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.
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!