Farpoint Convention 2019 Progress Report

WALLACE SHAWN            MAURICE LAMARCHE   ROB PAULSEN

It’s that time of year for news about some of the fun coming up in February 2019! We know many of you start now planning for the con – creating your costume(s), learning a new game to share, studying for a panel or presentation and/or snagging that great something to be autographed by a celebrity guest. In that spirit, we present a sneak preview of #FarpointCon2019 to help you prepare for the fun. You can register online through our website www.FarpointCon.com. The deadline for pre-registration is January 31, 2019. You can book your hotel rooms through the dedicated link found at http://www.farpointcon.com/hotel-information/. The deadline for our hotel room block is January 10, 2019. We encourage you to continue checking our website and/or follow us online at Farpoint Convention on Facebook and @FarpointCon on Twitter and Instagram for the latest news. You can post comments and questions here or on our Farpoint Convention 26 Facebook event page about particular events and/or to look for ride and room shares.

1.       Celebrity Guests:  Current plans are for Wallace Shawn and Maurice LaMarche to arrive on Friday in time for the Cocktail Party and Opening Ceremonies while Rob Paulsen will be arriving very late Friday/early Saturday after an evening performance engagement. Prometheus Radio Theatre is preparing another fun show for our Opening Ceremonies and we all hope Wallace and Maurice will approve the script and participate. We will let you know more as things develop.

All 3 of our celebrity guests will be speaking from our main stage on both Saturday and Sunday. Don’t forget that your weekend, Saturday and Sunday convention membership ticket includes one complementary signature from the celebrity guest of your choice each day! The guest will sign either the convention program book or a photo/item from your personal collection you present to be signed and your convention membership badge will be punched when you redeem your signature. Signed photos and items available at the guest’s signing station and at-the-table selfies must be purchased on-site (cash only). You can redeem your complimentary signature and purchase other items in the same visit to the guest’s signing station.

2.       Authors, Books, Reading & Writing:  Many panels are being prepared for this track covering topics that support professional writers, help new pros break into the field, showcase new work from our author guests and give readers the opportunity to share their love of their favorite books and stories. Our author guests will sign copies of their books from your personal collection at no charge during our Book Fair Friday evening and will have copies of new and other works available for purchase at the same time. Several of our author guests will be premiering new books at Farpoint during the Book Fair; make sure to look for the specially-marked tables identifying the titles that are premiering! Many of our authors are participating in the 2nd annual Short Story contest. Make sure to stop by the voting station to check out this year’s entries and vote for your favorite.

Our free “All Kinds of Writing Workshop” returns to help writers at all levels (including aspiring) in honing their abilities and increasing their knowledge. Veteran writers Howard Weinstein, Bob Greenberger, Dave Galanter, Kelly Meding, Kelli Fitzpatrick & Bob Jones will answer all your questions on the craft and business of writing, focusing on as many puzzle pieces of fiction and non-fiction storytelling as can be squeezed into 2 hours, including characters, plot, structure, humor, tension, theme, and more — so bring your best, most-vexing questions to discuss with our team of pros!

3.       New Media: The New Media program track covers newly emerging technology of all kinds. Presenters in this track include independent filmmakers, publishers, comic artists, podcasters and online content creators. This year’s panels will include “Using Social Media Effectively”, “From Idea to Execution – A Crash Course on Bringing Your Indy Project To Life” and “Storytelling with New Technology”. Several independent films will be shown throughout the weekend, including the Harlan Ellison documentary from 2008 “Dreams With Sharp Teeth”, presented with permission by his estate.

4.       Movies and TV: There will be panels galore looking at the wealth of films and shows of interest to geeks, nerds and science fiction fans! Panel topics for 2019 include “Voltron on Netflix”, “The Future of Superhero Movies”, and “The Star Wars Multiverse”. And that’s just a small sampling as you can expect talks covering Star Trek, The Orville, Outlander, Harry Potter, the Marvel and DC cinematic universes and much more!

