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What to cover in a Con Panel

Mar 18, 2011

    1. For a bjd panel in an anime convention, what sort of things do YOU all think should be covered?
      I was thinking the basics: How bjds came around, what they're made out of, why they're so expensive, how to care for them, the creativities like faceups modding, sewing and photography.

      Conversely, what should be AVOIDED in a bjd panel? And what ideas do you have that would be good for both newbies and long time hobbyists?
       
    2. don't forget the do's and don'ts like sharpies are bad. and all that jazz
       
    3. I might add a sub-category to the "why are they so expensive" bit that addresses the whole issue of unreasonable expectations of cheapness, and how "cheap" in this hobby doesn't mean a 60cm doll for $50 or something, along with some info on where to find some of the relatively less expensive models. I haven't seen it around here so much lately but when I'm on other sites where the question pops up (like Yahoo Answers), questions of where to find a cheap doll come up all. the. TIME, and often involve unrealistic expectations of how cheap a doll can be.
       
    4. At a con you'll attract people that already own dolls, as well as people that are curious about them. You want to include material that will cater to both newbies as well as experienced doll owners.

      Since I still consider myself a newbie here are things that I had to look up for myself when I started getting into this hobby: :sweat

      Intro:
      - What makes a BJD different from a Barbie/Blythe/Pullip?
      - Why are BJD's so expensive? talk about different companies and resin types, but don't assume con-goers will know about different brands
      - What size BJD is "best"? To suit a person's individual taste, age, space at home, etc.

      - Talk about basic care (how to handle a doll, don't touch the face-up) etc,
      - how to prevent yellowing,
      - basic wig care (don't use human products with oils, etc)
      - different types of eyes

      And then as material for experienced doll owners maybe talk about how to do simple mods?
       
    5. Personally I would not want to go to a panel that has nothing for the experienced owners to do. I have been in this hobby for a while and know simple mods and faceups etc. The problem at a lot of panels if the the people who already about BJDs get bored. So give them something else to do at the same time as the intro stuff!

      At my panel I did two fun silly contests with small prizes and people seemed to have a lot of fun! to cover basics I made a display board with tons of info and explanations. An intro panel is good too, but make sure it is described as an intro panel in the schedule so that people know if they wanna come or not.
       
    6. Setting aside some time at the end for a Q&A is a good idea-- that way you don't have to worry that you might not be addressing something someone needs to know, and you can answer questions from newbies and experienced hobbyists alike.

      (I've never run a panel at a con, but I've been on non-fan-stuff/hobbyist panels, and try to do a lot of Q&A to help personalize it to the level/needs of the people there. The panels I've been on are about autism instead of dolls, but the principle is kind of the same-- sometimes the audience is parents who don't know a lot, sometimes the audience is professionals and they know quite a bit more in terms of the basics and really just want specifics addressed, etc., etc., etc.)

      If all else fails, throw candy at people. I kid, I kid (although actually, I think that one is always a crowd pleaser...), but I don't know... maybe have some kind of icebreaker game-type thing? Dollie bingo cards where people can look around at what dolls others have brought and what kind of outfits/colours of wigs they have and mark off squares? That way while newbies are soaking up intro info, no one has to get totally bored, instead they can quietly and respectfully scope out the other dolls in attendance with purpose.

      =^__^=
      Anneko
       
    7. A lot of the time, a convention is the first time (unless they know someone with a doll already) a person comes into contact with ABJD, so for the new owners-to-be, the "how to" and the "where to" of buying, both of the dolls and their accessories, and an explaination of the different chanels, like shopping services, auction sites and the doll companies themselves. But try to stay away from the darker side of BJDs, things like fraud and theft. Nothing crashes the mood more than "and then I sent my head away for a face-up and it never came back." If it has to be mentioned, try to do it towards the end and only briefly. You don't want to scare away the punters.

      For the more experienced doll owner, how to do more extreme mods, piercings or scars, or even how to get those damn eyebrows to look like eyebrows and not giant caterpillars. Tips on how to get a professional finish to clothing, photography or how to make your own to-scale props are always welcome as well.

      Also try to keep most speakers to around 5 minutes. Unless the listener is completely obsessed, most people will only be willing to sit for a short period of time before they wander off. Lots of pictures, an information flyer and a Q&A at the end never goes astray either.
       
    8. thanks very much everyone.<3 does anyone else have any more ideas?
       
    9. this is interesting and how about what kind of clothes, shoes and wigs fit them ect.
       
    10. I've always found it helpful to pass around an actual doll for people in the audience to handle. Preferably naked and bald, so they can actually *see* the articulation. Also, the more variety in examples of BJD you have on display, the better. Leave time for pictures at some point during the panel.

