On the Farpoint Experience

Yesterday wrapped up my third Farpoint.

Held in the same hotel as Shore Leave, Farpoint strikes me as a kinder, gentler, Shore Leave. Or as someone said on Saturday (and I think it may have been Keith DeCandido) — Shore Leave-Lite.

It’s the same sorts of guests. The same sorts of programming and the same people on panels. The same dealers. Similar art shows.

In short, Shore Leave-Lite. 😉

Here’s some random odds-and-ends of the weekend:

Friday

If, like me, you don’t spend the money to attend the Farpoint Banquet, there’s really nothing to do on Friday. Except sit in the bar and find people to talk to. Which, in my case, worked out quite well. Two friends from up New York way — one of whom I’d seen last in July, the other a bit longer than that — came down for the weekend, and then we all went out for barbeque.

Given that Friday at work was a fairly intense day, Friday evening was quite relaxing, and a great way to unwind. 🙂

I also got to ride in a Prius. That is so cool.

Saturday

Saturday began with Glenn Hauman showing movie trailers. At previous Farpoints and Shore Leaves, it has been Bob Greenberger to do the presentations, but due to a family illness Bob had to pull out of Farpoint. And thus Glenn became the Substitute Bob.

I did an autographing with fantasy romance novelist Bianca d’Arc. Neither of us sold anything — or signed anything, for that matter.

The Quality of Leadership panel was bagged at fifteen seconds. The reasons were multiple. We had no sign. And despite the programming committee moving the panel from Sunday to Saturday, they didn’t actually make the change on the programs that were distributed to the con-goers. Thus, no one showed up. And just as colleges have the “fifteen minute rule,” a fifteen second rule was called.

At which point I went to lunch.

For all your alcohol needs for con-goers at Farpoint or Shore Leave, I recommend Calvert’s. It’s across the street in the Hunt Valley Mall. I also went to lunch at the pizza place — the name escapes me. And I visited the GameStop there in Hunt Valley. Which surprisingly, did not offend me, the way that other GameStop/EB stores in the Baltimore area do — I think my standards may be too high.

I got back from lunch, and caught the tail-end of Keith DeCandido’s panel. I walked in at the right moment, as that was when he was discussing the Doctor Who anthology.

Afterwards, with and I heckled the worst Doctor Who panel I have ever had the misfortune to experience. One panelist was both boring and woefully misinformed. When he was talking about “Voyage of the Damned” I couldn’t stiffle my giggles.

Him: “Am I amusing you?”
Me: “Have you even seen the episode? There’s no icebergs in it.”

The panelists didn’t even know which channel was showing what. Good times, good times.

Afterwards, it was just hanging out and shooting the breeze.

Devious plots were hatched. Other devious plots were revealed. I think the weekend can be summed up with: “It’s not that you’re devious. It’s that you take the time and have the attention to detail.”

The Masquerade was unmemorable. The Robot Chicken Darth Vader was very well done, but that’s about all that’s affixed itself in my mind.

Sunday

Sunday began with another autographing. And it was cold and drafty down in the hallway.

The Moonlight panel turned out quite well. It was pretty well attended. One of the copanelists expressed his fear that it would have turned into an “estrogen brigade,” but there was a good discussion on a variety of points — from Mick as the old-style hero with a code of honor, to how vampires are different in the Moonlight-universe, to what the revelations of the final few episodes mean, to even if the show has a future.

There was one point of agreement. As much as Josef tells Mick to give up on his lost humanity, we all agreed that Josef would take the vampire cure, just so he could have a few days where he could do things like drink a microbrew, go surfboarding and rollerblading, and things like that, things that he couldn’t have done four hundred years ago when he was turned.

“Ask the Pros” was fun. It was six authors shooting the breeze. Drew Friedman gained a nickname — “Fingerless Friedman.” The situation was this. Drew was toying around with a DVD player, and he’d ejected the tray. He stuck his finger through the cutout, then closed the tray, pulling out his finger before the tray snapped shut. “You’ll lose a finger like that,” I said, which prompted Peter David to call him “Fingerless Friedman.” This then led to a Dick Tracy riff on Peter’s part, and Drew fled the room.

After that, things were winding down.

I ran into De Baisch in the hall, and we talked for forty minutes easily.

I also ran into Marina Sirtis three times in the hallway. By the third time she may well have thought I was some crazed stalker fan, when in reality she was just in my way and I in hers. I finally just said, “This is too weird.”

I had planned upon catching the Torchwood vs. The Sarah Jane Adventures panel Sunday at four. I even went so far as to sit down. But it was done by the same panelists as the previous day’s Doctor Who panel, and I’m not that much of a masochist. When one panelist says, “I’ve not seen Sarah Jane,” you know immediately that nothing good can come of this.

Shore Leave had a table set up, to encourage people to register. They had an over-sized poster, too, and there, on the poster, was my name as one of the guests! Happy happy I was at seeing that.

And that brought Farpoint to its end, at least for me. 🙂

2 thoughts on “On the Farpoint Experience

  1. Evidently, the Hall brothers have some kind of odd sway with the programming committee and thus, tend to dominate the panel track. The unfortunate result of this is that people who do have a reasonable level of expertise are often shut out of panels that could benefit from them.

    Case in point, a couple of my cohorts in Luna-C requested to be added to the Doctor Who panels and were never contacted. These are people who literally set their clocks to start their torrents and will have the latest episode watched at least twice within 24 hours.

    In any case, the clusterf— you described could have easily been avoided with a modicum of preparation. I never come to a panel unprepared and will easily spend a day or two coming up with talking points, my thoughts on those talking points, and sometimes visual aids like video clips or slides. Way too often, panelists think they can just show up and wing it. Some panels work well that way (the author panels for instance), but others don’t work nearly as well off-the-cuff as you experienced.

  2. I won’t say I went into the Moonlight panel with any sort of preparation; as a woman in the audience noted, it’s almost embarassing to admit that we watch this show. So there we were, three panelists, all winging it. 🙂

    That one came off pretty well, I think.

    I think the programming problems come down to the local fanclub. It’s the same clique doing the same sorts of panels at these two cons. Maybe they are the local fanclub, and maybe they do really love the shows, but that’s no excuse for unengaging speakers. Maybe it’s not as noticeable at Shore Leave, because there’s more to do at Shore Leave. Yet, poorly run panels aren’t going to attract an audience, and may well drive the audience away. Cons want people to attend, but if the people entertaining the attendees aren’t entertaining, then what’s the point of doing panels? What’s the point of doing the con?

    I loved the idea of Farpoint’s comics track this year, even though the programming for it was pretty barebones. If it’s around next year, I’ll lobby to get some panel time on that track.

    I’m jotting down ideas for Shore Leave.

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