Category Archives: Updates

All updates to the website and/or Farpoint’s operations.

#FarpointCon2020 Welcomes The Orville’s Penny Johnson Jerald!

Penny Johnson Jerald was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She trained at the Juilliard School, where her classmates in 1982 included fellow actors Megan Gallagher, Jack Kenny, Jack Stehlin, and Lorraine Toussaint.

She currently portrays Dr. Claire Finn in the FOX show “The Orville”, with the character also hailing from Penny’s hometown of Baltimore, MD. Dr. Finn leads the ship’s staff of medical officers and has established herself as a source of strength for the rest of the senior staff.  Her presence both on the Orville’s bridge and in sick bay places her in the unique position to help the bridge officers and to communicate the needs of the rest of the ship.

Jerald began her career with small guest roles, appearing in The Paper Chase from 1984 to 1986, General Hospital in 1986, and Do the Right Thing in 1989 before playing the title character’s unflappable personal assistant, Beverly Barnes, on The Larry Sanders Show. Throughout the 1990s, Jerald guest starred in several television series, including Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Grace Under Fire, Cosby and Family Law.

Following Larry Sanders, Jerald appeared in the 1997 film Absolute Power and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine playing freighter captain Kasidy Yates, the love interest for the series’ main character Benjamin Sisko, a recurring role which she played from 1995 to the show’s end in 1999. She also had a recurring guest role on ER as Lynette Evans from 1998 to 1999. She then appeared as Roscoe Dellums in the Emmy Award winning TV movie The Color of Friendship. Jerald has also guest starred on Frasier, The Practice, Touched by an Angel, The X-Files and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne among her many credits.

Jerald’s arguably most-recognized role came in 2001 when she appeared in the pilot episode of the Kiefer Sutherland-led Fox series, 24, playing Sherry Palmer, the wife of Senator David Palmer. She appeared in all but two of the first season episodes and multiple episodes of the second and third seasons.

In 2003, Jerald played Condoleezza Rice in DC 9/11: Time of Crisis, a TV movie about the September 11 attacks in 2001. She reprised the role in the miniseries The Path to 9/11, which aired September 10–11, 2006.

Jerald joined the cast of ABC’s Castle in its fourth season as the new captain of the 12th Precinct, Victoria “Iron” Gates, replacing Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s deceased character Roy Montgomery as captain of the precinct.

Jerald also teaches acting workshops and produces and directs for Outreach Christian Theater Company, which she and her musician husband Gralin Jerald founded in 1994. �

#BringBackSwag!

Introducing the #FarpointCon2020#BringBackSwag – an official Farpoint Convention card sleeve for your phone! Why is it called #BringBackSwag? Because we want you to bring it back with you to #FarpointCon2020 after picking it up at one of our publicity events. And you’ll get an extra piece of swag with your program book and materials at the con when you show the card sleeve to our Registration team. If you can’t make it to Awesome Con next weekend, look for us at other events in the area throughout the year. #ConLife#FreeSwag

This cute phone accessory can be YOURS! #FarpointCon2020 #BringBackSwag

#FarpointCon2020 Hotel Block is Open!

The Delta Hotel by Marriott has opened room reservations for #FarpointCon2020, scheduled for February 21-23, 2020! The $125/night rate (before local taxes) is the same as the last two years and is available from Monday, February 17th through Thursday, February 27th. Take advantage of your stay to spend extra time with friends and to explore all the Baltimore/Washington area has to offer!

The room block closes for reservations Monday, January 20, 2020.

#FarpointCon2020 Dates Announced!

We are happy to announce that our contract for Farpoint Convention 27 has been signed with the Delta Hotel by Marriott Hunt Valley, MD and #FarpointCon2020 will be held February 21 – 23, 2020!

And for even more good news, our contract with the hotel allows us to offer sleeping room rates at the SAME price as 2018 and 2019 – $125/night before tax! The link to reserve your room will be posted shortly.

Pre-registration for #FarpointCon2020 will open in April 2019 after our budget is approved. We are already looking at potential guests for next year. If you have any thoughts, please send them to us at contact@farpointcon.com.

Make sure to bookmark this website, and follow us on Facebook (Farpoint Convention) and Twitter (@FarpointCon) to receive updates as they are published.

#FarpointCon2019 Autograph information

Here is updated information on autographs and photos with our guests. Don’t forget that you receive 1 complimentary signature from the guest of your choice Saturday and Sunday on an item from your personal collection your present to be signed or the convention program book. Your convention membership badge will be punched when you redeem your complimentary signature. This benefit gives 3-day members 2 complimentary signatures over the weekend and day members 1 on the day they attend the convention (Saturday and Sunday – GUESTS ARE NOT SIGNING ON FRIDAY). The prices below are for any purchased signatures and at the table photos/selfies. Farpoint does not offer professional photo ops. Planned signing times will be posted in advance and on signs at the signing stations, which are located on the lower floor of the hotel convention center in the Hunt/Valley ballroom hallway.

