What Message is Nerd HQ Sending with its Crowdfunding Campaign?

I Want My Nerd HQ 2014” is a crowdfunding campaign that Zachary Levi and his company, The Nerd Machine, launched with the goal of collecting $1,000,000 to finance this year’s Nerd HQ, which has run in San Diego at the same time as San Diego Comic Con since 2011. Since 2011, it has served as a more “intimate” space for fans, offering smaller panels with the ticket money going to Operation Smile, as well as a relaxing space to test out new video games and charge phones. A FAQ has been provided by The Nerd Machine to try to clear up some of the misconceptions and questions fans may have about the IndieGoGo campaign.

I watched Zachary Levi’s latest UStream for the Nerd HQ crowdfunding campaign and I continue to be uncomfortable with it. Many of the reasons have already been spoken of by other blogs (The Geekiary has a great piece about transparency and lack of perks). Watching the livestream has brought another issue to light – one that I’m sure Zac isn’t aware he’s sending, but this is how it appears to me.

It’s obvious that he sees Nerd HQ as part of his mission in life to “make people happy” (which he admitted was his favorite thing), alluding multiple times to making sure the fans feel appreciated and acknowledged. He also wants to send the message to everyone that “you are the power of the world.” In the context of giving $1,000,000 to a celebrity to host an event where, in all likelihood, 99% of the donators will not be able to participate in said event, where is the “power of the world” in that message? When that same event will, in all likelihood, not raise another $1,000,000 for the charity it is throwing the event for, what is the “power of the world” in that message? On his Facebook page, and used in a clipped fashion as an IndieGoGo update, Zac posted a plea  (that I absolutely encourage you to read in full and then return to this article) for $5 from everyone who likes his page. In this plea, he included some troubling and confusing quotes:

So I appeal to you, each and every one of you, to please find it in your heart, your mind, your soul to fight this fight with me.

What “fight” are we fighting? Is it the same fight Operation Smile fights? If that’s the case, it comes down to the money once again. $1,000,000? Is that really how much you need to put on Nerd HQ? Especially considering, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “That doesn’t mean Nerd HQ will be solely financed by the fans; Levi insists sponsorships will still be on the docket — he’s just guaranteeing that last year won’t happen again.” He is still going to be going after sponsorship money, but remember it says right on the IndieGoGo funding page that, “Again, we want to make it very clear that the money you are contributing for Nerd HQ is not going to charity.” Not even if Nerd HQ raises $1,000,000 plus sponsorship money?

This tweet actually really, really offends me in its implication. I haven’t supported Nerd HQ, therefore I don’t know what love is? I have to be shown what love is by giving money to earn The Nerd Machine’s gratitude? No, thank you, I’ll pass on your condescending attempt at trying to convince me that my donation is tied to the love I deserve in life.

I genuinely want to keep this going because I genuinely believe that you, the fans, are not being offered this kind of care and attention anywhere else in the world. No where else in the world gets the level of celebrities that we get to spend an hour answering only fan questions, all the while raising money for charity. No where. Which means if NerdHQ ceases to exist, your ability to connect with artists like this will cease to exist too.

Personally, I find these comments pretentious and a little bit manipulative. Nowhere else in the world am I going to experience this kind of care and attention from celebrities? Damn, my loss. My ability to connect with artists “like this” will also cease to exist? Maybe in that exact form, but there are plenty of celebrities that do charity work. Nathan Fillion, for example, is asking for donations in celebration of his birthday. He’s raised only $5,000 less than Nerd HQ and offers a chance at having a meal with him. Saying that you lose all ability to interact with artists this way is insulting to celebrities who do charity work and to the fans.

But I believe with all my heart that if I can’t get you to support this vision of NerdHQ, I won’t be making a “Chuck” movie. If I can’t rally you all to help me now, I don’t think I have what it takes to rally you later for far more money. That’s the truth.

Another quote that is manipulating Chuck fans into donating to Nerd HQ, regardless of their interest in it – if Nerd HQ doesn’t get funded, he won’t even bother with a Chuck movie. He also promises that if he doesn’t get $1,000,000 now, he won’t be able to ask for far more money later. Does that not ring any alarm bells for anyone else? Especially if he insists on the same set-up he did this time, with no perks for supporting him (but getting to pay again to see the Chuck movie, if we’re going with that hypothetical).

You need to believe that together, we can absolutely move the biggest mountains and change the world. A collected and unified people are more powerful than any president, any ruler, any business, any thing. You need to believe that your voice, your vote, your help, your donation actually means something.

This is inspiring – and would be more so if it were in relation to Operation Smile – but it’s in the context of donating to the “I Want My Nerd HQ 2014” IndieGoGo campaign. What is my donation going to “mean”? With a donation to the campaign, I am essentially saying “I like the opportunity to rub elbows with celebrities,” there’s no real deeper message here. If I want to support Operation Smile, I could freely donate my money any day of the year and I don’t need to be at a $1,000,000 hang-out to do so.

If Operation Smile and making people happy is truly his aim, I would love to hear Zac talk more about how important the Nerd HQ event is to raising funds for Operation Smile and how the $1,000,000 is going to break down and contribute to that cause. Why should we be donating our money to him instead of to the charity itself?

He’s not shy about making it known that donations to Operation Smile are a “bonus” at Nerd HQ, with the event itself not being a charity event. In a week where there are already more activities offered than any one person could participate in, do the fans need to pitch in on top of sponsorship dollars?

He’s said that Nerd HQ will happen this year regardless of how the crowdfunding campaign turns out, but in the years to follow, I hope Zachary Levi takes a hard look at the event his company puts on and compromises a little bit more on asking for money for the “free” event he puts on – whether that be scaling back the event, charging a service fee for Conversations for a Cause tickets, or something else entirely.

44 responses to “What Message is Nerd HQ Sending with its Crowdfunding Campaign?

  1. I’m not sure exactly if your discontent is with the campaign or the event? and how is it still a problem that the money is not given to charity, when that has never been the intention of NerdHQ, simply a perk?

    • I think part of the reason I feel strange about this whole thing is the fact that they use the money sent to charity as a reason to have the event, but then turn around and say it isn’t about charity it is just about the event. Do you see the issue in this reasoning? It is circular.

      “Donate to this event because the money from the event goes to operation smile BUT that isn’t the point of the event”

      It just seems to contradict itself. That’s my issue, anyway. Either the event is about charity and therefore people have a valid reason to wonder why they should help reach 1 million dollars just to hold an event to raise substantially less for charity, OR the event is about having an event but the fact money goes to charity is an added bonus.

