04 Aug 2014

What We’re Working On

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Gallifrey One 2015 is roughly half a year away, and with two groups of guests so far announced – but many more yet to come – we’ve also begun work on some of the events and fun you can expect from next February’s convention. We’re also making a few quality-of-life changes to help you maximize your enjoyment of the event. Read on… (Note: we have updated this since its original publication with a few further details!)

Thursday Events

What began last February as an anniversary celebration has proven popular, so we’re keeping it as a permanent fixture of the convention. Thursday night (February 12) at 9:00pm we will feature our Gallifrey One 2015 Kickoff Ice Cream Social, a chance to mingle with fellow attendees and many of our guests in an open setting on the convention floor (along with a cash bar for cocktails and refreshments). Meanwhile, upstairs in the Meridian Room – also known as Program B – on the main lobby floor, the first of three nights of karaoke fun begins. Meridian will also be the site this year during the day – from 3pm to 7pm – of early badge pickup for anyone wanting to attend the Thursday night festivities. (We will likely have one table open on the convention floor at 9pm for a short time for additional badge pickup that evening.)

Good Morning Gallifrey One

This year, and going forward, Friday morning events begin at 10am with a special event: Good Morning Gallifrey One, which will both welcome new attendees as well as welcome back those returning, with some previews of events coming during the weekend, some special interactive fun and surprises galore. Badge pickup will open up at 9am Friday for those still needing to pick up their badges before the event. Good Morning Gallifrey One will lead right into the first guest event of the weekend, our Radio Free Skaro Live event at 11am, featuring our official podcasters interviewing some of our headliner guests of the weekend.  (Note: in 2014 we decided to permanently cancel our Opening Ceremonies event, since it always felt like overkill at the end of Friday… Good Morning Gallifrey One instead serves as our convention launch & opening event.)

And Speaking of Guests…

Though we’ve announced two blocks of guests so far, we’re only getting started. We have some big headliners we’re hoping to book for the weekend, but won’t be able to announce them until much closer to the convention itself (due to filming schedules). We also have many other actor and production guests from Doctor Who to bring to you, plus our local TV, film and literary guests, our science track guests and many more. Look for more guests coming later in the autumn.

Autographs, Photos and the Dealers Room

Autographs and photo ops with our guests are a huge reason many of our attendees join us for the weekend. We know there were some issues this past year, especially Friday morning (when a last minute hotel-related issue caused a shift of our photo studio to a new location). We’ve identified the trouble areas and have come up with plans to ensure minimal line congestion. We are working with a new photographer for 2015, who has assured us of rapid on-the-spot turnaround of photos for our attendees, as well as additional pre-sale opportunities. Our autograph areas will be spread out into all four corners of our main dealers room, to avoid line congestion and help with traffic flow.  And speaking of which… our dealers room will now spread out to the entire Imperial Ballroom with additional access points and vendors spread around the room, with autograph areas in all four corner spaces.  We want to help with the traffic flow and temperature of the room so we’re opening more doors for your convenience.

Programming Changes

We are making some big quality-of-life changes to our convention program for 2015. First, after much consideration, we’ve decided to contract from five program tracks to four; we feel four tracks offers the right mixture of programming, alleviating some of the conflicting schedules we’ve faced in the past, and allows us to streamline our offerings. We will still have a full dedicated main ballroom program track with all of our guests, along with featured guest events and presentations in Program B (on the lobby level), a full alternate program track featuring science & space programming and other selected events in Program C, and a weekend-long discussion panel track in Program D. We are also expanding our evening panel programming on Friday night by popular demand, and are looking into some late-night programs as well. Finally, you asked for it, so we’ve expanded our video room for 2015 with more seating and better ventilation. Our video program is available on site at the convention.

Passing Periods

In another change to our program lineup, we have decided to end each panel at the 10 minute mark, rather than 5 minutes, allowing for 50-minute panels throughout the weekend. We know making the trek from one side of the convention to the other can often be time consuming, especially when everything lets out at the same time, so we’re building in these 10 minute passing periods into our schedule to ensure you have ample time to make it to the next event, or get up and stretch your legs before the next main ballroom guest appearance. We will also be opening the side doors in the main ballroom as exits only for leaving panels, to avoid the crunch at the back of the room.

