Your Helpful Guide to Critical Role Panels
Written by Brian Foster on October 1, 2018
We are so grateful and excited every time we travel to another city for a convention/panel where most — and if we’re lucky — all of us get to meet you, see your cosplay, take photos together, and answer your questions. Today, let’s talk about the latter.
By popular demand, I’m writing this little dos and don’ts of coming to a Critical Role panel to help make sure you all have a great experience when you come to a convention or event and get up to the mic.
KEEP YOUR QUESTION CONCISE & RELEVANT TO CRITICAL ROLE
The cast consists of a group of nerdy-ass and, may I add, extremely talented voice actors with impressive resumes. Thanks to the digital age we live in, there are literally hundreds of panels online featuring members of the cast talking about and diving into voice acting, video games, animation, any and all of the great work they do. If you have a question about their voice acting career or one of their specific roles, do an Internet search or YouTube dive, because I’ll bet your answer is already there. Since the Talks Machina panels are about Critical Role, most people in attendance are coming to the event to hear the cast talk about recent moments on the show, and to answer questions ranging from the home game until now. The cast still does voice acting panels all over the country (and sometimes world), and that’s a great place for a VO question.
We love hearing your stories, both about your own games and what this show has meant to you. Whenever someone sends a letter for one of us to our PO box, they’re delivered to the cast on Thursday nights after someone has done a post office run. I know I speak for everyone when I say that we read those letters. I have a folder in my office that contains every letter that has been sent. If I’m feeling discouraged or just need to remember why we do what we do, I bust those out and read them, and it’s an incredible encouragement every time. Unfortunately, due to the fast-paced nature of panels and the fact we only have an hour to get to everything and everyone, I ask that you try to keep your time at the mic limited to a question without too long of an introduction. If someone were to come up to the mic when it’s their turn and say, “Hey, I love Critical Role. Started my own game after watching the show and we’ve been playing for 2 years now. My question is for Taliesin, lord of the underworld….”, that’s perfectly cool with me as the moderator of these panels. If you go into your life story or it’s anything more than a sentence or two intro before your question, I may try to speed you up to get to what you want to ask. It’s not because we don’t care, we just want to hear from as many Critters as possible.
WATCH GM TIPS
So many of the questions we get at panels during Q&A time are for Matt, and so many of those are about dungeon mastering. We all know Matt is a living legend, and any of us who run games (or want to) could draw from no better well than Matthew Mercer. He not only DMs in a one of a kind and engaging way; he talks about dungeon mastering with the same amount of care, love, admiration, and animation as the game itself. That’s why GM Tips was created. Available on GeekandSundry.com or YouTube, GM Tips is a short and engaging web series featuring Matt and other legendary DMs like Satine Phoenix talking about how they run their games and why. I’ve seen every episode and still go back to many of Matt’s videos for advice. While you won’t get shut down at the panel for asking Matt a question about DM’ing, I can honestly say there have been very few questions I’ve heard asked around the country that I don’t already know Matt’s answer to because of watching GM Tips. If you’re planning on coming to a con near you to see the cast and attend a Talks Machina panel, and you want to know something about how Matt DM’s, try watching GM Tips and see if he answers it there — I bet he has.
IT’S OKAY TO BE NERVOUS
Look, I hate getting up in front of a bunch of people. I get nervous every week before Talks Machina starts. I get nervous before every panel or public appearance and it’s perfectly normal. Don’t let our guidelines for these panels or the fact there are a bunch of people out there intimidate you. Sometimes, our most nervous or shy question-askers are the most adorable. We want to see you as much as you want to see us, so if you have a good question, but you have social anxiety or are scared to get up in front of people, you don’t have to. Just know that the cast are some of the kindest and most understanding people I know in this world. You couldn’t possibly be in better hands when coming to that microphone. My best advice is that you just say your name and your question, and we’ll take it from there.
CHECK OUT TALKS MACHINA
We all know that even the most “uneventful” episode of Critical Role still has story elements and implications that have people talking throughout the week. This is why we started doing Talks Machina weekly, spending almost 90 minutes breaking down the latest CR episode with 2 or more members of the cast, answering fan questions, giving away Wyrmwood products and CR merch to GIF-makers and fan artists. We cover a lot of ground every episode, and every panel I hear people ask the cast questions we just answered days before on Talks Machina. We totally understand committing to that much content per week can be a big ask, but the cast is able to go more in-depth with their answers than we can at a panel, so check out the show sometime if you can get past the creepy host.
PLEASE DON’T BRING GIFTS TO THE PANEL
This one is tough, because we know how generous and crafty you Critters are. Regardless of the distance we’ve traveled to come do a panel near you, we have traveled and packed accordingly. Whenever someone brings a gift to a con, it usually ends up with one of our staff members, because we rarely, if ever, go straight back to our hotel room from the panel. We also do signings, photo sessions, interviews, other panels, etc., while at conventions, and the best way to ensure your gift doesn’t get lost, stolen, or left somewhere by accident is to mail it to our PO Box. On our FAQ here on critrole.com, you’ll find a list of charities we all support individually and as a group, and though we love your creativity and generous spirits, we would love for you to make a donation to one of those in lieu of bringing a gift to our panel.
We love seeing your amazing cosplay, answering your questions, and laughing at Sam all in one big room together whenever we can. Thanks for scoping out these guidelines, we hope it makes the panel experience a fun and informative one for you!