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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?

Answer: Good question!

Farpoint is a science fiction convention organized by volunteer fans for the fan community, staged annually in February. We consider the fan the true guest of honor and strive to reflect the variety of fan interests through our mix of programming and guests. Every fan, no matter their age, sex, ethnicity, orientation or personal interests, is welcomed and encouraged to participate as much or little as they care to in the activities. We want our fan members to make connections with us as an organization and with each other, and to learn more about their current or new interests.

What does this mean? Farpoint is planned and organized to reflect as much of the diversity of our members’ science fiction interests as can be scheduled in a three day weekend. The diversity of fan interests means that we include some of the best features of all kinds of conventions. We offer 200+ hours of programming on topics ranging from books and authors, science, comics, gaming, costuming, art and artists, etc., etc., etc. across the diversity of science fiction topics and universes. Farpoint showcases local live performers, writers and artists to introduce them to new audiences. A large percentage of our programs are organized and staged by other fans. We are glad to welcome program contributions from our fan members!

We always invite celebrity guests to Farpoint to give fans a chance to meet some of their favorites. Like our programming, our celebrity guests are drawn from the diverse offerings of science fiction media outlets. We choose to keep the number of celebrity guests to 3 or 4 most years in order to allow space in the schedule for program offerings created by our fan members. This can mean that an individual fan’s TV show or movie interests may not be reflected in our celebrity guest lineup one year, but fans can be assured that the overall program schedule for each year includes discussion topics and presentations on favorite shows and movies even if a representative celebrity could not be accommodated that particular year. Fans can also be assured that “missing” a celebrity from a popular show or movie in a particular year means that the Farpoint committee will include those “missing” shows/movies in the celebrity lineup very soon. For example, our celebrity guests for our 20th anniversary celebration in 2013 were drawn from the worlds of “Star Trek”, “Chuck”, “Once Upon A Time”, “Revolution”, “Breaking Bad”, “The Guild”, multiple animated series and internet media. For 2014, our celebrity guests represent “The Walking Dead”, “The Mist”, “Futurama”, “Samurai Jack”, “TMNT”, and the diverse worlds of Alan Dean Foster’s science fiction novels that includes the original “Star Trek Logs” series of books. Next year, who knows? We always welcome ideas for guests (celebrity and otherwise), so feel free to send us your ideas!

Our 2014 program schedule will be published around February 1st or 2nd. Please take a look at it when it comes out to see the wide range of activities for all fans to enjoy. We challenge each of you to try out a new program or event this year. Who knows? You may find a new favorite! We look forward to seeing everyone soon!

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Hello fellow FARP Fanatics! Here’s an update on what’s going to happen at Farpoint Convention, February 14-16, 2014.

1. Don’t forget to pre-register! Your early registration gets you a lower number in the autograph line for Melissa McBride and saves you money since at the door prices will be higher. Register online through our website, www.farpointcon.com or you can print the flier from our website and mail in your registration. Pre-registration deadline is January 31, 2014.

2. Book your hotel room! You should call the hotel directly at 410-252-7373 for reservations. Our beloved Crowne Plaza is in the middle of negotiations to align with another hotel group, which means that going through the IHG website or other online booking tools may not work properly. Calling the hotel directly is your best bet. Hotel deadline is January 15, 2014.

3. Make your plans for Friday! Activities will be starting at 1:00 PM and go all the way through to late night. There will be panels in our Media (Movies/TV), Authors and Science tracks, gaming at Hal’s Place, and our evening Pajama Party as part of our Children/Youth track. Friday’s main attraction is our Opening Ceremonies, which start at 7:00 pm with a Cocktail Party and continue with the presentation of the Volker/McChesney award for service to fandom, the first of our Live Charity Auctions and a live performance by Prometheus Radio Theatre with special guest stars Melissa McBride and Phil LaMarr. There will be a cash bar in the ballroom; the hotel’s famous pasta bar service will also be available for an additional $25. You can add on the Cocktail Party food now, or decide at the door (numbers at the door may be limited). Late night Friday will feature the Farpoint Book Fair where you can meet your favorite authors and Vic’s Place karaoke featuring the Pack Ratz.

4. Be there on Saturday for all the fun! Saturday programming will start at 10:00 am and go all the way through to the wee hours of Sunday morning. We’re very excited about this year’s slate of panels and events in our Authors, Media (Movies/TV), Science, New Media (Filmmaking, Podcasting, Webcomics, etc.), Children/Youth, Costuming and Live Performances tracks.  Don’t forget the Masquerade Saturday night, with our second Live Charity Auction taking place at halftime! There will workshops and demonstrations in the atrium, club meetings, game shows, talks, gaming, Art Show, panels and more. The final schedule will be published around February 1, 2014 to give you time to make your plans for the convention.

