Zachary Levi Launches Crowd-Funding Campaign for Nerd HQ

Hollywood Reporter -The "Chuck" and "Thor 2" star has set a $1 million target for his 46-day campaign to help finance his Comic-Con offshoot's fourth year.

photo: Eric Blackmon

photo: Eric Blackmon

Philiana Ng | 3/11/2014 | On Tuesday, the Chuck and Thor 2 star launches a 46-day crowd-funding campaign, “I Want My Nerd HQ,” to help partially finance the popular fan event Nerd HQ, which is eyeing its fourth year at San Diego’s Comic-Con this July. Levi, who began Nerd HQ in 2011, is hoping to reach a target goal of $1 million through Indiegogo, a crowd-funding platform similar in vein to Kickstarter. Since Nerd HQ began three years ago, attendance has grown from 20,000 in its inaugural year to 32,000 in 2013, raising $215,000 for Operation Smile through celebrity panel series “Conversations for a Cause” in its most recent outing. So why turn to crowd-funding now?
“Nerd HQ was this thing we started and believed in for three years, and we just found that the financial model for how we were doing it just wasn’t working anymore,” the 33-year-old actor tells The Hollywood Reporter. The plan was to keep Nerd HQ “as free and accessible as we could,” which meant Levi and his counterparts relied on sponsorship dollars — “that way we could put all the cost on that” for things such as securing the venue and paying production staff. While that strategy worked the first two years, “it didn’t really work well at all” last summer, Levi admits, alluding to sponsors pulling out at the last moment, forcing him to pay out of his own pocket. “I got hit hard with it; that was a sign of ‘I don’t know if this really works anymore.’ ” 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.

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