Once upon a time, I was watching a thread in this Dragon Con Facebook group when one of my fellow members wrote about how he was looking forward to being a panelist. By then, I’d been going to the Con for a few years and decided that one of my life goals was to be on one of their hundreds of fan panels. Naturally, I asked him how to get on a panel.
Okay, let’s go back a bit to explain a few things. One of the reasons I love Dragon Con so much is how this convention, for all its size and everything, is all about fans and their love of everything. There are dozens of fan-run tracks about almost anything. If you’re a fan of something, there’s likely to be content there for you to enjoy. The tracks are full of panels.
While there are the standard celebrity panels and panels of professionals, I’d like to say that the majority of panels are actually populated by people who just happen to really love the panel’s content. That said, I haven’t exactly done the math or anything. Still, there are a metric crap ton of fan panels.
The panelists are fans just like the rest of us. That said, there’s something about seeing someone sit up there on the platform and behind a table that makes you feel like they’re something of an authority. Maybe that’s just me. Basically, the panelists are there to talk about what they love about a certain show or movie or whatever. Then, they engage in discussions with the audience.
I’ve gotten to sit back and watch some pretty amazing panels at Dragon Con. That’s why it became a dream of mine to get up there with the panelists. See, I love talking about stuff. In fact, I find it a little easier to talk than write sometimes, more often these days than in days of yore. All I really wanted to do is get up there and share my love with my fellow fans. Not like that. Pervs.
Back to the Story
My Facebook buddy suggested I reach out to the American Sci-Fi and Fantasy Media (which had a slightly different name back then) track. They were looking for panelists. I filled out their application form and volunteered my services for three panels. When the schedule came back to me, I had ended up on five panels. Fast-forward to me doing my first panel of the con. I happen to flip through the pamphlet the track organizers had printed and that’s when I notice that I had somehow ended up on two more panels, one of which for a show that I had never really watched.
Needless to say, I spent the night before that panel spending the extra money to get the hotel’s wi-fi in order to do some show research. That’s just how I roll. I’m pretty pleased by how well I happened to do on the panel itself.
After that, I was hooked. I loved being a panelist. I loved talking to my fellow fans about the things that I loved.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Thanks to being a panelist, I’ve gotten involved in podcasting and am now officially co-host of RevolutionSF‘s RevNews podcast. I’ve made some fantastic friends. I’ve gotten to talk to and sit next to celebrities. This past Dragon Con, I got hugged and pet by Terry Farrell who played Jadzia Dax on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
Most importantly, this website got its start thanks to that convention and my panelist adventures. It was awesome to be back there and reminded of why this began. Goodness know I needed it.