      The problem lies in the marketing which promotes the first until flaws are pointed out and then it resorts to the second line of reasoning which directly contradicts the first.

      • Okay, thanks for clearing that up. I have just never been under the impression that NerdHQ is about charity, and so the critique of this always baffles me. I am not entirely sure I agree that they are marketing it as such, because the charity IS as much a great result of NerdHQ as the panels available online and the memories made from actually attending.
        But maybe the information has been unbalanced for people unfamiliar with NerdHQ, I can’t really tell as I am biased.
        There are valid points raised in this article, I just don’t agree with them entirely.

      • The article is definitely about the campaign tactics being used. If Nerd HQ isn’t about the charity, or the charity involvement is “simply a perk,” then why not do away with it? Why not use the autographs, Conversations for a Cause tickets (rename them obviously…), and photo-ops to fund Nerd HQ itself? Do you see the circular logic in that?

        I attended Nerd HQ last year, so I’m not unfamiliar and I did enjoy it very much. I attempted to be as unbiased as possible in pointing out some of the more problematic elements of this campaign and the message it sends to fans.

      • Kylee Sills (article writer, awesome)
        Well I do see what you are saying, but then at the same time – not really. Because without the charity it wouldn’t be NerdHQ – it would be something different, and the charity is what ‘funds’ the celeb appearances. Meaning that the celebs show up for free to spend time with fans for a great cause. If celeb appearances funded NerdHQ, why would they come? So your suggestion of getting rid of the charity seems like a bad idea to me. (in general I think getting rid of charity is a bad idea).
        I do see the issue with the tactics being used, but these are the marketing ways used by all. And yes I would have possibly liked for TheNerdMachine to rise above it, but I understand how this works: sell yourself on your best asset, and because philanthropy is big these days this is their best bet. Because even though I think the live streams available on youtube are worth more than $5, not many people agree apparently. As of right now, 8111 people have donated, so maybe this isn’t valued as highly by others.
        I see why you disagree with the tactics, but I do not agree that they are sending the wrong message per se.
        But thank you very much for replying to me and clarifying!

      • If I’m interpreting your version of charity ‘funding’ celebrity appearances correctly, then the charity plays a larger function than being just a perk. If earning donations for Operation Smile is the main reason for celebrities to show up and spend time at Nerd HQ, then it is the driving force behind Nerd HQ. I wasn’t suggesting they take away the charity aspect, but if Zac hopes to make Nerd HQ profitable (or even break even) in the future, I think the choice to donate everything made at Nerd HQ to charity is something he’ll inevitably have to weigh against having Nerd HQ at all.

        I also don’t agree that these are the same marketing tactics used by all. I can’t think of any other high-profile crowdfunding campaign that did not offer incentives for donating. I don’t think they have anything that they should “rise above” because I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with crowdfunding, but I think there were certainly better ways to entice people to donate that were no/low cost. It would have required a compromise because of Zac’s wish to keep everyone equal, but I also think it would have enticed more people into donating to the campaign.

        I think playing up the philanthropy aspect while asking for $1,000,000 for an event that, in three years, has raised half of that ($415,000 is the quote on the IndieGoGo page) for charity invites criticism. And that it’s not necessarily that people don’t “value” Nerd HQ, but it may not be a priority in everyone’s life to make sure they get livestreaming content or support an event where they might not ever get to participate in person.

        I’m more than happy replying and clarifying my position!

      • It took me some time to reply, because I had to rethink my previous post and your answer to see where we went on different paths. Cause I think we aren’t addressing the same issue entirely. However, in the meantime Sandrene has posted a comment which covers a lot of what I was thinking but did not succeed in wording properly.

        The marketing tactic is not in relation to perks. It is in relation to persuasion. This can be done in many ways, and some are better than others in my own personal opinion, so it is in this sense I was hoping the campaign would rise above it. Because I see the Chuck movie being brought up as a means of persuading Chuck fans who do not care about Nerd HQ (which I am not entirely sure I understand, seeing as they got Chuck panels and panels with the actors in relation to other projects) and this is not something I find to be a good tactic. But I kind of also expected it to work better than it did. I am however a HUGE fan of these new incentive, which are the same regardless of how much or how little you donated. So in that sense I agree that the idea of perks/incentives should be better utilized, which it seems now they are trying to do.

        Sorry that ended up as a sort of ramble. Anyways, I really appreciate your replies to all the comments.

    • Well, the title and rest of the article would suggest it’s the method of campaigning. A faith based argument brings into question the faith based validity of the end result. Is it right to use such language (of world changing, etc) when the cause is simply an event for fans to interact with celebrities (while a fun and wonderful event not exactly equivalent to a higher calling, e.g. Operation Smile) ?

  2. I honestly don’t care if Nerd HQ happens or doesn’t happen or if people want to fund it or not. My problem with it is that Zac Levi is basically manipulating fans by saying “if you don’t give me money for this I’m not even going to bother trying to crowdfund a Chuck movie.” This despite the fact that most people who would crowdfund a Chuck movie will not be at SDCC or Nerd HQ (because, let’s be real, the tickets are crazy as hell to get and it’s expensive if you aren’t living in San Diego). That is not cool at all. There is a big difference between rallying a fandom for a common goal – like a movie – and demanding they give you money for a pet project that has nothing to do with anything they are interested in or else you’re going to shut them out in the cold.

  3. @Kylee Sills
    “…Personally, I find these comments pretentious and a little bit manipulative. Nowhere else in the world am I going to experience this kind of care and attention from celebrities? Damn, my loss. My ability to connect with artists “like this” will also cease to exist?”

    In the livestream video, he encourages people to correct him if he’s wrong, so I don’t find that manipulative at all.

    “…Maybe in that exact form, but there are plenty of celebrities that do charity work.”

    I think you’re confusing, the event versus the charity. Yes, Nathan Fillion is doing work with mycharitywater and has opted to give people an incentive to donate, namely win a lunch or dinner date with him. But again, there are tiers for some to have more chances at winning. I understand that this is a normal way to do crowdfunding, or has been accepted as the norm, but I do find the practice rather unfair. So because I am not as well off as someone else, I won’t have the same chance at winning the date…

    To me it also poses another dilemma. People who are donating $250 and or upwards, are they doing it for the cause or for the chance to win time with Nathan Fillion? And I am in no way, shape, or form saying that it’s a negative, a donation is a donation, and money to the charity is a good thing.

