As convention shows grow larger and more important, it has become a chore to set-up a system that is fair and balanced for show-goers when it comes to letting people into panels. The nature of the beast is that no room or hall offers an infinite amount of space.
Shows have tried it all. Lining people up and clearing the room after every session. That screws over the people who get there early. As it makes it nearly impossible to see two consecutive panels.
Others have allowed a sitting policy. You’re allowed to remain in the hall for the duration of the day. Which works out for the early-birds and almost no one else. As people miss out on their panels while people keep their seat warm for later reveals.
This year, New York Comic Con tried to merge the two ideas and it has some perks and some of the same downfall.
Instead of lining up for the panel room, you line up for the particular panels at the start of the day. Giving priority to the ones you really want to see. The volunteers then pass out badges based on the earliest panels, working their way down until out of badges. Once you get your badge for say the Daredevil panel, you are free to line-up for Birdman or whatever.
On paper this sounds good, but in practice had a few flaws. Once more, it really favors the eager and super early-birds. There were days where the line for panels were capped an hour before the show even began. If you are looking forward to attending anything, it really does put a damper on the entire experience.
Even after you receive your badges, you aren’t necessarily free to roam around the convention showfloor until show time. You then need to line-up for the actual panel, which means that you spend most of your day in lines. Whether it’s the initial line to get in, the line to get your badge or the line to get into the actual panel.
On the positive side though, no one has to waste their entire day in hopes of getting into a panel/room that they eventually get rejected from. And are able to plan further in advance for other panels or walk the showfloor. Also, this allows most people to get into the panels they want without really harming the panels in-between.
While I wasn’t keen on it, getting shut out of panels even before I had my pants on, it does strike a decent enough balance. There will never be an ideal system in place, but this seems like a fairly decent one. Let’s see if they stick with it next year.