SXSW PanelPicker FAQ

The PanelPicker is a two-step online process that allows the SXSW community to have a significant voice in programming SXSWedu, SXSW Eco and SXSW Interactive, Film, and Music conference activities (presentations, panels, discussions, demonstrations, etc.)

STEP ONE encourages the community to enter proposals for daytime conference programming at SXSW.

STEP TWO empowers the community to browse all of these ideas and vote for what they think are the best fit for the March event, as well as leave comments.

Reading the FAQ below will give you important information about SXSW and some valuable tips for creating a great proposal. Once you've read the FAQ below, you will be ready to get started!

SXSW Information

When do these SXSW events occur?
Where do these SXSW events occur?
Where can I find more information about these SXSW events?

PanelPicker Timeline

What is the timeline for the 2014 PanelPicker process?
Will session ideas be accepted after the entry deadline?

PanelPicker History and Information

How long have you been using the PanelPicker to help program the event?
Who designed the PanelPicker?
What is different about the 2014 PanelPicker?
Why does SXSW ask for programming ideas nine months before the event? How can SXSW cover the latest trends and ideas?
Is crowdsourcing really the best way to generate content for an event such as SXSW?

PanelPicker Account and Login Information

Who can enter a proposal in the SXSW PanelPicker?
Do I need to have an account to enter a proposal in the PanelPicker?
Can I still use the login that I used or the 2013 PanelPicker?
Can I use my SXsocial account from 2013?
How many proposals can I submit?
Will I be able to edit my proposal in the 2014 PanelPicker?
Can I edit my proposal in the 2014 PanelPicker after I have submitted it?
How can I determine which event my idea would be best for?
What if I have an idea that might work for more than one of the SXSW events?
Help! I’ve done something horribly wrong and now I can’t log into my PanelPicker account!
How do I get help for my non-technical PanelPicker questions?

Tips for PanelPicker Success

What makes for a good PROPOSAL?
What makes for a good TITLE?
What session FORMATS are accepted by SXSW?
Which FORMATS work best with the various SXSW events?
How can I determine LEVEL of difficulty for my proposal?
What is the expertise level of most SXSW attendees?
How should I use CATEGORY and TAGS?
How important is correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation in my proposal?
The PanelPicker is requiring me to enter "resource material" for my idea. What exactly does that mean?
What kind of video should I enter along with my proposal?
Does my video have to be related to my speaking proposal?
Will I be able to make changes (big or small) to my proposal after the voting interface goes live?
Can I preview what my submission will look like before actually submitting?
Will all the information I enter on this form be seen in the public interface?
I have a product or service I think SXSW audiences need to hear about. Can I propose a panel to promote my idea?
Why do I have to check all the boxes on the Submit Your Idea page before I can submit my idea?

Primary Contact vs. Speakers in PanelPicker Proposals

What does the PanelPicker entry form mean when it asks for "Primary Contact" or “Organizer” information?
What if I am entering this idea on behalf of my client, or someone else?
Do I need to have other speakers confirmed when I submit my panel idea?
What if I want to propose a speaker for my session that I’m not currently in contact with?
How many speakers should I add to my panel idea?
What role do moderators play? Do I have to have a moderator if I propose a panel?
What sort of speaker lineup makes for the best panel presentations?

PanelPicker Voting and Comments

When does the PanelPicker voting and commenting interface voting open? How long is it open?
Can anyone post comments on my panel proposal?
Can I encourage voting for my proposal on my blog or via my social media channels?

PanelPicker Selection Process

How much weight do votes from the public have in the selection process?
Who can vote in the PanelPicker?
What do I need to do to be able to vote in the PanelPicker?
If I submitted a proposal to the PanelPicker, should I encourage my friends to vote for my idea?
When the voting interface goes live, can I post comments about my own proposal?
Why don't you post the voting totals?
How can my idea compete against people who have large email lists?
What is the SXSW Advisory Board?

SXSW Programming Needs and Archives

Do you have any specific programming needs for the 2014 event?
Are there videos or audio recordings of past sessions that I can browse to learn more about the kinds of topics you cover at SXSW?
If I have spoken at SXSW before, is my panel proposal more likely to be accepted?

