Nerd HQ 2013: A Look Back

nerdhq13lookingback Separator

by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)



It’s been a week since I landed in San Diego to participate in my first Nerd HQ experience. I really had no idea what I should expect. I knew what I was looking forward to; knew the panels I was going to go to. But had no notion of what I would learn. Yes, good reader, I learned something. It wasn’t really anything to do with the wonderful celebrities who donated their time. It wasn’t about how much I love all things nerd. It wasn’t about San Diego, or The Nerd Machine family, though I met many members of that family, and am happy to be a part of it. What I learned can only be described as the ontological importance of story.

What does that mean? A mighty fine question. Something that rang true throughout the entire Nerd HQ experience is the idea of story as an ontological certainty. Let me see if I can explain that a little bit. The term, Logos in Greek is generally understood as “Word.” But, like most Greek terms, it has a plethora of other, similar, meanings, like “record, account,” and even “story.” So a single word, a single logos tells a story.

When Treebeard meets Merry and Pipin in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, he tells the hobbits that the elves woke the trees up in order to talk to them. That each tree has its own name, and that name tells the story of the tree itself. Tolkien gets this notion from some of the early Christian mystics like Maximos the Confessor who wrote that each created thing, each person, has within it, within himself or herself, an internal logos. I have within myself a logos, as do each of you. Each one of us is, in a very real sense, a story. And each story is unique.

Like many of you, I spent much of last weekend listening to people who are writers, directors, producers or actors, and the one thing all of these people have in common, regardless of their actual level of nerd knowledge, is the reality of story itself and their participation in it. Tom Hiddleston said something quite profound in his panel, and I hope you all caught it. To paraphrase, he said that an actor’s job is to reveal the truth of the human condition within a fictional story. This is what story is all about. This is why we need stories. The human race cannot survive without stories. Science can tell us about the natural world. To a certain degree it can tell us how we are constructed, how we live and grow, what is physically possible and what isn’t. But science cannot tell you who you are.

That question is reserved for story alone. Tolkien describes fantasy as actually more real than real. He disdained the idea of escapism, this notion that people would read fantasy, sci-fi, comics, heroic legends, and on and on, to “escape reality.” For him, this fantasy was nearer to the truth about the human person. Think about why we love what we love. When I think about why Chuck Bartowski is a soteriological hero, or why Loki is an apt reflection of our brokenness, or the simple faith of Kaylee in her Captain Mal, I am left with the knowledge that these characters, these stories, fictional though they may be, tell me something about myself, about all of us.

They are not simply fantasies, or escapes. Rather, they point us to something more real than real. Over a hundred thousand people flocked to San Diego because we wanted to get close to and, if possible, participate just a little bit in the stories that have touched our lives, that have influenced us, that have helped us through pain and suffering, and given us language to express our joys and loves. As evidenced at just about every panel of Nerd HQ, many of us wanted to thank those who’ve told our favorite stories, the ones that helped us through, to see the light, to keep struggling against loss and oppression. Some may find it foolish that we put so much stock in this yearly event. Some may not get it. But that’s okay. They have their own stories, their own narratives whether they realize it or not. Nerds realize it. We know the power of story. We are unabashedly and unapologetically drawn to it.

But why? Because you, reading this right now, are a story. Your life is a story, unique, and unrepeatable. You live a story, but not some fiction, not some fairy tale. In your life right now there are antagonists, obstacles, joys, pains, loves, losses, conflict, pacing, characters and so on. Everything that makes up a story revolves around you on a daily basis. However, as a completely unique story, yours is your own to decide. It is your choice how to deal with pain or joy. It is your choice to overcome or submit. It is your choice to gamble on love or chicken out. It is within you to choose to see the good in others. Your story is not finished. You do not have to stay where you are. You can progress. You can grow, and develop. You can be healed. You can become the soteriological hero and save the world.

Your life, your irreplaceable life, is a wonderful story that deserves to be told. You have one life, one story to tell. I hope and pray you’ll make it a good one.


