Nerd HQ Panels at SDCC – Doctor Who

Hello, you lot! Anyone else having SDCC withdrawals yet?

Without a doubt, I’m feeling that ache of being away from dear friends and our beloved city of San Diego, which was once again beyond welcoming to convention attendees. Damsel Chan and I definitely made the rounds this year in San Diego and while we spent more time apart than together, we came back with an extensive list of amazing things to do both on and off the convention floor. I was lucky enough to score tickets to two of the Nerd Machine panels at their Nerd HQ location during this year’s SDCC. Naturally, such events call for write ups from yours truly!

First of all, allow me to delve a little more into detail about the actual process of acquiring the tickets. The Nerd Machine had put together several Conversations for a Cause, all to be held at their Nerd Headquarters location, just a few blocks away from the San Diego Convention Center. All the proceeds of ticket sales were being donated to Operation Smile, which is such a beautiful and worthwhile cause. Add in that tickets only cost $20 each, and it was really a winning situation all around. But of course there had to be a catch, and it’s a pretty obvious one. Think about it and set the stage – at San Diego Comic Con where over 160,000 nerds come together to enjoy the things they love most, Nerd Machine is offering affordable tickets to what’s definitely an intimate, panel-esque setting with some of the most popular celebrities in attendance. If you purchase a ticket to a Nerd Machine conversation you are guaranteed an assigned, numbered seat in an air conditioned room, you don’t have to wait in line for hours, and the conversations are limited to a number under three hundred people – which increases the likelihood of being able to ask your chosen celebrity the question of your choice.

If you deduce it will be slightly difficult to get tickets, you’re just about spot on.

I’ll get to the experience with the Nathan Fillion conversation tickets in another post but to summarize quickly, I did manage to get tickets for myself, my bestie, and a very good friend to Nathan’s conversation. Because of this, I was following the Nerd Machine’s Twitter account when I arrived in San Diego on Wednesday. If I hadn’t been, the story I’m about to tell you probably wouldn’t have happened.

So picture this. I’m all nice and checked into our hotel room at the beautiful, recently renovated Marriott Marquis and Marina by the incredible time of 10:30 am. (I know, right? Talk about accommodating and customer service from that hotel staff.) The rest of my party hasn’t arrived yet (two are en route from Las Vegas, two more won’t be flying in until the following night), and I’m left with a few hours to myself. So, what to do? I can’t pick up my registration yet, that won’t kick off until later in the afternoon. Am I hungry? Yes, I’m definitely hungry by this point because breakfast was many hours ago and something to eat sounds just perfect. So I’m mulling over where to go for something to eat and contemplating a stroll into the Gaslamp to see what wonders I can find. And during my mulling and contemplating, I do something that I do dozens of times a day without really thinking, because let’s face it – we’re in that kind of day and age where technological multitasking is as common as looking over your shoulder when someone calls your name.

I refreshed my Twitter timeline.

I. Refreshed. My Twitter. Timeline.

I know, incredibly simple, right? But I’m not exaggerating or kidding when I say that if I hadn’t refreshed my Twitter timeline at the exact moment I chose to, the following story likely wouldn’t have happened. I would have missed the telltale Tweet (hey, that’s catchy!), chosen a different course for the afternoon, and probably ended up cursing a blue streak when I found out what I had missed. But something else wonderful would have come along because, hey, it’s Comic Con! There’s no shortage of wonderful, amazing experiences to be had if you’re only willing to look for them.

Still, though, I’m very, very glad I saw this tweet.

I know – geez, Nikki, get to the point already! Okay!

So, the very important tweet came from the Nerd Machine. They had just added another conversation to their schedule – a conversation featuring the beloved triple threat from Doctor Who of Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill. Tickets would be going on sale at noon PST, which was just under a hour from the time the tweet was posted. (Do you see what I mean about holy lucky Twitter refreshing, Batman?) Suddenly, my plans for the next hour were determined. I took my trusty iPad and relocated from the hotel room to the Marina Kitchen Restaurant and Bar, ordered something to eat, and proceeded to unceremoniously stalk the clock.

A hour later the ordeal was over and I had scored three tickets to the Doctor Who conversation. I found out a short while later that the entire session had sold out in fifteen seconds. (No, I’m not kidding.) I called the girls, passed on the excitement, and our plans for Saturday night were then solidified.

Of course, being a cosplayer, I had to dress for the occasion! SDCC 2012 was the time for me to debut three entirely new costumes, the third of which was completely appropriate for this particular event.

Photo courtesy of the People of Cosplay on Facebook.

Once I was dressed and ready to go, we took to the streets to make the walk. Our choice of hotel at the Marriott Marquis meant we didn’t have far to go – another plus to staying in the area we chose! This was my first time to visit Nerd HQ, and I have to say I’ve become a fan. 2012 showed the organization taking over Block No. 16 Union and Spirits, which offered a brightly lit venue to welcome nerds of all ages. Assigned seats for the conversations are definitely a plus, too. We had managed to do pretty well in regards to seats, settling somewhere in about the middle of the venue. At 6:45pm the conversation began! I’ve linked a video of the whole event here rather than try to recap every single wonderful moment.

At right around the 23 minute mark, you might see a familiar face – yours truly! Somewhere inside of my heart, I found the strength to get up and actually ask a question that I’ve been wanting to ask to our beloved Doctor Who cast. Not only that, but I got the chance to tell each one of them something special and dear to my heart. In case you haven’t watched, I told Arthur Darvill he had given me hope that there are still good men out there (this got some audience cheers), I told Karen Gillan she had helped me find strength and beauty in myself, and I told Matt Smith he had, through his incarnation of the Doctor, helped me to believe in fairy tales again. I never thought I would actually have that opportunity – and I did. Right there, in the middle of one of the most intimate fan settings I’ve ever seen.

All in all? Nerd HQ was one of the SDCC highlights for me this year. I’m looking to post a write up of the Nathan Fillion event as well, so watch for that in the coming weeks. But take it from me, if you have the chance to go to Nerd HQ – don’t miss it!

Until next time!

Damsel Nikki

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  1. #1 by nycolelaff on July 31, 2012 - 1:52 am

    We are so hanging out with you next year 🙂

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