Nerd Power. Updated!


Nerd Machine’s Nerd #1

Friends, soon we will be issued a call to arms.  The Nerd Machine’s own Nerd #1, Zachary Levi is planning some big things.  The first of which is to take NerdHQ public for at least some of its sponsorship.  Even better, he’s making sure that our overseas friends can join in.  Join me after the jump for the story so far and some background for those of you not familiar with The Nerd Machine or Nerd HQ.

Here at ChuckThisBlog we know we get a lot of readers (and many commenters) from outside the US.  It is in fact pretty staggering to see that virtually every nation on the earth has a Chuck fan who has visited this site.  Even Vatican City has had someone stop by.  Sadly WordPress didn’t add the feature that tracks this until February 2012 after the show ended, so we couldn’t see what it was like when we were at our peak.  But still it is fun to see people from around the world finding the show and finding our blog.  We’ve added fans from Malta, Slovenia and Poland recently to name just a few.  And we’re surprisingly popular in Finland, which gives us more traffic than some of the Anglophone countries quite frequently.

For that reason I’m going to go in-depth on a few things that in US nerd culture we kind of take for granted.  Like that everyone knows what COMIC-CON is or that Zachary Levi’s company The Nerd Machine has established a satellite convention Nerd HQ.

For those not familiar COMIC-CON is a comic book convention that has grown in to a major media and entertainment industry event.  Specifically San Diego COMIC-CON which happens each July.  There are other COMIC-CONs in other cities at other times of the year, but San Diego COMIC-CON is the mothership.

A few years ago Zach tried to get a booth at COMIC-CON and wasn’t able to, so he set up what he called Nerd HQ at a nearby tavern where he organized small panels of his celebrity friends for about 200 fans where the fans could just ask questions.  He called them Conversations For A Cause, as all the money from ticket sales went to his favorite charity Operation Smile.  They were a resounding success, and Nerd HQ quickly grew, and outgrew many local venues until last year they took over a section of nearby Petco Park.  Sponsors supplied entertainment and rolled out new products and games, and Nerd HQ sold merchandise to pay for it all.

Now he’s asking for our help.  Either he wants to go bigger than his current sponsorship will support, or his company has funded it at a loss in the past, or some other reason we don’t know, I don’t think it matters.  Zach has been incredibly generous to his fans with time and attention.  I know this personally as I stood on West 48th St. in Manhattan and watched as he signed autographs for and took pictures with every last fan who saw his show (and I was one of them).  He is a remarkable guy and I think he’s earned our trust and the right to ask for a little something back.  So here is why I think we all need to pitch in whatever we can to support this effort.

1) It is for a great cause.  

The most popular feature of Nerd HQ is Conversations for a Cause.  If you aren’t familiar take a look at the Nerd Machine YouTube channel.  Zach and many other celebrities donate their time to help raise money through ticket sales for Operation Smile.  Operation Smile is a charity that will travel the world fixing cleft palates in children.  Here in the US we rarely think about cleft pallets and other facial deformities, but where medical care is less available they can be fatal because the children can’t nurse or properly chew or eat food.  Even absent that these children are often pariahs in their communities.  For as little as $240 with medical volunteers performing the operation that can take as little as 45 minutes a child’s life can be changed for the better.  With one panel 20 children can suddenly have a much brighter future.

2) We get to enjoy the conversations too.

Every Nerd HQ Conversation for a Cause gets live streamed and posted online for us to enjoy for free.  But the cameras and the connections and the servers aren’t free.  Somebody needs to pay for it, and as Zach says, if we crowd fund it, he can keep it free for the fans who might not be able to pay for a subscription to some pretty valuable and popular videos.

3) Supporting Nerd HQ keeps it affordable for the fans.

