At KinToki-Con I ran an event called "Crossover Mania." It was simple – over time people picked an anime (though any media was allowed – this was an anime con), and figured out how to tie it to another anime. As we went on we wrote down the media properties on paper and diagrammed how they connected – a lot of tape and arrows was involved. Eventually we had an incredibly silly, yet strangely coherent crossover.
How crazy? Well it mixed Space Pirate Harlock accidentally creating the time/space warp Bermuda Triangle while under mind control of the villain in Code Geas. And THAT wasn't even the core plot, that just got the initial crossover to happen (mostly involving One Piece).
Now this was a deliberately silly exercise, but the creativity that started flowing was amazing. Best of all no alchohol was invovled, at least on my part. It was insane, it was crazy – but it was also imaginative and it made people's minds work.
It's made me think that this will be part of my regular repertoire, and probably paired with my Brainstorming panels. Not only was this event fun – it was also educational and inspiring.
People started meshing ideas seamlessly with a bit of coaching. Associations sprang up that were wild and crazy. Folks even learned about anime they never heard of (Abe Sapien, the lovable fishman of 'Hellboy', died at the hands of classic anime assassin Golgo 13). People weren't just having fun – they were growing as writers, albeit in a kind of nutty way.
I'm thinking that, as much as I love serious career events, there's a strong virtue to fun and silly as well. Fun and silly helps people remember, it lowers their defenses, it gets them motivated. Watching that crowd get going has made me think it's time for me to lighten up a bit in my work.
Maybe that's why my sarcastic "Why You Don't Have Your Dream Job" panel is one of my most popular events – it's also darkly humorous.
So if you're doing career events at anime cons maybe consider the virtue of silly and creative as well. There's a place for serious, but it can probably be overdone.
(Oh, and why did Golgo 13 kill Abe Sapien? He was hired by the Witches of Arachnophobia in 'Soul Eater' of course . . .)