post by: Jenn Brown
I’m back home after an epic week. It felt like the year leading up to it was taking forever, and then the weekend flies by so fast.
NerdHQ keeps getting better and keeps topping itself. This year we raised over $260,000! That’s over 1,000 surgeries and 1,000 lives changed forever.
Emotions were definitely running high today, but we kicked it off with a really big bang!
Stephen Amell made his debut appearance to NerdHQ this year, continuing to prove that he’s a down to earth, really good guy who appreciates everyone around him. With his sold out panel and Smiles 4 Smiles, he raised $12,000. While his panel does contain some spoilers for those who haven’t watched the show, it’s still an excellent watch. C’mon, have you seen his abs?! Sinceriously. 😉
Following Stephen, was Wil Wheaton & Felicia Day. Another sold out, standing room only panel, which apparently had a lot of talk about video games and beer. I didn’t get into this one but I do admire them both.
Then came the 2nd panel for Nathan Fillion, but this time he had to have his good buddy, Alan Tudyk, join him on stage. He again auctioned off more “crap”, and raised even more money for Operation Smile.
Next came the cast and creators of Thrilling Adventure Hour. It’s a podcast of radio comedy shows, with a troupe that boasts the superbly talented Marc Evan Jackson (22 Jump St.), Hal Lublin, Craig Cacowski and I could go on but that would take the rest of my post. They are always entertaining, always hilarious. The highlight of the panel had to be when a little boy, not yet 4 years old, asked the creators how they made up their stories. Marc Evan Jackson fell in love with him so much, he got off stage and took a picture with him afterwards.
Then came the Joss Whedon panel. Speculation had abounded after Joss tweeted from a hospital bed earlier in the week, following knee surgery. The show must go on as they say so fans were treated to a last minute Mystery Panel, hosted by Nathan Fillion, and featuring some of his friends; Liam McIntyre (Spartacus), Chloe Bennett (S.H.E.I.L.D), Seth Green and Alan Tudyk. They all told stories about Joss, their connection and when they’ve felt intimidated by him. About halfway through the panel, like the great Wizard of Oz, Joss appeared via Skype from London. Making his “puppets” dance, and taking a few audience questions, before signing off to rest and recover.
The last panel of the day was the cast of Supernatural. Jared Padalecki has been a panelist since year one of NerdHQ, finally last year Jensen Ackles was able to join him, so this year they brought along Misha Collins and Mark Sheppard (the man who inhabits many fandoms). I’m looking forward to watching this one myself.
This weekend was an incredible experience and a fabulous success on many levels. Not only for Operation Smile, but The Nerd Machine as well, sold nearly all the merchandise they had brought.
As I lie in my own bed tonight, I can hardly believe it’s already over. So many memories were created, I’ll have to filter through them all once I’m rested and thinking clearly.
I will say, my biggest highlight, was probably meeting Colin Ferguson (Eureka, Haven). When we were asked via Twitter who we’d like to see at NerdHQ, I replied with his name. He replied very enthusiastically that he’d like to do it, and I was thrilled when I’d learned that he showed up for the Mystery Panel. He did a Smiles 4 Smiles afterwards and I was able to get a photo and hug from him after we recounted our humorous Twitter conversation.
All in all, NerdHQ 2014, was epic. I’m hoping that the success of this year will lead to a 5th NerdHQ in 2015. Thank you to everyone at The Nerd Machine, who works so hard to make it happen. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who give so much of themselves during this weekend.
I’m looking forward to seeing what heights NerdHQ will reach in the future, and that it will continue to transform lives.
For more from Jenn follow her on Twitter @JennOC7