    But my problem with all these inquiries into “what exactly NerdHQ thinks they’re doing” – is; What is this obsession about what YOU get out of it? If you donated directly to the charity (operation smile), that would give you a sense of “hey I did something good for someone” – but as soon as it’s something that’s a little bit harder to define(ie: NerdHQ), everyone is up in arms and saying, “what’s in it for ME?”….. Seriously…

    “…And that it’s not necessarily that people don’t “value” Nerd HQ, but it may not be a priority in everyone’s life to make sure they get livestreaming content or support an event where they might not ever get to participate in person.”

    One question; Have you donated to the campaign? If not, why are you raising concerns on behalf of the people who do want to donate?

    • If I had a direct line to Zachary Levi, I’d love to talk to him about some of the language that I find troubling in his campaign, but I don’t. So this is my attempt at showcasing what I find “wrong” more or less.

      I’m not confusing the event and the charity, Nerd HQ itself hinges on the charity aspect in some sense and the two get conflated when discussing the campaign and the event. Nerd HQ wants people to know that it gives to Operation Smile, but at the same time is trying to discount that completely by saying “it’s just an extra bonus.” I’ve already asked this question, but it bears repeating, if the charity portion of Nerd HQ is not as important as the fan experience, then why not do away with it? Why not fund Nerd HQ with those autographs, photo ops, and panels?

      I don’t find anything unfair about people who are more “well off” having a better chance at winning something because they’ve given more money. If they earned that money and choose to put their efforts towards a chance to win something, that’s their choice. I, personally, don’t have the choice to put $250 towards something like that, but nor do I feel as though I am entitled to an equal chance as someone who does.

      You could ask the same question about the Nerd HQ campaign. Are people donating because they like the cause as a whole or are people donating because they’re concerned they’ll miss their opportunity to rub elbows with celebrities in the smaller setting that Nerd HQ provides? You can’t guess people’s reasoning.

      I don’t feel as if it’s an obsession about what I get out of it (though I certainly think people are entitled to ask for that when someone is asking for $1,000,000 for intangible goods), but a critical look at what Nerd HQ is asking for and telling us in return. The problem is that it is hard to define, made harder by the fact that Zac can’t itemize his financials. In donating to a charity, I know exactly where and what my donation is going towards. I’m not asking what’s in it for ME because the message Nerd HQ is sending is that I get to rub elbows with celebrities, that’s what’s in it for me.

      I have not donated to Nerd HQ, but I believe I’m entitled to my opinion and am allowed to voice my concerns. I don’t believe I should have to give money to make my opinion valid.

      • Let’s do some simple math (per your interest in removing the charity portion and letting the convos and signings fund Nerd HQ).

        If you have 10 convos for a cause (just a ballpark), and the maximum capacity is around, let’s say 250 people. And you have each pay $100 (instead of the $22 that they do at the moment.) You will have earned $250,000. Now that is not even enough to rent the space. It is definitely not enough to build a stage AND have staff (security and production). So, what would you prefer to pay on site, to ensure that the event would be profitable or break even?

        I’ll refer to my previous experiences with events that you have to pay for;

        Once upon a time, I was a member of this online community which was based around a fairly popular TV show. This show held field trips, a couple of times a year and would average around 150-200 people showing up (at the height of their popularity). Now, they had special VIP tickets which you paid $500 and upwards for. Then you had the regular tickets, which were around $2-300. The VIP tickets were usually only offered for 20 people. So, let’s say 20 people pay $500 (that’s $10.000) and let’s say additional 150 people buy regular tickets at $250 (that’s $37.500) so all in all, that’s $47.500 USD. With this money you have to, first of all rent hotel space and secure a hotel block for people coming in for the event that lasted approximately three days. Then you have guest speakers who will want compensation for their time, as well as flying them out to the event, making sure they also have a place to stay and/or transportation. On top of that you need to have equipment at the ready to record, or if a guest speaker needs to use an overhead projector, you need to have that ready too. On these field trips they would also do excursions. Excursions for a number of people requires a deposit to be made, and these are paid in advance. And I can regale you with a dozen other things that these events would have to have in order, for example the pressing of merchandise, the hotel room for the crew and so on. In this respect, $47.500 really is not a lot.

        Regardless, if Nerd HQ tried to fund the event through the convos, signings and such. The price of these things would have to be really steep for it to fund half of the things they have planned. I am not an event planner, but I was involved with that TV show community enough to know the issues and problems that arise, when you’re trying to put together an event that lasts three (3) days (whereas Nerd HQ is a four (4) day event). It is not easy, and it certainly isn’t cheap. In terms of money, if 500k of Zac’s twitter followers for example, gave just $5 – you would have $2.500.000 – just let that sit for a while. $5 each and you would have raised over 2 million dollars. I think that was honestly his hope, naive or not. $5 is not something that will completely blow your budget, if so, then don’t donate.

        Just please take this into consideration, when trying to discern what Nerd HQ is trying to do.

        But yes I agree with you, you are completely entitled to your opinion, and I am respectfully agreeing to disagree. 🙂

      • Let’s also take into consideration previous years when looking at the simple math of it. Since 2011, Nerd HQ has raised a total of $415,000 for Operation Smile, with $215,000 of that coming from 2013 alone. With the exposure Nerd HQ is getting with this campaign, I believe more people than ever will show up and participate, so it’s safe to assume that they’ll make more than that for Operation Smile this year.

        There were 24 panels at Nerd HQ last year. Assuming there are the same amount this year, and using your figures (250 max capacity, $100 a ticket), that figure becomes $600,000 on panel tickets alone. This doesn’t factor in autographs or photo ops, and does away with factoring in the Firefly screening that was held last year, with tickets being $15 each. Add in the fact that Zac has said he’s still pursuing sponsorship money, Nerd HQ looks a lot more viable. Am I saying that I want to pay $100 for a panel or an autograph or a photo op? Not at all, but could you build a stage and have staffing with that kind of money? I believe you would have to scale back Nerd HQ, but it would be doable.

        The difference between your online community get-togethers and Nerd HQ is that Nerd HQ is put on by a company that is asking $1,000,000 from fans and then seeking out sponsorship money from sponsors as well. The Nerd Machine also doesn’t have to take in those same considerations (hotel space, paying guest speakers and flying them out to the event, excursion deposits). That’s not to say they don’t have other considerations, but it’s not exactly an analogous situation.

