Prepare Your SXSW Gaming PanelPicker Proposal in 4 Easy Steps

Brian Crecente and Jeri Ellsworth

Taking place from June 26 – July 21, the SXSW Gaming PanelPicker serves as an open platform for the public to contribute new ideas on what will shape the conversations of tomorrow. In fact, over half of all programmed content at SXSW originates from the PanelPicker process each summer.

With thousands of registrants from across the globe looking for new ideas, new collaborators, and an opportunity to create meaningful connections, what do you need to do to get your idea entered?

What To Do

Step 1: Have An Idea

SXSW Gaming seeks creative, innovative, and forward-thinking proposals that cover all areas of gaming and geek culture. Some subject areas that this includes, but is not limited to, are: video games, esports, mobile gaming, online broadcasts, tabletop gaming, tv shows, comics, anime, and toys.

Proposals are encouraged to be diverse and different, allowing for both fun and topical conversations as well as thorough and insightful industry discussions.

Step 2: Decide How to Express Your Idea

SXSW Gaming will have 4 unique formats with which to enter your idea for the 2018 event. These formats include:

Making up the core conference experience, panels typically feature one moderator and up to three additional industry experts who represent different perspectives and opinions in a given area.

Solo Talks
Another core conference staple, solo presentations offer a deep-dive perspective into more targeted topics with greater takeaways than panels may have sometimes.

Meet Ups
This format is an essential experience for connecting with fellow fans and professionals at SXSW Gaming. With topics ranging from special interests to industry conversations, there is always someone new to mix and mingle with during SXSW.

A mentor session offers succinct one-on-one interactions with professionals from all backgrounds in the gaming and geek industries. Become a mentor to share your experience in the industry in a way that helps upcoming talent expand their horizons at SXSW Gaming.

Each of these formats is one hour in length.

Step 3: Gather All Your Proposal Materials and Speakers

Once you’ve decided what you’ll want to discuss and how you want to contribute your idea to the SXSW Gaming community, make sure to gather all the necessary proposal materials for your entry.

Helpful materials to include and not fall short on are:

  1. Clearly outline your audience and establish three questions you seek to answer with your proposal.
  2. Write up a brief description that effectively addresses your topic, audience, and the questions that you’d like to answer.
  3. Create a short (30sec – 1min 30sec) video to demonstrate your speaking skills or to outline your idea more thoroughly.
  4. Include an additional slide deck, or PDF and document resources, to give more context on your idea and presentation in your proposal.
  5. Confirm your speakers. Don’t enter your idea with just anyone’s name; confirm who will be involved in the proposal and is most likely going to be available come March of next year.

Step 4: Create an Account and Enter Into PanelPicker

Creating a PanelPicker account is easy, free, and allows you to securely edit your proposal up until you click “Enter My Proposal” on the final page. Visit, login or create a new profile, read the PanelPicker FAQ, and fill out the form. If you created a SXSW account in 2013 or later, you will be able to use the same login and password for this year’s PanelPicker.

The system may require a few more things along the way, but there’s no going back now. It’s time to get your idea out there for the public voting process, which will kick off shortly after July 21!

Key Reminder: Voting Process

All community votes during the PanelPicker voting period comprise 30% of the final decision for what will be seen at SXSW Gaming 2018. Additionally, input of the SXSW Staff (30%) and Advisory Board (40%) helps to also ensure that less well-known voices have as much of a chance of being selected to speak at SXSW as individuals with large online followings. Together these percentages help determine the final content lineup for each year.

AR: Bringing the Magic Back to Gaming, SXSW Gaming 2017 – Photo by Errich Petersen

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Estevan Aviles

Gaming Festival Programming Specialist

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