Category Archives: Your Questions Answered

FARPOINT 2021 GATHER TOWN & DISCORD INSTRUCTIONS

Click here for a printable PDF of these instructions that includes details on the Gather icons you will be using.

Click here to check out our interactive schedule app that allows you to pre-register for events and set a personal schedule for the convention! Pre-registration is not necessary but expedites your entry into the individual activities.

What you need:
● A desktop/laptop with a mic and camera.
● A web browser (Chrome or Firefox recommended).
● We strongly recommend using headphones to help prevent feedback.
● That’s it! There’s nothing to install, no software to download.

To access Farpoint on GatherTown, click on this link:
https://gather.town/app/YRPETqgYG6KzZ5nF/FarpointCon
Enter the one-time password: StarTrek

GatherTown will ask to access your microphone and your camera. If you wish to interact with others on the virtual con floor, you will need to allow access to both.

Type your name in the block below “What Is Your Name?” and press the “Join the Gathering” button.

You’re now in the lobby of our virtual Farpoint! Use your arrow keys to move around. In the lobby you will see:

● A Tech Support area: move your character onto one of the chairs in this area and a tech guru will help you with any problems you may have
● A Schedule area: move your character onto one of the chairs and access the convention schedule
● An Info area: move your character onto one of the chairs and chat with staff at our information desk
● There are tables and chairs in the lobby; move your character onto one of the chairs, and you can talk with other folks at the table
● Cinnamon Tree Restaurant/Polo Bar & Lounge: two more areas where you can hang out and chat with other con goers.

How it works:
● Gather is a video chat platform that has avatars move around a map. As you get close to other avatars, your videos will pop up and you will be able to chat.
● Move around the space using the arrow keys.
● By moving your avatar around you can have spontaneous conversations with those around you. These can be either one-on-one or small groups depending on how many people are around your avatar.
● When your avatar moves closer to an interactable object, it will glow yellow and there will be a notification that shows up saying ‘Press x to interact with -object-’. This can range from informational flyers, playable arcade games, integrated Zoom meetings, and more!

Explore Virtual Farpoint!
Just like the Hunt Valley, we’ve set up an upper level and a lower level filled with convention fun! Wander the corridors of our virtual convention space to find:

Upper Level:
● the Pool – two hot tubs areas where you can hang out and chat
● the Art Show – with links to artists’ websites
● Gaming – walk up to a table and join a game!
● Green Room – for panelists to hang out (requires a password to enter)
● Staff Room – for staff members to hang out (requires a password to enter)
● Access points to the Lower Level

Lower Level:
● Panel Rooms – check the sign in front of the room to see the schedule of panels going on in that room. The sign will glow yellow and there will be a notification that shows up saying ‘Press x to interact with -object-’; press x on your keyboard to “attend” the panel!
● Dealers Area – with links to dealers’ websites
● Ballrooms – check out our virtual Ten-Forward happening in the Valley & Hunt Ballrooms – with a music playlist courtesy of Vic’s Place and the Pack Ratz!

The other tool we’ll be using is Discord.

The Farpoint discord server can be found under https://discord.gg/NVxrsSgd8M
This should bring you to either the web or if you already have it installed, the desktop application and straight to the Farpoint server.

When you join the server you will see 2 channels. The rest are hidden until you accept our Code of Conduct.
● The first channel is called Help! This is if you are having problems accepting the Code of Conduct or any other technical issues.
● The second is 01-START HERE! This is where you should start. In that channel you should see a message that has our Code of Conduct. To accept the code of conduct click the thumbs up directly below that message.
● Once you click this you should have more channels show up including Channel 02-Interests which should be your next place to go.
In this channel you’ll see the categories After Panel Discussion, Fan Tables, Dealers, and Gaming, each one with its own icon. Clicking on that icon below the message will turn on that category so you can see it in the sidebar. Clicking it again will turn it off. This is so that you can see only the content you are interested in. You can come back at any time to change these choices.

Once you have selected which categories you’re interested in please move on to the 03-Introductions channel. In here please post who you are and how people would know you in meetspace.
Now you’re on the server.

In front of the channels on the sidebar you’ll notice two different symbols. A # or a speaker symbol. The # marks a text channel, the speaker symbol an audio & video channel, which you can join to have discussions with up to 25 users in a single channel.

To join an audio channel, click the channel. At the bottom of the channel list a box will appear with a mute button, a deafen button to turn off your speakers temporarily, a video button to turn on and off your camera and a screen share to share things such as photos of your dogs, or costumes or whatever you’d like to share. You’ll also see a little phone icon with an ‘x’ as the way to leave an audio channel. You can be in only one audio channel at the same time but you can hop between text channels at the same time.

In the category General Discussions we have a channel called Announcements where you can go and see announcements including schedule postings.

Other channels in the General Discussions category are General, Lobby, Polo Lounge and Bar, and Frankie and Vinny’s. All these places are for general discussions of any topics which you would normally have in convention hallways.