        I agree with you that Zac probably thought more people (specifically his Twitter and Facebook followers) would donate, but the reality of the situation is that people are – for whatever reason – not donating. I don’t think $5 is asking a lot, but to people who don’t care about Nerd HQ, there is no incentive to support Zachary. I think perks would have gone a long way in drumming up interest in those ambivalent about Nerd HQ. And I understand, at its heart, what Nerd HQ and The Nerd Machine are trying to do, but I still question the ways in which this message comes across to the fans.

        We are definitely going to have to agree to disagree on this one! 🙂

      • You are right, $600,000 would be a lot more to work with, and in that respect I totally could see it working out. It still begs the question though, of the ominous time schedule. It seems like SDCC doesn’t release it’s full line up, until very close to the starting date. So, getting the celebrities that you would like to come, is really difficult. And that means you would probably have to have on site purchasing of tickets. Which in turn means you’ll have to use money out of your own pocket (or hopefully sponsor dollars) to ensure the venue, staff and production. And as he said in his live stream, that could be very unfortunate for his own finances.

        I guess a lot of sponsors don’t see the benefit of being a part of a four day event which is (almost) free, and I guess I understand them to a certain point. In all honesty, I think his hope was that people would rally behind him, and in that way, show sponsors how important this event is to everyone involved. So that he could ensure sponsor dollars earlier, and wouldn’t have to ask for the fans help. (which would be preferred.)

        So I guess, a lot of the way I agree with you. It’s just a really delicate situation and I don’t think that removing the Operation Smile part would be a good thing. He is an ambassador for them and it’s a cause he cares greatly about and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in combining the two. But ultimately, I’ve realized that people are probably very frustrated with the “no perks” thing and that’s why they’re holding out on donating. Yet, I just don’t see why that is such a big issue? I donated to Nathan Fillion’s water charity, (and I’ve also donated to Nerd HQ) but I didn’t donate to either, because I wanted better opportunities at participating than others. If perks had to be used, they should be ones that wouldn’t cost Nerd HQ, like the tweets in recognition they started doing. I also participated and donated to the Unicef tap project as well, which as far as I know hasn’t been endorsed by any celebrities. I think that a good cause is worth attention, and Nerd HQ is actually able to give that to Operation Smile.

        Circling back to the field trips I went on, it wasn’t held by any online community, it was dealt with by the team (TV show) themselves. (In the end they turned out to essentially be ripping people off) – but that didn’t come from a wish to answer all your questions. All they did was circumvent the truth, faked illnesses and generally being really really awful to their fans and supporters. With Zac, I feel like he listens and is willing to answer any questions (except ones he’s not legally allowed to talk about) and he appears to be very straight forward and passionate, which some times could come off as overzealous to some people.

        I really am hearing what you’re saying, and I agree for the most part. So, thank you for the great discussion so far and being super awesome and respectful. 🙂

  4. Kylee–
    I think you articulated very well why a lot of people who are aware of this campaign just aren’t responding to it.

    I also think it’s important for the people running the “I Want My NerdHQ” campaign to be as aware of the reasons people aren’t donating as much as they are of the reasons people are donating.

    So, if people like yourself don’t articulate their issues, how would they ever know? At the moment, the campaign isn’t doing very well. Any marketer who doesn’t ask “why aren’t we succeeding?” isn’t much of a marketer. That’s why your opinion may actually be more important than the opinions of donors. If they try to do this again, I would assume they want a better response.

    • Thank you! I have directly sent a link to The Nerd Machine, at the urging of a few other comments, so I hope to hear their take on the article, or at least make them aware of some of these issues.

  5. SDCC is an incredibly busy event, even more for the celebrities than for the fans. Because it’s one of the few times when people are all in the same place, there are lots of press events and other obligations people have. Also, decisions aren’t just up to the celebrity, it’s up to their whole team, especially for those that are bigger. So while most celebrities would still come to HQ, the Op Smile aspect makes their team more obliged to let them come, and also do it for free. Otherwise, the money wouldn’t fund Nerd HQ, in many cases it would pay for their appearance, not because they’re greedy, but it may be in their contract.

    Although your article is not filled with hate or uneducated mudslinging, there are some that are. His comment about loving people was meant to tell those who support him not to lash out at those who don’t. Most concepts are difficult to portray in 140 characters. And I don’t mean this offensively, but I feel like anything he says from here on out will be taken by you as manipulation, just because you already have a sour taste in your mouth and the way he communicates is not conducive to that. Although, if you use the contact form on The Nerd Machine’s website, there are people who read each of those messages. I don’t work for them, and can’t promise a quick response, nor one that answers all your questions, but it is one way to reach them directly.

    I will say that the comments about Nerd HQ vs. Chuck are not totally off. Because the Veronica Mars campaign was so successful, Rob Thomas is able to write novels and think about other projects. Zac has decided that the perk structure as we’ve come to know it is not something he wants to do. It makes sense for HQ, I’m not sure why he won’t for a Chuck movie, but even if he did, his perks + the added support from Chuck fans who don’t care about HQ would have to be enough to raise 5x as much. Or, at this point, 25x as much money. And lets not forget that although there are many Chuck fans who don’t support this campaign, there are also many people who do support the campaign who aren’t Chuck fans, or don’t care about a movie.

    Because there’s so much unknown, and a lot that just can’t be shared for legal reasons, it really is a campaign relying on faith in Zac and The Nerd Machine. I get that not everyone can get on board with that, but I really encourage you to reach out to them. Perhaps there are things they can provide us that they just haven’t thought of yet, or fully realize is wanted, outside the people writing non-constructive hate blogs.

    • Do you have proof that the charity portion of Nerd HQ makes celebrities more inclined to attend and participate in the event? Or contractual costs (or proof that they have contractual payment requirements for appareances) and approximately how much they would be for some of the Nerd HQ people who have attended in the past? I ask because I’m genuinely curious to look into this aspect more and am unfamiliar with how the process of how celebrity appearances work.

