The second annual ConGregate is coming to High Point, North Carolina this July. The success of last year’s con is due to the highly experienced and professional staff so I’m thrilled to be attending again this as a guest representing you—fandom.
The preliminary schedule came out last week for the con special guests to review. All guests are asked to participate in four to six hours of panel programming. Having the guests sign up for panels is the best method I’ve seen in getting the most out of your con guests and ensuring the guests are participating in areas that interest them. The panels, arranged by day and time, are sent to each guest. If the guest is interested in participating, all they have to do is sign up. This is brilliant. Although a guest may be an expert or professional in a particular field, they may have unknown talents, hobbies, or experiences. The guest is better at determining this than the con staff.
Most of the ConGregate panels deal with writing science fiction or fantasy. The hope is that the con attracts more and more professionals and the con genres will expand. More topics in pop culture, including television, film, art, and gaming would make the con much more interesting to me.
The following are the panels for which1 I’ve signed up. This is a very early version of the programming and not the final so you guys are getting a sneak peak.
From Star Wars to the Marvel Universe, we fans can get vocal about our feelings. Are we entitled to our say or just entitled?
I’m hoping to moderate this panel. So far, there are no other expert guests signed on. It would be great to have a comic book, Star Wars and/or Star Trek, Doctor Who, and sci-fi/fantasy novel special guest as well. The upcoming “Captain Marvel” movie and Fox’s “Gotham” will be how I will look at the topic of comic book mythos to film.
As superhero media continues to flood the market, we're at a point where watching everything, or even just everything good, can eat up a lot of time. Throw in web comics, graphic novels, and a hundred or more new titles popping up in comic book shops, and things quickly get overwhelming. What's a hard core superhero junky to do? Can we get the room to agree on the top ten superhero media experiences that are absolutely essential?
Never. Never will you get a room full of geeks to agree on anything regarding superheroes because superheroes are personal. But this will be a super fun panel with fans spending a great deal of time on the nostalgia of geek media in our lives. Star Wars is a memorable marker in my geek history, so is Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, Dark Shadows, Isis, Batman, and Stephen King.
From Xena and Wonder Woman to Brienne of Tarth and Jane Yellowrock, warrior women can be very different. What defines them? What critical aspects of a character make them "warriors?"
A fellow geek sent me an article on NewStatesman by Sophia McDougall called, “I Hate Strong Female Characters.” Along with Tricia Barr’s “What is Strong?” I want us to discuss the positive and negative aspects of building this type of female protagonist.
“Promoting Your Podcast”
Where and how does an up and coming podcaster spread the word about their releases? How do you keep your enthusiasm for the podcast while you wait for audience? Do you talk about what you like, what others like or both?
It takes a network of people with varying skills to be heard amidst the cacophony online streaming. There are few tips and tricks as valuable as persistence and passion for your topic.
“Women in Science”
Why don't more women go into science? What can we do to attract women to the sciences? Why do we even need more women in science in the first place?
This is a complicated topic where there is no clear answer. As a representative of my generation, I want to share what being a female teen geek was like, how I got into computer science, and the diversity I’ve encountered in my career field.
“Beyond Spandex and Studs”
Comics and Superheroes that push boundaries, break new ground, include more people, and turn tropes upside down.
Comic books are so exciting right now. There are titles in every genre of interest. “Ms. Marvel” is an obvious choice for a title that’s breaking boundaries but “Wonder Woman” was one of the first. The research for this panel will be so much fun.
“We’ve Got You Covered”
What are the primary jobs of a book cover? Does a cover need to portray different things on a printed book and a digital one? Should your cover be more innovative and different than other covers in your genre so people notice it? With so many people buying and reading books on small mobile devices, does the way a cover displays matter? I saw the perfect photo on the internet for my book cover, can I use it? Since it saves a lot of money, should I make my own cover? What makes a really bad cover? What makes a really good cover?
This is a panel the con might not know I’m qualified for, but I’ve been doing design part-time for several years. I’ve even designed a couple of book covers. Last year for utopYA con, I looked through the YA sci-fi/fantasy covers nominated for awards. It was numbing how they all looked the same. A good cover can sell a bad book.
If you’d like a small, well organized con and can make it to High Point, North Carolina, I highly encourage you to make it to this affordable con.
1 Proper grammar for Carol Philbasian, The Last Man on Earth, season 1, episode 2