on the schedule.
For anime conventions specifically, I recommend looking at what panels have been popular in the past. With great consistency, one can usually find past programs and schedules online. This can help you narrow into themes that the convention you’re hoping to get into might have a preference toward. For Kumoricon, the preference seemed to lean towards cosplay and crafting. There were also several streamers giving commentary on the online anime community, which I found interesting and fun.
Before applying, think carefully about what you need to present too. Your PowerPoint presentation will need a way to project it to the audience. Your voice may need a microphone and speaker to reach the entirety of the room. Your cosplay workshop will need crafting tools and approval for safety concerns. All of these are things to consider–so make sure to ask for them if the application gives you the option to tell the Programming Team what you need. It really helps them figure out where and when to place things and can be a determining factor in getting on the schedule and staying there.
One factor that can also help in getting accepted is to show that you have already prepared the presentation (or even presented it, like in a class as a school project). This shows that you have already committed to the presentation and can provide, with some accuracy, an estimated time for the length of your presentation. On that note, timing is a big factor in presenting at conventions. Shorter presentations of 30-45 minutes are more likely to get in than those that are over an hour long.
On a personal note, I think that most anime conventions will have a slightly higher acceptance and availability for cultural, professional, and educational panels. Crunchyroll Expo, for example, seems to heavily lean towards professional panels within their accepted applicant submissions, while Anime Expo seems to lean toward more cultural panels for their educational track. Smaller conventions, like the mid-tier Kumoricon, seemed relatively open to these three forms across the board, and I saw upwards of 20-30 people at each of the educationally aligned panels (which is a great turnout for a convention of this size).
As a panelist, I loved the responsiveness of Kumoricon’s programming staff. I understand that they were understaffed, but I never really felt it as a panelist. Emails and questions were promptly returned and provided reasonable (though fast-paced) deadlines. When asking other panelists about their experience, one major praise from several different presenters was that even last-minute requests for additions were met to help panels go on and succeed. I also had a last-minute addition (I had forgotten to request a microphone stand), but it was not an issue at all. The programmer ran back to get the stand, checked it out of inventory, and came back with 10 minutes to spare before the event started.
It was, overall, a fantastic experience. I think that this is because of the staffs’ commitment to help panelists set up, check everything, and quickly handle small problems/questions. This is not always the case at conventions–I’ve seen many a panelist experience technology-mayhem during the opening of presentations or come in thinking they have everything, only to learn that they forgot to request a microphone and now have to yell across the room until someone from programming can come back (if they’ve even had a chance to request one now that the convention has begun)–but that was not the case here.
10/10 Will Submit Again!