If My Idea is Selected...

If my idea is selected, do I get free admission to SXSW?
If my panel idea is selected, do my other speakers get a free admission to SXSW?
If my idea is selected, does SXSW pay for my travel or lodging?
If my idea is selected, how can I best prepare for my session?
If my idea is selected, does that mean all the hard work is over?
If my idea is selected, how much will SXSW work with me to refine my idea?

SXSW Information

When do these SXSW events occur?

Back to top

Where do these SXSW events occur?

SXSW Eco, SXSWedu and SXSWeek programming takes place in Austin, Texas at the Austin Convention Center, the Hilton Austin Downtown and at various other hotels and venues in and around Downtown Austin.

Back to top

Where can I find more information about these SXSW events?

(Detailed information about daytime sessions at SXSW Interactive, SXSW Film and SXSW Music can be found under the "Talks" tab at each link.)

Back to top

PanelPicker Timeline

What is the timeline for the 2014 PanelPicker process?

  • Entry and edit period for SXSW Interactive is July 1 - July 26, 2013 (11:59 PM CT). Community votes and comments for SXSW Interactive is August 19 - September 6, 2013 (11:59 PM CT).
  • Entry and edit period for SXSW Film is July 1 - July 26, 2013 (11:59 PM CT). Community votes and comments for SXSW Film is August 19 - September 6, 2013 (11:59 PM CT).
  • Entry and edit period for SXSW Music is July 1 - July 26, 2013 (11:59 PM CT). Community votes and comments for SXSW Music is August 19 - September 6, 2013 (11:59 PM CT).
  • Entry and edit period for SXSWedu is July 1 - July 26, 2013 (11:59 PM CT). Community votes and comments for SXSW Interactive is August 19 - September 6, 2013 (11:59 PM CT).
  • Programming Announced for SXSW Eco: June 11, 2013 (see sxsweco.com)
Back to top

Will session ideas be accepted after the entry deadline?

No -- we will be strictly adhering to all posted deadlines for 2014 PanelPicker entries. If you want to enter a speaking proposal for the 2014 event, you need to get your idea into the mix by the entry period date above.

Back to top

PanelPicker History and Information

How long have you been using the PanelPicker to help program the event?

2007 was the first year that PanelPicker-generated proposals were included as part of programming for the SXSW Interactive Festival. In 2010 the PanelPicker was extended to include SXSW Music and SXSW Film. SXSWedu and SXSW Eco started using the PanelPicker in 2012 and SXSW V2V will begin using the PanelPicker for 2014.

Back to top

Who designed the PanelPicker?

Special thanks to Lindsey Simon for developing the original SXSW PanelPicker. The PanelPicker was redesigned in 2013 by SXSW staff.

Back to top

What is different about the 2014 PanelPicker?

For 2014, the PanelPicker has been slightly redesigned. It has a new look and improved functionality that allows for a smoother user experience. We have expanded the section for resources (video or slides) so that voters and SXSW staff can get a better idea of a speaker's public speaking experience. Including some type of visual resource for your idea is mandatory for Interactive and EDU, but not for Music, Film or Eco.

Back to top

Why does SXSW ask for programming ideas nine months before the event? How can SXSW cover the latest trends and ideas?

Across the board, SXSW celebrates creativity, innovation and inspiration. Big-picture concepts like this don’t change all that much month-to-month. The sooner we can put together an exciting array of sessions for the 2014 event, the easier it is for our community to plan for their time at SXSW. Don't worry, we leave some slots open until January and February to allow room for late-breaking developments.

Back to top

Is crowdsourcing really the best way to generate content for an event such as SXSW?

PanelPicker is a great way to gauge the kinds of topics that most interest the SXSW community. Likewise, it has helped bring great new topics into the event. However, we also significantly rely on the expertise of the SXSW Advisory Boards and the SXSW staff to help curate the most relevant programming. Given the extensive role of the Advisory Boards and the staff in this process, the PanelPicker is a modified approach to crowdsourcing. See the “PanelPicker Selection Process” sub-head below.

Back to top

PanelPicker Account and Login Information

Who can enter a proposal in the SXSW PanelPicker?