    37 Comments

  1. MeganJuly 29th, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Is always a highlight of SDCC! They put on such a fun time! I was so excited to finally get a photo booth photo with Nathan this year! Thank you for making that happen and for making so many children’s dreams come true!
    xo

  2. JanJuly 29th, 2013 at 8:53 am

    It’s always such a great place to gather…friendly people, games, food & drink…and The Conversations for a Cause are awesome. The fact that Operation Smile benefits just makes it even better. Thank you 🙂

  3. Manthan ThakerJuly 29th, 2013 at 8:54 am

    My favorite part outside of all the panelists donating time for Operation Smile, would definitely be Richard Madden’s panel (The story about the wolves was pretty awesome!) with Matt Smith/Jenna-Louise Coleman making an appearance!

  4. PhilJuly 29th, 2013 at 8:57 am

    NerdHQ was my highlight of my first SDCC. Part of my reasoning to make the trek to San Diego from Buffalo, NY was getting to see NerdHQ. I only had two days in SD, getting in Friday morning and leaving early Sunday.

    My favorite moment was Zac’s Mystery Panel on Friday. My flight landed at 10:15 i had to get to Petco by 10:45 to make the panel. I made it with time to spare and it was the highlight of my weekend. Sitting there watching Zac bring out Rob, Alan, and Nathan I couldn’t believe it. I knew the trip was worth it when I walked in. 14 hours before that I was watching the panels on youtube in my living room, now I was there and it was perfect. That panel was the first thing I did that weekend and I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my first Con, not to mention Serenity on the field was the last thing I did. NerdHQ made the convention worth it for me, I only had a badge for Saturday, but am already planning on going next year badge or not because of NerdHQ.

    Thank you!

  5. TiffannieJuly 29th, 2013 at 8:57 am

    I only got to partake of Nerd HQ for a few hours, and it’s grown exponentially in the last two years. I was sad to only be there for a bit, but that was the best part – I could only be there for a few minutes, but those few minutes were a blast? My highlight? Nathan Fillion’s commentary during the first few minutes of “Serenity.” It was just, plain fun. Thank you for doing it for us and for Operation Smile.

  6. LoriJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:02 am

    I never can make it to SDCC, but watching these panels always makes me feel as if I were there. It is such an amazing concept to raise money for such a good cause and give fans a chance to personally express their profound gratitude to those they admire for telling the stories we all love.

  7. lady_CroftJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Great article, as always! 🙂 My story isn’t the most exciting or interesting, but as you said, it’s my own 😀
    I like to live through someone else’s stories though. I like a quote that goes around on FB and Pinterest – that through books, movies, games you live more than one life 🙂

  8. CalebJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I really enjoyed the live stream, I’m unable to go to San Diego, so it was great being able to get a taste of what went on.

  9. JayneJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Thanks Kevin, that was an excellent article.

    As someone who only watched Nerd HQ from a distance online, I think it definitely finished on a high note with Tom’s panel. One night I even set my alarm for 2am to get up & listen to Zac’s panel live online, no I’m not crazy!! 😉

    I think what I liked most was the personal & intimate feel of the panels. Although Nerd HQ has grown exponentially in the last 3 years, it has thankfully still maintained the personal touch. I was amazed at the amount of celebrities who donated their time as well, and who were so open & honest with their answers.

    Long may Nerd HQ continue – I think many lives were changed for the better as a result of last weekend.

  10. MichaelJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:07 am

    The best part for me was being able to get into the panels and have actual conversations with actors and directors who are people too. Not one of them came in with an air of being better than anyone else. They answered questions as honest as possible (and if they weren’t honest then kudos they are great at their craft). I mean they cared enough to donate their time to not only the fans but the money their panels raised was all for charity and not their pockets and that is way cool. Also the fact that Nathan just played moderator for most of the panels was great and I am sure it helped Zach out quite a bit.

    This is the first of what I hope to be many bi-annual visits for me to SDCC and Nerd HQ!

  11. ChloeJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I loved watching all of the Nerd HQ panels, but i’d have to say that my favorite was Tom Hiddlestons!! He is a really inspirational, fun and positive person and he was amazing to watch! Plus his velociraptor impression was perfect!