Other categories you may have turned on are
● After Panel Discussions which is sorted by room, please keep the discussions to the rooms that correspond with the panel subject.
● Dealers and Fan Tables are places to chat with whichever dealers and fan table host might be around at the time
● Gaming where games such as horizons, jackbox games, and possibly table top rpg’s will be hosted.
Each category has a caret symbol next to it, clicking on that collapses the list of channels within or brings them back. When the category is collapsed, you will see channels that have unread messages only under that category.

By clicking on the caret next to the server name and going to Notification Settings you can change which notifications you get from this server.

While Discord has a large variety of other features these are the ones we feel should be highlighted. If you have further questions please feel free to message our Tech Crew. If you have any problems you can create a ticket in the Open Tickets Channel by typing -ticket open insert reason hear

Virtual Convention announcement – Farpoint 2022 Date

With a heavy heart, we must announce that Farpoint Convention 2021 will be a virtual event on Saturday and Sunday, February 20-21, 2021. This decision was reached after considering every option available to hold a live event safely. Unfortunately, the recent resurgence of the COVID-19 virus has compelled Maryland to move back to Phase 2 of the reopening plan. Indoor gatherings under Phase 2 have a recommended cap of 25 people, making an event of Farpoint’s scale impossible to stage safely as the health and safety of our staff, guests, and attendees is our primary concern. We know that this decision may have seemed inevitable in the face of this global pandemic, but it is no less heartbreaking.

Our online Farpoint Convention 2021 will be free for all and will utilize the Gather.Town online application. We are excited to utilize Gather.Town as it allows us to personalize a convention dashboard into a series of “rooms” to enter and exit as you attend panels, visit vendors and artists, and attend meetings. A schedule of events is being prepared and will be published closer to the event along with the link to our event and instructions on how to utilize the application.

Farpoint Convention 2022 will be held at the Delta Hotel by Marriott, Hunt Valley, MD on February 25-27, 2022. Maisie Richardson-Sellers from “Legends of Tomorrow” has already confirmed that she will join us in 2022. We are waiting to hear from Sean Gunn from “Guardians of the Galaxy” but hope he will also be able to participate. Convention ticket sales and hotel room reservations for 2022 will be available in Spring 2021.

Everyone at Farpoint Convention and Farpoint Foundation send best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season. Please stay safe so we can see you all again in 2022.

  • ATTENDEES who have pre-registered for 2021 will be contacted for a decision on whether they wish to transfer their registration to 2022 or receive a refund
  • HOTEL ROOM RESERVATIONS will be cancelled by the hotel and you will receive a confirmation of the cancellation separately from Marriott
  • COSTUMERS/COSPLAYERS wishing to participate in our Virtual Masquerade should prepare to submit their entry video by late January 2021 with specific instructions posted to the Costuming/Cosplay page of our website and on social media as soon as possible
  • GUESTS from our program tracks will be contacted about participating in our 2021 virtual convention and invite them to return in 2022
  • ART SHOW pre-registrants for 2021 will be refunded their fees if already paid and receive information on participating in the 2021 online event
  • DEALERS / VENDORS who have pre-registered for 2021 will be contacted for a decision on whether they wish to transfer their registration to 2022 or receive a refund and receive information on participating in the 2021 online event
  • FAN CLUBS and CONVENTIONS interested in holding meetings or setting up a virtual table in the 2021 online event should contact us no later than January 15, 2021 to request space

#FarpointCon2021 Panels!

Make a tax deductible donation to Farpoint Foundation






Calling all #fans with opinions! If you would like to check out our list of #FarpointCon2021 panels and maybe volunteer as a panelist, send us an email to request a copy of the 2021 Panel Selection form. #FarpointCon2021 is still scheduled for February 19-21, 202. At the moment we are waiting to see what Maryland’s rules will be at the beginning of the year for gatherings to determine if it will be live or virtual. Bookmark this page and follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to be the first to know the news!

Farpoint Convention 2020 Reminders!

Here is a list of upcoming deadlines to help you prepare for #FarpointCon2020, February 21-23, 2020 at the Delta Hotel by Marriott, Hunt Valley, MD.

1. The deadline for hotel room reservations at the convention rate is January 10, 2020. You can book your hotel rooms through our dedicated link.

2. The deadline for pre-registration for the convention is January 31, 2020. You can register online here.

3. We will once again be offering our member perk of 1 complimentary signature from the celebrity guest of your choice – 1 signature on Saturday and 1 on Sunday, meaning 3-day weekend members will receive 2 signatures over the weekend. Our author guests will be available at the Book Fair Friday evening, as well as at various times throughout the weekend with our performer guests at tables in the signing area. It’s a good idea to make a list of items you wish to bring with you to be signed. Right now, guests are taking cash only. We will update this information and the pricing very soon on our website.

4. Questions and suggestions are welcome and can be sent to us online via email or through our social media channels on Facebook (Farpoint Convention), Twitter (@FarpointCon), and Instagram (@FarpointCon). You can use our Farpoint27 Facebook event page to ask about particular events and/or to look for ride and room shares. We hope to see all of you this February. Thank you for your support!

#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.

#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!

 

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