5.       Youth and Children: We are looking forward to some wonderful activities geared toward our younger fan audience, many of which can be enjoyed by fans of all ages. Our regular Friday night pajama party is returning where younger fans can enjoy snacks, stories, crafts and a movie if that is more to their interest than our Cocktail Party and Opening Ceremonies. There will be hands on make and take activities on Saturday and Sunday for our youngest fans. Teens interested in writing are encouraged to talk with some of our pro author guests during the “All Kinds of Writing Workshop” on Saturday morning, and those interested in art careers can attend one of the several hands-on classes being offered by Art Way Alliance throughout the weekend. Our Game Room is open into the wee hours of Saturday and Sunday morning and offers games and crafts for all ages, interests and abilities. Our friends from the Wizarding Alliance of Non-Lethal Duelists (W.A.N.D.S.) return again with their latest beta test for the Wizard Dueling LARP suitable for any fan able to hold a wand. And, of course, our Masquerade Costume Contest will be held Saturday night in the ballroom, open to all ages, costume categories and maker abilities. There will also be several panels of interest to fans of all ages in our Movies/TV and Costuming/Cosplay tracks and we encourage our young fans to join in and share their knowledge and points of view.

6.       Science:  The 2019 Science track offers looks at Mars exploration and astronomy, including “SpaceX and NASA — better together for getting to Mars” and “DART: NASA’s First Mission to Test Planetary Defense via Asteroid Deflection”. Our science track features speakers from NASA and scientists from several of our local universities who generously share the latest knowledge from their fields of expertise.

7.       Costuming and Cosplay: We are very excited to announce that this track is expanding for 2019 in response to the requests from attendees and the enthusiasm of the fan community for costuming and cosplay. Topics in this track reflect the wide array of interests in the community of costumers and cosplayers: “Cosplay For A Cause”, “Kids and Cosplay”, and “Crafty Costuming” are only a few of the talks and activities coming in February. A very exciting new addition to this track is the NEW Stuffed Animal Cosplay Contest! Everyone is encouraged to bring their favorite costumed friend from home and show them off during the contest. This is an all ages event and we’d love to see how fans of all ages include their “pets” in their fan interests.

8.       Live Events: And we’re saving one of the best and biggest announcements for our last paragraph. Farpoint 2019 will be staging our first ever ESCAPE ROOM activity as part of our Live Events track! “Escape From Mars” is a puzzle-based Escape Room suitable for teams of 2-8 people of all ages. Take your best shot at getting back home after being stranded on the Red Planet!

There will be several opportunities to flex, dance and move as part of Farpoint 2019’s Live Events! There will be a workshop called “Let’s Dance” where you can learn some of the dances from the musical episodes of several fan-favorite series. Keith RA DeCandido will be presenting a Self-Defense Workshop teaching teens and adults how to protect themselves in uncertain situations. And our friends from Maryland Kunst des Fechtens return with hands-on classes in European style swordfighting.

We welcome returning guests The Boogie Knights, Luna-C and The Chromatics who will be performing live on our main stage during the weekend. There will also be a new game show called “Cash Con” based on the popular “Cash Cab”. Come show your knowledge and win some prizes!

9.       Charity Auction: We will once again be raising money for our official charities, the Julien Fleming Memorial Fund (www.jfmf.org) and Art Way Alliance (www.artwayalliance.org). Short live auctions are scheduled for Friday evening during the Opening Ceremonies and Saturday evening at the Masquerade costume contest halftime, with a silent auction taking place all weekend at the charity auction display in the Art Show. Previews of items available for auction will be posted online in the weeks leading up to the convention. Our charity partners send their thanks and appreciation for your continued support.

All of this fun and much more (200+ hours worth!) awaits you at Farpoint 2019. We hope to see you there! You can register online through our website www.FarpointCon.com. We encourage you to continue checking our website and/or follow us online at Farpoint Convention on Facebook and @FarpointCon on Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and to view our schedule when it is released 2 weeks before the convention. Thank you as always for your continued support of your local fan-run conventions!

 

Stan Lee – An Appreciation

What a life Marvel legend Stan Lee lived! A son, brother, husband, father, creator, veteran…… and just a great person. His creativity has touched so many lives. Not just a large percentage of people in America but a large percentage of people in the entire world. You could travel to China wearing a Marvel character shirt, meet someone who has either read the same comic or watched the same movie, and become instant friends regardless of any cultural or language barriers. Stan Lee believed every person had the strength within them to do the right thing. He regularly used his characters and stories to  highlight society’s issues and help us find a better way.

“Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them, is to expose them – to reveal from the insidious evil they really are.” — Stan’s Soapbox, 1968

“Another definition of a hero is someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being, and will go out of his or her way to help them – even if there is no chance of a reward. That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt a real superhero” — Stan Lee interview, Cyperspacers.com, 2004

Our world is a better place because Stan Lee was in it and we’re now poorer having lost him. Excelsior, Stan – onward and upward. May we all be the real superheroes, holding down the fort now that you’ve joined your beloved Joanie. Thanks for all the fun.

