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Frequently Asked Questions . . .

What is a convention?
How does it work?
What time is everything on?
Do I have to be a member to attend a convention?
What do I have to pay?
Can I come just for an author signing without paying for a membership?
Can I just go to the Dealers Room to buy a book without paying for a membership?
What is a Fan?
What do Fans do?
What are the major events of fandom?
What do you do at a convention?
What's the deal with hotels?
What is a room party?
What is the Masked Ball?
Can I attend the Masked Ball without paying for a membership?
Do I have to dress up?
How long has this kind of thing been happening?

What is a convention?
One of the best descriptions we've heard is "a convention is a quiet, intimate gathering for you and a couple hundred of your closest friends". This is actually closer to the truth than you'd imagine. It's an opportunity to get together with like-minded individuals. Whether you like Doctor Who, Neil Gaiman, Battlestar Galactica, comic book, horror films, Buffy, wrestling or anything even vaguely connected, you'll meet other folks there with similar interests. It's a chance to learn and try new things and to make new contacts and friends. But mostly it's fun.
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How does it work?
Ordinary people like yourself volunteer their time to the running of these events. As a rule they do not get paid for this work, they do it for the joy of it. It can sometimes be a little hard, but is very rewarding. They organise everything from the badges, booklets and t-shirts through to the advertising, the venue, the program and of course, the guests. Most conventions are one-off's. A group gets together to run one and once they've run it they go back their lives. Sometimes a group will run a number of events. In the case of Continuum we hope to be able to have a gradually changing committee of people running one convention a year in Melbourne. So far most of our group were involved in the ConVergence 2002 National Convention and of course the first three Continuum conventions.
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What time is everything on?
Programs differ from convention to convention, which might run for just a single weekend or for an extended period of time at either end. Continuum 4 is running from Friday morning until Sunday evening and our Program is currently under development so times might vary somewhat from now until the convention. We can tell you that Registration will open at 10.30am on Friday 4 August, with official scheduled programming to commence around midday and run until late. Over the weekend, the Program will begin earlier and run all day, with the convention winding up on Sunday evening with the Closing Ceremony. Please check our Program page in the new year for announcements and updated timetabling changes.
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Do I have to be a member to attend a convention?
Yes, you do need to take out a membership to attend a convention. There are various kinds of memberships available at different rates, including single day memberships which allow people to come along for just one day if they prefer not to attend the entire three-day event. (Complimentary "panel passes" will be issued to participants who do not wish to attend the rest of the convention. "Panel passes" are valid only for the duration of the panel, presentation, etc, in question.)
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What do I have to pay?
Basically, once you've paid for your membership, nothing at all. There are no additional entry costs or event fees during the convention. If you purchase a full membership, for example, this allows admission to every day and night of the convention and entitles you to attend as many panels, presentations and events as you wish. A day membership entitles you to the same access, but only for the single day and night for which it is purchased.
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Can I come just for an author signing without paying for a membership?
Unfortunately, no. Only paying members - whether they have purchased a Full Membership or a Day Pass - will be admitted into the convention area where signings are held. Continuum does not charge any additional fees or charges above our initial membership cost, so we cannot admit people simply for a "signing fee". This policy enables us both to control attendance numbers at our convention and also to be fair to our paying members.
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Can I go into the Dealers Room without paying for a membership?
Once again, we're sorry to say that this is not possible. The Dealers Room is within the convention area where only paying members are permitted access. If you don't wish to attend the entire three days Continuum 3, you are more than welcome to purchase a Day Pass.
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What is a Fan?
A fan usually has a range of interests of which science fiction or related fields are their main one. The media perception is that fans are all geeks and nerds obsessed with a single show or aspect of the genre. While this is true for a few, the vast majority are ordinary people like yourself. The best analogy is a sports one. Just as you will find some people who have their one sport or team that they are insanely passionate about, you will find that most like a variety of games and events. The guy who paints his house in team colours, names his children after favourite players and watches the same game endlessly is an oddity. Most fans watch a few tv shows or movies, read a few books and have other interests besides science fiction. Chances are, if you're reading this page and considering coming to our convention, you're already a fan.
