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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.

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?

Answer: While the convention is over for our members on Sunday evening, Farpoint continues for us another few weeks after. There are final bills to pay and we spend time evaluating the weekend looking for ways to improve our convention. Part of that evaluation includes reviewing feedback we get from our members at the Open Committee Meeting held Sunday to close the convention. The ideas we receive at the meeting and from your emails help us make changes to better serve our convention members. This year’s feedback also includes the insightful information from our Guest Survey. Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to the survey and/or attend the Open Committee Meeting.

One of the final bills we pay is the bill to the hotel, which covers our the sleeping rooms we pay for and their services during the weekend. We also confirm our contract for the next year at the same time. Good news! The rack rate for 2015 will stay at $125.00/night (plus taxes), the 5th year in a row with no price increase.

We take a few weeks off through mid-March and begin planning for the next year in April. Planning starts by evaluating potential celebrity guests for the next year with the goal of having at least one name confirmed in time to be announced at Balticon on Memorial Day weekend, with additional celebrity names set by ShoreLeave in early August. We also start booking author, scientist, podcasters, live performers, filmmakers and other guests during this same time frame. We also plan our “publicity tour” of other conventions in the region to publicize Farpoint convention.

Active planning for convention activities begins mid-summer. We generate ideas “in house” based on our own interests, and we also accept ideas from members. If you have an idea for a panel or program, please send 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.

As you can see, a lot goes on behind the scenes from late February through our first “publicity tour” event at Balticon each May! We appreciate your feedback on each convention and invite you to Save The Dates for Farpoint 2015 – February 13-15, 2015.

THANK YOU to everyone who attended Farpoint 2014! We appreciate everyone’s support — those who attended, those who volunteered, and those who provided programming — and an extra THANK YOU to you if you did more than one of those things! We look forward to seeing everyone next year!

Even with Winter Storm Pax being thrown at us, we were making lemonade out of lemons as fast as we can. Phil LaMarr’s flight got cancelled? We Skyped him into the ballroom for his talk. The Thursday delivery date for equipment showed extremely bad weather? Let’s get the stuff in on Wednesday. The same bad Thursday weather was going to wreck havoc with Alan Dean Foster’s flight that day? Alan himself fixed that by coming in on a Friday red-eye. These examples and more show fandom’s can-do spirit!

Another part of fandom’s can-do spirit is the extreme generosity shown at our charity auction this year. Melissa McBride and Alan Dean Foster both provided auction items and our members’ generosity garnered $2700 for the Julien Fleming Memorial Fund and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. Upon hearing the number, Melissa McBride pulled out another $300 to make the donation an even $3000. When I commented that our Karen Donnelly, committee member and member of the Julien board of directors, would cry upon hearing this, Melissa replied “let’s make her bawl”, and whipped out another $100! Melissa – mission accomplished. Thanks to everyone for their generosity.

And not to say that Farpoint 2014 didn’t have its share of challenges. We very much appreciated getting input from members at our Open Committee Meeting at the end of the convention. A big issue was the speed of food service at the restaurant. We discussed the feedback we received with the hotel’s General Manager and are already generating ideas to make the convention food service better next year. On the plus side, adding the extra cash bar at 10 Forward on Saturday helped take some of the pressure off the main bar during the party so this is something we will definitely continue.

We are always interested in hearing from our members with ideas for programs and improvements. Please go to the Contact us link at the top of the http://www.farpointcon.com web page to send us your thoughts. You can also find us on our Farpoint Convention Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Farpoint-Convention/171777342838129), our Farpoint Convention Google+ page (https://plus.google.com/+Farpointcon/posts), and our @FarpointCon feed on Twitter (https://twitter.com/FarpointCon). We are always interested in hearing from you!

And mark your calendars now! Farpoint 22 will be held on February 13-15, 2015. See you then.

This WEEK!

Farpoint Convention is almost here! Keep checking our website (www.farpointcon.com), our Facebook Page (Farpoint Convention) and our Twitter feed (@FarpointCon) for the most up to date news! Please “LIKE” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter – thank you!

On the website – the convention schedule was posted on Feb 2nd! Go to the “2014 Schedule” link to check it out. But remember to follow the final schedule you receive at the convention to ensure you catch up on any changes from the last 2 weeks!

The Autographs page of the website has also been updated with information on costs and availability for our guests.

The weather report for the Baltimore, MD area is looking good for the weekend. Friday temperatures during the day will be in the low to mid 40s, with Saturday and Sunday in the mid 30s. Any precipitation during the weekend will be rain. Please be safe traveling, especially our friends from up north.

Don’t forget to attend our Cocktail Party and Opening Ceremonies on Friday at 7pm to start your weekend! Guests from all of our tracks will be attending. There will be a cash bar and food tickets available if you wish to partake of food and/or drink, but these purchases are at your discretion and not necessary to attend the event. Come mix and mingle with fellow convention members, committee, staff and guests.