Anyone with access to the Internet can send a proposal to the PanelPicker.

Back to top

Do I need to have an account to enter a proposal in the PanelPicker?

Yes. Creating a PanelPicker account will allow you to securely edit your proposal up until you click "Submit My Proposal" on the final page. Creating a PanelPicker account is free, takes just a few minutes and will work with all our SXSW systems.

Back to top

Can I still use the login that I used or the 2013 PanelPicker?

Yes. If you created a SXSW account for 2013, you will be able to use the same login and password.

Back to top

Can I use my SXsocial or eduSOCIAL account from 2013?

Yes -- as before, if you created a SXSW account using any of our systems for 2013, you can use the same login and password.

Back to top

How many proposals can I submit?

The PanelPicker interface allows each individual account to enter only one (1) proposal for SXSW Interactive, one (1) proposal for SXSW Film, one (1) for SXSW Music, one (1) for SXSWedu, and three (3) for SXSW Eco.

Back to top

Will I be able to edit my proposal in the 2014 PanelPicker?

Yes. The PanelPicker interface will allow you to edit any part of your “Draft” proposal up until you click “Submit My Proposal” on the final page. All proposals are final after submission.

Back to top

Can I edit my proposal in the 2014 PanelPicker after I have submitted it?

Once you have submitted your idea you will no longer be able to edit, so be sure you have reviewed it carefully before clicking “Submit My Proposal.”

Back to top

How can I determine which event my idea would be best for?

There is both a great deal of overlap and separation between each SXSW event. The largest determining factor is the audience that you would like to attract.

SXSW Interactive attracts digital creatives from every corner of the world with an active interest in everything from design, government, entrepreneurism and non-profits to life sciences, space exploration, food, fashion, sports and green technology.

SXSW Film attracts new and established industry innovators, filmmakers, and artists from the Film & Entertainment fields exploring new directions in storytelling, distribution and marketing, and next-generation digital innovations.

SXSW Music attracts musicians and music professionals seeking authoritative information on the business and creative sides of the industry, as well as new media professionals who are exploring cutting-edge strategies with music-related content.

SXSWedu attracts a convergence of the wide variety of stakeholders who share an interest in modernizing learning, from education professionals to entrepreneurs, policy makers, and industry leaders.

SXSW Eco attracts a diverse community of individuals, businesses, and organizations from fields such as technology, culture, conservation, economics and design, and are united by a commitment to developing actionable and profitable solutions for a better world.

Back to top

What if I have an idea that might work for more than one of the SXSW events?

You can enter the same idea for more than one event. However, each proposal is distinct to the event you choose, so you will need to manually re-enter your idea for each SXSW event you would like it to be considered for.

Back to top

Help! I’ve done something horribly wrong and now I can’t log into my PanelPicker account!

Never fear. Our friendly support team at support@sxsw.com is here to help you with all technical issues.

Back to top

How do I get help for my non-technical PanelPicker questions?

If you cannot find the answer to your question after thoroughly reading this PanelPicker FAQ you can contact each festival directly.

Back to top

Tips for PanelPicker Success

What makes for a good PROPOSAL?

The more specific a proposal is, the better. Seriously. We mean it. Specificity demands a lot more thought and planning — and pre-event thought and planning are the two biggest keys to a successful session. For example, a topic like "How Free Downloads Hurt Radiohead" would work better than the more general "Free Downloads and the Future of Music."

Back to top

What makes for a good TITLE?

Cute titles are fun. But, remember that your title is going to be fighting for attention with hundreds of other titles in the PanelPicker. The more direct and explanatory your title, the better. "Size Matters: Scaling Drupal Web Applications" is better than "Why Size Matters."

Back to top

What session FORMATS are accepted by SXSW?

SXSW offers everything from the more traditional formats like Solo and Dual Presentations, Conversations and Interviews, Workshops and Panels to more unconventional structures like Q&As, Meet Ups, Hackathons, Core Conversations, Mentor Sessions and Book Readings. You can choose the most appropriate format for your idea from the FORMAT drop down menu. Click on the FORMAT Tool Tip (question mark icon) for detailed information about each format. Note that each event allows for slightly different formats.