5. Don’t forget Sunday! Sunday programming will start at 10:00 am and wrap up with the 5:00 pm Open Committee Meeting. This is where you get to sit down will the Farpoint committee and talk with us about the things you like at the convention and things you’d like to see for the future. Some of our best ideas come from this meeting, and we’d love to see you there. Panels and events in all of our program tracks will be going on all day until the start of the Open Committee Meeting. The Art Auction will take place on Sunday morning. A new activity this year will be a Swing Dance Workshop in the atrium conducted by author guest Iver Cooper. It was a big hit at Balticon this year, so if you missed it there you can catch it at Farpoint.

6. Volunteer for a panel! We have a preliminary list of panels and we are now looking for panelists. If you would like to receive a copy of the list, email us at Programs@farpointcon.com.

7. Get your costume ready! Our Masquerade will be held on Saturday evening with celebrity guests Melissa McBride, Phil LaMarr and Alan Dean Foster among the judges. We will be staging Costuming/Masquerade panels this weekend to help you focus your Masquerade presentation and learn new costuming skills.

8. Get your autographs! Melissa McBride from The Walking Dead will be signing at a formal session on Saturday and Sunday. The line for these sessions will be organized by your badge number. Each convention member will receive one signature on an item they present for signing at no additional charge – this is part of your registration! Weekend members will get one signature on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday and Sunday members will be one signature on the day they attend. Melissa will also be available at other times throughout the weekend to sign/sell additional items and take at the table photos. Cost for additional signatures and items will be announced closer to the convention. Phil LaMarr from Futurama/Samurai Jack/TMNT will be signing throughout the weekend. He will be charging for his signature and will accept either items you bring or an item you purchase at his table for signing. Phil will also be available for at the table photos. The price list for Phil’s signatures will be announced closer to the convention.

9. Budget for the Charity Auction! We are going to have some amazing goodies available at our Charity Auction to benefit The Julien Fleming Memorial Fund (our official charity) and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. I’m going to let our Charity Auction department give the details soon, but here’s a hint: we have something special from NASA and not one- not two- but THREE private celebrity experiences to auction off! There will be two Live Charity Auctions, one Friday night during the Opening Ceremonies and one Saturday night during Masquerade, plus a silent auction staged in Chesapeake 3-5 along with our Art Show. Your generosity is always appreciated.

10. Donate An Hour! Would you like to be a part of the convention happenings? Do you have an hour to spare? Well your one hour can be a big help to keep things running smoothly at the convention. Volunteers get a FARP t-shirt and raffle tickets for a daily prize drawing limited just to our volunteer corps. Email us at Volunteers@farpointcon.com for information, and thank you!

11. Show Off Your Miniatures and Clear Out Your Closet! Hal’s Place Gaming Oasis is hosting a Miniatures Contest this year! Hand painted miniatures and models of all types, from members of all skill levels, will be accepted for display in the Game Room throughout the weekend. Final judging will be held Sunday, February 16, 2014 at noon. There will be 3 skill level categories – beginner, intermediate and advanced – with an award for each category. AND the Gamer’s Flea Market will again be held in the Game Room during the convention weekend. Used games and supplies will be accepted for sale/swap throughout the weekend at $1.00 per item. Sales proceeds go to the individual seller. The selling fees will be donated to our charities, The Julien Fleming Memorial Fund and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

12. Follow Us For The Latest News! We’re on Facebook (Farpoint Convention), Twitter (@FarpointCon), and on our web blog (https://farpoint.wordpress.com). Our convention website is http://www.FarpointCon.com.

13. Have Fun At The Convention! We are grateful for each one of you who joins us for the convention weekend. There will be 200+ hours of events from Friday to Sunday and we want you to be satisfied that we have put on the best show possible. Thank you as always for your continued support of Farpoint Convention and we’ll see you soon!

farp_gaming001
Hal’s Place Gaming Oasis at Farpoint 2014 will be hosting a Miniatures Competition during the weekend. Handmade miniatures and models of all types, from members of all skill levels, will be accepted for display in the Game Room throughout the weekend. Final judging will be held Sunday, February 16, 2014 at noon. There will be 3 skill level categories – beginner, intermediate and advanced – with an award for each category.

The Gamer’s Flea Market will again be held in the Game Room during the convention weekend. Used games and supplies will be accepted for sale/swap throughout the weekend at $1.00 per item. Sales proceeds go to the individual seller. The selling fees will be donated to our charities, The Julien Fleming Memorial Fund and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

Autograph News Update

Farpoint 2014 autograph news for our FARP Fanatics!.

– Melissa McBride from The Walking Dead will be signing at a formal session on Saturday and Sunday. The line for these sessions will be organized by your badge number (the earlier you register for the convention the lower your badge number and the sooner you will be called for the autograph line). Each convention member will receive one signature on an item they present for signing at no additional charge on Saturday and Sunday. This is part of your weekend or daily membership! Weekend members will get one signature on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday and Sunday members will be one signature on the day they attend. Melissa will also be available at other times throughout the weekend to sign/sell additional items and take at the table photos. Cost for additional signatures and items will be announced closer to the convention.

– Phil LaMarr from Futurama/Samurai Jack/TMNT will be signing throughout the weekend. He will be charging for his signature and will accept either items you bring or an item you purchase at his table for signing. Phil will also be available for at the table photos. The price list for Phil’s signatures will be announced closer to the convention.

