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Calling all panelists!

Panels are where it is at! Do you want to learn cool things from cooler people? Or would you rather be the cool person teaching cool people cool things? Here is where you can apply to be a panelist! We’re always looking for people who have unique skills or knowledge to share with our attendees. 

You can apply to be a panelist if you are A) super cool, B) plan to attend A-Kon, and C) have something interesting you’d like to present to other A-Kon attendees. 

Keep reading for rules and restrictions!

Panel Submission Rules

The A-Kon Panelist Submission Form opens in early 2023!

Panelists will be notified of acceptance or rejection by the end of April. Harassing the Programming Team about the status of your panel, especially prior to April, is a fantastic way to be banned from hosting panels in the future.  😉

We offer rooms in the following setups, subject to equipment availability:

  • Standard: Presenter table with 2 wired mics, projector w/ HDMI input, row audience seating.
  • Active Workshop: Open room with no chairs.
  • Arts & Crafts / Classroom-Style: Standard setup PLUS rows of tables and plastic sheeting to contain messes, if necessary.
  • Game Show: Standard setup PLUS tables for game show participants.

All panelists MUST fill out an application to be considered for panel space. Filling out an application is not a guarantee of your panel being accepted. Please make sure you take the time to fill out your application with as much detail as you can, as the panel jury will use the information you provide to determine your acceptance.

Badges

All panelists requiring badges must be actively presenting the majority of the panel content.  We will not issue badges for audience plants or participants. Badge amounts are issued at the discretion of the Programming Team.

Safety

Your panel must be safe for both you and your audience. If you have special talents and training in something unique and potentially dangerous, please provide credentials, references, and details with your form along with specifics on how your panel would work. At no time may you put yourself or any member of your audience in danger regardless of their willingness to do so.

Panel rooms will have power available as part of the standard setup.

Panelists MUST arrive at their scheduled panels on time and with enough time to set up.

All panelists, presenters, or helpers must meet the age requirement set by the panel rating to participate.

Panel Ratings:

Panels should be appropriately rated for your content and all presenters should be of proper age for that rating. The following ratings are allowed for panels:

  • Everyone (All Ages)
  • Everyone 10+ (Ages 10 and up)
  • Teen (Ages 13 and up)
  • Mature (Ages 17 and up)
  • Adult (Ages 18 and up)

Panel Length and Setup:

Shorter panels (30 – 60 minutes) are easier to schedule, but longer panels are both allowed and welcome. However, the longer your panel is, the more this may limit scheduling and availability. Additionally, we usually provide 15 minutes for setup and breakdown of each panel. While you may request for more time if needed, we may or may not be able to approve additional time depending on several factors. Please make sure you provide an explanation of why the additional time is needed in your application. If your panel is approved, we will let you know if there are any issues with the requested time.

Point of Contact Person 

Each panel must have one point of contact. This will be the person responsible for touching base with the programming staff to check in at the beginning of the panel. This person will also be responsible for keeping in touch with our programming staff and notifying us of any developments which may affect the execution of the panel. 

Cancellations and No Shows

If you can’t host your panel, please let us know as soon as possible. Life happens! Just let us know!

If you simply do not show up to your panel, your badge will be revoked and you will be put on the naughty list (ineligible to participate in future fan panels). 

Technology

If you are bringing ANYTHING that plugs in, other than a laptop with an HDMI output, we need to know about it in advance. If we don’t clear you beforehand, it is likely you won’t be able to use the thing and it will RUIN YOUR PANEL FOREVER. 😭

If you need anything from us, besides a microphone, a projector with an HDMI input, and some chairs, please make sure you include it in your application. 

NO PYROTECHNICS, NO POWER TOOLS. Just don't.

Crafting Materials 

All venues have their own rules about crafting materials that can be utilized in their rooms. All crafting materials must be cleared with us in advance. It is impossible to list every restriction here, so we’ll just say that if you bring glitter or silly string into our venues, no one will ever find your body.

COVID-19

Panelists are expected to stay up-to-date with, and to comply with, all A-Kon COVID policies.

Have more questions? We have answers.

Do us a favor and check this short FAQ to see if we've already covered it before you hit us up. THSANKS.

What criteria are considered when you decide which panels to approve?

We look at several factors when deciding which panels are approved; some of these factors include submission date, panelist experience and expertise, topic, type, uniqueness, and quality. Often, we receive several submissions for similar panels, and we may limit how many panels related to a particular title, or panels of a particular type (such as game shows or trivia contests) to ensure that we have a wide variety of offerings. Don’t let that discourage you, though! We love seeing the creative ways that our fans innovate with paneling.

