My name is Victor Frost and I'm a performer. In addition to creating content on YouTube, I've had the pleasure of performing for the last five years at conventions from one end of the US to the other including:
I started doing panels because I stopped finding the ones being offered at conventions compelling. It seemed like the only things on offer were panels that were being done for the umpteenth year in a row, fan gatherings under the guise of a panel that were ultimately substance-free filler, or new panels with a good premise in theory but that failed to deliver in practice. Where I was once a three-day attendee, I became one that just bought a one day badge so I could cruise the dealer's hall and the artist's alley, maybe hit the tabletop gaming room, and then go home.
Doing panels opened up a brand new aspect of the convention experience for me. However, while it solved my problem, the issues I saw as an attendee are still issues that conventions are forced to deal with.
Unfortunately, these problems are usually only discovered after the fact, i.e. when it's too late to do anything about it. That a poorly executed panel can sour an attendee's opinion of panels as a whole, reducing the perceived value of a large swath of a convention's programming and negatively impacting attendance (as in my case) only compounds the problem.
I would like to help alleviate this problem to some degree.
My solution: a Panelist Boot Camp.
The FrostWorks Panelist Boot Camp is a multi-part, at-convention training and certification program for those seeking to learn the skills necessary to become quality and competant panelists and lecturers.
Over the course of the program, participants will recieve in-depth guidence on the many aspects of being a panelist. This includes subjects such as the most common types of convention programming, best practices and ethical considerations when formulating panels, and how to interact with conventions. In addition, an entire session is dedicated strictly to practicing and improving their performance ability and focuses on public speaking skills such as how to engage an audience through body language and tone; how to handle unexpected issues smoothly; and how to craft a dynamic, confident, yet still authentic stage persona.
As a part of the program, participants will also be required to volunteer at the convention for a short-shift, ensuring their appreciation for the amount of work and effort required to run such an event as well as testing their ability to show up on-time for a commitment - an essential quality for any panelist.
Finally, once they have completed all three parts of their training, it's time for their evaluation: a performance of a 5 minute panel of their design in front of a live audience and a panel of judges comprised of seasoned panelists and convention staff. It is during this evaluation where the judges will decide whether or not they graduate from the program and become certified, trained panelists. The participant who gave the best performance will be awared "Best in Class" and offered a slot in the schedule at the next year’s convention to run a panel (contingent on their panel being approved, of course).
If they graduate, they will entered into a database that participating conventions will be able to search to verify their certification.