First session I attended was a Masterclass by Mark Raats of Lucas Film poster fame. He was talking through his process for working traditionally with markers and pencils etc. While he may use digital creation daily, he showed a real love for more traditional methods.
Following straight on was another Masterclasss, this time from writer Mike Jones who has a wide portfolio of writing credits now from novels to games and more. I love writer panels, but Mike was awesome preparing a really engaging talk that covered his advice/rules for creating a world. Essentially to build a storyworld before a story. a world that fuels the engine of multiple stories. Starting with rules of the world itself and to get the audience to care, get the audience to worry. World rules should generate problems, create an emotional state - a contract with the audience.
I liked his exploration of the idea of the world and thus narratives being about problems. Problems that are big enough to be experienced from different perspectives, active enough and big enough to never really be solved. These problems should feel intrinsic to the world, not just plonked onto it.
Mike poses this dramatic question for his work and other writers he works with: Will X be able to do Y or else Z? Again he poses this for the world where X can be a city or community or tribe and where Z means dire consequences for all. Mike also talked about the importance of a Storyworld timeline featuring Influences, Decisions and Thresholds (points of no return) for the world.
Maybe I didn't do his talk justice, but believe me it was stellar!
I did buy a pair of latex swords at the end of the day from Wicked Replicas - Kili's sword and Anduril which are both simply awesome.