Sunday, January 26, 2014

SDCC: Nerd HQ Tips & Tricks!

{Editor's Note:  Fun fact, Els and I met for the first time in person at 2013's SDCC!  We clicked immediately!  We walked and talked through the floor together AND met at the Nerd HQ Serenity screening.  We were insta-nerd-friends!  She spent so much time at Nerd HQ that year, I HAD to ask her to share her tips with YOU!  So here is MY Nerd HQ go to gal with her tips and tricks on conquering the HQ and having an amazing time WITHOUT an SDCC badge!}

By:  Els aka Nerd on the Run {Learn more about Els in our Geek Girls Gab interview!}

Having only scored a San Diego Comic Con ticket for one day last year, I spent most of my time at Nerd HQ.  And let me tell you, it was so worth it.  Nerd HQ is hosted by Zachary Levi (actor in Chuck, Tangled, Thor: TDW), and his company The Nerd Machine.  
Held at Petco Park last year, HQ was the perfect place to combat the craziness of the Con while still getting the complete nerd experience and you didn't need a SDCC badge to attend. Couches were equipped with charging stations, and stadium food and drinks were easily accessible.  As a gamer, I loved the free to play Xbox & PC gaming stations as well as the retro arcade games.  I also loved the professional photo booths set up around HQ.  They were also free, and you could go take as many photos as you wanted with whomever you wanted.  Once you took a photo, you were able to e-mail yourself a digital copy as well as receive an actual print out.  And to even make Nerd HQ even more epic, they hosted big events throughout the weekend such as:
*Nerd party:  Kicking it off on a Thursday night, Zac throws a huge dance party.  And trust me…you would NOT want to miss it.  Many celebrities showed up ready to dance the night away, and the DJ last year was incredible.  It was an entire night of FUN and a great way to release SDCC stress. {FREE to enter and all ages}.
*Serenity screening: Thousands of us Browncoats (complete with our Jayne hats) descended onto the Petco Park baseball field to watch our beloved movie on a giant jumbo screen.  And as an added bonus, Captain Mal Reynolds and Wash themselves joined us and provided hilarious commentary.  Tickets (around $15) were very easy to get, and all the proceeds went to Operation Smile.
*Conversations for a Cause:  Similar to SDCC, there were numerous panels all weekend.  Only 250 people were allowed in each panel, but it created a more intimate setting between the panelists and fans.  Last year some of the panels included:  Doctor Who, Nathan Fillion, Zachary Levi, Supernatural, Joss Whedon, and Tom Hiddleston.  Tickets were purchased ahead of time, and cost around $22.  All of the proceeds went to Operation Smile.  
*Smiles for Smiles:  This was an opportunity to meet and take a picture with your favorite actor/actress!  Some celebrities that participated last year were:  Zachary Levi (he did one at least every day), Nathan Fillion, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Stan Lee.  While the photo booth was normally free, if you wanted to participate in a Smiles for Smiles the cost was $20 – with the money directly donated to Operation Smile. 

{Tips & Tricks}
*Twitter:  I cannot stress this enough…follow the Nerd Machine (@thenerdmachine) and Zachary Levi (@ZacharyLevi) on Twitter!  Any and all updates will be tweeted out, so I suggest having their tweets sent directly to your phone.  Last minute Smiles for Smiles were constantly announced via Twitter, as well as any additional available tickets to panels. {How to set tweets to text your phone}

*Cash:  If you want a photo with a celebrity during a Smiles for Smiles, it’s cash only.
*Tickets: Just like with SDCC, scoring panel tickets can come down to luck.  My best advice is if multiple panels are going on sale at the same time, pick the one you want to go to the most.  You may be able to buy tickets for other panels, but make sure you go for the one you just have to attend – it all sells out quickly.  Last year some tickets weren’t released until I was already in San Diego…but I was able to purchase tickets on my iPad from my hotel room, so buying tickets on a mobile device shouldn’t be a problem.
*Charity:  Remember this weekend is also about charity!  Any panel, Smiles for Smiles, or auction you participate in is a direct donation to Operation Smile.  So feel good about helping those in need while having once in a lifetime experiences!  Take a time to thank TNM, the volunteers, and all involved with Nerd HQ for being generous with their time.

{Comment below if you have any additional questions about San Diego Comic Con. You can also check out our San Diego Comic Con Guide for more useful tips and tricks!  If this post helped you, share please share it with your friends!}

22 comments:

  1. Wonderful event! If I couldn't score all the panel tickets I wanted, all the panels were live streamed so I could still watch as the event was happening with my iPad on a comfy couch at the HQ, as I did a couple of times.:) Great location. Hope they're back at Petco again this year!

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    1. What a good idea, I never thought of that, thank you for sharing!

