Why Panels at Conventions Suck

This post was written by Dark_Sage. He is Dark_Sage.


This is a short list of advice for convention panelists.

1. You’re not that funny. Also, don’t trust your audience.

Your jokes fall flat, you nervously stutter and rely on your improv skills to see you through. When you fail on your own, you look to the audience for a hail-mary but that won’t work because…

Your audience is fucking retarded

Audience participation is an absolute fucking BAD IDEA. You are not skilled enough to pull this off. I was at one panel where the panelists were fucking excellent comedians, at the top of their game, and the Q&A part still sucked.

The only people to talk during these sections are the people that should never talk in any situation. Their speech impediments and mental disorders somehow compel them to stutter through stupid thought after stupid thought, leaving you in a worse place than you were when you first began this “discussion”.

So don’t fucking risk it. Some audience participation is all right, but make sure you can reign it back in when the inbreds start to “contribute” to the discussion.


2. You don’t fucking practice.

You don’t get Fuwa Fuwa Time without practice

Put in some fucking time to work out the problems. Do a practice run… 10 times. Practice with others. Practice with an audience. Record yourself and analyze what you could do better. There is nothing you can do that is more important than making sure your presentation is finely tuned.

You are not good enough to wing it. Don’t waste your time or your audience’s with a shitty performance. You only have one chance to not be a miserable failure at the con, so make sure you fucking nail it here.


3. Your topic is garbage/not related to anime.

If I see another fucking Dr. Who panel at an anime convention, I’m gonna fucking flip my shit.

Dr. Who is not anime-related

My Little Pony is not anime-related

Homestuck is not anime-related

Star Wars is not anime-related

Keep your shitty fucking fandoms that have no relation to anime out of fucking anime cons. Go found Faggot-con or something and take your stupid shit there. They’re called anime cons for a fucking reason and it’s not because they cater to d20-carrying losers.


4. Use some fucking visuals, but don’t overdo it.

By “visuals”, I do not mean “Youtube videos”. Don’t use any fucking videos. You’re the fucking presentation here, so own it. Static text/images are fine to provide backup for what you’re saying. That way the audience can switch between whatever you’ve got up on the screen and you. Nobody wants to stare at a speaker for 60-fucking-minutes. Give them a chance to switch things up a bit and look elsewhere.

If you MUST use a video, keep it fucking short. If you make me watch a video for longer than five minutes, I’m leaving your fucking panel. The only acceptable time for lengthy Youtube videos is at fucking AMV panels. Otherwise, you’re wasting my time by substituting for your failure as a presenter.


5. Unless you’re giving out anime-themed condoms or free blowjobs, I don’t want shit from your panel.

No fucking handouts. I don’t give a shit about a piece of paper that describes the flow of your presentation; this isn’t fucking high school. If you’re giving shit out, make sure it’s fucking awesome. Candy does not count. I paid $60 for a fucking ticket, $300 for the plane ticket and untold hundreds for my hotel room. I can afford a $2 bag of candy on my own. Gimme something I can’t get anywhere else or don’t waste my time handing your stupid shit out.


6. Shut up about yourself.

I (probably) didn’t come for your fucking biography. Unless your experience is relevant to the topic at hand, shut up. And I most assuredly don’t want to hear about how great other cons were. I didn’t go to those cons, so stop making me feel like I’m getting the short end of the stick by attending this one.



This is a very short list that’s not comprehensive at all. Think back to panels you attended and figure out what worked and what didn’t. This will help you out a lot. Most importantly, you need to fucking practice your presentation. See what works best, get feedback, and hone your topic to perfection. Don’t be that person who puts on a shitty panel and wastes everyone’s time.

23 thoughts on “Why Panels at Conventions Suck”

  1. For mostly I agree, it’s so annoying, when someone has a boring panel and even expect people to enjoy it. Although I don’t think it’s bad, when there are panels not only anime related. Not everyone hobby is only anime and after hours listening to anime babbling, it can be relaxing to hear about something else. But I don’t like, when you have already ANIME-RELATED pannel and still talking about others stuff, which don’t have too much connection with topic.
    60$ for ticket? Expensive!

  2. > reign it in

    I weep.

    > No fucking handouts. I don’t give a shit about a piece of paper that describes the flow of your presentation; this isn’t fucking high school.

    I thought you were all grown up now and in the corporate world and all. You don’t get handouts? You’re indescribably lucky.

    Note: I count emails containing Powerpoint slides including the text bits that are only meant for the presenter to read, sent before meetings, as handouts. If those don’t count, you must be even older than me.

    PS Good work lately. I rather liked the quirky phrasing post. It reflects a welcome growth since your, dare I say, overly anal early reviews.

    • Okay, we do get advance copies of the PowerPoint presentations, but I’m here to give advice on how to give a good presentation.

      My early reviews sucked. No need to be shy about it. There’s a reason why this season’s look completely different from what I first started out doing.

  3. Those panels make you feel like nobody in anime fandom has any presentation skills whatsoever… -___-

    Thank god for the philosophy of Gurren Lagann. ;D

  4. can you just start to review shows as you used to fo before?… i feel like ever since your site got a virus your head got high as well xD

  5. Dark I have to agree with quite a few of your points. FIRST OFF (cringe grammar nazi)The Q&A section for my Politics of Eden of East, was amazing, and people where asking relevant questions, that actually increased peoples knowledge about how the game is a metaphor. I even got a couple of theories about what some elements of the show and seliaco (yes that is probably misspelled) represent.

    SECOND OFF video can be and showed be used in a good panel. A lot of times people will come to a pannel even if they have not seen the anime being talked about or people will forget key points that you will want to talk about. so around 8 minutes of clips from (all 11 episodes of) the show to get everyone on the same page will help. also you can refer back to the various sections when you talk about them in order to showcase examples of what you are talking about.

    THIRD OFF yes give away stuff is good. this includes not only candy ($8 for a hamburger no thanks), but also manga and dvds. it also gets people to talk who should be talking and asking stuff.

    FOURTH OFF yes I can be funny thank you. if I can get laughs about how bare life is being represented by the main charcter being naked or a army of neets being naked then I would say it’s funny.

    Yes don’t talk about yourself to much, don’t overdo the visuals, and practice before hand.

    P.S. if you don’t like a panel don’t go it, obviously the con staff thought other people would enjoy it, and it is their decision not yours

    • “Second off” doesn’t exist and it’s giving me cancer. Just use “Second,” “Third,” “Fourth,” and so on.
      To begin with, this whole thing is about how to improve yourself. D_S probably doesn’t care at all how “funny” you think YOU are, because this isn’t about you.
      In addition, people did not come to your panel to watch an 8 minute long video, but to hear a discussion about the subject.
      While they’d obviously enjoy free mangas, the participators also did not come for that, either. If they did, you’ll have a bunch of people who couldn’t care less about the subject.
      Furthermore I have a feeling you probably can’t be funny, and your whole comment is a mess. Please go learn some English before thinking of starting a panel.

      tl;dr you are invalid and you are giving me brain cancer.

  6. Dark_Sage, why you no come to my panel at Ohayocon! x/ I like feedback cause it helps me improve it yo! No feedback, no improving… well… not true. I added some stuff to it for my latest con and I was like… whoops, this got a little too long winded here / there. Time to fix. I love feedback, as long as it’s useful feedback and not simply bashing.

  7. I’d go to a local animu convention and do a Yume Nikki panel but no one plays it here (Israel is here btw) and cons are even more shitty than anywhere in NA combined.


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