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SMOF News, volume 1, issue 5
How to be a panelist, and news in brief.
How to Convention: Program Participation (Part 1)
Every convention which puts fans on panels could use a little new blood. If you’ve ever wanted to take a stab at being a talking at your local con and haven’t been sure how, there are two approaches to it:
Anime and other media-focused conventions typically have people apply with prepackaged ideas: the person submitting the idea plans to do the talk or otherwise run the item, recruits other panelists as necessary, and so forth.
Broad-spectrum science fiction cons and some of their more literary offshoots collect a stack of panel ideas and a stack of prospective panelists, then do the work of matching them up.
If you go to both kinds of conventions, I recommend trying the second kind first. Not only is it much less work for you as a new panelist, but sf cons typically have a much higher ratio of programming to attendees, meaning that your local one is almost always looking for more people to add to the program list.
I’ll run through the application process for the first type in a later issue, but here’s how to get started with the sf con version.
First, write to the program contact address a few months before the con and say that you’re planning to attend and you’d like to volunteer as a panelist. Name a few general subjects you can talk about. These could be from your career, life experience, past education, or hobbies.
If the con is interested, they’ll send you a standardized program participant survey. Different cons have different timelines; these may go out anywhere from 2-6 months ahead of time.
Some standard questions on these surveys are:
More detail on what you do and don’t want to talk about— sometimes a list of subject areas, sometimes the specific list of panel ideas.
Times you’re available for programming each day, and any specific things you don’t want to be programmed against.
How many items you’re willing to be on each day.
People you don’t want to be on a panel with. Nobody will ask about the reasons, they just want the names.
Whether you’re willing to be a moderator.
Demographic information so the con can see how its diversification efforts are going.
2-4 weeks before the con, preliminary schedules go out. When you get one, the most important thing to remember is that it is preliminary. If you’ve been assigned to something you feel is a bad fit, speak up! Maybe you have a brand new personal feud with the assigned moderator, maybe you’re a devotee of a subgenre but not the specific author the panel is about, maybe someone screwed up and assigned you to a subject you just don’t know anything about. Whatever the reason, write back to the program contact and explain that you’d like to be removed. You won’t be branded as difficult and it won’t be held against you in the future. There is nothing the program department wants less than having a panelist announce that they don’t know why they’re on the panel in the first place.
As for things you should be doing once you’re there in front of the audience, that’ll have to be another installment.
RadCon (Pasco, Washington, USA) is the latest convention with a GoFundMe campaign to try to save it from a pandemic-induced shortfall.
Readercon (Quincy, Massachusetts, USA) is skipping 2022 to revamp its processes and digest what it has learned from running a virtual convention.
A New York Times article on Colorado governor Jared Polis and his new husband reveals that their first serious compatibility test was attending MileHiCon, Denver’s long-time science fiction convention.
Weekend of October 1-3
Octocon 2021 (Irish national science fiction convention), virtual
MileHiCon 53, Denver, Colorado, USA
Archon 44, Collinsville, Illinois, USA
Fiasco iN3D, Romulus, Michigan, USA
Capclave 2021/1632 Minicon (books/1632 series), Rockville, Maryland, USA
Origins Game Fair 2021, Columbus, Ohio, USA
Tennessee Game Days Fall 2021, Franklin, Tennessee, USA
TringCon (gaming), Marsworth, UK
2021 Gaming Hoopla, Mundelein, Illinois, USA
AppleCon 2 (tabletop games), Standish, Maine, USA
Pittsburgh Gaming Expo (video games), Monroeville, Pennsylvania, USA
FilkCONtinental (music), Wernigerode, Germany
Trans/Inter/Cross: A Symposium on the Fantastic Between Genres, Media, and Cultures, Orlando, Florida, USA
Gaslight Steampunk Expo, San Diego, California, USA
Anime Oklahoma, Midwest City, Oklahoma, USA
26th Annual H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Portland, Oregon, USA
New Orleans Comic Con, Kenner, Louisiana, USA
Upper Valley Comic Expo, West Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA
Unicon (media), Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Edmonton Expo (media), Edmonton, Alberta, USA
Cape Comic Con (media), Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA
Twin Cities Con (media), Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Mid-week convention:Geekway to the West (gaming), St. Charles, Missouri, USA (October 5-7)
Weekend of October 8-10
Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival, Sitges, Spain