      And I agree with you that concepts are difficult to portray in 140 characters or less, but “Please don’t lash out at those who are voicing their concerns with the Nerd HQ crowdfunding campaign.” is much less ambiguous and more difficult to interpret wrong than, “Your support is amazing. 4 those of you that believe in what we are doing,we offer heartfelt gratitude.The rest need us 2 show them love ;-)”

      Manipulation is a strong word with a negative connotation and not necessarily the correct one in this instance, but essentially Zac is “manipulating” everyone in the sense that he is, with the purest intentions because I believe he isn’t trying to send a negative message to anyone, trying to get everyone to give money to the IndieGoGo campaign. He is using Chuck as a leverage of sorts to appeal to his Chuck fans specifically to donate by saying some of the things I quoted in the article. They may not necessarily care about Nerd HQ, but by dangling a future, larger campaign in their faces (that may or may not pertain to Chuck, but he sure mentions Chuck a lot), they feel inclined to show him that his first venture into crowdfunding will be a success so that he can get to the second, more expensive one that they might actually be interested in.

      I’m trying to be as fair as possible in presenting what I view to be questionable about this campaign. My response to the easily misinterpreted tweet is at its core a very negative emotional response, I admit that. But I’m not seeking out ways in which Zac and The Nerd Machine are being manipulative, I’m attempting to look critically at the messages they are sending out. They want you and me and all of the fans to DO something, so while manipulation is not the right word, perhaps persuasion is? They are trying very hard to persuade us to give to this campaign.

      I’m confused as to whether you’re suggesting that a Chuck crowdfunding campaign would or would not have perks and I’m honestly not sure if it would (hypothetically if it ever happens). Zac is very strongly for keeping everyone “equal” so that everyone can enjoy the experience with Nerd HQ, I’m not sure if he would feel the same way about giving to a Chuck movie. But, I am sure that without perks, it would be difficult for him to raise 5x what he has now for Nerd HQ (that would be $5,000,000 – not impossible, and not much less than what Veronica Mars made with its Kickstarter) and it would be impossible for him to raise 25x what he’s already raised for Nerd HQ (that would be $50,000,000 and I’m comfortable in saying that would not happen with crowdfunding alone).

      When this article posted online, it automatically tweeted a link to The Nerd Machine, but I have directly submitted the article with a link and a welcome call for commentary from them at your (and I believe someone else recommended I get in touch with them as directly as possible as well) suggestion.

      • Sadly, I don’t have exact numbers regarding celebrity appearances and contracts, since I’ve never been involved with that side of the industry. But SDCC is why the celebrities are there, for the most part (some may come on their own, but I believe everyone who’s been on an HQ panel was also on a panel at the con). It’s how they make money for that day/those days, or at the very least, why their hotel room is paid for. So asking people to do what they’re being paid to do in a smaller venue for free (which also provides free admission, unlike the con) can be tricky. The easiest way to do that is to add a charity. Couple that with Zac being an ambassador and therefore charged to spread the news about Operation Smile, it’s a logical combination. Without it I’m sure he would have found a way to make Nerd HQ exist, though. I think they’re in the position they’re in now because they didn’t expect it to grow as quickly as it did. If they’d had a few more years ago Jolt’N Joes or even Block 16 I don’t think it would have been as much of a strain financially.

        I agree, his tweet could have been better worded. I think he was trying to say that without saying it, so as not to make a pointed statement at any one group, but then it just ended up being a blanket statement that covered anyone who support and believe in him. I don’t think he necessarily meant monetary support, but can see how it could be taken that way. I had to read it a few times myself.

        I think persuasive is a good word. He has been known to be persuasive in the past, to the point where some may see it as pushy. And I didn’t get the impression you were looking for things so you can go and say “ah ha!” and point it out. But you know how you can have one person in a group that rubs you the wrong way and once you acknowledge it to yourself, everything that person does is tainted in your eyes and you then have to train yourself not to notice? I feel the danger of that happening with things said on the Internet is tenfold. I’m glad that you’re still in a head space where you can be objective. It’s a trait few people have.

        After what Zac said in the uStream video, I’m not sure if he’d have perks for funding a Chuck movie. I would hope that now he’d realize he can’t make it without them, and if I were him I’d have perks, but I actually expected perks for this campaign, too. It threw me off at first, but after thinking about it, it made sense, for reasons I mentioned before. I also don’t think he intends to hold the Chuck movie hostage, although his explanation on the video didn’t clear that up as well as I think he’d hoped. I can’t speak for him, but I think he’s equating support for the campaign with support for him. As in, will his fans really stand behind him and help him out. Even if a Chuck fan doesn’t care about Nerd HQ, $5 isn’t much for most people. I compare this campaign with having a donation bucket at the door of a house party or concert. I have friends who used to have house parties every week, and some weeks I gave money even if I wasn’t there, or didn’t eat any of their food. Because I wanted them to be able to keep doing what they’re doing. There are several things I’ve contributed to that I didn’t participate in, but that’s my nature and I’m blessed to be at a place in life where I can. But not everyone is wired that way, which is a good thing.

        There’s a difference between a casual fan and a supportive fan. Some people follow a celebrity just because they’re famous. I’ve seen so many people run up to a celebrity, get an autograph or a photo, then walk away and ask someone who that person was. I’ve even had people ask for my autograph or get a photo with me, just because I’m standing there and they don’t know if I’m important or not (I’m not). He may be trying to determine how many of his 500k+ followers are that kind, but put it simply. Not entirely fair, I know, but there’s not really any fair way to determine that, yet in situations like this it’s kind of necessary. Before the campaign launched he did ask on Twitter how many people were willing to give him $5, and never promised perks in return. The response had to be large enough that they felt confident enough to go through with the campaign. Also, my 5x and 25x numbers were based on the goal (1,000,000) and what’s currently been raised (just under 200,000).

        I do hope they respond to you soon and provide you with the answers you’re looking for. I don’t support people or projects lightly, and while I don’t always agree with how TNM does things (although I’ve also never had to plan things of this scale before), I trust their motivation and heart behind what they do.

        Sorry, that was really wordy.

      • For neither of us having specifics, I am inclined to think your description for how Nerd HQ gets celebrities involved is probably close, if not the actual, truth of the matter. And I think you’re right in the fact that Zac and The Nerd Machine weren’t expecting Nerd HQ to blow up in the way it has, which is what probably brought them to the crowdfunding campaign. He continues to speak about making 2014 bigger and better, with all kinds of new opportunities (fan questions from Twitter!), but I sincerely hope he looks at this year as his overshooting year, for lack of a better term, and finds a way to reel in the financial strain it causes him while making Nerd HQ a viable yearly event.

        I really go off on a tangent about that tweet, so let me apologize now and save it for the end so you can skip it entirely if you feel like it. I’m also thankful my article doesn’t read like a headhunting expedition. I did try very hard to link as much from Zac and from The Nerd Machine so that people could judge the messages for themselves.

