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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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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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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.

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Pre-registration for Farpoint closes in two days – January 31, 2012.  Mail in registrations need to be postmarked on that day, or register online at www.farpointcon.com

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Reminders to convention-goers:

Hotel Room reservation deadline is 1/15/12. 1-877-2-CROWNE (1-877-227-6963) – make sure to say you are attending Farpoint to get our room rate, the reservation code is FPT.

Pre-Registration deadline is 1/31/12. Register online through our website, www.farpointcon.com, or by printing and mailing in the form from the website.  Weekend price at the door will be $85.00

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News From The Hotel Front

The Crowne Plaza is excitedly awaiting our arrival this weekend! If you have a preference on whether your room looks over the atrium, do not forget to specify this when you check in.

Always of interest is the food service. The hotel is providing several options for us.

Concessions will be available in the Greenspring hallway coat check:
Saturday Breakfast at 8 am to 11 am, Lunch/Dinner at 11 am to 8 pm, Midnight Noshing at 10 pm to midnight for any Ten Forward hungries.
Sunday Breakfast at 8 am to 11 am, Lunch at 11 am to 2 pm.

Northern Lights restaurant (the hotel has scheduled extra staff to improve serving times over last year)
Friday evening – table service available.
Saturday morning – breakfast buffet and table service available.
Saturday afternoon – table service available.
Saturday evening – dinner buffet from 6pm to 8 pm and table service available.
Sunday morning – breakfast buffet and table service available.
Sunday afternoon – table service available.

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News from the Farpoint front!

1. We have just announced that Laurie Holden from “The Walking Dead” will be coming to Farpoint in her first-ever convention appearance. Laurie joins us as we have to sadly announce that John Billingsley has accepted a play committment and cannot attend as planned. Previously announced celebrity guests Adam Baldwin and Bonita Friedricy are still attending.

2. Autographs – Adam Baldwin will be signing one item per member per day at no charge during the official autograph session. This item must be provided by the member. Adam will also have additional items for sale during the session and at various times throughout the convention.

Laurie Holden and Bonita Friedricy are signing for a fee and will sign either an item provided by the member or an item sold by them at the event. Laurie and Bonita will have table times throughout the weekend for signing and greeting convention members.

3. Volker/McChesney Award Nominations – This award is given annually to recognize service to the fan community. It is named in honor of Beverly Volker and Marion McChesney, two original leaders of the fan community in the Star Trek fan community. This award is given to an individual or a group; past recipients include The Boogie Knights, Marty Gear, Dale Arnold, and the USS Chesapeake. If you know of a deserving individual or group who has made a difference to your fan experience, please drop us a note at trekcontact@comcast.net to tell us why you think they should receive this award. One note: current Farpoint committee members and past winners are not eligible for nomination. Nominations close on 31 December 2010.

4. Program Book ads are available! Contact our editor at progbook@farpointcon.com for rates and information. Ad submission deadline is 31 December 2010.

5. Friday night’s Opening Activities are set! We start with a banquet dinner, open to all members for an additional fee. The cost per member is $45. Seating and social hour begins at 7:00 pm with dinner at 8:00 pm. As many of our guests as we can get to Maryland on time will be attending the banquet as well. Open to all convention members after dinner is the presentation of the Volker/McChesney award, a short Charity Auction and a live performance by Prometheus Radio Theatre.

6. More banquet – this year’s theme is Sherlock Holmes! Come dressed as your favorite Holmes character – we expect to see many variations on the different versions of Sherlock over the years! Prizes are awarded for best costumes. One note: costumes are encouraged but not mandatory for attending the banquet. The banquet menu will be announced in January; members who have already purchased tickets will be contacted at that time to make their entree choices. Tickets are still on sale – if you have already purchased a convention membership, contact us at trekcontact@comcast.net to arrange to add on banquet tickets. Banquet tickets WILL NOT be available at the door.

7. Upcoming deadlines:

Program book submissions – 31 December 2010
Volker/McChesney Award nominations – 31 December 2010
Hotel room reservations – 15 January 2011
Convention pre-registration – 31 January 2011

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