7th Irish Discworld Convention, virtual (was to be Cork, Ireland)
EstelCon 2021 (J. R. R. Tolkien), Orduña, Spain
WPAFW 2021 (anthropomorphics), North Park, Pennsylvania, USA
Motor City Furry Con, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
Alamo City Furry Invasion: Fire and Furry, San Antonio, Texas, USA
Lair Con (RPGs), Terrell, Texas, USA
Too Many Games (video gaming), Oaks, Pennsylvania, USA
Tsubasacon (anime), Charleston, West Virginia, USA
Banzaicon (anime), Columbia, South Carolina, USA
Anime Fiesta, McAllen, Texas, USA
Animasia (anime), Bordeaux, France
Made in Asia (anime), Brussels, Belgium
UK PonyCon 2021 (My Little Pony), Nottingham, UK
Fallcon XL (comics), St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Comiccon de Québec, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Comic Con Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
Alabama Comic Convention/My Hero Convention, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Powerhouse Comic Con, Pleasanton, California, USA
Grit City Comic Show, Tacoma, Washington, USA
Sci-Fi Valley Con (media), Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA
Fantasy Basel (media), Basel, Switzerland
Big Texas Comicon, San Antonio, Texas, USA
The Tomb of Monsterama (retro media), Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Weekend of October 15-17
ICON 46, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
ArmadilloCon 43, Austin, Texas, USA
VCon 2021, virtual (usually Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
Can*Con 2021 (Canadian sf), virtual (usually Ottawa, Ontario)
Anime Banzai, Davis, Utah, USA
Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival, Sitges, Spain
Viking-Con 40 (gaming), Kastrup, Denmark
Phantasm 30th (RPGs), Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
BETACON 10 (gaming), Carbondale, Illinois, USA
Effing-Con (gaming), Effingham, Illinois, USA
Spiel ‘21 (boardgames), Essen, Germany
Wauke-Con (comics), Waukegan, Illinois, USA
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal, UK
J-Popcon (anime), Copenhagen, Denmark
Chizu Con (anime), Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Tokyo, OK (anime), Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
WasabiCon (anime), Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Heroes Made in Asia (anime), Gorinchem, Netherlands
Geek Days Caen (media), Caen, France
Motor City Comic Con, Novi, Michigan, USA
MetaCon (media), Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Indiana Comic Convention, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
MagicCon 4 (fantasy media), Bonn, Germany
Bedford Who Charity Con 6 (Doctor Who), Bedford, UK
Weekend of October 22-24
BuchmesseCon, Dreieich, Germany
Sirens (gender and fantasy), Denver, Colorado, USA
Atlanta Game Fest 36, Alpharetta, Georgia, USA
GaelCon (gaming), virtual (usually Dublin, Ireland)
CincyCon 2021 (gaming), Hamilton, Ohio, USA
LAN All Night: ZombieLAN (video games), Dallas, Texas, USA
Biggest Little Fur Con (anthropomorphic), Reno, Nevada, USA
Sci-Fi-London 21 (film festival), London, UK
MEX (anime), Berlin, Germany
Anime Nebraskon, Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA
Anime Fusion, Plymouth, Minnesota, USA
Another Anime Convention, Westford, Massachusetts, USA
FedCon (media), Bonn, Germany
Hal-Con (media), Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Baltimore Comic-Con, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
FicZone 2021 (media/gaming), Grenada, Spain
TR25 (Tomb Raider), Derby, UK
TFcon Baltimore (Transformers), Baltimore, Maryland, USA
VoltCon! 2021 (Voltron), Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Weekend of October 29-31
SpoCon: Revamped, Spokane, Washington, USA
Astronomicon, Rochester, New York, USA
BristolCon, Bristol, UK
Les Utopiales, Nantes, France
Hallowcon 2021: Gambler's Nightmare (fantasy/horror), Dalton, Georgia, USA
The Surrey Steampunk Convivial, Epsom, UK
Ohio Valley Filk Festival (music), Worthington, Ohio, USA
Dragonflight 41 (gaming), Bellevue, Washington, USA
EuroQuest 2021 (Eurogames), Pikesville, Maryland, USA
Golden Leaves Con XI (anthropomorphic), Hasliberg, Switzerland
Furry Blacklight 9: Space Travel, Tremblay-en-France, France
Anime Halloween, Schaumberg, Illinois, USA
Oni-Con XVII (anime), Galveston, Texas, USA
SNAFU Con (anime), Reno, Nevada, USA
LumiCon (anime), Tampa, Florida, USA
Manga Barcelona (anime), Barcelona, Spain
Destination Tokyo (anime), Monthey, Switzerland
Anime Weekend Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
DerpyCon 2021 (anime), New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
Yunicon 2021 (anime), Schwechat, Austria
Youmacon 2021 (anime), Detroit, Michigan, USA
SMASH! (anime), Sydney, Australia
31st Festival of Fantastic Films, Manchester, UK
All-Con (media), Dallas, Texas, USA
Soda City Comic Con, Columbia, South Carolina, USA
Fan Expo Denver (media), Denver, Colorado, USA
Fanboy Expo Knoxville (media), Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Cherry Capital Comic Con, Acme, Michigan, USA
Music City Multi Con (media/video games), Lebanon, Tennessee, USA