Category Archives: Your Questions Answered

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!

 

A Year in #ConLife, Part 1

We often get asked what happens between conventions, as we close out the previous year and plan for the next. You can follow along with us courtesy of our blog as we get ready for #FarpointCon2018, our 25th anniversary.

The first 2 months after the convention see quite a bit of activity. First there is the “mandatory” one week of “do not mention the convention to me in any way shape or form”. After, we make certain all final bills are paid, borrowed equipment and supplies are returned to their owners and hold a post-con meeting to review things that went right and things that can be improved upon for the next year. The first major decision for the next convention is the date and venue. We contact multiple local venues requesting cost proposals for our established date of President’s Day weekend and the weekends surrounding.

Evaluating the proposals requires several steps. First is establishing the initial budget for the next convention. Being an established event gives us a leg up on budgeting; we have good historical data on our attendance numbers and regular expenses and as such can establish upfront the affordable range for our venue costs. The second step is taking the proposed costs submitted by each venue and calculating out the expected total cost for using that venue. This means we can’t just take their numbers at face value. We take the venue’s space rental fee, hotel room rates and catering menus to develop an estimate of what our final bill would be at the venue, making sure to properly apply applicable taxes and service charges. Each venue is also evaluated on multiple other factors including whether they can give us our traditional President’s Day weekend, whether the venue can provide sufficient tables, chairs and staging, ease of access and parking, and if the venue has sufficient space and sleeping rooms for us. All of these factors combined point us to the specific venue for our event.

As previously announced, our 25th anniversary convention will be at the Hunt Valley Inn in Hunt Valley, MD on February 9-11, 2018. You may notice this is not President’s Day weekend. After evaluating the 6 proposals we received for #FarpointCon2018, HVI made the best overall offer; the only big “hit” on their offer was the fact that we couldn’t have President’s Day weekend but the weekend before. After deliberation, our group consensus was that HVI was the best choice despite not being on President’s Day. In every other factor, HVI beat out every other venue by a substantial margin and will give us and our attendees the best value.

With our date and venue chosen our next steps will be to begin identifying celebrity guests and set up our #FarpointCon2018 “publicity tour” – the other events and conventions we will participate in to advertise our convention. Our next #ConLife report will look at choosing celebrity guests and report on life from the road.

 

Your Questions Answered – Part 4

This is the fourth in a semi-regular series of answers to some of the most common questions we receive about Farpoint convention. If there’s a particular question you’d like answered, please let us know either here on our blog or by sending an email to us at contact at farpointcon dot com.

Question: I would like to do a presentation/panel/talk on [INSERT SUBJECT]. How do I get on the schedule? If I get on the schedule, am I a Guest that gets in free?

Answer: Getting on the schedule is as easy as sending a description of your program idea to us at programs at farpointcon dot com. Your idea will be classified into one of our program tracks (science, new media, children/youth, authors, movies/TV, or live performances) and the manager of the track will be in touch with you to continue making arrangements. Anyone submitting a program idea should be aware that while we make every effort to stage your idea as presented, we reserve the right to make changes such as combining your idea with a similar one into a single event. We do this to maximize our resources (time, room space, equipment) and avoid duplicating panels.

Would you be a Guest if your idea is placed on the schedule? The answer ranges from Maybe to No. Fan run conventions like Farpoint rely on our members wanting to participate at the convention; if every person who pitched a program idea got in to the convention at no charge, your favorite convention wouldn’t be around because there would be no money to pay the bills. (We are your favorite convention, right? You’re reading our blog, after all!)

What constitutes a Guest is based upon the guidelines in the Farpoint Operations Manual. The criteria breaks down to whether you are invited by the committee to appear at the convention because of your celebrity or expert in the field status, or you volunteer to discuss a topic of your own interest and the committee accepts your idea for inclusion in the program. Farpoint has 4 categories of program participants:

– Celebrity guests are publicly-known in their field who are invited to appear at the convention. Examples are actors, producers or directors from television and movies or Hugo award-winning authors.
– Individual guests are experts in their field who are invited to appear at the convention. Examples are science fiction and fantasy authors, podcasters, and scientists.
– Groups are composed of more than 2 individual guests who meet the Guest criteria. Examples are film production groups and live performance groups.
– Panelists are convention members who put forward an idea for a discussion panel or offer to speak on a panel created by another. Panelists normally volunteer and are not invited convention guests.

The program participant category you/your idea is placed in is not meant as an insult to you or your idea. On the contrary, some of our best programs have come from volunteer panelists who ask for nothing more than a chance to share their passions. It simply comes down to the economics of staging a convention. We bank on invited Guests having sufficient name recognition and/or expertise in their field to be of interest to potential attendees and bring them in the door. Paying attendees provide us the funds we need to pay the bills and keep coming back every year.

Your Questions Answered – Part 3

This is the third in a semi-regular series of answers to some of the most common questions we receive about Farpoint convention. If there’s a particular question you’d like answered, please let us know either here on our blog or by sending an email to us at contact at farpointcon dot com.

Question: What happens after the convention is over? When do you start planning for the next year? Continue reading Your Questions Answered – Part 3

Your Questions Answered – Part 2

This is the second in a semi-regular series of answers to some of the most common questions we receive about Farpoint convention. If there’s a particular question you’d like answered, please let us know either here on our blog or by sending an email to us at contact at farpointcon dot com.

Question: What kind of convention is Farpoint? Is it a media convention? Autograph show? Comic Con? Continue reading Your Questions Answered – Part 2

Your Questions Answered

This is the first in a semi-regular series of answers to some of the most common questions we receive about Farpoint convention. If there’s a particular question you’d like answered, please let us know either here on our blog or by sending an email to us at trekcontact at Comcast dot net.

Question: Are Farpoint and ShoreLeave the same convention? Are you run by the same group? Continue reading Your Questions Answered