        Chuck probably should not have been brought into the discussion surrounding Nerd HQ at all. Since Zac doesn’t own the rights to it, I think there are a lot of hoops to jump through to hope for something like a Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign to happen. It wasn’t Kristen Bell alone being the driving force behind the movie, it was the writer, Rob Thomas, as well as the stars and it still took a meeting with Warner Brothers to get the greenlight to have the campaign to sell them on the interest in the project. I’m not familiar with how the Chuck writers/producers/Warner Bros. feels about a movie, but that may be a telling sign in itself. I also think you might have some truth in the fact that he’s equating support of Nerd HQ with support of him.

        That being said, they did offer up a “perk” of sorts via Twitter (and Zac posted it to his Facebook and it was posted to TNM Facebook) earlier – five random people who had donated between the start of the campaign and 5 PM PDT would be randomly selected to receive a Tweet/Facebook Message/Email from Zac – and there was a noticeable bump in donations, they crossed the $200k threshold. I’m glad that he has backed away from “everyone should remain equal” and compromised with no-cost perks, especially given that the cost of fulfilling perks was one of the main reasons they gave for not having any. I hope they see how any kind of perk can help in meeting a crowdfunding goal. It seems that they’re calling them “incentives” rather than perks, but that they do plan to offer more in the future.

        I think we tread into dangerous territory when we start trying to draw lines between “casual fans” and “supportive fans.” If someone at Nerd HQ wants to pay to take their picture with a celebrity after asking around who they are, I don’t imagine anyone is going to say ‘sorry, we can’t take your money, you didn’t recognize Nathan Fillion.’ I don’t feel like Zac is trying to discern how many of which type of “fan” he has because I feel like it goes against how impassioned he is about keeping things fair and equal. I can’t imagine how that information would benefit him or why it would be necessary to know. I do feel bad, and do get the impression, that they must have gotten enough of a response testing the waters to think that $1,000,000 was not an unobtainable goal. I also bungled the hell out of my numbers in my previous response and I apologize for that. I’ve tried to figure out how I got them and honestly have no clue, math is obviously not my strong suit.

        I would love to hear from The Nerd Machine officially and I believe their intentions and heart is in the right place when it comes to this campaign, but I maintain it has problematic elements and the messages they’re (I’m sure unintentionally) sending out is not necessarily in line with how I think they want to be perceived.

        And now, my mini-rant about the tweet. Zac said himself that he wants Nerd HQ to be a safe space for all, by extension I assume he’d like The Nerd Machine, including its Twitter, to be as well. I’ve said it and I’ll continue to say it, because I want people to know as unbiased as I attempt to be with this article, that is my one pitfall in this article. I react emotionally to that tweet. I read it and re-read it and can logically understand where the sentiment and the intention were meant to be, but that winky face and that cheeky joking tone in “the rest need us to show them love” absolutely infuriates me every time. I personally don’t feel a welcoming environment in that tweet and I may literally be the only one in the world who views it that way and reacts that way, but I believe that Zac and The Nerd Machine need to be aware of how messages like that can be interpreted, as it’s so far away from the goal they are trying to culminate. Nothing before and nothing after that has been tweeted by The Nerd Machine has hit a nerve like that tweet.

      • For some reason it didn’t give me the option to reply to your latest message…

        The problem with attempting to scale HQ back is that it’s grown so popular, they really can’t move back to a smaller place without turning lots of people away. They realized on day 1 that Block 16 was already too small. By the end of the weekend it was difficult to move, and anyone who got to the Saturday night party an hour after it started had to wait to get in. They could always scale back on other things, and hopefully they realize they can and still have a good event (I’m personally more of a fan of simplicity), but the things that are required, like the venue, building the stage, paying for production, take up most of the cost, so the only real way to make it survive each year without an entrance fee will be to get sponsors who come through year after year, or if TNM figures out a way as a company to make more money throughout the year so they have enough to put the event on.

        I’m honestly not sure why Chuck became part of the discussion. My guess is people kept asking about funding a Chuck movie when the #IWantMyNerdHQ campaign started. Similar to all the people who kept asking to have HQ brought to their local con. But, you’re right, there are so many factors involved that it’s not really a pertinent conversation.

        The thing I found most interesting about adding the incentives is that even though the drawing for the tweet was eligible for anyone, no matter how much they contributed, most people contributed more than $5. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that it was so close to $200K and people just wanted to reach that milestone. But it would indicate that a perk structure wasn’t entirely necessary, just something to encourage people to give. And even after the drawing was over, another $700 has been contributed, although no one is eligible for another incentive until tomorrow. Like you said, hopefully they realize how much interest in the campaign this gains for them.

        I looked at the tweet again and saw it was sent by TNM and not by Zac. Zac and his business partner Dave write very similarly so I sometimes have a hard time telling who is writing. Since Zac generally tweets from his account it’s usually Dave or someone else, so I always just assume it’s not Zac. Not that it makes what was said any less offensive to you, just something to throw out. As I said before, it made me do a double take when I first read it, and you shouldn’t feel bad for your response to it. Hopefully they are able to make you feel safe again, as well as anyone else who may have been rubbed the wrong way by that, or anything else that was said. I know it’s not possible to please everyone, as much as Zac would like to, but unintentionally upsetting people is something that can be rectified, or at least attempted to be.

      • I just realized I forgot to reply to one of your other questions. The reason I brought up the different types of fans is that there are some that recognize that celebrities are people just like them, and others who treat them like royalty, or even other worldly. The latter treat celebrities more like property, as if they exist only for their entertainment, not unlike the times of old with kings and jesters. They think things like HQ are entitlements, so wouldn’t contribute even with perks, unless they were something like a celebrity showing up on their doorstep. Most of the time it doesn’t matter what type of fan a person is, but when doing an endeavor like they started out with, asking people to give just to give, it does become relevant, even if not most important. That’s all I meant by that.

    • Can I just say – this post, and your entire discussion here made me feel a lot better. Thank you Sandrene and Kylee for that.
      Let’s hope TNM (I always have not reread this to know it’s not TMNT) replies to this article and the concerns raised.

  6. Zac is starting to remind me of those shady church leaders that con their followers into giving them all their money. It is quite disgusting for a celebrity to ask people that don’t have much disposable income to sponsor a party. Pretty much have lost all respect for Zac at this point. I’m sure I can feel the love some other way.