  12. RDlenixJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Bingo.

    I was not expecting to come away from Comic Con changed, yet here I sit seeing the world a little differently. The Saturday I was at Comic Con I got the worst news: My grandma had passed away. I was on the trolley with my friend as we headed back to the hotel to get our stuff for the Serenity screening later that night when I got the voicemail from my mom telling me she had passed. I felt like the air had been knocked out of me. I knew I had to soldier on and still enjoy myself, but it was hard knowing she was gone and I was in San Diego having fun. I felt guilty.

    With a heavy heart I hung out at NerdHQ for a bit. I had tickets to the Richard Madden conversation and by golly I was going to go and enjoy getting to hear from him. The most profound moment for me at the conversation however was not Richard Madden (or the fact I talked to him, squee!), but the fact Matt Smith came busting through the door about halfway through and surprised everyone.

    For a minute he wasn’t Matt Smith, he was the Doctor, and he brought a smile to this sad girl’s face. His presence there lifted my spirits because for a few moments the Doctor had come to cheer me up with his ridiculous smile.

    That is the kind of thing that happens at NerdHQ that doesn’t occur anywhere else at the convention.

    Later that evening I got to sit on a baseball field and watch Serenity with a ton of fans like myself, and that raised my spirits too. Getting to see the community that had been built up by something like NerdHQ was beautiful, and as I settled onto my blanket to watch the movie I realized I wasn’t alone in my sadness. I had a ton of people around me all brimming with life and excitement.

    Ultimately I think what Zachary Levi and his friends have done is what people SHOULD do. He created a community where there wasn’t one before. He created a safe place for people to go. A place where people can feel loved, cared for, and can just relax in the midst of a busy convention schedule. He has created a place where people can find meaning and purpose and feel like they belong. I had the chance to tell him this at NerdHQ, but I’ll say it again: This is the church. This is what the church is supposed to be. Not those people outside of the convention waving around signs, reading out of the Bible. Not the big buildings that fill up with people on a Sunday morning.

    Church happens where people get together and love on each other. Church happens in places where people feel safe and cared for. Church happens at NerdHQ and it isn’t the church that everyone thinks of, but rather a new kind of church that has more meaning than Sunday mornings sitting in a building listening to a message. Zach and his team are living out the word is a way that is beneficial and that touches lives…and I appreciate him for that. I appreciate NerdHQ for that.

    Just as you said, it is a place for people’s stories to come together and for all of us – in all our brokenness, sadness, mourning, and whatever else plagues us – to just live and love and play and be.

    I’m grateful for that.

    I’ll stop rambling now.

  13. DavidJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Nerd HQ was once again the highlight of my Comic-Con week. The 6 panels and the screening of Serenity were all amazing. I would say my favorite memory from this year was when Alan Tudyk raised a little bit more money by getting Nathan Fillion to drink some of the medicine that they were auctioning off. The facial reaction from just the smell alone would have been enough, but Nathan drank it and gave the best “bitter beer” face ever. If I am unable to get Comic-Con tickets next year, i know everything will be fine as long as Nerd HQ is still there.

  14. AlisonJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:17 am

    So many moments to choose from.

    Dancing the night away at the Nerd Party. Derailing Zac in his panel with my offer to buy his clone (I’m still waiting). Literally bumping into Nathan Fillion leaving the Nerd Party, both being so Canadian we couldn’t help but apologize to each other. Watching Tom Hiddleston do his velociraptor impression or listening to his profound words about only having one life to live so get out there and live it. Making a sizable donation to Operation Smile and knowing that I personally helped change the live of five children.

    Every year I don’t think it can get better, and every year it does. Thank you to everyone at The Nerd Machine who makes this event possible, thank you for connecting me with people so similar to me that I can’t help but love them and call them family. They are the reason I keep going back, keep wanting to be a better person and make a difference in this world. <3

  15. MattJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:28 am

    The people I met were amazing and the panels were great. I love the cause (my cousin was born with a cleft palate) and I am happy to spend a bit of cash to go to the panels.