Conversations for a Cause sells tickets at a very low price, $22 last year.  They would still sell out at a much higher price.  But in addition to this being for the children, it’s for the fans.  Almost anyone from the struggling actor waiting tables to the college student working a summer job can afford $22, and if they can get a ticket and get to San Diego, they have a decent chance to ask their favorite nerd, or their favorite actor the question they’d most like answered.  Since the venue, the cameras the microphones and all the things that make these conversation happen aren’t free, and all the ticket sales go to charity, someone has to pay for it.  It can be sponsors, but that always comes with strings, it can be Nerd HQ, but they can’t risk operating at a loss and stay around long, or it can be us, the folks who may not ever get to a COMIC-CON, but can sit in on the conversation anyway.

4) Yvonne will stop by.

Probably.  While there are no guarantees, all of Zach’s Chuck family have supported him at Nerd HQ.  Yvonne especially.  And it has given us moments like this.


Or this.


Or this.


Or this.

OldFlameYup, that’s right.  I’m pullin’ out the Yvonne card to get everyone invested in a crowd-sourced Nerd HQ.

So here’s the deal.  Some time next week, Zach will make the announcement.  We’ll post it in the comments of this post and likely on the Zach page under the Chuck News tab.  We’ll also tweet it.  Your job will be to follow the link to the indiegogo page he’ll have and make a donation.  It will be available internationally to all Chuck and Zach fans.  If you can’t contribute financially contribute by telling friends, neighbors, acquaintances or random people on the street about the effort.  Blog and re-tweet the hell out of this.

It’s a way to not only help Zach and Nerd HQ, but it’s a dry run for that Chuck movie down the road.  Support this and you’re showing your support for a Chuck movie, and that’s something we can all get behind.

Just for fun, and to say thanks, here’s a poll to let me know how successful I was.  You can pick up to 3 responses if more than one applies.

UPDATE: Zachary Levi has announced that the NerdHQ crowd-sourcing will go live tomorrow, Tuesday March 11.  Make sure your PayPal is ready to go!


About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
This entry was posted in Breaking News, Fan Base, News, Rumors. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Nerd Power. Updated!

  1. Faith says:

    Join us in the future (of entertainment), with Zac at the forefront!

  2. Darren Crooks says:

    It’s not only an effort for the nerdhq but to carry on helping operation smile with more future nerdhqs’s not only that fans would rather have more seasons of chuck than a movie cause the show was cancelled well before its time but hey what do fans know it’s exec’s of networks that cancels them before they should

  3. joe says:

    Ernie, that last choice should read:
    Not at all. I’m an evil person who hates nerds and children… and puppies and kittens!


  4. Connor says:

    Zac tweeting about this brought me here.

    I’ve watched pretty much every panel live from the last two Nerd HQ so I’ll happily donate something for the cause.

    As for the Chuck movie, I hope this will help materialize something on that front as well, although I must say I’m also dreading the possibility because after the finale I just don’t trust Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz any longer.

    I will never be happy with the way things ended but I’ve managed to make a peace with it, imagining Sarah and Chuck went back home together after the beach and Sarah regained her memories. Knowing Schwartz’s fondness for cheap drama (see season three), he probably wouldn’t agree with me.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Just a quick note to what appear to be a lot of new readers. We try to, and have been very successful, keeping this blog a largely positive place. While people can have and express legitimate criticism, we want to keep it from getting personal. We now know for a fact that people involved in Chuck read this blog. Your guideline in posting should be that you never post anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. To be even more clear making inappropriate personal remarks or insults about any of the Chuck team will get your comments deleted immediately and future comments either moderated or banned.

      This comment is borderline. Saying you don’t like their work is fine, though should be handled with tact. But “cheap drama”, while still OK is the kind of thing that tends to snowball.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Oh, and welcome to our new readers. Look around and by all means come back. We’re in the home stretch of a full series once a week re-watch.

        Sorry to have to be the scold so quickly, but you wouldn’t believe the jump in our traffic since Zach re-tweeted us.

  5. Thanks to all who answered my question about the home page phrase, makes a lot more sense now:)

  6. atcDave says:

    Well its pretty exciting to be a part of something like this! Let’s hope we can be successful for Zach, and that more good things are to come!

  7. MarkEller says:

    I’m donating!