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What do fans do?
Whatever they like. Most people are in it for the social side, to mix with people who like the same things. Some are in it to learn about writing or TV work or art or all manner of things. Many people who started as fans have gone on to have professional careers. Some just like to watch panels, some like to participate in running things. Chances are you will find other folks who are interested in the same activities, be that serious creating or meeting up for a drink to talk about the latest films.
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What are the major events of fandom?
In Australia we have a yearly National Convention (or NatCon for short) at which awards are given to various professional and fan related fields. Perth has a yearly regional convention called Swancon, Canberra has Conflux, and Continuum is the Melbourne version. On the world stage, there is the yearly World Con, a massive event where you get anywhere up to 10,000 fans and professionals attending. The highly prestigious Hugo Awards are given out there. Australia has hosted three World Cons to date, the last being held in Melbourne in 1999.
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What do you do at a convention?
Socialise, make friends, listen to talks, play games, learn about writing, television, films, music, comics, party and all manner of things. Some events will be quite serious, some will be exceptionally silly. A well run convention tends to have a range of items to cater to a range of tastes.
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What's the deal with hotels?
Most conventions have their events in a hotel with conference facilities so that people can stay up as late as they'd like talking and partying and then wander off to bed once they get tired. Usually there is a deal so that convention guests get a discount.
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What is a room party?
A fan or group of fans decide to have a party in their hotel room. Room parties can be closed, invite-only affairs, but are more usually open to all and have their room numbers written up on prominent whiteboard in a main throughfare of the convention so that you know they are on. Most parties provide some refreshments, but bringing along munchies or a bottle of drink to share is always gratefully accepted. At the bigger conventions, large organised room parties are held by groups bidding for the rights to hold National Conventions and World Cons.
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What is the Masked Ball?
It's traditional at most conventions to have a masquerade night. These have often been run as fairly formal things where the costume entrants show off their costumes on stage and sometimes perform rehearsed acts or comedy routines. This is fine but does rather leave a good chunk of the convention out of the action. We want ours to be more social. The Continuum Masked Ball is a party. Costumes are encouraged but not essential, the main idea being to get together and have fun, so don't feel that your street-clothes aren't good enough! So long as you want to have a good time and maybe a bit of a dance, come along.
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Can I attend the Masked Ball without paying for a membership?
Yes, you certainly can! While entry to the Masked Ball is included in the cost of Continuum 4 membership, we will also be selling "Masked Ball Only" tickets will allow admittance into the convention area shortly before the commencement of the Masked Ball. You are most welcome to come along simply for this event or, if you are already a convention member, to bring your family and friends for the night.
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Do I have to dress up?
For the Masked Ball, no. For the convention, no. Thanks largely to the mainstream media, the common perception of these events is that everyone who attends dresses up in outlandish outfits for the entire convention. The truth is, outside the Masked Ball, only a small number of people walk around the convention in costumes. It used to be more common twenty years ago, but even then it was only about 5% of the attendees. So long as you have shoes (for health and safety reasons) and clothes (because we don't want to see your dangly bits) that's all the dressing up you have to do. But if you have a costume and feel like wearing it, feel free.
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How long has this kind of thing been happening?
Well over half a century all around the world. Different countries and cultures started at different times, and every country has it's 'old guard' who were around at the beginning. But chances are there's been conventions like this one running every year for your entire life, no matter how old you are. Check out our links page and you'll find some handy sites to visit if you'd like to know more.
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Continuum 4 is convened under the auspices of Continuum Foundation Inc.and is governed by its rules and regulations. Continuum Foundation Inc. is a not for profit association incorporated under the Victorian Associations Act, 1994.

copyright 2002-2005 by Continuum Foundation Inc | Last updated: June 22, 2006
banner images copyright Shaun Tan. All rights reserved.