San Diego Comic-Con, the world’s largest conference celebrating the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture, just ended. Although I can’t prove it, I believe Comic-con has the most number of panels scheduled for one conference AND the largest room to watch a panel (Hall H can hold 6,500 attendees – and it was packed for the Hunger Games Panel)!

Why so many panels?  Because fans want the behind the scenes glimpses of the stars, the writers, the inspiration for their favorite comics.  This year’s panels delighted the audience with:

  • The Unexpected.  Bill Murray took the stage as rock promoter gone to seed Richie Lanz in his upcoming comedy Rock The Kasbah.  After introducing panel moderator Josh Horowitz and the film’s writer Mitch Glazer, Murray spent a few minutes riffing as Lanz before being introduced properly as himself. “The crowd lapped it up” according to Deadline Hollywood.
  • Exclusivity.  Hunger Games fans were treated to an exclusive video message from District 13, that featured heroine Katniss Everdeen, in a red, armored outfit. (The video has since been made available online.)  Throughout the panel discussion with the film’s stars, “the camaraderie between the stars was obvious,” according to NBC San Diego.
  • A Glimpse Behind the Scenes.  During a panel on fan fiction (fanfic), attendees got a glimpse into the writing process and the evolution of fanfic into mainstream culture.  One little snippet into the minds of an author, Anna Todd, (author of the wildly popular Wattpad phenomenon After, a One Direction fic that became a popular young adult novel) shared the feeling that fandom was a “dirty little secret,” noting that she was “terrified” of telling people she wrote fic, even her husband.  “There’s being a fan and then there’s writing fanfiction,” she said of the stigma against women who write the stuff. (dailydot wrote a great summary of the panel).
  • Insider Information.  According to Dateline Hollywood, Halle Berry leaked the news and new addition Jeffrey Dean Morgan “are going to swap fluids” before the Extant season is up. “Let’s just get it out there,” the actress told the cheering crowd.
  • Spontaneous Action.  A Teen Wolf fan in the audience wanted to know when Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin) would return, prompting (Scott) Tyler Posey to give the actor a call with his cell. Hoechlin didn’t pick up, so Davis said, “It’s up to [Hoechlin], so tweet him and tell him, ‘Get your ass back to Teen Wolf.'” Much to the surprise of the cast and the fans, Hoechlin actually called Posey back a few minutes later. “I miss Derek very much,” Hoechlin said on speaker phone, declining to specify when he might return, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Surprise Appearance.  According to E! Online, “Harrison Ford popped up unexpectedly at the Stars Wars: The Force Awakens panel…like it was nothing.  But it was so something!  His arrival, which received a standing ovation from the 6,000 people who waited forever to get into Hall H, marked the actor’s first official public appearance since he was injured in a plane crash back in March.”
  • Fun Facts.  You can find out all kinds of weird and interesting information.  For example, Norman Reedus who plays Daryl Dixon in the Walking Dead has a favorite emoji and it’s the red balloon. (Slashfilm.com)
  • Frank Conversation.  Love the refreshing, frank, and candid conversation among many of the panels, specifically the BadAss Women panel.
  • Sense of Humor.  Like when Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad cracks a joke about visiting the mom of a fan…in Albuquerque (where the show is filmed).  Definitely a “location joke” and you can view it here.

Where else can you get this exclusive, frank, fun, surprising, spontaneous, insider information?  In a panel at Comic-Con, of course!

 

For resources on making your panel rock like the panels at Comic-Con, make sure to check out this knowledge vault which is chock-full of customizable checklists, worksheets, templates, agendas, sample emails, video interviews and webinars with industry icons and professional moderators.

Kristin Arnold MBA, CMC, CPF, CSP, is a professional meeting facilitator and panel moderator.  She is passionate about making meetings and panel discussions more engaging, interactive and collaborative. You can read more of her work in one of her books Team Basics, Email Basics, Team Energizers, or Boring to Bravo.

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