    I wonder if they’re going to have a Chuck panel this year? I can see Zach wanting to wait until he has some actual news re: Chuck movie before doing another one. Besides I remember reading Yvonne might be shooting a new movie in July, and doing a panel without her would feel wrong imho.

    Looking at the list of my favorite and not-so-favorite Chuck episodes, I decided my pick to write the Chuck!Movie script is Kristin “Phase Three” Newman. Or maybe even someone completely new who hasn’t worked on the show before. Fedak and Schwartz will probably be involved in some capacity since the show is their baby, but I’d prefer if they just produced it.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m all for Kristin Newman, or the LaJudkins team.

      Or Quistie64 or NinjaVanish or Anthropocene or Thinkling or Angus McNab….

    • dkd says:

      Keep in mind that a large majority of the panels involve people who are already at Comic-con for other reasons. Two years ago, Yvonne and Adam were already there for Dexter and Firefly respectively, Mark Christopher Lawrence lives in San Diego. They were able to talk the others into coming down from LA. to fill it out.

      As for donating, I’m very intrigued by what’s going on and what the actual propositions will be. I definitely intend to donate, but I wonder if they will have a multi-level donation platform where the more you donate the more you get in return. I attend Comic-con and Nerd HQ. Each year, I’ve gone to around 3 panels at Nerd HQ, but I’ve always had trouble getting into some that I really, really wanted to go to because they sell out very, very quickly. People in attendance donated to the charity, while people watching the streams essentially got a free ride.

      If one of the donation levels involved some sort of “all access pass” where you get first dibs on panel tickets, I might donate a LOT to get one of those. As I said, I wonder what they are cooking up.

      The Veronica Mars kickstarter had this kind of structure. Most charity events actually have something like that. I attended something Zac was supporting in NY and there was one price to get in and another higher price if you wanted to be in the VIP area. They had a live auction for backstage access to First Date that went for $3500.

      All attendees to NerdHQ in the past were kind of passively donating their presence to the sponsors who wanted to expose their wares. This is the beginning of donating in a more active way.

      • MarkEller says:

        Dkd, I don’t think you will get any special benefits by donating more.

        The free stream was great last year and because of that I have no problems donating whatever I can to help keep it free in the future too. I will most likely end up donating for Operation Smile too when watching the panels back home.

        The panels are relatively small, like 200-300 seats from what I can remember so giving “dibs” to people who donate more doesn’t seem very feasible to me. Besides, the guests attending get finalized just weeks, days or in some cases merely hours before the actual event.

      • dkd says:

        If you are right then Zac isn’t going to structure it like most of these things are. Why do you think that?

      • MarkEller says:

        From Zac’s tweets, I just never got the impression that this was nothing but a “donate what you can so we can organize something cool” thingy. *shrugs*

        Now that I think more about it, yeah, maybe there will be different donation levels. Heh, maybe one reward could be an invitation to the “celeb” dance party.

        I guess we’ll see in a few days.

      • dkd says:

        An attendee’s perspective on this is bound to be different from someone who’s only been watching online. In the three years, I’ve attended, I’ve probably spent over $450 at NerdHQ. In addition to the money spent on panels, I’ve always made sure I patronized the venue–purchasing food and drinks–and always bought stuff from The Nerd Machine’s booth. I’ve done this because I knew how much of an expense it was for Zac and it would have been rude just to show up and not patronize.. I also made sure I purchased stuff from their booth when they came to NYCC.

        If they succeed in putting one on, I’ll attend and spend money this year too. That’s on top of whatever I donate to Indiegogo.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      DKD, yes, it’s always an iffy proposition, but hopefully those who are in LA can be talked in to at least a day trip for the panel. And don’t forget, Zach throws three nights of pretty kick-ass A-List parties.

      • dkd says:

        One night is for the fans and is open to anybody provided they don’t pass capacity (and they never have). The other nights, you have to be “on the list” to attend.

      • English Snob says:

        Pretty much what DKD said, although Saturday night is usually split – half VIP, half general public. Whichever parties you can attend, I recommend staying until the very, very end, because you never know who will show up.