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    2. Can you please tell me where I can buy tickets for panels ahead of time? I've been trying to find out where and haven't had any luck is it on the website? I'm sorry if this sounds super dumb but it's the first that I've wanted to attend something like this so I don't know anything lol so please and thank you :)

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    3. The tickets for the Nerd HQ panels will go on sale sometime in July. Before SDCC and sometimes even during. You need to keep an eye out on their Twitter account. Their schedule doesn't come out until after SDCCs which is usually the first week in July.

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  2. I love Nerd HQ because it gives back, and isn't just "for profit" seems like a good atmosphere.

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    1. Joie, I love the charity aspect too, makes me more loose with my money, knowing it is going to a good cause!

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  3. I had no idea this existed! Now I wish even more that I could go to SDCC some year! Great tips, thank you for sharing :D

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    1. Miranda, it is such an amazing place to hang out and see celebs! Deff a must see at SDCC!

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  4. This is crazy awesome! I actually work at Petco and never knew they had held this!!

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    1. Suteki, thank you for the comment, glad to help! 2013 was the first year Nerd HQ was held in Petco.

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  5. Is there tickets to get into Nerd HQ or just the panels?

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    1. Nerd HQ is free, the panels cost money, tickets go on sale prob in July, so keep a look out! xo

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  6. I can't WAIT to meet you and Els next week and dance our nerdy booties off!!! ��

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  7. AnonymousJuly 18, 2014

    Hey! This is my first year trying to get tickets for some of the Conversations for a Cause panels, and I have a few questions, the answers to which I hope will help me prepare better, if you don't mind! I've tried googling these details, but haven't found any answers.

    1. I see they're using the same ticket vendor and same venue this year, so: Is there assigned seating? Or is it first come, first serve?

    2. If it is first come first serve, how insanely early do people get there?

    3. This is more of a general question and I understand if you can't answer it. I've never been in San Diego during SDCC before and...how crazy does the traffic get? Is a 20 minute Uber ride from my hotel to the park going to take 2 hours?

    Thank you so much in advance!

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    1. Nerd on the RunJuly 18, 2014

      Hi! Of course I can help you out! :D

      1. Yes, they are using Brown Paper Tickets as the ticket vendor again this year. I think the process went relatively smoothly last year, so let's hope its the same again when panel tickets go on sale! Last year once you were able to select the specific Conversation for a Cause, it showed a seating chart. The maximum number of tickets you could purchase last year was 2, and they would be together. So yes, there is assigned seating. I can't remember if you could choose the assigned seats in the checkout or if they were assigned.. but once you purchase you will see a seat row and number.

      2. Tickets for most panels usually sell out quickly once they go live on Brown Paper Tickets. If there are any remaining tickets to a C4AC left before the event, the Nerd Machine might tweet out they have some spare, but that didn't happen often last year. So usually everyone has their ticket to a panel before the event (usually a day or so out, but again, keep on eye on the Nerd Machines twitter/the Nerd HQ app for all incoming details). Last year, people would starting forming in the line before a panel about half hour to an hour in advance... I mean, you do already have your seat! ;) There were AMAZING volunteers that had organized the line by row and then we organized our seat numbers within the line. So there would be an A row with seats 1-10 for example. Then row B, etc. Then we were ushered in by row and got our seats. It was extremely orgazied and worked so well!

      3. I am not from San Diego, but I believe if you are coming from the North the Uber ride should only take 20 or 30 mins.

      I hope this helps you out! Let me know if you need any clarification or have any other questions! Enjoy Nerd HQ and good luck with tickets for the conversations!

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  8. My sister and I went to the Riddick panel last year. It was cool, but it was not a sit down event, so standing for an hour was tough. Most of the panels are sit down, aren't they?

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    1. Nerd on the RunJuly 18, 2014

      Yes, the Conversations for a Cause all have seats! So you can sit during those panels!

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  9. Does anyone know if there are autograph sessions after the panels like they had in 2012 (I didn't attend any panels in 2013)? Or do you know if any celebs sign for donations like the photo booth? Thanks

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  10. Nerd on the RunJuly 19, 2014

    Hi! I only attended HQ 2013, however the Nerd Machine told us that if there was an autograph session it would be listed on the event when you bought your ticket for that panel.

    As for exchanging a photo for a signing instead, I'm not entirely sure, but I'm sure as long as you contribute the $20 like you would for the photo that would be fine! And it may be different depending on the celebrity.

    Hope this helps! :) Hope to see you there!

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  11. StephanieJuly 11, 2015

    Hi, I will be attending next year hopefully if everything goes as planned. My question is, what site should I use to get my SDCC pass and to see what panel people are on? Does anyone have any recomendations? I just wanna be sure the steps I'm taking are the right ones! I've been doing some research so I can get a leg up on stuff! Lol thank you again ahead of time! :)

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  12. Hey i'm sorry this is probably a really stupid question but do you need a Comic Con badge to buy a ticket for Nerd HQ? i have never been to Comic Con before and want to know everything before i start planning it. Thank you

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