– Our authors will be available on Friday evening at our Book Fair to meet, greet and sign. They will sign your book at no charge. The authors will have copies of their latest books for sale and will sign your purchased books as well. As of now, all of our author guests (including Alan Dean Foster, Crazy 8 Press and Firebringer Press) plan to attend the Friday Book Fair. There will also be additional signing times for individual authors throughout the weekend, which will be included on the program schedule.

– A special feature at the Friday Book Fair will be a table dedicated to Ann Crispin and her books. Plans are in development for this and other memorial events at Farpoint. Please let us know your ideas on honoring Ann and her memory, and we will announce more details as plans come together.

Guest Update

We are pleased to announce the addition of Alan Dean Foster, IAMTW Grand Master, as a guest at Farpoint 2014! Alan will be at Farpoint Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and will be signing at no extra charge.

Foster’s work to date includes excursions into hard science-fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He has also written numerous non-fiction articles on film, science, and scuba diving, as well as having produced the novel versions of many films, including such well-known productions as Star Wars, the first three Alien films, Alien Nation, The Chronicles of Riddick, Star Trek, Terminator:Salvation, and both Transformers films. Other works include scripts for talking records, radio, computer games, and the story for the first Star Trek movie. His novel Shadowkeep was the first ever book adapation of an original computer game. In addition to publication in English his work has been translated into more than fifty languages and has won awards in Spain and Russia. His novel Cyber Way won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first work of science-fiction ever to do so. He is the recipient of the Faust, the IAMTW Lifetime achievement award.

Alan’s next project, The Moaning Words, is scheduled for release very soon – before Halloween! The Moaning Words is a game at the crossroads of books and video games. It is set in the infamous Cthulhu Mythos, The Moaning Words is a tribute to a writer he is deeply in love with: H.P Lovecraft. It will be a free to play game, available on smartphones, tablets (Android and iOS first), and web browsers.

You can keep up with him on his website, http://www.alandeanfoster.com.

Alan Dean Foster

Alan Dean Foster, photo courtesy Michael Melford

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?

Answer: No and no. This is a question we get regularly, especially from fans who attend all three of the Baltimore fan-run conventions: Farpoint, ShoreLeave and Balticon. The biggest similarities between our conventions: all three are fan-run, located in the Baltimore area, and either now or in the past have been located at the Hunt Valley Inn. But all three conventions are different entities.

ShoreLeave is organized and run by the Star Trek Association of Townson and is held in early August. ShoreLeave is one of the best-known “summer destination” media conventions on the East Coast and has just celebrated 35 years. Balticon is organized and run by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and is held on Memorial Day Weekend. Balticon held its 47th convention this year and presents programming focused on science fiction literature and creativity. Both ShoreLeave and Balticon are held at the Hunt Valley Inn in Hunt Valley, MD.

Farpoint is organized and run by Farpoint Enterprises and is held annually on President’s Day weekend at the Crowne Plaza Baltimore North in Timonium, MD. Farpoint 2013 was our 20th anniversary. Our programming covers the gamut of fan interests, as we want to provide fans with the opportunity to both share and learn. We have multiple program tracks running all weekend to meet this mission: media (movies and TV), authors (books and writing), science, new media (film making, podcasting, webcomics, internet-based creativity), children and youth, live performances, cosplay/Masquerade, art and gaming. Our tracks include panel discussions, workshops, presentations and guest talks; con-goers are welcome and encouraged to interact with our guests to share information and meet new friends.

Our annual Open Committee Meeting, held at the end of every Farpoint, is one of our best ways to learn about your interests. We invite you to include this meeting as part of your convention schedule each year to sit down with the convention committee and other con-goers to give us ideas for our next convention. The ideas we collected at the end of Farpoint 2013 are being used right now to help plan program events for next year. And our door is always open to you for questions and comments at our main email address, trekcontact at Comcast dot net.

(Or, why you should go to Workmanship judging even if you’re worried about your sewing skills.)

Thanks to committee members Cindy Shockey and Sarah Yaworsky for these costuming words of wisdom!

So you’ve pulled together the most amazing screen accurate space warrior uniform ever. Or pored over a fantasy trilogy to discover every last detail of a wizard’s wardrobe. Or maybe you freeze-framed an anime series and re-read two manga titles before designing the ultimate mecha pilot’s suit.

You look awesome and everyone who knows the source material knows it. But how about the poor Masquerade judge who doesn’t play the game, hasn’t seen the movie yet, still needs to read Book 5?

Come to Workmanship Judging and bring some documentation with you!

Copy descriptions from books, hold up a videogame box, show pictures on your phone or tablet, pose with an action figure – anything that lets the Workmanship judges see what you have recreated. The Workmanship judges also take part in the on-stage judging and share what they’ve learned about your costume with the judges who only see you on stage.

Knowledge is power! Give yourself every advantage by making sure the judges know who you are. Somebody’s going home with a trophy and it just might be you!