Don’t listen to Nerd HQ haters, go donate!

20140305153428-OP_Smile_Zac_N_JWhat happens when Zachary Levi tries to do something for the nerd community through the use of crowd-funding to create a free and awesome offsite NerdHQ (Nerd Headquarters) that has all proceeds from the event go to the charity Operation Smile? Well, people hate.

It’s not often that you find a celebrity and nerd like Zachary Levi asking for 1 million dollars through the use of crowd funding with IndieGoGo, but then again it’s not often that you find something like NerdHQ worth crowd funding compared to other campaigns such as cosplayer photo shoots. Learn more about it in this video.

NerdHQ is a popular event which has gone on since 2011, bringing a new experience to the infamous San Diego Comic-Con-outside circuit. If you have been to SDCC, then you know half the best things about Comic-Con are the events that take place outside of the convention center in the Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego. NerdHQ, held at Petco Park, is a free event to try out the latest and greatest technologies, view awesome pieces of nerd culture and art, hang out with celebrities, autograph signings, and celebrity panels where all proceeds go directly to Operation Smile. Nerd HQ has done the impossible by becoming the biggest nerd-related offsite activity concurrent with SDCC in just a matter of 3 years! Well, in order for NerdHQ to continue, Zachary Levi is asking for people to donate just $5 to keep this tradition going, since it is difficult for him to host it all from his own pocket.

Enter the haters. From the day he launched the campaign, he gained both immediate support and a backlash of criticism for asking 1 million dollars. I wondered how in the heck can people hate on something that is for such a good cause? Well, let’s take a look at the non-believers and dig deeper into it. had an interesting article where the author stated in the second sentence, “I hear it’s fun and cool, and while it’s the same faces you can see in the convention center it’s a more intimate location. You’re not six thousand people deep, as you are in Hall H.” That is pretty much the only positive thing said in the article about NerdHQ from someone who has never been or experienced it while putting it down in its entirety. That is a pretty fair editorial, right?

They also go on to talk about how only 25% of it has gone back to Operation Smile, assuming NerdHQ 2013 cost 1 million dollars as well. If you know anything about throwing a benefit, then you know that they generally cost more than they profit. And why is that? Well because like any other business there are operational cost, any margins above those cost equals a profit which goes back to the owner’s pocket. But NONE of this goes in Zachary Levi’s pocket. All proceeds go to Operation Smile after the cost of the function. If it wasn’t for the Nerd Machine, Operation Smile would have $415,000 less than they do now, helping save kids lives, so please consider that.

What about the parties? Yes, Nerd Machine does host incredibly popular and hard-to-get-into industry parties, but what company doesn’t do this during Comic-Con? Would I give anything to get into one of these celebrity-filled parties at NerdHQ? Heck yes I would, but that isn’t why you go to NerdHQ. You go for the experience.

Latino Review’s own writer El Mayinbe really surprised me with this one, because he is generally in favor of nerdy things. You would think he would be for a free event in the heart of San Diego, a Latino-filled community which Latino Review generally supports.

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What’s funny about this string is how someone mentions that the hot girlfriend was turned away for not being on the guest list when her boyfriend was. Why does it matter if she is hot or not? Anyone see a bit of a sexist double standard set here? Each of Zachary Levi’s movies have grossed over 200 million dollars. Yes and if you research his net worth, you will see it is not 200 million dollars. Rumor has it that Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth were both paid less than a million for their first appearances as Captain America and Thor, so that argument is absolutely illogical.

Yes, not a single donor gets a perk, and why is that? If you have ever sponsored a crowd-funded campaign, you know those perks cost quite a bit of money, and by donating you can help create this free and awesome event that you can go to IN PERSON. How is this not the best perk of all? I have been to Nerd HQ as both just a regular person and as media. And I can tell you, Zachary Levi isn’t just partying while he is there. He is running around like a chicken with his head cut off organizing, and going in on the panels making sure everything is running smoothly! He was hands down the hardest working person there next to his redheaded friend who worked there.

Now let’s talk about the panels. A 200-person panel is nearly unheard of at Comic-Con. Can you picture how close you are to the celebrities you are there to see? You can actually hear them because they are that close to you. Do you need to camp out for these overnight like my friends did? No, you pay $15-25 for a ticket, which again all proceeds go to the charity Operation Smile. And you will not have to worry about missing the biggest day of the convention to sit outside under the hot sun and cold night (see what a panel is like here). It is a MUCH more intimate experience where you feel like you are actually getting to know the celebrities you adore. I met some legendary nerds, including Levi himself, as a regular attendee. How many people can say they met or took pictures at Comic-Con without paying to do so?


As someone who has gone to SDCC multiple times, I can tell you that its extremely crowded, smelly, and fun. It is something you should definitely experience but it’s not as personal as NerdHQ is. Last summer I only went to NerdHQ events and had just as much fun as I did at the other conventions before. I’ve met more celebrities, paid a lot less money, and got to experience new things that SDCC just doesn’t offer. The experience of Nerd HQ is something you will never forget, and best of all is that if it happens, it’s free for you and all your friends. Why not donate as little as five bucks to something that is beneficial for everyone?! I donated $10 today, and will be donating money every week to help support something I wholeheartedly support.


If you would like to support NerdHQ, go to their IndieGoGo campaign page here where you can learn more about it, share the campaign, and donate to it.

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