So now we've had a full day of virtual San Diego Comic-Con. While we'd all rather be there in the flesh, there are some obvious advantages to this format: For the first time ever in history, you can see every single SDCC panel. You don't have to wake up early, get in line, sacrifice your favorite show for your favorite comic book; you don't have to sit through a boring panel to see the panel you want; your feet aren't aching from walking too many miles the day before. You can eat your preferred snack, loudly discuss the content with a friend, and skip back to make sure you heard something correctly. You don't even have to get out of bed.
That said, some panels have definitely been better than others. Lessons learned include.....
If you're going to just offer up a Zoom call, like we have every day with friends and coworkers, be witty and fun.
You can tell the actors from the creators here, sorry. The performers tend to be more engaging and play to the audience; creators often just talk to each other in the typical mundane conversation we all have with our friends, which can be boring to the thousands of people watching. The Upload cast, below, didn't really share any groundbreaking announcements but they were fun to watch.
Footage is always good. A mix of footage and talking is even better.
Some panels really nailed this, like the Superhero Kung Fu Extravaganza and Crunchyroll. I didn't stop watching for a second.
And then some made little effort at all and showed this when someone was speaking by phone:
Come on, seriously?
Trying to fit too much on screen, however, is a fail.
Some panels tried to offer up artwork, screenshots, panelist thumbnails and desktop shots all at once which was hard to look at.
The How-To Panels actually worked well in this medium.
I think this format might even be better than a traditional in-person panel. What do you think?
Final lesson: There's high demand for virtual panels.
Last I checked, Star Trek's first panel had a 42K view count and that will keep rising. Obviously as these panels filter into public consciousness, the demand will grow. So will SDCC offer virtual badges in the future? It's not as if merely recording a normal panel would be as satisfying, but possibly they could offer two tiers of panels - something that could offer promotion to at-home creators while saving them travel expenses.
We'll see what the other panels bring.
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