10 reminders about 2012 SXSW panels

July 14, 2011

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Are you planning to submit a SXSW panel for 2012? (Image credit: Slackerwood.com)








UPDATE: Based on Andrew’s comment and questions from several others, I asked SXSW to clarify how complete panels had to be by the initial deadline, which has now been extended to Sunday, July 17 at midnight.  Here is my e-mail exchange with SXSW. Hope it helps.

ME: Several people I know, including me, have the following question. I have entered 80 percent of my panel information, but still have some more to go. As long as I have saved my panel in the panelpicker, I can go back and edit it until Aug. 5 and it will still count, right? I don’t have to check the “my proposal is complete, validate my form” box by eod today, correct?

SXSW: Due to the amount of questions we’ve been getting the past few days, it seems unfair to close the PanelPicker gates without having responded to everyone. That being said, we have decided (and will announce on our website this afternoon) to extend the submission deadline to midnight on Sunday, July 17. In order to be considered, your proposal must be submitted by end of day, Sunday. We are simply allowing those who meet that deadline to continue editing their idea until August 5th. By the July 17th deadline, every text field marked with an asterisk must be filled in and submitted but you will have until the August 5th deadline to edit ALL of that info.

ME: Thanks. I think some of the confusion is that people can click the save my proposal button and the panelpicker then tells them you can edit your submission until Aug. 5. But you can save without submitting. In other words, there is a save without clicking the my proposal is complete check box and a save with clicking that check box. I think many people believe you can claim your panel, click the save button without clicking the submit check box and still edit the panel until Aug. 5 and have it considered. But what it sounds like below is people do need to save and click that submit check box by midnight Sunday to be considered.





SXSW: That’s exactly right. You must ‘validate and save’ by Sunday to be considered, but that information will still be editable until August 5. 


The South By Southwest panel process always sneaks up on you. Or at least it always sneaks up on me. Probably because SXSW 2012 isn’t for nine months and I feel like I just got back from this year’s conference. But I digress.

The deadline to submit panel ideas is this Friday, July 15. And while working on my submission, I learned a few things I didn’t know or didn’t remember from last year. So thought I would share.

  1. The deadline isn’t really July 15. It’s Aug. 5. You just have to claim your panel and save a draft by 11:59 p.m. Friday night.
  2. VOWEL. It’s one of the systems SXSW uses to analyze your panel. V=Variety. O=Opinion. W=Women. E=Ethnicity. L=Location. Basically, SXSW is looking for a variety of opinionated speakers, some of who are women, many of different ethnicities and not just folks from the big cities. There’s a bit more to it than that, so make sure to check it out.
  3. Identify your speakers sooner than later. You have to provide quite a bit of information about them when you add them to your submission, so make sure to touch base before the last minute.
  4. If you are submitting a panel idea, average panelists is 2-3 with 1-2 moderators. Core conversations usually have 1-2 moderators. And individual presentations have, you guessed it, 1 presenter.
  5. Titles are really important. No matter what type of submission you choose, 30 percent of the criteria is 3rd-party voting. And people vote based on titles. Don’t forget that.
  6. Go for something different. SXSW is not the place to present a topic you have presented before somewhere else.
  7. Consider an individual submission or core conversation. Last year SXSW got more than 3,000 submissions for 500 spots. And the majority of those submissions were panels. So individual presentations and core conversations can be a differentiating factor.
  8. If you’re submitting a panel, use it as a way to build or enhance a relationship. Is there an industry professional you really respect who you’ve only met a few times who you’d like to get to know better? Consider SXSW an opportunity to collaborate on a new project with new people.
  9. Content promotion strategy. Make sure you have one. Remember that point about 3rd-party voting accounting for 30 percent of the judging? Don’t put all the time and effort into building your panel submission and the hope since you built it, people will come. This isn’t Field of Dreams and it isn’t Iowa.
  10. Don’t forget to proofread and spell check. Review your submissions for style and even have a colleague or friend be your second pair of eyes. Same song as No. 9, but don’t put all that work into your submission and then let a few grammar mistakes weed you out.

If you already have a panel idea going, good luck. And if not, get to panelpicker.sxsw.com and reserve your entry while there’s still time!

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JGoldsborough 210 pts moderator

Hi, all. Fyi...Here is a post from SXSW about the panel deadline that also notes you will have until Aug. 5 to update your panels once they are saved in the system. http://sxsw.com/node/7601

andrewlitvak 5 pts

Does this mean that we don't actually have to check the box marked “MY PROPOSAL IS COMPLETE. VALIDATE THE FORM NOW AND SEND MY IDEA.” by the end of July 15?

Or can we still edit it after it's actually submitted? It isn't really clear at all on the website.

JGoldsborough 210 pts moderator

andrewlitvak Hi, Andrew. You're right, it isn't that clear. But when I saved my idea in the panelpicker, this message showed up at the top.

"Your idea data was successfully saved. You can continue to edit this idea until 11:59 PM CST on August 5."

So my understanding is once the panel is saved, it's in the system and can be edited until Aug. 5.