When brainstorming ideas on what to do a panel about, there are several things to consider:
- What do you know/what are your interests?
- How much do you know about your interests?
- What academic things do you do that may overlap with your anime/other fandom hobbies/interests?
- What do you love researching about?
- What do you love talking about?
Answering these questions can easily help you develop at least a few ideas of different topics you would like to give a panel on. Further scrutiny of your brainstorm list will help you decide which ideas would be best (for you) to then develop into a panel. Of course, there’s also deciding the type of presentation you’ll have, if you want co-panelists, where you’re going to submit this panel to, etc., etc., but as far as coming up with ideas, this method will really help you get started.
However, sometimes you’re just ready & raring to just present a panel, any panel, at any con & you just want to know the most sure-fire way to get something accepted. Well, as far as giving general advice goes, there’s really no “sure-fire” panel topic that will be accepted at any & all cons. However, there are several topic areas that usually are more likely to be accepted than any other panel topic. These topics usually are:
- Academic type panels (WGS & anime, racial issues + whatever, etc.)
- Aspects about Japanese culture (school life, tea ceremonies, how they make anime, etc.)
- Things educating about industry things (“how to…” style panels on writing, animation/game design aspects, making good fictional characters, etc.)
- Topics that go along with the theme of the con (Otakon had a cooking theme last year, so having a panel about cooking anime/manga, Japanese cuisine, etc.)
There might be a few other areas that slipped my mind, but these are the most notable. Other crapshoot topic areas are cosplay advice type panels & panels on trendy anime/videogames. Again, they’re a crapshoot from con-to-con and can be a crapshoot at any one con, which is why I wouldn’t outright recommend going this route unless you want to.
Now, none of the above mentioned topic areas are guarantees for getting your panel(s) accepted, but they usually are areas that will get you further along in the approval process. So don’t use this list as a guiding light to brainstorm a bulk of your panel ideas because there’s no guarantee, especially with some of the examples I used because they’re based off actual panels, & I want to emphasize this before somebody goes off misquoting this (which is bound to happen ~.~).
Additionally, I heard from one panelist at their panel that 18+ panels are more likely to get accepted, but from my experience, I wouldn’t recommend this. 18+ programming slots are fewer in comparison to the regular programming track slots, which means competition is all the more fierce, & it might be more trouble than what it’s worth. I mean, there’s nothing like seeing an 18+ panel & there’s not a single shred of 18+ material throughout the course of the panel. So, I wouldn’t recommend going this route unless you want/need to, but that’s my prerogative, I’m not trying to say the panelist that mentioned this was wrong.
That’s all I got, may add on to this article later. In either case, happy paneling!