After pulling Nerd HQ out of Comic-Con International in San Diego earlier this summer, Chuck and Thor: Ragnarok star Zachary Levi told fans at FanExpo this past weekend that he will reinvent the property as a nonprofit organization.
After being asked by fans whether he would consider launching a Nerd HQ event in Toronto, Levi launched into a story about Nerd HQ's trouble finding backing. He explained that, historically, he had fronted all of the costs associated with Nerd HQ events, reimbursing himself when sponsorship money came in. After two major sponsors pulled out, and Levi lost a lot of his personal money, he decided to attempt crowdfunding to pay for Nerd HQ events, but that too was unsuccessful.
"We did an IndieGoGo campaign and I hoped that if we went out to the fans…surely all the people of the world who are getting all this stuff for free will put in $5, and they didn't," Levi admitted. "So I'm going to take Nerd HQ, I'm going to streamline it, I'm going to take all of the for-profit of it away. The whole company will be a wash for me, and I'm happy to do that because I'm going to turn it into a full nonprofit foundation and that means, if you guys actually want Nerd HQ to happen anymore, on the website, I'll put a little donate deal and you guys can all put money into it."
"So if it doesn't happen, it's because not enough people wanted it, and if people do want it, it will be fully tax-deductible," Levi continued. "And if people want it so much that we can pay for San Diego and beyond that…I'll bring it anywhere I can, because I believe in it. I believe in the idea that you guys deserve to have intimate, real interactions with people you support in their careers."
For the first time since it was founded, Nerd HQ backed out of appearing at San Diego Comic-Con this year, with Levi issuing a heartfelt statement, saying that they had "turned up every stone" in an attempt to make it work logistically.
Nerd HQ typically hosts parties and events in and around Comic-Con, as well as filming interviews and panels at their own booth which can then be broadcast to fans who can't afford passes to the annual pop culture bash.
Conducting the events at their own booth rather than in panel rooms also gets around rules imposed by Comic-Con that restrict how and when panel video can be used.
Nerd HQ has also engaged in other charity events, bringing pop culture personalities and fans together to help groups like Operation Smile.
During his appearance at FanExpo, Levi thanked fans and fellow creatives who "got it," but said that there was often a disconnect between sponsors eager to do business with him at one of the Nerd HQ party dance floors and those who would pony up the money when the time came.