I got back from Farpoint last night. I had an utter blast. It is nowhere near as big as DragonCon and I have no idea of how it stacks up to Balticon, which I will also be attending. It seemed on the small side, but that did not in anyway make it any less enjoyable.
In fact, the smaller size made it feel a bit more personal, especially when you kept bumping into the celebrities just walking through the hallway or the lobby. I had just such a moment like that mere minutes after arrival. After dumping my baggage in my room, on my way out to the convention area, I ran into Ron Glass at the elevators.
I had a complete fanboy breakdown and only managed to exclaim, “You’re Ron Glass!” He smiled and laughed. I managed to blurt out how much I loved his work, which I meant, and offer a hand. He was loaded with bags, of course, and laughed again as we awkwardly shook hands. He had two water bottles depending from his.
My panels were not until Sunday, so I got plenty of opportunities to just hang out and socialize with the other podcasters and everyone else. Steve Wilson, who organized the Fan Media track, which included us podcasters, made me feel truly welcome. In fact, we had a podcaster only gather after the official activities on Friday. Afterwards, he very graciously invited us all to his suite which had a cozy parlor, perfect for sitting, chatting and enjoying some good liquor.
I spent most of Saturday hanging around with Tee Morris and Jack Mangan. I got to know Tee pretty well when we did our four hour plus recording of MicroBrewed along with Phil Rossi and couple of other friends of both of theirs, Zach and Ron. This was the first time I met Jack and I have to say, he is a hell of a guy. His humor is just as dry as his podcast and what is most impressive is how quick he is. I don’t think that always comes through in a podcast, where it can be hard to tell what is scripted and what is off the cuff. Jack needed no script or help of any kind to lob in the occasional, well received joke grenade.
Jack and I also discussed some thoughts about listener feedback, keeping to regular schedules and how podcasters can integrate better into science fiction and other media conventions. As I said, he’s a very quick guy. He’ll also be coming back for Balticon, which should be a blast.
The podcast panels as a whole were, well, let’s say a bit under attended. There was more than one that had no audience. We sat in on each other’s panels when we could to help. I caught a few flavors or hell from Tee when I ducked out of one of his panels Saturday to sit in on Paul Fischer and Martha Holloway’s panel–I really did want to pick their brains, especially since I missed them at the last meetup.
That being the case, I had a moment of near panic on Sunday when I showed up for my first panel. I sat by myself for an hour only to realize when the first attended showed up that I was an hour early. Still, I only had three people at my panel, which was not too bad since one of them was Elfquest co-author, Richard Pini. He was very curious about ways to give some permissions for some of his works for fans to re-mix and re-use. I eagerly pointed him at Create Commons, of which he’d never heard. He also chatted with Tee for a bit who I think started to convince him to do a Podcast, maybe an Elfquest one–we’ll see. He’ll be coming to Balticon and expressed an interest in talking then some more. Very cool.
My second, and only other panel, went pretty well, with similar attendance. It was a “meet the podcasters” panel, which I did with Heather Welliver and Marc “Grailwolf” Bailey. I met with a fellow involved with USACM, which is the ACM’s public policy SIG. Emil and I exchanged contact info and he offered to help introduce me to members of interest. In particular, he thinks he can help me line up an interview with Gene “Spaf” Spafford.
The experience as a whole was thoroughly enjoyable, even with the attendance issues. Steve Wilson was a very gracious track director and has already started discussions on how to improve the track for next year. He has confirmation that despite the low attendance, there was more than enough interest to run the track again. Maybe next year, one of us podcasting geniuses, myself included, will remember to record some, if not all, of the panels. 😉