Purchases of autographs and photos are cash only.

Wallace Shawn is signing Saturday and Sunday:
$40 per signature
$30 per at the table photo/selfie

Maurice Lamarche is signing Saturday and Sunday:
$30 per signature
$20 per at the table photo/selfie
$40 per signature/photo combination
$50 per phone call, voice recording or video recording

Rob Paulsen is signing Saturday and Sunday:
$30 per signature
$20 per at the table photo/selfie
$40 per signature/photo combination
$50 per phone call, voice recording or video recording

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!

 

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.

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.

A Year in #ConLife, Part 2

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 covered venue selection. Now that we have our venue, the Delta Hotel by Marriott in Hunt Valley, MD (formerly the Hunt Valley Inn) it is time for guest selection. Farpoint is very lucky to have a wonderful group of supportive industry professionals – science fiction and comic writers, scientists and performers – who attend as guests on a regular basis. It is important, however, that we never assume that any of these in demand pros are coming. They are among our first outgoing invitations for the next year, informing them of the dates and venue with our hope that they will be able to join us again.

Along with our beloved “regulars” we begin looking at potential celebrity guests. Selecting a celebrity guest is quite complicated. It starts with looking at the budget. The appearance fee for a celebrity guest is paid in one of two ways: the convention pays the entire fee upfront allowing the guest to provide signatures and photo ops at no charge or the convention guarantees the guest will make an agreed upon amount from attendees paying for the guest’s signature and/or photo op. In the latter case, the convention agrees to pay the guest the difference if the sales do not reach the guaranteed amount. As such, it is important for the convention to understand their level of attendance and the potential for each guest to make their minimum sales guarantee and then ensure the convention has sufficient funds to cover any guarantee shortfalls in a worst case scenario. The convention will also be paying for the celebrity’s airfare, hotel and meals during the weekend, and possibly the same for an assistant sent along by the booking agent. Another potential expense is the cost of the photos the guest will be signing. Who pays for the photos is an item to be settled when negotiating the guest’s appearance agreement. Travel costs are part of the upfront expenses a convention needs to cover, along with supplies, equipment rentals, printing of programs, schedules and signs, and deposits to the venue. A convention must make sure that they have sufficient funds to pay for all of these costs.

Once we determine the amount of money we have available to pay the expenses for celebrity guests, we look at the input we have received from our attendees on who they would like to see and consider which TV shows, movies, comics and books people are interested in. This gives us a list of names for potential guests. We contact agents we know work with the potentials on our list to find out the appearance requirements for each. Our agent friends also provide suggestions on potential guests with their requirements.

The fee requirements data allows us to focus on potential guests who match the best with Farpoint. We then select guests to make offers to and submit the offers through the agent. Our normal process is to submit to one guest at a time as we do not want to over commit our available funds. Whether the guest accepts our offer is completely out of our control. That decision comes down to the guest’s anticipated availability for a convention appearance in February and their personal desire to do an appearance. Some celebrities also do not wish to book an appearance more than 3-4 months out to limit the possibility of their having to cancel because of a change in their work schedule. When all of the factors come together, we are able to sign an agreement and announce the guest’s appearance. We will be announcing our first #FarpointCon2018 guests at Balticon 51, being held on Memorial Day weekend (May 26-29, 2017) at the Renaissance Hotel Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD.

Our table at Balticon 51 is the latest in our series of publicity displays at conventions throughout the year. Normally, Farpoint will do a table trade with other conventions where they provide us a table to set up our display at to meet people and we provide them the same at the next Farpoint. In a few instances, we will purchase a table in the convention’s dealer area as the organization does not offer table trades yet their event is in a geographic area and/or date range we wish to hit. We use our appearances at other conventions to hand out our latest Farpoint flier and introduce attendees to another opportunity for them to gather with fellow fans.

Between Part 1 of our #ConLife series and Part 2 (this entry), Farpoint has attended CreatorCon in Silver Spring, MD, FurTheMore in Tysons Corner, VA, and the Anne Arundel Public Library Comic Con in Odenton, MD. We highly recommend all 3 of these events as places fans can meet and have fun together. CreatorCon (http://www.creatorconfestival.com/) focuses on original art and technology to encourage fans to create on their own and to network with other creators. FurTheMore (http://www.furthemore.org/) initially began as an event focusing exclusively on the Furry community but over the years has expanded to cover costuming, cosplay, and pop culture, and welcomes furries and non-furries alike for a weekend of workshops, discussions and fun. The Anne Arundel Public Library Comic Con (http://www.aacpl.net/comic-con) is a free event spotlighting comics, literature and superheroes. Many public library systems are offering these fun one day community events and we encourage everyone to attend their local library event as it occurs.

Coming up on our publicity tour is:

AwesomeCon  June 16-18, 2017 in Washington DC,
ShoreLeave July 7-9, 2017 in Hunt Valley MD
StarQuest  in Frederick MD.
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 talk about more experiences from our publicity tour and 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.