Convention Week: Why I’ll Watch Almost Any Panel

Convention Week continues! This time, less bickering! I will sit in on almost any panel offered at a convention. Here’s why!

“Would you make any droids other than R2D2?”

Having watched an expert discuss the particulars of building R2D2 droids for 45 minutes, I was curious in whether he had any ambitions of applying his incredible skills towards different types of robots. While I was expecting a simple yes or no response, his answer floored me.

Don’t remember the exact words, but the sentiment was clear. Not only did he have zero interest in making other kinds of robots, but he was so fully invested in making R2D2 droids that the idea of shifting his talents to anything other than that was ludicrous. Even without any ambitions of creating robots of my own, it’s these types of moments that make it a pleasure for me to sit in on a panel about virtually anything at conventions.

When I go to a convention, the panels are usually the highlight. Sure, there’s always going to be a bigger buzz that comes with being in the same room as A-list celebrities. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to see panels featuring William Shatner, Stan Lee, Carrie Fisher, Tom Felton, Hulk Hogan, and many more. While the celebrity glow is great, these panels don’t need stars to entertain me. What will always win me over is when panelists share their insights and passion.

One memorable panel I was fortunate enough to see was the first Iron Wig panel by Arda Wigs. The wig supplier brought on a number of skilled cosplayers to compete in a wig-styling competition. Besides being able to watch these cosplayers whip up some incredible creations in no time, the Arda Wigs people shared a ton of tips on how to wear, style, and maintain a wig. I personally don’t remember these tips, but my wife and sister-in-law – who are both active cosplayers – learned a lot. They even answered very specific questions from the audience while demonstrating with the wigs, which I found really helpful.

More in line with my personal interests was the Live Streaming 101 panel featuring The 8-Bit Drummer, Family Jules, Rabbid Luigi, and Chatia. As an aspiring streamer myself, they zeroed in on a number of topics that we would find most useful. They also were forthright in sharing some of the mistakes they’ve made along the way and how we could avoid them. I appreciated their advice and honesty throughout.

I wouldn’t consider myself to be a fan of Steven Seagal’s movies, but his panel was fascinating. When asked which of his movies mean the most to him, he cited On Deadly Ground and Fire Down Below. What puts those movies at the top for him was that they both preached a message about protecting the environment, a cause he’s passionate about. He went as far as to say that Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth were essential the same as the movies Seagal made a decade prior. Speak your truth, Steven Seagal.

In just about every panel I’ve seen, the featured panelists demonstrate their passion and insight for the work they do. Whether I’m familiar with the subject matter or not, I admire seeing people speak to the insights and passion behind their work. Will continue to build my convention schedules around these panels, as I try to squeeze in as many as I can!

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