Farpoint Convention 2019 Guest Updates & Autographs

Everyone is getting very excited about our 2019 celebrity guests – Wallace Shawn, Maurice LaMarche and Rob Paulsen! We’ve also been updating the guest lists for each of our program tracks, which you can find on the programming page of our website.

Farpoint’s tradition has been to provide each attendee with one complimentary signature from the celebrity guest of their choice each of the two days (Saturday and Sunday) that guests sign. The complimentary signature is on an item you bring from your personal collection to be signed or the convention program book. Additional signatures and items the celebrity guest has brought with them to the convention can be purchased and signed at the same time you are redeeming your complimentary signature. This means that every 3-day weekend convention member gets 2 complimentary signatures during the weekend, providing you with increased value for your convention membership ticket!

Guests from our program tracks are glad to sign your book, collectible item or convention program book at no charge. They will also be bringing copies of their books and other creations with them to have for sale at their table and/or during their scheduled autograph times.

If you have any questions about our guests or obtaining autographs during the convention, please email us and we will be happy to help you get the most out of your #FarpointCon2019 experience.

Farpoint Convention 2019 Celebrity Guests Announced!

If you were at ShoreLeave this year or on social media shortly thereafter you were among the first to get the word on our newly announced guests, who have been invited to Farpoint 2019 in response to members’ requests for guests and content from the fantastic worlds of animation.

Legendary voice actors Maurice LaMarche and Rob Paulsen will be joining us at Farpoint 2019 this February! Maurice and Rob are known for their team up as “Pinky and The Brain” in the beloved series of the same name. Maurice is also known for his work as “Yosemite Sam” in the new LOONEY TUNES series, “Aiwei” in THE LEGEND OF KORRA, “Doctor Doom” in ULTIMATE SPIDER MAN and as “Calculon” and “Morbo” in FUTURAMA. He has provided multiple supporting voices for THE SIMPSONS, ADVENTURE TIME, RICK AND MORTY and many other classic animated series. Rob is known as “Yakko Warner” in the classic ANIMANIACS (coming in 2019 to Netflix!) and “Donatello” in TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and has worked on series as diverse as SAMURAI JACK, THE POWERPUFF GIRLS, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, MILES FROM TOMORROWLAND, and BEN 10 OMNIVERSE. Both Rob and Maurice have spent time as themselves in front of the camera, too. Rob is the creator and host of the popular TALKIN’ TOONS web series where he talks with the most popular actors working in the animation industry today and both he and Maurice were featured in the documentary film I KNOW THAT VOICE, which continued as a series early in 2018 on most streaming services.

Maurice and Rob will join the iconic actor Wallace Shawn (STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, TOY STORY, YOUNG SHELDON) in our 2019 celebrity guest lineup. All 3 have been invited to attend our Friday Cocktail Party/Opening Ceremony and will be meeting and signing for attendees on Saturday and Sunday. Convention members receive 1 complimentary signature from the celebrity guest of their choice on both Saturday and Sunday (weekend convention members thus receive 2 signatures total) on either the convention program book or an item the member brings from their personal collection to be signed.

Follow the links on our website Guests page to learn more about each of our celebrity guests. The guest lists for each program track are listed on the track’s page under Programming. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone this February!

Just Announced! – Wallace Shawn

Wallace Shawn, “Vizzini” from Princess Bride

We are thrilled to announce our first celebrity guest for 2019 – Wallace Shawn! You know his face and his voice from his diverse movie and television roles. Wallace Shawn is known as “Vizzini” from The Princess Bride, “Rex” in Disney’s Toy Story series, “Zek” in Star Trek Deep Space Nine,  “Mr. Hall” in Clueless, and his unmistakable voice can be heard in “Teacher’s Pet”, “The Incredibles”, “Family Guy”, “Kung Fu Panda” and many more roles. Wallace will be appearing at Farpoint all 3 days, attending the Friday evening cocktail party and opening ceremonies and speaking and signing on Saturday and Sunday. The links to purchase your membership tickets and reserve hotel rooms can be found here on our website. Join us for a rare opportunity to meet this movie and television legend!

Thank You For a Great 25th Year!

