PaleyFest 2015: What Delivered, What Fell Short, and How To Move Forward

This past weekend saw a wrap on PaleyFest 2015. We’ve had time to think about and take another look at the panels. Some of them delivered treats to the fans, while some disregarded them completely. But, there is a glimpse of hope at fixing the event for next year. Speaking on behalf of fans everywhere, we have some critiques on what to leave behind and how to move the festival forward.

To begin with, it is a great opportunity to be able to attend panels without having to fight through the hustle of an all out convention, where your spot in the audience is not guaranteed (Looking at you, Comic Con). Having panels exclusively is a great idea, but that naturally means that the panels MUST deliver on fan expectations. Panels that understood how exciting this experience needed to be were the Outlander and Flash panels.

Receiving exclusive opportunities for your attendance were key for these panels. Fans were treated to the next  new episode of Outlander prior to its air date. After, they were given an engaging and well organized live show where the cast and crew dished on upcoming secrets in the series. The cast and crew didn’t step on each other and were grateful of their fans. On the way out, each audience member was given an Outlander flask. Now, that’s an experience. Wait, they were given something that the people live streaming the event for free weren’t able to get? No way. It’s almost like purchasing a ticket actually guarantees you its worth.

The panels for The Flash and Arrow gave fans a truly awesome sizzle reel teasing the rest of the season. Hearing the fans and stars really appreciating each other’s work was the highlight of the festival. This is what it’s all about.

Unfortunately, the majority of the panels missed the cues for why they were even there. Hint: IT’S BECAUSE OF THE FANS.

Excited fans from around the world gathered together for an experience that they were robbed of when the panelists failed to focus on their interactions with them. The greatest example of a panel that treated the event like a joke was the AHS panel that, unfortunately, closed out the entire festival. Yes, a couple of casting decisions were announced, but there’s no denying that it was hardly a satisfying show. This was in part because of Tim Stack’s failure to organize the proceeding. When he did have a decent question, it was immediately shot down by the cast (who came off intoxicated, at best). It was disheartening to see fans that traveled from around the globe to express their love for the series be met with such apathy. There’s a huge chance that the same love wasn’t shared by the panelists.

This leads to the main point, which is that the panels need to be longer, and there needs to be less panelists in each group. How about a meet and greet after? All three NEED to happen next year to keep fans attending. It needs to be worth their time, commitment, and money. Splitting up panels into smaller groups would give everyone time to speak. There should have been panels for each Comedy Central show if we were even trying to get a glimpse at some of the personalities of the stars. The Comedy Central panel wasn’t the most disappointing, but there should have been much more. There were no wild and crazy moments, despite the efforts of the lovable panelists. They were working against all odds. A major time constraint wasn’t helpful when packing members from a handful of different series together. Even another half hour would have been satisfying.

Here’s a checklist of what to keep in mind when planning next years panels:

  • Have an energetic moderator that is a FAN of the material. (Kristin Dos Santos was the perfect host. She should inspire many.)

  • Give fans a chance to meet and greet in some capacity.

  • Give fans treats that are exclusive to the event. (They did pay to be there) 

  • Stars, be sure that there is not a wasted moment in your answers to questions. (Heavy handed messages are great in moderation.)

  • Remember, people have traveled and have looked forward to your event.

  • Dish on new information about the series.

  • It could always be a fun panel, even if the show is serious. (We’re looking at you Good Wife.)

  • People are there to be entertained. (Inside jokes are not great in front of strangers.)

  • Remember your fans.

  • Remember your fans. It’s that important.

  • An organized panel is a much more satisfying one. (Still have a fun panel prepared though.)

  • Have a real closing ceremony. (A “thank you for coming out” does wonders.)

With that, there’s certainly hope that PaleyFest will take precautions to deliver a rewarding event next year. There were panels that were on the right track, which have been a pleasure to attend this week. These are the ones that should be used as templates for the entire festival.

Thank you to everyone who has followed our coverage of the event. Take a look back at our entire coverage of the panels here.

 

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Still quiet here.sas

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