Comfort Zone

More programming quality-of-life changes: we know there was viewing trouble in the very back of our main ballroom, so this year we’re bringing back the second screen, which allows those in the back of the room to see the action more clearly. We’re also going to be doing some lighting adjustment to make the screens easier to view as well as the guests more prominent on stage; to aid with this, in addition to the revised passing period times, we’re also moving the microphone area for attendees to ask questions of our guests to the far right side of the room instead of down the middle.

For Your Evening Entertainment

We are delighted to welcome back the cast of Doctor Who LIVE! to Gallifrey One 2015, for a special performance (after their very popular event two years ago) on Friday evening in our main ballroom. Also on tap for Friday night: another iteration of the popular Mysterious Theatre 337 live presentation; our Friday Night Casino Party; the return of the cosplay improv show The Idiot’s Lantern; plus evening panels and karaoke (which usually runs very late!) On Saturday, join us for the Masquerade of Mandragora in the main ballroom, followed by the long-awaited return of the Gallifrey One Saturday Night Dance – back by popular demand and DJ’d by a long-time favorite from London, Paul Condon, who returns to DJ our dance after an absence of many years. And of course, Saturday night will feature even more karaoke as well. There are also room parties and gatherings – including the traditional themed cocktail party in the suites next to our Hospitality Room on the first floor on Friday night – and plenty of socializing in the Champions sports bar and in the Marriott hotel lobby (where there will again be cocktail waitresses on hand for beverage orders).

Guest Receptions

The guest receptions introduced this year in conjunction with our friends at Showmasters Events – who are sponsoring several of our headliner guests – will return this year. We will be putting tickets on sale for those very close to the event, so keep an eye out on our website and Facebook page for details; they sell out extremely quickly. The receptions offered some wonderful interaction time with our guests last year and we hope to make them even more special this time around. (Please note that there will be no brunch at the 2015 convention, but the receptions will be a great opportunity to mingle with our celebrity guests!)

Charitable Choices

Our charity auction is extremely important to us, and we’ve already announced a terrific charity we will be supporting in 2015: the Wounded Warrior Project. To help raise money for the charity and awareness of the auction, we have moved our Auction Center – the place for both bringing your merchandise donations to be auctioned off as well as a place to view what’s already been submitted for the auction – onto the convention floor. We also wanted to note that, even though we made a noble try at a silent auction system this past year, we know there were a lot of complaints about it, and rather than further complicate matters, we are returning to our tried-and-true Sunday event for all auction materials. We do, however, reserve the right to bundle items up to speed up the auction a bit. The auction will be in the Program D room from Sunday at noon, a larger space than this year (with better air circulation!)

Rooms With A View

We are going full throttle with our top-of-the-hotel rooms on the 18th floor. Due to its successes in 2014, we are launching our full Gaming Hub this year with scheduled games (table-top RPG, board, card and other games) throughout the weekend. The 18th floor also sees the return of our Children’s Programming room, featuring activities and crafting for kids during the day. Finally, previously the site of our auction room (which as noted above has moved to the convention floor), we are shifting our Cosplay Hall meetup room to the 18th floor; the cosplay hall will be the site of our costume-oriented gatherings and selected programming events.

Panel Programming

We plan to release our discussion panel list in early November this year.  At that time, we will invite our attendees to let us know if they would like to participate as panelists on any of the discussion panels mentioned; the turnaround time on that will be a few short weeks so we invite you to check back at that time.

And Much More

Although we’re still a bit more than six months out, we have so many other great plans that we can’t wait to share with you… keep watching our website here and also our Facebook page for details. Speaking of which, if you aren’t yet following our event page, make sure you do so by clicking here; the way Facebook displays news feeds these days means that, without being on both our Facebook page as well as the event page, you might miss out on the latest details.

We’ll have more details about this coming year’s convention, and tons of guest updates, in the weeks and months to come…