      • dkd says:

        Two years ago, Saturday was split because the lay-out of the place allowed for the public to be in one area and the celebs to be in another. I didn’t go on Saturday last year, but I read twitter complaints from a few fans who went and complained that they were seperated from the celebs. They didn’t realize that was the set-up.

  8. English Snob says:

    I’m going to be that complete a-hole reader to reiterate: It’s Zac. Not Zach, or even Zack.

    It’s also cleft palate, not pallet. I can’t explain why this is such a big pet peeve of mine, but it is.

    All annoying self-righteous pet peeves aside, great write-up of why we should be willing to chip in to help make NerdHQ 2014 an even better success than previous years. I hope some of the early naysayers come to understand that this isn’t about diverting funds from OpSmile, but about ensuring we have an event to raise money for the kids in the first place.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I’ll own up to Zach (as in Zachary, so it’s not out nowhere like Zack) but I blame my spell checker for palate.

  9. Does Zach [(I spell it like this because it’s the beginning of his 1st name:)} stream everything from his website/YouTube company (Nerd Machine/NerdHQ) Chanel!? I’ll gladly watch and spread word and even donate, I wish I could go in person but sadly there’s no way:( I saw a special on operation smile a few years ago, it’s amazing what they do for those kids and their faces always light up so happily when they see themselves for the first time following the procedures:)

    • joe says:

      Josh (and Ernie above), even though Zack is the usual informal form of Zachary, I can vouch that he uses Zac. I happened to see a (home made) video of Mr. Levi telling Lil’ChuckFan (you remember Bailey?) that he always has, even though it’s ‘unusual’. It’s his preference, it seems.

      I’m not sure that video can be found, but it was on Youtube at one point.

    • English Snob says:

      Last year everything was streamed through their YouTube channel – most of the previous panels are there now for rewatching, too, even from prior years. The first couple of years it was through Ustream and I think helped as well.

  10. I just finished another rematch of Chuck, (my 8th) and simply put I love this show from start to finish and everything in between! There’s no bad, no disastrous writing, or storytelling or poor quality episodes:) This show did something that, sadly doesn’t exist enough in tv nowadays..It made us “feel” and that is what the best tv shows do. All the ending does is make me want to watch Chuck again, and again and again which I will do for the rest of my life. I’ve squeezed every ounce of bonus material out of this show that I could get and I can say that no other show will ever compare to or be better than Chuck, so I say to all involved the same two words that have been said millions of times since the original airing of the finale, Thank You!!:)

  11. magdalena says:

    @Josh Zdanowicz

    My words exactly! I just finish my 15th rewatch of Chuck this show had it all action, comedy, family and a amazing love story it will be forever my favorite show.

    To the cast and crew Thank you for 5 wonderful years of televison.

  12. magdalena says:

    I’ve watched all the panels from Nerd HQ I wish I could attend one but living in the Netherlands I’ve have no idea how to get a ticket for one of the panels but I am grateful that Zachary live stream them to us and knowing now that he needs our help for paying all that stuff I gonna donate I will follow this blog how and when I can help out.

    I really hope that all the Chuck fans and fans from Nerd HQ are willing to help out Zachary he did so much for us over the last few years he is a wonderful person with a big heart and needs our help so please donate!

    Sorry for my bad english it’s not my first my language.

    • Aplegat says:

      Good news, I’m waiting for the announcement.

      And thanks for the details on Nerd HQ, I agree the initiative is probably not very well known to us outside the US (I’m from Poland).

  13. Ernie Davis says:

    We have a date! NerdHQ’s crowd-sourcing goes live tomorrow, Tuesday March 11. Get on twitter and help spread the nerd. #IWantMyNerdHQ #NerdHQ

  14. Pingback: I Want My NerdHQ | Chuck This

  15. Pingback: Chuck, The Movie | Chuck This

  16. Pingback: Support Nerd HQ! Win Valuable Prizes! | Chuck This

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s