    I honestly can’t decide what was my favorite part… Meeting Zachary Levi on the first day and getting a photo with my family and him, meeting Nathan Fillion on the street and getting a shot while on the move to another venue, going to the Psych panel, going to the Zachary Levi mystery panel, or watching Serenity on the big screen with thousands of other fans. It was an amazing vacation and I plan to attend again next year with my family and a few new friends. I can’t wait to see who they get lined up for next year!

  16. ChelseaJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Very nice article Kevin!
    The highlight of Nerd HQ for me was how it made me want to help people smile. Not in the same way as Zac but helping people smile in general. I saw all the great things he was doing and wants to do for his fans AND for the world basically. This made me come up with a movement called “Nice4AChange” where I basically comment to everyone on my FB friends list something nice about themselves or what they do. I want to be able to say I made at least one person smile a day. I think everyone should strive for that as well.
    Who would have thought Nerd HQ would change my outlook? Not me, but I’m very thankful it did. Oh and the whole atmosphere of the place wasn’t too bad either 😉 God Bless 🙂

  17. EmilyJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I have never been to SDCC. I had never been to Nerd HQ. But when I just happened to be on vacation in LA at the same time this was happening, I knew I had to make the effort to go, even if for one day. I was not disappointed! The Nerd HQ staff was so great and the whole experience exceeded my expectations. The highlight was obviously being in the same room as Zachary, Nathan Fillion, and Alan Tudyk, three guys I have loved and admired for a long time. But really, the whole day was just magical. And then days later getting stopped by one of the Nerd HQ workers at an Olive Garden in Burbank just because she noticed our Nerd Machine shirt…well, just proves that this community is awesome and so welcoming. Thank you to all who helped put it together!

  18. MalJuly 29th, 2013 at 10:10 am

    I’ve gone to NERD HQ for the past three years. Each event was better than the last, but TNM out-did themselves this year. I had so much fun and experienced so many great things. My greatest experiance, though, was meeting Evangeline Lilly.

    Let me tell you about Evangeline Lilly. While I was hanging out with some of my Nerd Machine friends at NERD HQ, I happened to sit in the area where Youtube’s “What’s Trending” channel would be interviewing Evangeline. She was there to promote her new children’s book, “The Squickerwonkers”. About halfway through the interview, she and the interviewers asked the audience if they’d like to ask any questions about the book. Since nobody raised their hand, I figured I would. I imagined I’d just stand up, be handed a mic, ask my question, and sit back down. Nope. Evangeline (and the interviewers) actually had me get up onto the stage, take one of the interviewer’s seats, and ask my question directly to her on camera. I have never seen a star be so nice and sweet to one of their fans like she did. I was so touched, in fact, that I typed out a letter for her conveying my gratitude for the experience and letting her know that it was my eighteenth birthday that very day. I bought tickets for her Saturday Swickerwonkers panel/book signing at NERD HQ. During her panel, she actually recognized and remembered almost everyone who asked a question that she had met over the past two days at the con. You can tell she is incredibly interested in the lives and conversations she has with her fans. After her panel, she stayed at NERD HQ for what, to my understanding, was two hours selling and signing her book along with taking a picture with every single person in line (over two hundred people). When I got to the front, she remembered me right away. I said hi and gave her my letter. I figured she’d put it in her pocket and read it after her signing or maybe just forget about it. Nope. She opened it up right then and there and read the whole thing. She said she was so touched and wished me a happy birthday. After our picture she gave me a birthday hug and I said goodbye and thanked her again. And that was the last of our little meet-ups.

    Basically Evangeline Lilly is an amazing actress, an amazing writer, and most importantly, a truly amazing and down to earth person in general. And I thank her for not only making my 18th birthday the best birthday I’ve ever had, but also for making NERD HQ all the more wonderful.

  19. MelsJuly 29th, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I miss everyone. Being able to work with people and chat with people and laugh with people whose interests are so in line with my own was life-changing. Nerd HQ was able to raise nearly $200,000 dollars this year for Operation Smile and this fact alone warms my hear more than anything else.

    I was able to attend the last panel of the week, Tom Hiddleston, and it truly was an in-depth conversation with someone who cherishes and is so passionate about their work. He is a truly remarkable individual.

