Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Panel OF DOOM report at AWA 2006

I'll admit it: I've become rather negligent when it comes to making posts on the Hell blog since the podcast eats up my free time. Anyway, the short version: despite some technical problems, one of which couldn't be fixed and would have been a dealbreaker had it happened in front of another crowd, the Panel OF DOOM at Anime Weekend Atlanta went quite well indeed. The long version follows.

Due to time constraints brought on by excessive procrastination, the original plan was to run something nearly identical to the JACON panel with only minor alterations, so I didn't record the proceedings and opted to give the recorder to my AWO cohost Gerald so that he could do an interview. Then I decided to make sure that the panel was at least 25% actual ANIME for once, so I loaded it up with Ippatsu Kikimusume (aka Miss Critical Moment), some of Osamu Tezuka's short animated works such as Memory, Ziv International's Captain Future, Voltes V dubbed in English by Filipinos, Superbook, and Saban's masterpiece, Macron 1. After adding in that and some other things, the panel ended up being about 50% different from the last one after all, which is the mix I generally try to go for.

After filling up the A/V panels room well past capacity last year, AWA went ahead and put me in the much larger Kennesaw ballroom, which was where Totally Lame Anime was the year before. One post on another message board describes Kennesaw as "the redheaded stepchild of panel rooms," but I wasn't seeing that at all. On top of the size and location of the room, it already had speakers, a projector, a microphone, a DVD player, a VCR (!), remotes for all that stuff, a mixer board with everything labeled with tape (Mic Volume, Computer Volume, etc), plus all the necessary cables and connections for me to just connect my computer up and be ready to go. Short of having little security monitors for previewing footage (which I've never had except for when I bring my own TV), that is absolutely as good as it gets. On top of that, I was scheduled from 7 PM - 9 PM instead of 9 PM - whenever, which meant that I'd be able to actually put in more than just a brief cameo at the after hours parties. No complaints here.

Of course, the panel still started about 10 minutes late even though I arrived 15 minutes early to set up. Prior to my panel, the room was being occupied by the Risembool Rangers, which is Vic Mignogna's fan club. If you haven't been to a con in a while, there are LOTS AND LOTS of people who come to cons to see Vic, and once his panel was over, a huge mob of people stormed the front of the room to get autographs, which incidentally is also what happened right before Totally Lame Anime (because the FMA Movie was shown in there). During the chaos, the speaker cables became disconnected, meaning I had no sound at all and couldn't tell where the disconnect occurred. After everyone who wanted autographs made their way out of the room and the sound was fixed, I was ready to go.

There was however, a problem. Most anime conventions do not have S-Video inputs for things like DVD players, VCRs, computers, and such. Composite video equipment is much cheaper and easier to come by. Laptop TV outputs are all S-Video, so to output composite you need an adapter.

I lost mine.

So I borrowed Gerald's laptop. He's got a Dell laptop, I got a Dell laptop, it should work fine, right? Bzzzt. The pin layouts must have been different, because everything coming out of the laptop was in black and white. I switched over to the backup DVD and tape footage I had brought with me while trying to see if I could fix things, but eventually I just gave up and thanked my lucky stars that everyone didn't just leave because of the lack of color. In fact, at least one person thought the black and white made things sillier. Looking back, perhaps I could have circumvented this by just using the VGA output from the laptop into the projector, but it would have required an extremely long VGA cable that I certainly didn't have and didn't expect AWA to have. Even if they DID have one, I wouldn't have been able to instantly switch back and forth between the computer, DVD player, and VCR using a setup like that. I'd be stuck with the laptop playlist, and what kind of panel would it be if I was only running things off the playlist and nothing else?

Overall, things went well. The "Dark Kitchen" segments of Kamen Rider Kabuto, which was added in at the last minute since the clips were taken from very recent episodes, was probably the best received of the recurring bits along with Miss Critical Moment. I did have to cut down on the amount of Ninja Squad since without color, you can't really tell just how menacing Ivan the Red and Master Gordon are in their NINJA outfits, though. No idea what the motif of next year's panels are going to be, but I guess I've got until May to figure that one out since that's when JACON 2007 is. I think the panel right now is much too big to fit into an ordinary panel room, but not quite big enough to completely fill up a Main Events room. I'm not sure whether I should stick with the late Friday night in the Main Events room timeslot at JACON like I did this year or whether I should request the VAT (their AMV room) on Saturday night opposite the cosplay/dance, as is my traditional timeslot. After all, I started doing these deals so I would have something to do on Saturday evening!

I'll try and post a playlist over in the HELLforum, but I wasn't keeping track of everything this time and there's no recording for me to listen to this time. I might forget some things.


Unknown said...

But how was the turn out? Did you pack the room? SRO?

Daryl Surat said...

Oh, right. Yeah, the room was pretty much full and there were people standing along the edges and sitting on the floor too. It's possible that they just wanted a better view of the screen, but there didn't seem to be a whole lot of empty seats either. Hmm, I probably should have taken more pictures because I'm already forgetting!

Unknown said...

Wish I gould've been there. Next year for sure.

Unknown said...

Which parts of the Dark Kitchen episodes did you show?

Unknown said...

...of Kamen Rider Kabuto.

I can't even make a complete sentence these days.

Daryl Surat said...

The way I did it was that I only showed the actual chef challenges, editing the scenes in a manner such that it wasn't obvious that the clips were from Kamen Rider until the very, very end where suddenly he just morphs into a monster. This worked quite well.

I ended up with an evil chef going around challenging other chefs and taking their honor/signs, plus an evil ninja going around challenging other ninjas and taking their headbands. I don't plan on bringing back all the ninja stuff next time around, but with any luck, the Dark Kitchen will go over well in Florida next year.