A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting a panel at Rose Foret’s Fantasy Foret virtual event. I spoke for about an hour about how to get into the world of TTRPGs and how to combine it with j-fashion (and created a Dungeons and Dragons adventure themed around lolita fashion!). I did this all from the comfort of my home while my audience watch from screens around the world. Though this wasn’t my first panel, it was my first time presenting virtually. It was a wonderful experience and one I’d love to do again! Here are the things I learned along the way.
Time zones are harder than you think.
Despite the reminders from the event organizers that the schedule was in Mountain Standard Time, I royally messed up my own mental math. I was unable to attend my originally scheduled tech rehearsal because I added an hour instead of subtracting an hour. Luckily I made it on time to the actual panel!
Interacting with a live chat while streaming is hard.
This is the first time I’ve streamed for a panel, and keeping up with the chat was rough, even with the help of a dedicated tech person. Even though I knew my topic backwards and forwards, glancing at the chat and responding to messages totally derailed my train of thought. I have so much respect for people who can seamlessly incorporate those kinds of interactions in their streams!
There is still plenty of interest in virtual panels and events.
While 2020 saw an explosion of virtual events from organization like the might Bay Area Kei’s to industry giants like Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con, these events have become fewer and farther between. However, that doesn’t mean that interest has faded. Rose Foret’s discord was full of people excited to spend the week watching live or prerecorded panels. Distance, disability, or scheduling conflicts can make attending IRL conventions or events difficult, so it’s nice to have the flexibility that virtual events offer.
100% with you on the looking at chat whilst presenting thing. I can reassure you that it looked very seamless from the point of view of an audience member, but it still doesn’t help when you internally feel all thrown off your balance.