    You all have such a profound effect on me. There’s a feeling you get, your chest quite literally begins to ache and it’s not something that will go away with painkillers or breathing techniques; that kind of homesickness that sticks to your ribs, still desperate for a home that isn’t quite home, the feeling of belonging and shared kinship that can’t be replicated with the unfortunate strangers we call friends and family. That is what everyone at Nerd HQ, staff and guests both, gave to me.

    Peter once said, “You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”

    To say “I love and appreciate you” is not enough. Nothing ever will be. Thank you all, you scrappy and kindred volunteers and staff, for making Nerd HQ 2013 something that is able to do so much good for so many around the world. It has reserved a place in the deepest reaches of my heart.

    Hope to see you all again in 2014….Don’t be strangers, eh? 🙂

  20. Bridge LeviJuly 29th, 2013 at 10:26 am

    I love that even though I had no access to go to the con this year, that Nerd HQ is willing to share the conversations via internet, unlike *cough* comic con *cough* I mean E3 is all about sharing information, sucky that I can’t get to see panels.

  21. Noella JamesJuly 29th, 2013 at 10:30 am

    First of all, beautiful article.
    I had never heard of Nerd HQ or the Ned Machine before last week. I live in Asia, and I’d been watching footage of Comic Con all weekend, alternately crying and cursing myself for not being able to be there. Then, on Monday morning, a friend of mine texted me saying I HAD to watch the video of Tom Hiddleston on Nerd HQ. I was like “What is Nerd HQ?” She explained to me what it was, sent me a link to the website and the YouTube channel, and I was SO excited. Unfortunately I had to go to college, so I couldn’t start watching at once. That night, we both synced our watches and started watched the Tom Hiddleston vid. It was amazing. Tom, of course, was a sweetheart, but the whole idea of an atmosphere like that where people got to interact with celebs, I just felt so…so…I don’t know. It just felt nice to see and know that something like this existed. I went on to watch the panel with Zachary Levi, and again, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of something as brilliant as this before. I checked out the website, watched more videos, and was (still am, in fact) so excited to have been introduced to The Nerd Machine.
    I think my favourite part of Nerd HQ was the panel with Zachary Levi (“This is bonus time!! It’s bonus tiiiiime…bonus time with Zaaach”). Esp. the end when he got kind of teary. I think he’s an amazing man, with a powerful vision and I’m honoured that I got to be a part of the panel, even if only from thousands of miles away.
    God bless you Zach, and thank you, SO MUCH, for starting and for being a part of something so, so, heart-warming.

  22. KristinaJuly 29th, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I experienced my first SDCC this year. Even though I was going down for work I KNEW I had to make some time to go to NerdHQ. I was lucky enough to get tickets to Joss Whedon’s panel and it was amazing (like I knew it would be). But the best part was that Nathan Fillion hosted it. I wasn’t able to get tickets to either of his panels (they sold out in what, like 20 seconds?) so when he walked out on stage Saturday morning I was very very excited….so much so my friend had to grab my camera before it fell off my lap. It totally made my weekend.

    I also love that the live streams are archived. I spent a lot of my time on Sunday sitting in bed watching all the panels I missed and recovering from what was a pretty awesome first SDCC. Can’t wait till next year.

  23. JuliaJuly 29th, 2013 at 11:39 am

    For the longest time I have dreamed of going to SDCC, but living in a country so far away and without the resources to do so, my dream is still just that. This dream, however, has changed without me realizing so until now. I no longer only want to go to SDCC but I find myself being more and more enticed by Nerd HQ. I guess it has got to do with how intimate the Nerd HQ experience is compared to the (marvelous) monstrosity that SDCC is. From what I can see in the videos of the Conversations, it’s obvious to me that not only the guests but also the fans feel more relaxed and enjoy themselves so much more. A sign of this is that I have found myself watching and thoroughly enjoying panels of shows and people that I didn’t know. Nerd HQ brings out the best in people, so who wouldn’t want to be there and be a part of it?