    • @Liz
      Out of all the comments here, pro and con and just a general wonderment and honest critique. Yours really frustrates me. We have all been pretty respectful towards Zac, Nerd HQ and everyone else involved, yet you deem it appropriate to say he reminds you of a “shady church leader”? Regardless, if you want to donate to this event or not, or if you think his charity aspect is misguided, or something none of us have touched on before, I really find your comment detrimental to the conversation.

      To each his own, I guess.

    • Must say, I find myself dumbfounded reading this. I have no clue where this is coming from?
      And besides the fact that I don’t see at all how you feel this relates to Zac and the campaign, I also don’t appreciate the condescending stereotype of ‘shady church leaders’ – yes those people do exist unfortunately, but there is no need for reference I think.
      But also – how do you have the opinion that Nerd HQ is a party? yes it is that too, for fans as well, but it is so much more (Specifically LOTS of hours of live streaming and available content absolutely free for those unable to attend). Did you form this opinion based on research into what Nerd HQ is, or is that what you have heard in passing? (Just curious to find out)
      And Zac is specifically asking for $5 only from each person who feels they want to support this. Everyone in attendance could most like (I simply, ignorantly assume) see something worth $5 and everyone watching online will get content worth more than $5 in my humble opinion (I know it is not shared by all, but oh well). This is why there is no tier structure, because he does not want anyone who is unable to give more than 5 or even 2 dollars to feel like they did less. those $5 are as much appreciated as $100 or $1000.
      And as for ‘feel the love’ – yes I would agree that that tweet was not well thought out, but why do you assume it to be negative towards anyone? There is no difference in the love whether you donated or not and whether you are going to or not.
      Hope you will take the time to clear up what has gotten you to feel this way, as I simply would like to understand. Thanks.

    • Yeah, I think this comment takes it a measure too far. While I think the NerdHQ campaign is questionable, I really don’t think Zachary Levi is anything less than genuine. Honestly, I think the fact he has such a good heart is what really hurts this campaign. He wears his heart on his sleeve and uses passionate rhetoric to get people to consider donating because that is the type of guy he is.

      There is nothing shady about him. There ARE some shady aspects to the NerdHQ campaign, but to attribute those to him and to further attack his character based on those few aspects is wrong. He has shown time and time again that he loves his fans, he loves his work, and he loves the world around him.

      If people don’t have the disposable income then they won’t spend it. However, obviously a lot of his fans DO have disposable income and DO want to support him and know (generally) what they’re getting into. They know what they’re donating toward and don’t need to know the specifics because they agree with his vision and his passion.

      I, personally, am less moved by passionate calls to arms for a party and will direct my disposable income elsewhere. But I don’t think this campaign reflects poorly on Zac as a person (especially considering the guy I met last year at NerdHQ was the furthest thing from a ‘shady church leader’). I just think it brings up a lot of questions about the purpose of TheNerdMachine, NerdHQ, and Zac’s BUSINESS life. That is what Kylee is questions. We’re questioning the integrity of the campaign and criticizing its faults. We’re not interested in character assassination.

  7. And that right there is my problem with people who argue for this whole thing. I have been to NerdHQ twice. It it is just a party. The live streaming? Oh that’s great set up equipment so people can view a panel that you’ve already had planned, sure it was free to people using the old funding method. BUT IT IS NO LONGER FREE WHEN YOU ASK FOR PUBLIC MONEY. And some of the panels really just devolve into auctions for Op Smile and you don’t get much else. I can just donate to op smile on my own. If you can’t get into the panels while you’re there because you don’t get lucky enough to be around your computer when tickets go live for the conversations for a cause then what else do you do? You sit around HQ. That’s it. Sure they had games. But they’re DEMOS and you can only play the same demos SO MUCH. HQ is just a place for you to feel like you belong because you didn’t in High school. I’ve met some cool folks through TNM some lifetime friends even. But I’m not blind. Sometimes you need to question the system. Liz is not off base, because I’m sorry, but Zac threatened you all using the Chuck movie. Basically saying if we can’t fund this then there’s no Chuck movie. And then there’s the “lets do this because you are the power” It’s very close to a manipulative Church leader. I’ve seen very little good arguments for this campaign. And his actions are part of this campaign. Oh and Zac’s actions are genuine because he truly believes his cause. Which I still don’t understand the true nature of why he’s trying to empower nerds? Are we oppressed? But there’s some funny things that happen during HQ specially last year that started making me question everything. This drew the line for me.

    • As I write this, the campaign has moved into a different phase. I don’t know if it was planned ahead of time or is a reaction to the low fundraising, but they are offering perks of a sort. They are raffling off things like tweets from Zac and phonecalls from Zac. The campaign has someone who is an expert in “celebrity crowdfunding”.

      The result is that fans who have already donated are donating again for the chance of a 5 minute phonecall. I read some of these tweets and many of these people aren’t exacly rich. The crazy thing is that none of them are complaining about this blatant manipulation.

      They think Zachary Levi–an actor–is the most genuine person on the planet. I honestly don’t know how he can read tweets from people who are living paycheck to paycheck but are willing to give him more money each payday because they think this is “genuine”.

      It’s marketing, folks.

      It really bothers me that the people with the least money to give are the most willing to donate because they are the most susceptible to the marketing message. There are many parallels to religious fundamentalists.

  8. I know I’m late to the party, and I apologize if I’m repeating what others have already said. But, I think a big misunderstanding a lot of people have is the role that charity plays in the event of Nerd HQ. Zachary Levi has said on multiple occasions that when he first had the idea for Nerd HQ, he called several of his friends that were going to be at SDCC anyway and he asked them if they would be willing to do some panels at Nerd HQ. He wanted to create a more intimate atmosphere instead of recreating the long lines and seas of people that make up the big panels at SDCC, but he also didn’t want to just pocket money that he would be making from his friends donating their time. That is where the charity part came in. He was already an ambassador for Operation Smile, so he decided to sell around 250 tickets to each panel for $20 apiece to eliminate the lines and crowds and donate that money to Operation Smile. And in order to still allow everyone to enjoy those panels even if you aren’t able to buy one of those tickets, all of the panels are streamed online for free (which SDCC and other conventions don’t do). I’ve never been to Nerd HQ personally, but I’ve enjoyed the live streams for the last 3 years and don’t want them to stop. I think that those live streams alone are worth my contribution, and that’s why I donated to the campaign.

    • Nah, welcome to the party! Forgive me for being so late in replying to your comment, I was covering Awesome Con all weekend and couldn’t fully respond until now!