Back to top

Which FORMATS work best with the various SXSW events?

Based on years of feedback, each conference has learned what types of programming work best for their attendees. Our suggestions and preferences are as follows:

INTERACTIVE FESTIVAL attendees overwhelmingly prefer SOLO and DUAL presentations over panels. For 2014 we are cutting down the number of panel sessions that we will accept in favor of solo and dual presentations, and other alternative forms of programming.

FILM CONFERENCE attendees prefer CONVERSATIONS with industry leaders, hands-on workshops and advanced level panels. For 2014 we would like to see more SOLO and DUAL presentation proposals.

MUSIC CONFERENCE attendees want in-depth PANELS and WORKSHOPS as well as compelling SOLO and DUAL presentations, heavily focused on the future of the music industry and how to further careers in today's world.

SXSWedu and SXSW Eco attendees prefer a variety of programming styles at varying difficulty levels. Be cognizant of the best way to convey your idea and the appropriate audience for the material

Back to top

How can I determine LEVEL of difficulty for my proposal?

BEGINNER = Very basic information (0-1 years of experience)

INTERMEDIATE = More complicated information (2-4 years of experience)

ADVANCED = Expert level information (5+ years of experience)

Note: The Music Conference does not require a difficulty level.

Back to top

What is the expertise level of most SXSW attendees?

Most SXSW attendees have an intermediate or advanced level of expertise in their field. It is best to focus beginner-level sessions for the PanelPicker on very new industry-related developments that most attendees might not yet be familiar with.

Back to top

How should I use CATEGORY and TAGS?

The categories that you have to choose from represent the more broad umbrella topics SXSW will cover in 2014. Select the one that you feel most suits your idea. Click on the CATEGORY Tool Tip for an idea of what kinds of topics could fall within each category. Use the three user generated tags to further categorize your idea to make it more easily searchable by the SXSW community, staff and Advisory Boards. Also, try to limit each of these tags to one or two words each for better searchability.

Back to top

How important is correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation in my proposal?

Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are very important. You wouldn't turn in a resume that was full of typos and incomplete sentences, would you? It is essential that you take time to proof your entry.

Things to remember / Things to avoid:

  • Use proper title case. Do not use all caps or no caps for your title or description.
  • Punctuation gives flow to your thought. Seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how effective a comma or semicolon can be.
  • Look out for cut and paste errors. It happens. More than you think.
  • Proofread your description out loud, to another person, preferably someone who is not familiar with your idea. They will be able to tell if you are communicating what you intend.
  • No matter how familiar you may be with your topic, remember that most of the people who will read your description will not have the same frame of reference that you do.
Back to top

The PanelPicker is requiring me to enter "resource material" for my idea. What exactly does that mean?

For 2014, the Interactive and EDU Festivals are requiring some form of supporting material, whether it be a video, slide presentation, or some other visual resource, to help us better understand and evaluate your proposal. Whatever supporting material you enter will also be available for public view when the PanelPicker voting phase begins, so be sure that you have clear rights to your material.

Back to top

What kind of video should I enter along with my proposal?

Ideally, the video should simultaneously serve as evidence of your skills as a public speaker and give us more insight into your proposal. If this is a panel proposal, probably best to showcase the speaking skills of your strongest panelist in this video.

Back to top

Does my video have to be related to my speaking proposal?

Not necessarily. If you have an amazing video that showcases your engaging public speaking skills, then it is fine to include this. Although, the best case scenario is that your video has something to do with the topic of your proposal and provides voters with more information on the topic at hand.

Back to top

Will I be able to make changes (big or small) to my proposal after the voting interface goes live?

No, you will not be able to make edits to your proposal once voting goes live. Please remember that after you hit the “Submit My Proposal” button on the Submit Your Idea page, you will no longer be able to make changes to your proposal. We highly recommend you utilize the Preview feature available in the Drafts Tab before submitting. Said another way, don’t hit this button until you are absolutely certain the proposal reads exactly as you want it to read. Ideas started but not submitted before this deadline date will NOT be included in the PanelPicker interface.

Back to top

Can I preview what my submission will look like before actually submitting?