    As for my favorite part this year? I has to be Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles telling the story of how they were rushed through the streets, driving on sidewalks and all, by the amazing Nerd HQ security detail so they could be there on time. They clearly had the greatest time of their lives 😀 http://youtu.be/kqiWrGw36ZM?t=18m30s

    Thank you for all the hard work you put into this. It’s a fantastic win-win situation and for such a great cause.

  24. MaggieJuly 29th, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    This was our first time at the SDCC and one of the highlights was Nerd HQ. Wish we had found out about Nerd HQ sooner, as most of the panels were sold out, but the Serenity screening was fabulous.

  25. StephanieJuly 29th, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    This was a fantastic article and really does sum up the week quite well. I too learned something from Nerd HQ this year, in addition to having a blast hanging out, meeting people, attending fantastic panels, and of course, dancing my ass off Thursday night.

    The theme I picked up on was to live each day as if it were your last. This was mentioned several times in a few panels and I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve had such a lazy, boring life compared to these amazing actors/artists who have accomplished so much by the time they were my age. But I recall, I think Tom in his panel, saying we all have a story, but it’s how we tell it, and by that, meaning the way it’s told is by what life experiences we’ve have had. Have you really experienced everything you possibly could?

    I’ve recently been trying to be bold and jump out of my comfort zone and take chances, because reflecting on my life, I’ve never regretting doing something, I’ve only regretting NOT doing something. I’m 26 years old and i’ve struggled with finding out what it is I want to do with my life. And not only that, but I believe in living a life where you make a difference, even if it’s in a small way.

    I moved across the country last year, which was a big step, but I’m still just waiting tables, living every day plainly. I’ve decided to go back to school, and in doing so, I’ve received a Pell Grant to cover my tuition 100%. I can’t help but take this as a sign to really focus in school, and accomplish my goals, and find my place in this world, make a difference, and enjoy every minute of it.

  26. PhillipJuly 29th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Without a doubt the panels! The mysterious panel was hilarious!

  27. ScottJuly 29th, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Following a common theme here, this was my first SDCC. Technically, I haven’t had my first one yet as I had no tickets for the convention itself. The 16th had been my birthday and tickets or not, I was gonna be there. Nerd HQ was the main reason I knew I would have a good time without con tickets. Waiting in line for Nerd HQ to open on Thursday morning was a revelation in itself. I was surrounded by people who were all different and just like me at the same time. Conversations would just start, people come and go, subjects flow from one to the next organically. And at no time did anyone not feel included. How amazing is that!

    Within a half hour of Nerd HQ opening that first morning, I was near the top of the steps chatting with one of the people I’d just met. Who should walk by but Zach Levi. He slid through the crowd, smiling, greeting, giving a hug here or there. Just a genuine and happy to see you kind of guy. The whole trip was made worthwhile right there. I was able to exchange a few words with him, show him the ‘Chuck’ wallpaper that has always been on my tablet and get a picture with the man.

    Between Nerd HQ and the Geek and Sundry lounge, I had more than enough to keep me going. The panels were great. Felicia Day walked by and I complimented her on the Guild book that had just came out. Got a picture with her as well. Every day, if I stopped for more that a few minutes or stood in a line, I would make some new acquaintance and talk and walk for however long we wished. At some point paths would diverge, I would then end up repeating this again and again. For me, it could have ended Saturday night when the credits rolled on Serenity.

    I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to all involved with Nerd HQ. It’s the people that make the experience after all. There can be no doubt I met lots of good people.

  28. LorettaJuly 29th, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I loved being able to watch the panels as I wasn’t fortunate enough to make it to San Diego. But I can honestly say that my favorite part about Nerd HQ was the funds that went to Operation Smile. A smile is so much more than what it is perceived to be. Smiling at someone can instantly make their day better and the simple fact that Zac puts so much effort into raising money speaks volumes on his character and it warms my heart that there are children who are getting a second chance at living. The wonderful actors who donated their time for such a wonderful charity were amazing. I also loved that you could really see how much each of the actors really do value their fans and appreciate the love that we have for them.