      The role that charity and Operation Smile plays in Nerd HQ is definitely a confusing subject, mainly I think because Zac pushed so hard to make sure people knew that proceeds went to charity, while also stressing the panels aspect of Nerd HQ over anything else about the campaign. I know the one big negative article really stresses the dance parties and the exclusive celebrity party, which slants everything in a negative light. A few other commenters debated the role of charity with me and the opinion that I settled on with regards to Operation Smile is that, in as crazy busy a week as SDCC is, it is much easier for a celebrity to carve out a chunk of time by saying they are doing something for charity and it is a cause that Zac really does feel strongly about. In that way, everyone does win.

      I think in a case like yours, where you haven’t been to Nerd HQ and maybe don’t have the means to get there any time soon, where you enjoy the live streams from home, that it’s great to ask for a $5 donation. You’re going to get use out of the service provided by Nerd HQ. Do I think you should go out and ask your friends/family/whoever to donate to the cause, as The Nerd Machine has encouraged on more than one occasion, even though they may not ever watch the live streams or care about the panels? No, I honestly don’t.

      I believe that Zac’s mantra of “everyone is equal” really hurt this campaign from the start. Offering tiered-rewards for things like ‘a guaranteed ticket to one panel’ (assuming the same number of panels/people as 2013, 50 of those rewards at say $100 each would have given $5,000 to the campaign and taken two seats from each panel of 250 available?) or silly things like ‘pick a song to be played at the Nerd HQ dance party’ would have gone a long way in collecting extra contributions. For people who are actually able to attend Nerd HQ, higher-cost perks would have been welcomed more than that would have been lamented, in my opinion.

      At the end of the day, he says Nerd HQ is on for this year and I am honestly happy that it’s going on. I just hope in the future, Zac has taken note of the bumps of this campaign and what the negative reactions were actually from. I think ‘no perks’ was a huge negative reaction and I think a lot of people burnt out on Nerd HQ by the end of the campaign, so if he ever attempts crowdfunding again, I hope he has learned a lot.

      • I honestly think the only reason that Zach made such a point about the proceeds going to charity is because he’s just so proud of fact that Nerd HQ has raised so much money for Operation Smile, which is a charity that he is very passionate about.

        It really bothers me that so many people who probably knew little to nothing about Nerd HQ or Zachary Levi before this are demonizing Zach as if he’s some crook that’s trying to steal money from his fans. And I’m not some middle-school fan girl with a crush. I’m just a guy who is a fan of his work and appreciates someone who, by all accounts, is a genuine, goodhearted person in an industry that is full of self-entitled A-holes.

        Also, I actually agree with his philosophy on perks, and I like the “random drawing” type of incentives (i.e., 5 random winners get a Skype call with Zach) that they have been implementing. Not only do perks make someone who can only afford to donate $5 feel less appreciated than someone who can afford a larger donation, but most perks also take time, money, and energy away from the actual project that is being funded. I’ve contributed to crowd-funding campaigns before and gotten perks for my contribution, but if it meant that a better product could be made, I’d rather not get those perks. I contributed because I wanted to see the product that was being funded; not because I wanted a t-shirt.

      • I’m sure he’s proud of his contributions to Operation Smile through Nerd HQ, but he’s also not stupid. Charity is a good selling point (as I stated, I believe it’s partially a selling point to get celebrities to do the Conversations for a Cause panels) and a good way to rally support around Nerd HQ.

        I think we’ve been fortunate that the people in this thread have primarily been respectful in their disagreements with my article and the campaign itself. But I think the fact that this is how some people perceive his messages about Nerd HQ and the campaign highlight my point about the troublesome wording of the campaign. Nothing wrong with middle-school fan girls with crushes though, I’m sure The Nerd Machine was just as happy to have their money as they were to get yours. And Zac certainly isn’t the only genuine, goodhearted person in the industry.

        The perks were sloppily done, as a backtracking from his ‘no perks, everyone is equal!’ mantra that he started with. The first perk included everyone who had donated or would donate by X date. The second perk specified a certain time period where people had to donate to be entered into the “random drawing.” That undermines the ‘we only need $5 from you!’ message because if someone had already donated for the first random drawing perk, they’d have to donate again for the second perk. This perk with the dinner is going to be interesting because it doesn’t look like Nerd HQ is going to hit their target of $333k to get it fulfilled. So is Zac going to honor it anyway? We’ll see.

        I also believe that ‘perks make someone who can donate less feel less appreciated’ argument is an overgeneralization. There hasn’t been a huge backlash against other crowdfunding campaigns that do the X amount of money gets you X perks and Y amount of money gets you Y perks, with the better perks understandably costing more money. If those kinds of campaigns didn’t work… there wouldn’t be any like that. We live in a world where some people can afford to put more money towards supporting something they like than other people can, it’s a reality. Some of the perks I mentioned wouldn’t have taken much time, money, or energy from the campaign and if they’d been more creative from the start with the tiered perks, I believe they would have gotten more money in the end. A great product is going to be put out regardless of perks because of sponsorship money, but would I have been more enticed to donate for a t-shirt? Honestly, probably – and I think other people would have been too, bringing him closer to his goal at the end of the day.

      • Kylie:
        It’s very astute of you to notice that many of the “incentives” encouraged multiple donations from the same people, which undermines the “we only want $5” mantra. During the final 48 hours they had a drawing in which you could only qualify for the prizes if you donated during those final 48 hours. Just based on twitter and the comment at indiegogo, they had many, many people who donated more than once.

        One of the main reasons, I think, that crowdfunding campaigns need to offer perks is that–unlike real investing–you give people money without really getting a piece of the action at the backend. If the project is a huge success, the people running the project get whatever profits are earned. The donors don’t.

        Interestingly, Wil Wheaton launched an Indiegogo campaign after this one was launched. It was full of perks and reached and surpassed its goal pretty quickly. I’m not aware of anyone complaining about the perks.

    • No, it doesn’t. My biggest issue is the message being sent and that has never really been addressed in any of his talks about Nerd HQ.

      This rehashes the money aspect once more and the host is really, really, really off-putting to me. If this were my introduction to Nerd HQ’s crowdfunding effort, I would probably never support anything Zachary Levi ever did. The host jokes about domestic abuse, animal abuse, and pretty much ends the podcast with ‘YOU have a problem if you won’t support Nerd HQ’ – again, another problematic message being sent out. Zac shies away from the most offensive bits, but the off-color humor still reflects poorly on him.

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