This Geek’s Thoughts on Nerd HQ

As you may be aware, Chuck star Zachary Levi, recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to fund this years Nerd HQ.

For those of you who don’t know what Nerd HQ is, it’s a large scale event that runs at the same time but separate from SDCC.  The Nerd Machine (Levi’s business) take over a nearby stadium and host panels, showcases new tech and generally provides a place for nerds to gather.  The event is free except for the panels etc that it runs.  Payment for these are nominal ($20-$30) and all the money from these goes to a charity called Operation Smile.

OK, so now you are all caught up with what Nerd HQ is and what it does.

I was really excited when this campaign was launched.  I’ve only recently discovered the wonder of Chuck (literally in the past two months).  I had watched pretty much all of the panels online last year as they had featured some of my favourites such as Nathan Fillion, Tom Hiddleston and Joss Whedon.  I was aware of who Zachary Levi was and he seemed like a cool guy when he hosted the various panels but that was the extent of my knowledge.

As I mentioned, I was excited about this crowdfunding campaign but there seems to be some in the geek community who are not. In fact, some have gone on record and publicly blasted Levi for asking fans for money for this specific event.  This made me pause and really think about what it was that had appealed to me about the campaign and what others had seemed to take offence at.

  • Wait, he is asking for money for a business venture?  Yes, Nerd HQ is run as a business.  Its clearly stated on everything that they have put out for this event that this is NOT a charitable event and the money that you are donating goes to pay for the event and not to Operation Smile.  I feel that they have been very transparent about that fact.  The money that they raise from the panels/signings etc is just a great by-product from the event.  There have been queries raised about the amount of money being asked for ($1 million).  Having worked in events for over a decade I can genuinely believe that this event costs that much to put on.  It’s not just a case of hiring a venue – you need to think about staffing, security, filming, light, sound, dressing the area, health & safety, I could go on.  All these things cost money and if you want to keep the event free then it needs to be paid for somehow.
  • If it’s a business, why are they asking for money?  Levi has been very vocal about exploring different ideas and platforms of delivering content to the community.  If you look at panels he took part in last year he talks about these various ideas in depth (mostly in relation to a Chuck movie).  This crowdfunding is an experiment.  He is asking people to show what they want by making a purchasing decision, it’s as simple as that.  If you want this event to happen, show me by donating five dollars.  As a geek, I feel that $5  is more than fair to pay for the hours upon hours of content that Nerd HQ creates during this event.  I have made my donation not because I’m going to go to Nerd HQ (I live in Glasgow, Scotland so it’s a bit far!) but because I feel that it’s a more than fair price for the content I will then consume.
  • But Zachary Levi said that if this doesn’t work then there probably won’t be a Chuck movie, isn’t he holding a gun to fans heads?  No, I truly don’t believe that he is.  He is merely stating that if he can’t fund this event then he woud struggle to see how he could fund a Chuck movie that would cost five times as much.  He has been very open about the fact that he would love to do a Chuck movie but as with any film/TV show/creative endeavour, it needs to be paid for.
  • Why are there no perks in the same way that every other crowdfunding campaign has?  Again, Levi has been very transparent about this.  Number 1, these perks cost time and resources to provide which means that they would need to ask for even more money to action them (which kind of defeats the purpose).  And Number 2, it allows everyone to be equal.  I’m am totally on board with this.  I have given my money to various campaigns over the past couple of years and while I donate because I believe in the project, I do feel a bit left out when I can only give a small amount but those with more money to spend get loads of cool stuff.  If you donate to something it should be because you believe in it and not because of the cool stuff you may then get.

I feel really bad that Zachary Levi has had to go on record on both Facebook and Twitter to justify this campaign pretty much every day since it launched.  As a community, we are supposed to be supportive of people who are trying new things and taking risks.  If you believe in this campaign then I urge to you visit and donate $5.

If you don’t believe in this campaign, that totally fine.  Don’t donate.  You will still have access to the event and all the content that it generates.  Just think twice about criticising someone who is trying to do something interesting and fun for us to enjoy.  We should absolutely question things every day of our lives.  Of course we should! But I think if you question Zachary Levi’s motives for this Nerd HQ campaign then you are doing a very honest and kind man a disservice.

Reporter: MyBigGeekAdventure

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One comment

  1. Wow great article Thanks for putting this up I am behind everything you have said. I believe in Zac and hope he can NerdHQ alive for another year!. Zac is a such a genuine, honest, giving & inspiring celebrity who is so likeable. He will always have my support.

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