Yes. In the Drafts tab of your Dashboard, you can preview your submission by selecting the green ‘P’ icon next to your idea. After previewing and submitting your proposal, your idea will be listed under Finished ideas instead of Draft ideas.

Back to top

Will all the information I enter on this form be seen in the public interface?

No. We ask for a lot of information to help SXSW staff fully evaluate all proposals. However, only a select amount of information about your idea will appear in the public interface. A LOCK ICON will indicate what information will NOT be viewable to the public during community voting. No contact information will be made public.

Back to top

I have a product or service I think SXSW audiences need to hear about. Can I propose a session to promote my idea?

Blatantly advertorial content does NOT to do well in the PanelPicker. SXSW audiences, as well as SXSW staff and Advisory Boards prefer compelling and balanced content that highlights many solutions to a particular issue. They have no interest in sales pitches disguised as information. That is not to say that audiences do not look to SXSW for the latest new media products and services. There is a place for that. If your intention is to introduce your innovative product or service to the SXSW audience, contact our sales representatives for information on the many opportunities we offer to companies looking to make an impact on SXSW audiences.

Back to top

Why do I have to check all the boxes on the Submit Your Idea page before I can submit my idea?

Presenting a session at SXSW takes a considerable amount of time, preparation and thought. The items in the Agreement section represent the minimum commitment required to take on the task of organizing a session for such a large event. If you are not ready to make that kind of commitment, entering an idea into PanelPicker might not be the best choice.

Back to top

Primary Contact vs. Speakers in PanelPicker Proposals

What does the PanelPicker entry form mean when it asks for "Primary Contact" or “Organizer” information?

There are some important things to keep in mind when entering a primary contact.

The Primary Contact:

… is considered the ORGANIZER for this idea and will be listed in the PanelPicker public interface as such.
… is ultimately responsible for seeing the proposal to fruition. All SXSW communications will go through this person and they are responsible for communicating this information to their speakers.
… can also be a speaker on the session, BUT only if also listed as such.
… can only be responsible for one session.

Back to top

What if I am entering this idea on behalf of my client, or someone else?

If you are a representative or agency (and will not be acting as the actual "Organizer" / "Primary Contact" for the idea) you should enter the name of the person who will ultimately be responsible for the session if it is accepted in the Primary Contact section. This person will be responsible for every aspect of the proposed presentation in the event it is chosen to be a part of the 2014 festival.

Back to top

Do I need to have other speakers confirmed when I submit my panel idea?

Yes. All speakers should be confirmed before they are added. The speakers listed on a proposal will have an impact on the selection process. To that end, we are asking for a lot more information about each speaker than in past years, including detailed contact information and how they can contribute to the session. If you don’t have other speakers confirmed, then maybe your idea works better as a solo presentation (and SXSW Interactive definitely prefers solo presentations over panel ideas).

Back to top

What if I want to propose a speaker for my session that I’m not currently in contact with?

While we strongly recommend that you confirm your speakers before you submit your proposal, you can still enter the name and fill in the in the information about your relationship with the speaker. Also, if you don’t have other speakers confirmed, then probably best to submit your idea as a solo presentation.

Back to top

How many speakers should I add to my session idea?

Each format has a maximum number of speakers allowed.

  • Solo Presentations - 1 speaker
  • Dual Presentations, Conversations and Interviews - 2 speakers
  • Panels - (Music, Interactive and EDU) maximum of 4 speakers, including the moderator
  • Panels - (Film) maximum of 5 speakers, including the moderator
  • Core Conversations, Book Readings and Workshops - maximum of 2 speakers
  • Meet Ups - 1 host

The Tool Tip for FORMAT will have more detailed information.

Back to top

What role do moderators play? Do I have to have a moderator if I propose a panel?

The Moderator is a neutral party that will run the session. This person is typically also the Organizer, but that does not have to be the case. Having a neutral Moderator will help keep your session focused on the proposed topic and will allow for a more balanced presentation. This is strongly recommended.

Back to top

What sort of speaker lineup makes for the best presentations?

