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?
How do I 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?
I can't make it to the convention - can I still support Continuum?
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?
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 TV shows, books, movies, comics or games that could be considered science fiction, fantasy or horror - 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 the same group will run a number of events. In the case of Continuum, we have a gradually changing committee with very diverse backgrounds and interests.
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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 conventions usually run over three days, opening late Friday afternoon, but begin early each day of the weekend. We usually run until late on Friday and Saturday nights, and finish up late in the afternoon on the Sundays with the Closing Ceremony. You can check our programming page [see sidebar] for further and more precise information about the timing of specific events, and updates to the program and 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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How do I pay?

Continuum accepts many forms of payment.  For immediate confirmation of your membership, the preferred payment method is direct deposit (bank to bank transfer).  Please contact membership@continuum.org.au for details.  Other payment options (with form, by post) are: cheque and money order (made payable to Continuum Events), or credit card (Visa, Mastercard - note: 2% processing fee payable).
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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, you are more than welcome to purchase a Day Pass.
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I can't make it to the convention - can I still support Continuum?

Yes, of course!  There are two ways to do this:
1. You can take out a supporting membership, which entitles you to convention publications, and the opportunity to upgrade to full membership if you find you can make it after all.
2. You can support us by making a donation - see 'How do I pay?' above.
Donors of amounts equal to or greater than the supporting member rate will be considered 'Supporting Members'.  Contact membership@continuum.org.au for details.
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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 in 1975, 1985 & 1999 and will be running another in 2010.
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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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Do I have to dress up?

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, 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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