We are looking forward to welcoming our Fandom family back to Farpoint Convention – travel safe and see you all soon.

Farpoint is almost here!

We’ve been posting announcements and previews of events coming up at Farpoint on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Farpoint-Convention/171777342838129. We started a month ago and are continuing from now until Farpoint . One thing to note – dates and times may change between now and the final schedule publication in early February so make sure to double check the final schedule.

From 1/28/14 until now, we’ve learned about:

- Prometheus Radio Theatre will be performing on Friday evening as part of the Opening Ceremonies, with our guests Melissa McBride and Phil LaMarr scheduled to guest star.

- Talk about what you love or hate about the new Star Trek movie at the “Star Trek: Into Darkness- One Hell of a Khan Job” panel discussion! Friday at 2 PM!

- Our friends from Crazy8 Press will be speaking on Saturday at 1pm. Come learn about their exciting new projects!

- Sunday at noon is a great panel for Children & Youth, “Who Wants To Be a Superhero?” Our youngest members can create a costume representing their own special secret identities.

- Our members will once again be able to “Donate An Hour” to help out at the convention. Your generosity in sharing an hour of your time helps us put on a whole weekend of fun for all. Thank you in advance!

- A photo album of some of the items available at this year’s Charity Auction is up on our website and on FB. Check them out!

- The 2014 Volker/McChesney Award will be given to our beloved Marty Gear. He was eligible for the award after his resignation from the Farpoint committee in 2013, and we will be honored to present this award to his family as a thank you to them for sharing him with all of us in fandom.

- Speed Dating returns, Saturday evening at Farpoint! Contact us at contact@farpointcon.com if you’re interested in participating.

See you soon!

Being at MarsCon last week put us behind a bit on our summaries.

We’ve been posting announcements and previews of events coming up at Farpoint on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Farpoint-Convention/171777342838129. We started two weeks ago and are continuing from now until Farpoint next month. One thing to note – dates and times may change between now and the final schedule publication in early February so make sure to double check the final schedule.

From 1/12/14 until now, we’ve learned about:

- On convention Sunday, our Science track will include a panel on “The History, Art and Science of Making Beer”.

- See a strange skeleton at the Dinner and a Movie, Saturday 6:00 pm, featuring “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” hosted by “Lattis” and “Kro-Bar”!

- Give your idea wings with the panel discussion “Crowdfunding Your Project”, Sunday at 11am!

- The BATMOBILE will be at Farpoint Convention all weekend. Take photos with your own camera at no charge or treat yourself to a professional photo with your favorite crime fighting vehicle!

- We will be hosting a “Remembering Marty” event for Marty Gear on Saturday at Noon.

- May the Force be with our “A short time from now, in a galaxy called Disney panel” on Friday afternoon.

- There will be un-moderated Early Bird and Late Night open discussions for our early risers and night owls! Check the convention schedule page for topics & locations!

- Learn how maximize the value of your spare cardboard at the Costuming on the Cheap Panel, Sunday at Noon!

- Bring a pet toy to donate at the Baltimore Area Rescue and Care Shelter’s Toy Drive at Farpoint.

- There is SCARY TALK to be had at the Paranormal Research panel,  Saturday at 10 AM!

- Test your bravery in the Fan Factor contest to be held convention Sunday! Sign ups will be taken at the con.

- In our Authors track, see if your story is up to snuff at the “I’ve finished my first draft, Now What?” panel! Friday at 5 PM!

See you soon!

 

 

We’ve been posting announcements and previews of events coming up at Farpoint on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Farpoint-Convention/171777342838129. We started last week and are continuing from now until Farpoint next month. One thing to note – dates and times may change between now and the final schedule publication in early February so make sure to double check the final schedule.

The week of 1/5/14 to 1/11/14, we’ve learned about:

- A panel discussion from our Media track: “The New Doctor: A Major Change of Prescription”. This panel was originally scheduled for Friday but now looks to be moving to Saturday 2/15/14.

- There will be a presentation by Dr. Inge Heyer on “The Mysteries of Mars” by Dr. Inge Heyer, Saturday 2:00 pm

- Fun and NEW on Sunday at 11:00 am – a Swing Dance Workshop with Iver Cooper. If you went to the one at Balticon, you know how much fun it will be.

- All weekend in the Game Room: Gaming Miniature and Model Contest with Beginner, Intermediate and Expert categories. Awards on Sunday at noon.

- Our wonderful Art Show goes on all weekend, featuring artists from around the country. The Art Show will feature the “Buy It Now” option with most pieces and pieces with 3 or more bids will go to the Art Auction on Sunday at 10:00 am.

- A Charity Auction will be held Friday evening as part of the Opening Ceremonies to benefit the Julien Fleming Memorial Fund and Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. Friday items will include drinks with Phil LaMarr on Saturday evening.

- Need costume help or advice? Come to the Masquerade Presentation Clinic, Saturday 12:00 pm

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