      I also bring a basic "company links" list to hand out. We get a LOT of firstimers each year.
       
    11. Would you get bored with too much basic information? Or would it help to be able to pitch in from time to time with funny jokes or stories as the info gets disbursed? (sorry for the odd working--brain's not functioning... just took an economics test... D: )
       
    12. I've been to good panels and bad. I CAUSED a bad panel once, simply by going into some history of dolls, which was taken COMPLETELY out of context. I'd stick to the basic informational sources, make flyers to hand out, etc. Something that lists websites, forums, etc.

      One thing i can't stand, is for a panel that is supposed to be about BJD in general, to go on and on and on about one single company, as compared to giving an illuminating sight into all of the different companies. I think sometimes, panel speakers want to talk about what they love, as compared to giving out unbiased information to help new people in the hobby.
       
    13. Another idea is to do what the girls who ran the panel at Ohayocon did this year. They had a "beginner" panel on Sat. (when most people were likely to come) and a "intermediate panel" on Friday.

      From my experience, the beginner panel was two things:

      1. A basic newbie guide for
      -What they are
      -Where to buy
      -What you'll expect to pay and why
      -Artist doll vs companies
      -Doll sizes
      -List of countries companies come from and examples (Luts/Dream of Doll/Soom for Korea, Volks/Unoa for Japan, Bobbie/Dollzone/Ringdoll/Island Doll for china) (forgive me if I get any of these countries wrong. :sweat)
      -How companies vary (wait times, price, resin weight, tooth)
      -What to expect during the buying process (wait times, checking feedback etc.)
      -What to do if something goes wrong (don't pay with personal paypal, check waiting room, etc.)
      -What to expect to come with your doll and what else you'll need to buy
      -What NOT to do (with/to your doll ie. sharpie, sanding with out a respirator)
      -DoA and other reference sources

      2. A small scale doll meet-up
      -Many experienced owners went because they love the hobby
      -Horror stories/Fun Stories
      -Audience got a chance to share their experiences and give advice
      -People had a chance at the end to walk around and see all the different types of dolls

      I liked 2. the best because that let the audience participate more.
       
    14. I'd set up a long table to have the BJD Owners sit their dolls on in the front for everyone to see, that way at points you can use them as examples. Also talking some about heavy mods, gore mods, anthro mods, and the like with pictures would be great and would touch on the different ways owners enjoy their dolls.

      Also for the newbies I'd add a funny segment bout anatomical correctness. ;)
       
    15. I fully support the idea of two separate doll panels - one for beginners, and one for experienced hobbyists. It's just going to be difficult to have a doll panel that caters to both interests. Trying to make the panel interesting and informative for beginners will bore the experienced ones, while trying to engaged the experienced doll people will confuse and frustrated beginners.


      Also, more important that what you say, and what you don't say, is how you say it. Work on your presentation so that it flows naturally from one topic to the next, without seeming to jump or skip around. I would say definitely have a group of people listen and give feedback before you even get to the con. Preferably a group of your target audience, ie if the panel is for beginners, have people who don't know that much about dolls listen in.

      By doing this, it will not only help you get more comfortable in front of a crowd, but let you know the order in which the topics should be covered. I mean, you don't want to talk aobut face-ups and face-up artists when your audience might not even know what a face-up is.
       
    16. Ooooh looking at your location and given the time of year, is it possible you're planning for AnimeExpo? that's actually the first place I ever saw BJDs so I am really looking forward to going back this year with my own and would love to see DoA members do a panel. :)
       
    17. This one is for the newbies, but a con is a great opportunity to learn how to unstring and restring a doll. The newbie gets some guidance/hands-on practice and also gets a feel for their doll's basic mechanics.
       
    18. I love seeing demonstrations. If you can possibly get someone (or you!) to demonstrate a basic faceup, restringing, or even just something really simple like changing eyes and wigs. (The last one is particularly fun for people to see how much eyes and wigs can totally change the whole look of a doll).

      I second the idea of the mini-meet. That was my favorite part of the NDK doll panel, both when I was newbie and also more recently.
       
    19. I think what you brought up topic-wise is pretty solid. As for what not to say, I'd try avoiding making any certain company look better or worse than another. While yes, some companies make dolls of higher qualities than others, I find it pretty annoying and rather rude when people bash companies at panels, whether it's because they're considered 'the best' or 'better' than others or even 'the worse' or 'terrible' by people in the hobby. I think every company deserves a fair representation, plus when you start bashing, it just makes you look like a total jerk.
       
    20. um, the do's and dont's of what to use on a bjd when doing a face-up.