The most interesting sessions are the ones where there are many different perspectives. When choosing speakers keep in mind the V-O-W-E-L scale of basic diversity principles:

VARIETY More than 4,500 proposals were submitted to the 2013 SXSW Interactive, EDU, Music, and Film Festival and Conferences. In other words, we have lots and lots of very qualified people who want to speak at the event — so only aiming for big name speakers on your session is probably unwise. Also remember that each speaker at SXSW can only participate on ONE session per conference.

OPINION If all the other speakers on your proposal have the same opinion on the given topic, then the resulting conversation will likely be boring. Whatever topic you are addressing at SXSW, you need to include at least one person whose opinion differs sharply from yours.

WOMEN There are thousands of extremely qualified women in the media industry. If you are organizing a session with at least three total speakers, then at least one of these speakers must be female.

ETHNICITY Different ethnic backgrounds and different cultures take a different approach to different topics and often offer more diverse viewpoints. Different is usually a good thing at SXSW.

LOCATION Lots of amazingly talented professionals call New York, L.A. and the Bay Area home. But, there are scores of very qualified media experts located in various other locations in the US and around the world. Their voices also help contribute to this ongoing goal of diversity.

Back to top

PanelPicker Voting and Comments

When does the PanelPicker voting and commenting interface voting open? How long is it open?

  • Community votes and comments for SXSW Interactive is August 19 - September 6, 2013 (11:59 PM CT).
  • Community votes and comments for SXSW Film is August 19 - September 6, 2013 (11:59 PM CT).
  • Community votes and comments for SXSW Music is August 19 - September 6, 2013 (11:59 PM CT).
  • Community votes and comments for SXSWedu is August 19 - September 6, 2013 (11:59 PM CT).
Back to top

Can anyone post comments on my session proposal?

When the voting and commenting portion of PanelPicker opens, anyone with access to the Internet and with an interest in SXSW can comment on a proposal.

Back to top

Can I encourage voting for my proposal on my blog or via my social media channels?

Yes, we realize that rallying online support for your idea is an important part of the process. Remember, online self-promotion is best when done appropriately and in moderation.

Back to top

PanelPicker Selection Process

How much weight do votes from the public have in the selection process?

Voting from the public accounts for about 30% of the decision-making process for SXSW panel programming. Also important in this decision-making process are the SXSW Advisory Boards (40%) and the input of the SXSW staff (30%).

Back to top

Who can vote in the PanelPicker?

Anyone who has access to the Internet can vote and comment in the PanelPicker.

Back to top

What do I need to do to be able to vote in the PanelPicker?

During the public voting phase all you need to do is sign-up for an account. Signing-up is free, quick and easy. Your sign-up information remains completely confidential.

Back to top

If I submitted a proposal to the PanelPicker, should I encourage my friends to vote for my idea?

Absolutely. Rallying your friends and networks to vote for your panel proposal demonstrates energy, motivation and organizational ability. All of these skills are important when it comes to organizing a successful session for SXSW. Although, please remember that high voting totals alone will NOT guarantee you a speaking slot. As noted above, public voting only accounts for 30% of the decision-making process on any given proposal.

Back to top

When the voting interface goes live, can I post comments about my own proposal?

Yes. We strongly encourage you to use the comment section of the PanelPicker interface to offer more explanation of your proposal.

Back to top

Why don't you post the voting totals?

Like it or not, people's opinions are easily swayed by other people's opinions. We don't post voting totals because we don't want people to vote only for proposals that other people are voting for.

Back to top

How can my idea compete against people who have large email lists?

Remember, voting from the public only accounts for 30% of the selection formula. If you put together a strong idea that intrigues the Advisory Board and the SXSW staff, then you won't need to worry about competing with people who have large email lists.

Back to top

What is the SXSW Advisory Board?

The Advisory Board is a group of experienced industry professionals, whose advice and insights about programming and other event-related issues are trusted by the SXSW staff.

A separate Advisory Board serves each SXSW event.

Back to top

SXSW Programming Needs and Archives

Do you have any specific programming needs for the 2014 event?

SXSW Interactive is looking specifically for more advanced-level SOLO and DUAL presentation ideas that focus on creativity and inspiration.

