SXSW Gaming PanelPicker Pro-Tips

PanelPicker Pro-Tips

The SXSW PanelPicker® is open for entries to all Conference tracks, SXSW EDU, and SXSW Gaming from Monday, June 26 – Friday, July 21.

This means that it’s time to get a proposal ready for your chance to earn a speaking opportunity at SXSW in 2018! But, what’s the best way to approach the PanelPicker?

With several thousands of proposals entered each year, here are four very important pro-tips to help guide your proposal this summer.

Pro-Tip 1: Follow Directions and Meet the Deadline!

The entry deadline for this year’s SXSW PanelPicker is 11:59 pm PT on Friday, July 21. There will be no late entries accepted once the deadline has officially passed. So, it’s very important that you follow the most important direction of all, which is to meet the deadline. However, make sure that you also follow all directions found on your application because you will not be allowed to edit your proposal once you’ve entered it into PanelPicker.

Pro-Tip 2: Create A Future-Focused and Original Proposal

SXSW previews what trends will be discussed across a variety of industries throughout the following year, and beyond. This means that your proposal shouldn’t only be about what’s relevant now, but what you believe will be relevant by at least March of the following year as well. Don’t be afraid to be creative with your proposal. It’s your unique ideas and creativity that ultimately determine the trends and topics of each year’s events.

Pro-Tip 3: Focus on Depth and Specificity

Simply put, SXSW attendees enjoy specific, detailed, and well-thought-out discussions to engage in. If you’re not focusing your efforts on the specifics of your topic, your proposal will inevitably fall flat by sounding too similar to everything else. However, don’t take your proposal so far as to become completely niche or incomprehensible to the overall SXSW audience.

Pro-Tip 4: Diversity Matters

Diversity is one of the pillars of SXSW, and is something that we firmly believe adds much-needed depth, creativity, and fresh perspectives to any panel. Specifically, each panel (defined as a session with 3 or 4 people) must include:

• Diversity in gender
• Diversity in race
• Diversity in location and employment of speakers
• Diversity in thought and opinion

Although many believe diversity is sometimes hard to achieve, we assure everyone it’s well worth the extra effort.

How PanelPicker Works

Application Process

During the open application process, we encourage the community to upload proposals relating to all kinds of gaming and geek culture content for a variety of formats that includes panels, solo presentations, meet ups, and more. With all received ideas being posted online for the community for voting, it’s now as easy as “enter, review, comment, and vote” to help shape next year’s SXSW Gaming programming lineup.

Community Voting

All community votes during the PanelPicker entry 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.

Apply Now

It’s All Fun and Games… Until You Turn Pro, SXSW Gaming 2017 – Photo by Luis Bustos

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates on all things SXSW Gaming!



Estevan Aviles

Gaming Festival Programming Specialist

Capital One logo
Mercedes-Benz logo
Bud Light logo
Austin Chronicle logo

Stay Tuned

Sign up to receive the latest announcements, tips, networking invitations and more.