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Farpoint 2011 Convention Report – You Should Have Been There

28 February 2011 by

One year ago, while trying to find a beta invite to the Star Trek MMO, I somehow won a contest with two free tickets to Farpoint 2010. It was there I met our intrepid editor, @dreadpiraterose and eventually became a contributor to The Convention Fans Blog.

This year, due to a scheduling conflict, Kelly wasn’t able to attend Farpoint, so I was super lucky to go in her place. First of all, Farpoint is not your average convention. If you’re used to a show like New York Comic Con or any of the Wizard World shows, Farpoint will be a fascinating change of pace for you. The entire convention takes place in several ballrooms and conference rooms at a hotel, and you have an amazing amount of access to all of the guests. This year, the media guests were Tahmoh Penikett of Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse, Laurie Holden of X-Files and The Walking Dead, and Bonita Friedericy of Chuck.

Each of the guests makes themselves available throughout the weekend for autographing, and each also has a one-hour Q&A session on Saturday and Sunday of the show. Last year, The Convention Fans Blog was fortunate enough to interview @feliciaday and this year we were super lucky to spend a few minutes with Bonita Friedericy, General Beckman from NBC’s Chuck. Leading up to the convention, I was planning on interviewing Laurie Holden, but at the last minute we swapped with the SciFi Diner podcast, and I was pretty thrilled for the opportunity. I had done some research and prepared questions for Laurie, but Chuck is so close to my heart, I didn’t even need to prepare. I knew exactly what to talk about for our ten minutes, and as soon as I can figure out a venue, I’ll upload the audio of the interview.

In the meantime, here’s what else you need to know about Farpoint. It’s a family convention. Most of the attendees come back every year, and many of the panelists return each year. In 2010, I had the good fortune to meet @moonrangerlaura and @cmaaarrr in a social media panel, and this year Laura talked about her experiences at space college (where she made a girl cry) and John spoke about a handful of fascinating or possibly terrifying emerging medical threats.

Farpoint also attracts a cadre of talented fan filmmakers, including Starship Farragut and Browncoats: Redemption. All weekend long, the convention features screenings of these and a ton of other sci-fi content.

Saturday night at the con, the Masquerade attracts a handful of very talented cosplayers, including members of the 501st Legion, and from last year to this year, I recognized a number of attendees from last year with brand new costumes, again reinforcing the idea that Farpoint is a family convention.

And the best part of the family atmosphere is that everyone is ready to welcome you into the group. At the hotel bar, you will be drinking with a gang of like-minded nerds. Relaxing in the lobby, you will be surrounded by guys in Jayne-hats, people in Stargate uniforms, and the guests of the convention. Last year I met Laura, John and Kelly. This year I sat down to charge my phone in the lobby, and found a new (non-twitter-using) friend sitting nearby.

There are panels about science, technology, and all of your favorite television shows. The guests include authors, celebrities and all manner of awesome nerds. Each year, there are charity auctions, and the chance to really meet a handful of interesting guests. You don’t just shuffle through a line, pay your autograph fee, get some dumb staged photo, and quickly move on. You have a chance to really meet and talk to all of the guests, and during the Q&A sessions, you have every opportunity to ask whatever crazy questions you can think up.

Farpoint is a fantastic convention, with everything you want in a weekend trip to Baltimore. I’ll definitely be attending every February, and I hope to see you there next year too. You won’t be sorry. Check out www.farpointcon.com for all the latest info, and be sure to mark February 17-19 on your calendar for 2012. See you there!

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