Our Silver Anniversary Was Solid Sterling!

Thank you to everyone who attending #FarpointCon2018.  We have received wonderful feedback from our attendees and guests with appreciation for the fun they had at our 25th anniversary convention and great ideas for the future.

We’re proud to share with you all that Matt Frewer, Nana Visitor, Nora McLelland and Timothy Zahn all had a fantastic time at Farpoint and would love to come back and join us again. The appreciation of our guests and their desire to return stems just as much from our work as organizers as it does from you, our attendees! Farpoint has a solid reputation in the convention community as a place where guests can meet and spend quality time with interested (and interesting) fans and where attendees can talk with our guests in a relaxed, unhurried atmosphere. Each of you helps make Farpoint the great weekend it is through your interest, generosity and participation and we couldn’t do it without you!

The Delta Hotel by Marriott was a wonderful home for us in 2018 and we will be returning there for our 26th Farpoint on February 8-10, 2019. Good news for us all – the 2018 room rate of $125.00 per night will stay in place for 2019! The room block will be available for reservations in the spring. Most of you are aware that the Delta Hotel by Marriott Hunt Valley went under auction this week. As far as we know it will continue to operate under the same branding with the same staff, although perhaps under different ownership. We will keep you informed as we learn anything new.

Please stay in touch with us here through our website (http://www.farpointcon.com/contact-us/), on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FarpointCon/) and on Twitter (@FarpointCon). We are interested in your ideas for our programs and guests. Thank you again for a great #FarpointCon2018 – here’s to #FarpointCon2019.

2018 Panel Highlight No. 2

The sensation that is the Starz series OUTLANDER has captured audiences across the globe, as well as critical acclaim.  From its humble beginnings as a book in 1991, it has become a worldwide phenomenon.  After more than twenty-years, Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling books finally came to the small screen in April of 2014.  

Now that Season 3 has concluded and we are in a period known as Droughtlander until the next season starts, please join us for a lively, informative, fun discussion and presentation on Friday, February 9th at 4pm in Salon A.  We will recap all that took place in Season 3, titled after Gabaldon’s third novel, Voyager. We’ll also look beyond Season 3 and discuss what might be in store for the two main characters, Jamie & Claire Fraser, in Season 4:  Drums of Autumn!

 

 

 

Presented by Annie Brugmans, Betsy Childs and Maggie Restivo.

2018 Panel Highlight No. 1

Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg, the “Doctor
of the Dead” and world-renowned zombie expert, leads a discussion on the iconic 1968 sci/fi horror film Night of the Living Dead and the many ways this film has paved the way zombies have been utilized in film, television and other media to represent our deepest fears and reflect the darkest aspects of human nature.

You can follow Dr. Blumberg on Twitter @DoctoroftheDead

A Year in #ConLife, Part 4

It’s program planning time! Sharon, your friendly neighborhood con chair, here saying hello. Fall signals the start of our highly capable programming team shifting into high gear. If you’re following us on social media (and if you’re not, go to Farpoint Convention on Facebook and/or @FarpointCon on Twitter) you have seen the announcement that the list of panels will be sent out soon for you to select programs you’d like to participate in. To add yourself to the distribution of the panel list, email us at Programs@FarpointCon.com

We solicit and receive panel ideas from guests and attendees, more than we (unfortunately) have room for. What do we do with your submissions? Once the submission period has ended, our programming team evaluates each idea and assigns them to one of our programming tracks. The assignment can be complicated because ideas will often cross tracks. For example, a talk on writing content for online outlets in the Authors track would also interest guests and attendees in our New Media track which covers online creativity. All programs we identify with potential to cross tracks are identified as such in our database and opened to guests and program participants who express interest in both tracks to encourage a diversity of speakers on the panel.

Another criterion we look for from your submissions is idea duplication. Each year, we receive great submissions from multiple people on a particular subject. Rather than accept one of the idea variations and reject all the others, our programming team will take all of the submissions on the topic and look for a way to combine them into a single program. The people submitting the original ideas will be notified of the combined topic and asked if they are still interested in participating. In most instances they are, allowing us to accept multiple submissions for the topic and again have a diversity of ideas and voices for the program.

We also look at past programs to see if a similar topic has been staged recently. This does not necessarily mean your idea will be rejected, however. If the topic is popular, repeating it in the following year can be a good thing but we also want to avoid duplicating the same ideas from one year to the next too often.