  29. CourtneyJuly 29th, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    This was my first year out to San Diego. I didn’t even have a badge to comic con, but came specifically for Nerd HQ. It was so worth it. Managed to get in to a couple of panels, but beyond that, just getting to take in the excitement of everyone there, talk to so many awesome people, and I LOVED the arcade games. Getting free plays on Galaga was kind of perfect. After watching the awesomeness that is Nerd HQ online for the past 2 years it was amazing to finally experience it in person.

  30. Cathy GJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Of course the panels I attended were wonderful. Something that made them even more fun was talking with the people in line with me or sitting next to me. I met some very sweet nerds who didn’t mind talking a bit before the panels. What a magical place, Nerd HQ!

  31. TiffanyJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    There were so many moments at Nerd HQ that could easily be recollected as a favorite. But in truth, Tom Hiddleston’s panel held a well of both inspirational quotes and side-splitting moments. Tom’s impersonation of Zac is hilarious and forever embedded in my mind! I think that particular conversation culminated into a beautiful symphony of tender thoughts from an artist to a raptured audience all the way to the enigma of that same artist re-enacting a raptor. And all for a good cause! Love it!

  32. JeanettaJuly 29th, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Great article.
    “It is your choice how to deal with pain or joy. It is your choice to overcome or submit. It is your choice to gamble on love or chicken out. It is within you to choose to see the good in others. Your story is not finished.”
    I particularly loved this part.

  33. PerryKeetTweetsJuly 29th, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    My favorite moment was during the Mystery Panel, when @ticobell without hesitation offered up help to a distraught guest. The visitor from Australia had just explained why she couldn’t stay composed in thanking the panelists for this experience with their fans, a bittersweet moment for her since she’d just had her valuables stolen. This moment is at the core of what makes Nerd HQ so special. Tom Hiddleston described it in his panel as, “you enter as an individual and you leave as a group”. Even strangers can reach out to each other to inspire kindness and hope. Oh yeah, and then Nathan Fillion swooped in, buying the woman the next four meals she couldn’t pay for herself.

  34. Beth SassJuly 30th, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Can I say everything? First time to NerdHQ and won’t be my last. I had a blast at the Nerd dance party, dancing till 2am. Especially loved Zac’s panel as well as Nathan’s panel. (Though all that panels were amazing) It was also really fun having Nathan and Alan around to host some of the panels as well. Can’t wait to see how you guys top this next year!

  35. LynseyJuly 30th, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Reading the stories on this page, I realize that my favorite part of Nerd HQ was how the event itself so successfully mobilized hope, honored creativity, and provided a safe milieu for balls-out FUN & spirited conversations between so many talented artists & their fans.

    For one glorious weekend, everyone, from NerdHQ attendees, to the volunteers, professional talent, BTS employees, and even the sponsors who kept the lights on, were granted the opportunity to feel like we each were a vital part of something bigger than ourselves.

    NerdHQ wrapped all of that up in the context of a beautiful entrepreneurial package that Zac Levy described as “conscientious capitalism” (Tom Hiddleston “Conversation” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLX-tdqEjUg). It’s just really humbling to know that so many other ‘nerds’ feel comfortable sharing their inspirational moments from NerdHQ. (& originally, I was just going to comment on my pride in breaking into the top 10 scores on the Centipede arcade 🙂 ).

  36. SondraJuly 30th, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I could not make it to San Diego. Hopefully next year I can..But I am so appreciative of Nerd HQ for live streaming the panels. I watched them all. I plan on donating to Operation Smile because I want to be part of this experience. I especially loved the Tom Hiddleston panel, (good call Zac) and Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk had me falling from my chair laughing. Such great entertainers.To Nerd HQ and everyone involved, thank you, thank you, thank you.

  37. SharlzGJuly 31st, 2013 at 1:19 am

    I’m still trying to get to SDCC (it’s a long way, and costly, from Australia) but when I finally get the chance, Nerd HQ will be at the top of my list – I love the intimate casual atmosphere and the guests are always great and entertaining. More importantly, it’s really great to know that I’d be spending my money on a far more worthy cause than buying more geeky stuff that I need to find room for.

    I really appreciate that you give the nerds at home the ability to join you via all the various social media, and to keep up via YouTube and am happy to add my donation even if I couldn’t be there to give it in person.

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