[Anime Culture Monday] How to Create a Panel for Your Anime Con

You’ve been to an anime convention and sat in the audience as a panelist or panelists sit on the small stage behind a table with a white tablecloth and black skirt while a PowerPoint on the most persistent girls in Live Sunshine is discussed and thought, “yeah, I can do that.” You only need the motivation to do a panel to propose and create one. A panel will take work. You’ll need to buckle down like you’re preparing for entrance exams, but it will be worth it when you see the audience excited by what you’re talking about.

Step One- The Most Amazing Idea Ever

You are sitting at home, in the car, or in the bath and an idea hits you for a panel. The first thing you need to do is take that Most Amazing Idea Ever and WRITE IT DOWN. You have no idea how many ideas you’ll forget five seconds after you have them. We call that goldfish brain. So, write it down and then make a list of all the reasons that support that idea. You should hope to have at least a list of 20 to 30 reasons. If you CAN write down 20 reasons, congratulations -- you’ve got a panel.

Step Two-I HAVE THE POWER (point)!

You will find that just like He-Man all the great things come from the 80s; take 1987’s POWERPOINT for example. It almost sounds cool if you say “POWERPOINT” like a classic rocker. You’ll likely have a copy already if you have a PC or laptop with Windows. You will want to take each of the 20 reasons and make a slide. The slides can either simply have the idea on it or it can have the idea and the supporting reasons. We suggest the idea model and then put the details or reasons in the notes section. You want to dress that slide up by adding color and pictures or flying graphics. The more visually interesting the better. Use bold colors and bold letters. You do have the risk of making it too busy; too many animations and colors could cause seizures like the 38th episode of Pokémon.

Step Three- Be Submissive

You may be the alpha male in your waifu harem, but you need to be ready to become submissive. We suggest submitting to as many cons as you can find time to go to. If you’re nervous choose a small one near your home. You’ll find each con committee is a lot like a tsundere. You’ll get a warm reception from the website with words of encouragement asking everyone to submit their panel. The reality is there are only so many slots available and the easiest way to make sifting through all the Most Amazing Ideas Ever is to create some barriers. You should be prepared to swallow your pride as the creator of The Most Amazing Idea Ever for a panel and jump through some hoops. You’ll find this especially with the bigger cons. You’ll need to give a full outline of your idea. They may ask for a history of other cons you presented at or if the panel is brand new. You might even be told that you need to have three panels or more accepted to qualify for free entry to the convention. So even if your idea is accepted you may still have to pay for a convention pass as if saying in classic tsundere style, “Please come speak if you’re coming anyway, it not that we like you.”

Step Four-Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

You’re probably a millennial and have your face stuck in Facebook and your thumbs tapping out tweets already, so when you get that acceptance letter advertise your panel. You can do something as simple as a post about it. We suggest using a tool like TweetDeck and schedule some clever tweets like “Do you know who has the Most Amazing Idea Ever panel? This Guy. Join me at @Amazeballz-con in hall H panel 11 @ 3 for the most amazing idea ever. #anime.” You then schedule that one tweet or variants of that tweet to go out in the weeks leading up to the con. If someone replies or likes the post thank them and say you’ll see them there. You want butts in the seats and this is a way to do it.


You’ve been accepted and are ready for the show. You’ve practiced your POWERPOINT, still saying it like you belong in a hair metal band and have picked up your badge that has a little ribbon on it that says “panelist.” You’ll want to make sure you show up a few minutes early for your panel, you’ll need time to make sure the projector is working and you have all the connectors you need. A good panelist keeps at least a few on hand like display port to VGA or display port to HDMI or HDMI to HDMI or VGA to VGA. If you obsess over such things check with con-ops well before your program and have them on speed dial if things don’t work when you get there. You’ll want to be full of energy, too. Remember to eat something before your panel. We suggest granola, not housing an entire package of Peeps, not that we’ve ever done that. You should also have some water on hand; you’ll get thirsty at the oddest of times when presenting. But don’t drink too much before your panel because the moment something makes you think about using the bathroom you’ll have to go and you don’t want to think about holding it on slide one of 20. Your potential bladder issues aside, you’ve got this. You are the creator of the Most Amazing Idea Ever panel, which means you’re the expert on what you’re going to say.

Final Thoughts

You did it! You came up with an idea and presented it at a con. You may not have filled all the seats. The caliber of the questions from the audience may have been drowned out by the karaoke in the next room. You may have been given a time slot that was technically before the con “officially” started, which happened to be on a weekday before most of the audience could leave work. However, you did it. You presented. You had fun, hopefully. You were the expert. You can walk down the halls of the con proudly wearing that badge and panelist ribbon that shouts loudly, YES! I ACTUALLY FOLLOWED THROUGH ON SOMETHING!

by Zeke Changuris