To sum it up in just one sentence: not quite as good as I'd have hoped. Read on if you care to learn why.
In terms of equipment, I was lucky since the con was held at a college. They set me up in a big room (one of those classrooms used for lecturing) and provided me with a TV and VCR (owned by the college). I even got a microphone by way of a karaoke machine! That was most excellent. What wasn't so excellent was the audio setup. Nobody bothered to check in advance to see if the speakers mounted on the walls of this big room actually worked, so the only sound I could get was mono audio coming out of the ceiling-mounted projector. The staff was able to get me PC speakers from one of the empty video rooms--the inevitable result when the video schedule is done in the style of "26 episodes of something from start to finish, followed by 26 episodes of something else"--which was at least better than the built-in projector speaker, but still not what the room was made for.
I was ready to go, 9:00 PM rolled around...and the room was COMPLETELY EMPTY. Sure, the convention was one of the smaller conventions on the Florida con map, but considering there were no other events scheduled at the time, I figured something was amiss. Then it quickly dawned on me that there were no con guides printed out for this convention. Nor were there opening ceremonies, and on top of all that, the con took place in multiple buildings spaced quite far apart on a rather cold day (by Florida standards, 50-60 degrees is COLD like three million bucks worth of whitey's ice, baby). There really wasn't many ways for people to know my panel (or anything else that weekend) was going on. There was no sign by the room indicating it as being the panels room either, which I brought up on a few occasions to no avail. Earlier that day, I had suggested to the con head honcho--who along with the other staffers was a REALLY cool guy to me, going to such extents as to pay for my hotel room all weekend and take me to dinner on Saturday just for doing the panel--that it'd be a good idea to at least post the schedule in various places around the convention, and that actually did get done. Alas, the schedule was in list format instead of a table (and in military time), and for some reason my panel was entitled "Anime Hell" despite the fact that I have never called my panel that to anyone since Dave requested I use a different name.
I walked around, rounded up some folks (about 20 or so, with more trickling in/out over time), and got things started at 9:15. My bad fortune continued, since the computer (same one I always use) crashed a few times. That's never happened once before, but I could now instantly switch over to the VCR while fixing the problem so that there wasn't any downtime of more than a few seconds. I must say, the monaural audio situation hurt me big time with the older clips since the sound isn't that good on those to begin with. In the future, I might just have to omit that stuff or learn some rudimentary audio equalization so that I could alter the clips in advance since everything sounds fine on my speakers at home.
Something was actually scheduled after my panel (karaoke), so I ended my panel at exactly 11:00 despite the late start. Due to being overly cautious and bringing about 4 hours of material to fill a 2 hour block (I'd pick something from the VCR while playing something from the computer and vice versa), I didn't make as big a dent in trying out my new footage as I'd have hoped (especially not my multitude of goofy Arnold Schwarzanegger clips from such hits as The Villain, Hercules in New York, and Commando). Forklift Driver Klaus and Cartoon All-Stars To the Rescue went over well, and luckily for me the audience found my Zardoz selections quite entertaining (I had 12 short clips of this masterpiece which I'd intersperse throughout, and I got through 4). The "Slimby" segment of Look Around You (a personal favorite of mine; I'll do a separate Look Around You update later) also got a great reaction, as did The Awful Truth ("Make a Wish Foundation" and "Teen Sniper School") and Ayaka's Surprise English Lessons ("How many members are in Morning Musume?"). Fish Fight was just a little too weird for some, one of whom retired to another room and was later seen showing a roomful of people this interminably long Flash animation that's a little funnier if you've read the book, but not by much. I'll write that off as an anomaly and bring Fish Fight back for the next Panel OF DOOM, at Anime Festival Orlando in August.
Looking back, I don't think I'd do a panel at Anime Express next year. The staff treated me very well, but I can't help but think that they really should be spending that $300 or so they spent on accommodating me on things like say, the printing costs for a convention guide. I think I'm best off sticking to mid-sized cons like Jacon, AFO, and AWA for now. I would have included Metrocon on that list, and indeed I'd someday like to do a panel at Metrocon opposite the cosplay nerd prom on Friday night, but they want most of their programming to be "G to PG-13"-rated, and my panels tend to hover pretty solidly in the "TV-MA" to "R" range. Plus, I don't know anyone in Tampa so I'd need a place to sleep for the night, and since they're a convention that gets REAL guests, I'm pretty much sunk.