When describing your panel for the Programming Team, please be as descriptive as you can; this is your chance to pitch your panel! We will ask you to explain how you will run the panel, the type of content you will cover, any unique elements, and anything else you want the review team to know. We suggest you write a minimum of 4 to 5 sentences pitching your panel, so that we can get a complete understanding of your proposal. We will also ask you for a short blurb that we will use in the program if your panel is accepted.

There are some types of panels we no longer accept, such as Cosplay in-character Q&A and Truth or Dare style panels.

Finally, we know that as fans, you have particular events that you’ll want to attend. When you submit your panel proposal, you will have the chance to tell us which specific events or times of day you won’t be available to run your panel, as well as the times when you would prefer to run it. We absolutely understand that there is so much to do and see, but please be aware that if your availability is too restrictive, we may not be able to accept your panel – not because it doesn’t meet our criteria, but because we may not be able to schedule you!

Can I apply to do more than one panel?

Hell yes! And we encourage you to do so! When you submit more options for us to review, we have more of a chance at finding a way to make sure you get to participate and share the content you’ve worked so hard to put together. 

If you have 6 or more panels to submit, please email programming@a-kon.com to discuss them before the panel submission deadline!

I want to sign up for demo space, is this the form I should use?

Sorry fam. We're not going to offer demo space this year, but your proposal may still fit our panel guidelines or be a good fit for our other programming content!

What happens after I fill out the form? Am I accepted? Do I need to do anything?

After the form is submitted you will receive an automatic response indicating that your submission was received. Our Panel Review Team will then review all of the submissions.

Once the review team has made decisions, panelists will receive emails letting them know if they have been accepted or declined. These messages will come in waves, but all panelists will receive a status by the end of April.

  • Accepted panels are approved for the schedule. Congratulations, and we look forward to working with you this year!
  • Waitlisted panels are neither accepted nor declined.  In most cases, this is because we need to collect more information, verify space will work, or review content before we can accept the panel.  If you have been waitlisted, you will be notified of our decision once we sort things out.  Waitlisted panels are not guaranteed to be accepted.
  • Declined panels will not be placed on the schedule this year. If your panel (or panels) are declined for this year, our team would be happy to give you notes and feedback for future years upon request.

We will also reach out to you if we need clarification or have any questions about your submission.

If I am accepted as a panelist, will I receive a comp badge? What if I am part of a group?

We generally issue complimentary badges based on the amount of approved panel time you or your group are providing. As part of your application, we will ask you how many people are in your group, and their roles. We reserve the right to limit the number of badges allocated to panelists.

I’ve already paid for my badge, but I was accepted as a panelist. Can I get a refund? What should I do?

Yes, you are eligible for a refund if you purchased a badge prior to being accepted as a panelist. Please contact our programming group at programming@a-kon.com and let them know you will need a refund and they will help you through the process. Generally, if you have purchased your badge within 90 days of acceptance and notification, we can refund your badge to the credit card that it was purchased with. If you are outside the 90 day window, you may receive a refund on-site.  A-Kon no longer mails checks or provides alternative arrangements for panelist refunds once A-Kon is over. If you are entitled to a refund, you must make sure you get it before you leave. 

Do you accept 18+ panels?

Yes, 18+ panels are welcome. Please provide as much detail as you can and make sure you clearly indicate on the form that your panel is 18+. If you aren’t sure if your panel should be rated Adult Only (18+), we use the ESRB rating method to evaluate content. You can find out more information about the ESRB rating system here.

Where are panels being held this year?

All programming will be held on-site at the Irving Convention Center and select locations in the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, TX.

Are there any important waivers that I should be aware of?

We reserve the right to photograph and film content at the event for purposes of its own marketing and advertising. We love our fan panelists, and we enjoy showcasing the amazing work that you all do!

In addition, no part of your panel may consist of acts in violation of any local laws, codes, statues, ordinances, regulations, rules, or any other requirements including building and fire regulations.

All fan panelists agree to maintain a professional, courteous demeanor at all times, and are expected to abide by all event, hotel, venue, and other policies as required by A-Kon. This includes, but is not limited to, our policies on discrimination, sexual harassment, and cosplay.

Also, you may not bring to the venue any material, equipment, or other object which is likely to constitute a hazard of bodily harm to any person, or which is likely to constitute a hazard to property. This includes, but is not limited to, pyrotechnics, illegal firearms, dangerous or corrosive chemicals, or illegal substances. We absolutely realize that all of this may sound a bit extreme, but we want everyone to be safe, to feel safe, and to have a positive experience!

My question wasn’t answered. Where can I get additional help?

If you have questions or need additional help with your panel or programming, please contact us at programming@a-kon.com.  If you have questions about anything other than programming, please contact us at info@a-kon.com.

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