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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.

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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.

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