Once the program ideas are assigned to a track and evaluated, the programming team compiles a final list of the programs and panels we want to present at the convention. You will be notified by the team if your idea is accepted or not. Everyone who submitted program ideas will receive a copy of the final program list. Programs are listed as being “open” or “closed” and you will be asked to submit your choice of “open” program topics you wish to participate on as a speaker/panelist. A “closed” program is one staged by a specific guest(s) with the topic related to their area of expertise. An examples of a “closed” program is a in our Science track led by the scientists and engineers sharing their expertise in the field.

Our programming chairs will take everyone’s requests for panel speaking spots, assign speakers to panel(s) and place the programs on the convention schedule. We use a custom program planning database for this task. The database tracks assignments of rooms, times, topics, equipment and speakers and gives an error message when someone or something is double-booked at the same time or place. Assigning programs to specific room and time slots requires balancing the convention’s overall schedule requirements with each individual’s request for speaking slots. We also work hard to ensure that two different programs on the same topic are not occurring simultaneously on the schedule. For example, we would not want an Authors track talk on writing for the Star Trek universe opposite a Movies/TV track panel on Star Trek so that Trek fans have the opportunity to attend both programs.

The programming team will produce 2-4 draft schedules during the November to early January time frame and evaluate each version for mistakes and issues. The schedule version resulting from the programming team review is evaluated by the entire committee in mid-January. Committee feedback is incorporated and the final draft schedule is again reviewed by everyone. Once approved, the schedule goes to the printer, our website and social media for publication. The programming team will send each guest and program participant a personalized program schedule.

Farpoint Convention is proud that our program schedule is finalized and ready for publication each year at least 2 weeks prior to the convention, allowing you to better plan your convention experience. You may also notice that we have almost zero “on the fly” schedule changes during the convention. The rigorous schedule review process by our dedicated programming team and committee ensures that our schedule is firm and ready to go when we open our doors on Friday. We thank our loyal guests and attendees for submitting their wonderful ideas and being willing to participate in programs at the convention. We would not have our #EmbarrassmentOfRiches without YOU!

A Year in #ConLife, Part 3

Sharon, your friendly neighborhood convention co-chair here, with the next part in our blog series talking about our year in #ConLife as we get ready for #FarpointCon2018!

Our last entry talked guest selection. We have since announced guests Matt Frewer, Nana Visitor, Timothy Zahn, Nora McLellan, Glenn Greenberg, and more that you can see on the Guest page on our website. Don’t forget that your 3-day, Saturday and Sunday convention tickets include 1 complimentary signature from your choice of our celebrity guests each day, giving our 3-day attendees 2 complimentary signatures in total. Our author guests will have copies of their books for sale and will also sign your personal copies if you bring them to the convention.

With guest selection underway, our programming team is beginning to look at ideas for panel discussions and events. If you have any ideas for our program team, please email them at Programs@FarpointCon.com. The events you are traditionally used to seeing at Farpoint will be returning: Art Show, Charity Auction, Masquerade, Gaming, Vic’s Place karaoke, Book Fair, Dinner and A Movie and the Ten Forward dance party.

If you are a dealer/vendor or know one, our #FarpointCon2018 Dealers Room is projecting to sell out by the end of September! That’s very exciting but it makes it important for any dealers out there considering joining us to send in their application as soon as possible. A copy of the application can be downloaded from the Dealers page on our website.

And we’ve been “on the road” at other conventions in the area! Since our last entry, we had tables or booths at Balticon 51 , AwesomeCon, BlerdCon , Shore Leave and StarQuest .  We had a lot of fun at each of these events and got the chance to meet new friends that we hope will join us at #FarpointCon2018.

One of the things we do at each publicity event is invite people to follow us on one of our social media channels (Farpoint Convention on Facebook and @FarpointCon on Twitter). New members from that weekend are put into a drawing to win two 3-day convention tickets. Even if you already follow us on social media, encourage your friends to join us during one of the weekends below even if they’re not at the event. They would still be a new member from that weekend and could win the 2 tickets and bring you along! Here’s where we’ll be for the rest of the summer. If you are attending any of these events, please stop by the Farpoint Convention display to say hello.

Our next #ConLife blog will continue to follow our programming team as they begin to build the schedule for #FarpointCon2018. Thank you for supporting Farpoint Convention and please share our online presence with your friends.

Baltimore, Maryland

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