SXSW Film is interested in developments in storytelling, creativity, distribution and audience building for films in the digital age. Hands-on workshop ideas are also welcome, and we are particularly concerned with ideas that shed light on the less well-known, yet highly creative corners of the film industry.

We are also looking for entries for our Digital Domain program, which addresses new directions in narrative and non-fiction storytelling in web-based and digital environments. Submit your idea as a Film Session through PanelPicker and select Digital Domain from the drop-down menu. Please email filmpanels@sxsw.com for further information.

SXSW Music is interested in the future of the music industry: insight on innovations, trends, well-researched predictions, and thoughtful advice and guidance to further careers. Our attendees want to know about expanding the market for musical performance and recordings on an individual and collective level. The best ideas are based on speakers' direct experience, and showcase their specialties. Don't be afraid to propose a specifically-focused idea or solo/dual presentation.

SXSWedu seeks creative programming content to inform and inspire its diverse community of education innovators. Sessions with multiple voices provide more diversity than solo presentations, though a variety of formats are permitted and encouraged. Fresh ideas, creatively presented, that contribute to more effective learning are welcomed by SXSWedu's engaged participants

SXSW Eco is looking for action and solution-oriented programming across all categories and formats.

Back to top

Are there videos or audio recordings of past sessions that I can browse to learn more about the kinds of topics you cover at SXSW?

You can find a selection of video excerpts from SXSW 2013 by visiting the SXSW YouTube Channel or our Audio and Video Libraries.

For SXSWedu content, you can visit the SXSWedu YouTube Channel, Vimeo Channel, or Audio Library.

Back to top

If I have spoken at SXSW before, is my proposal more likely to be accepted?

Good question. We like to have a balance of experienced speakers (people who are experienced in terms of talking about their craft to a live audience) as well as new blood (folks who have not made the so-called conference circuit). If you have spoken at SXSW before and have received favorable reviews from attendees, then you definitely have an advantage over someone who has spoken at the event before and did not receive positive feedback from registrants.

Back to top

If My Idea is Selected...

If my idea is selected, do I get free admission to SXSW?

Only SXSW speakers receive a free badge (see breakdown below). Unfortunately, organizers who are NOT speaking do NOT receive a free badge.

SXSW Interactive and Film speakers receive a free GOLD badge which allows them access to all official SXSW Film and Interactive events.

SXSW Music Conference speakers receive a free MUSIC badge which allows access to all official SXSW Music Festival and Conference events.

SXSWedu speakers receive a free SXSWedu badge which allows access to all official SXSWedu events.

SXSW Eco speakers receive a free SXSW Eco badge which allows access to all official SXSW Eco events.

Back to top

If my idea is selected, do my other speakers get a free admission to SXSW?

Yes. See above.

Back to top

If my idea is selected, does SXSW pay for my travel or lodging?

Unfortunately, SXSW is not able to provide travel, lodging or other financial compensation for speakers. What we can provide is exposure to the brightest minds and bleeding edge innovators in education, music, film, new media and other industries.

Back to top

If my idea is selected, how can I best prepare for my session?

Preparation is key. The more preparation you devote to your session, the better it will be. SXSW attendees are smart and they enjoy smart programming. If they realize you haven't prepared, they will leave your session and find a more interesting one next door. Coordinating, planning and preparing with other speakers in other locations can often be difficult -- which is one of the reasons that solo presentations sometimes work better than panels.

Back to top

If my idea is selected, does that mean all the hard work is over?

Absolutely not. If your proposal is accepted, the hard work is just beginning! The best sessions are the ones in which the organizer has devoted a significant amount of time to the organizational process. Said another way, if you aren't prepared to spend a significant amount of time preparing for your session (and communicating with your fellow panelists), then you are better suited to be a SXSW attendee than a SXSW speaker.

Back to top

If my idea is selected, how much will SXSW work with me to refine my idea?

Getting your idea accepted via the PanelPicker is just the first step in a long process. SXSW staff will work with you significantly to refine / hone / polish your idea in the months leading up to March. Why? Because we want to showcase your knowledge, passion and creativity in the best possible light for the industry professionals and decision-makers who attend SXSW.

Back to top

Still Have Questions?

Back to top