By: Nerd on the Run aka Els
I was fortunate enough to attend Nerd HQ for the second time this year, and it has become my favorite & most looked forward to event of San Diego Comic Con weekend!
While Nerd HQ 2014 was similar to last year’s epic event, I believe Zac & the Nerd Machine made an even better experience this year. And of course as with the three previous HQ’s, there was no SDCC badge required to attend, and the event was free to enter! Here were a few AMAZING changes to 2014s Nerd HQ:
*New Tech: The Nerd Machine launched an app (available for both Apple and Android devices) making all the Nerd HQ news & alerts for the weekend available in one place. In the beginning the app did have a few bugs, but by the time my plane landed in San Diego the app was running smoothly. And it was FANTASTIC!
The app had listings for all the upcoming Conversations for a Cause, a place for last minute celebrity and/or panel alerts, and The Nerd Machine's Facebook/Twitter/Website easily accessible within the app. The Nerd Machine also incorporated RFID technology this year. Once you downloaded the HQ app, there was a place to register. This free registration allowed you to connect YOUR social media and mobile device to a code that would be uniquely yours. Upon arrival at HQ, you would show the confirmation code you registered and receive an RFID bracelet (and an awesome fancy medallion necklace). This bracelet was awesome because if you took photos at the photo booth, you could scan the bracelet and your photos would automatically be sent to your social media sites and mobile phone. With the tech, you could also check in for panels or at Nerd HQ itself. While the bracelets did have a few issues, they were fixed as quickly as possible and worked well for me the rest of the weekend.
*MORE Celeb Interactions: There were 31 Conversations for a Cause this year, and while many panelists returned from years past, there were also new panelists added this year. Some of the conversations included: Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Zachary Levi, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Sesame Street, Orphan Black, The Maze Runner, and Stephen Amell. Ticket sales went roughly the same as last year, and sold out just as quickly! There were also more Smiles for Smiles opportunities with awesome celebs this year. Some included: Zachary Levi, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Yvonne Strahovski, Retta, Missy Peregrym, Sesame Street, and Jason Ritter. Once again, the tickets for any Conversation for a Cause were $22 and all proceeds went to Operation Smile. Smiles for Smiles were $20 (cash only) and also went to the charity.
*Other: Nerd HQ is a fantastic place for celebrity interactions and intimate panels, but there was still plenty more to do! There were green screen photo booths by Intel, a 22 minute Alien Isolation demo (you’ll have to ask The Gamer Geek about that one!), as well as time to catch up with friends and make some new ones.
Overall, I truly believe Zac and the Nerd Machine put on an incredibly fun and successful event. (And if you weren’t able to attend or missed a sold-out panel, the Nerd Machine has graciously put the conversations on their You Tube channel for your viewing pleasure!) But what’s even better was that us nerds raised OVER $260,000 for Operation Smile. That is over 1000 children’s lives CHANGED forever. I hope that Nerd HQ continues this amazing and charitable event in the years to come!!