Twelve Days #2: One Year of Panels

Second day, second topic. Thinking of all these topics and things might prove to be more of a challenge than I thought; I’m still gonna be up for it though, because it’ll give me some activity on here that I so desperately need. Anyway, today’s twelve days topic is on my panel presentation and what I think about all of it, as well as how it’s been going and where I want it to go. Have an Asuka because Evangelion is actually kind of related to this whole thing.

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As with anything else I’ve been talking about, I need to go into some background first about my love of conventions and my near obsession with going to as many as possible. I started going when I was… 14 or 15? I think? And my first convention was Katsucon. It was still in DC at that point, and I went on a Sunday with my mother and brother. In the afternoon.

I don’t need to tell you, if you’ve been to a con, why that is such a bad idea. We spent money to essentially look at the cleanup process. It was a mistake I haven’t repeated again, in the last 8 or 9 years that I’ve been going to cons. Over the years I have gone to multiple Otakons, Katsucons, Anime USAs, as well as various other cons such as T-MODE, Anime Midatlantic, Shatterdome Con, with plans to attend Anime Expo this Summer.

So, the question that you might ask is why wait so long to do panels? And that’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. I thought it might’ve been this long professional process where I had no chance of getting in. Plus, public speaking. Yeah. But after taking a speaking class and realizing I wasn’t too bad at improvising speeches, and you know, realizing that I like being the center of attention sometimes, I decided to try.

Oh, and one more influence was my talks with a now friend of mine who had given a panel at Katsucon 2014. I participated in it a lot and so obviously I wanted to try and co-host the panel with her but ended up just doing my own, which was probably for the best. So thanks for that, Date.

Anime USA 2014 was my first big chance. I had submitted 4 panels and – shockingly to me – gotten 3 accepted! I vehemently prepared with my friend who would be co-paneling my 2 hour Makoto Shinkai panel. I prepared a general, disorganized panel on Lain, a panel on Shinkai, and an Evangelion panel modeled after one I had seen at Nekocon a few years prior.

By the way – I want to put this in here too – if the guys at Nekocon who hosted the Evangelion panel in… 2013? ever see this, thank you both so much for that panel, it was part of my inspiration to start giving panels.

Anyway. Two of the panels, the Shinkai and the Lain one, had a few people show up, which made me happy. Honestly there was a few minutes during the start of the Lain one that I was scared no one besides my friend would show up. But they did, and 2 people stayed for all 2 hours of the Shinkai one. And that was fine by me. The Evangelion panel, as you might guess, had a better turnout.

A few of the attendees of my panels told me that they had really enjoyed my presentations and that really inspired me to keep on presenting. I went to Katsucon 2015 and gave a few presentations on speedrunning, Haibane Renmei, and the Evangelion fan panel again (which quickly turned into my favorite panel to do, due to its low-effort preparation and its extremely fun discussions).

Then came Anime Midatlantic, with no real new presentations. Otakon 2015 hit and I was presenting my “When Subtitles go Wrong” panel with 8 hours of sleep for the last 2 days to over 400 people. Amazingly it went off without being too short.

And then we came back around to Anime USA 2015; everything went mostly okay that year. Six panels – six hours of programming – that I was able to successfully prepare for and pull off and even record. Katsucon is next on my schedule and I hope I get at least one panel accepted to Anime Expo so I can experience presenting at the US’s biggest anime convention.

But yeah this post is for any of those who have been to my panels and given me the positive feedback to keep on presenting. I really, truly appreciate the feedback and it means a lot to me when I’m complimented on my ability to analyze or present a topic. So here’s hoping for another year beyond this, and more beyond that. And I encourage ANYONE who is hesitant to present a panel to just go for it. It’s so much fun to talk about your favorite topics for an hour.

Thanks for reading, and attending. Happy panel-going 🙂


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