This year in San Diego, Zachary Levi and The Nerd Machine‘s NerdHQ took it up a notch from last year with a bigger location and more chances to donate money to Operation Smile by buying tickets to various small celebrity panels (“Conversations for a Cause”) that Nerd HQ hosted during Comic Con.
Through freak good luck (and trying simultaneously to buy on my desktop, laptop, and phone), I managed to score tickets to the second Chuck panel. We ended up with seats off to the side, in the third row, which made for great viewing. [Mel's Note: A big thank you to Cay for getting tickets for my Mom and nieces since I was stuck somewhere without Internet access when they went on sale!]
The panel included Mark Christopher Lawrence, Vik Sahay, McKenna Melvin, Zachary Levi, a mountain man beard (I believe Josh Gomez was under it), and Adam Baldwin. The first panel also had Yvonne Strahovski, but she had to dash off to press events for Dexter, so she wasn’t on the second panel. However, she was walking out of Nerd HQ as we were going in, so we did get a brief glimpse of her and an earful of her amazing accent.
After Zac introduced everyone and thanked us all for coming, he explained how much he appreciates the fans and that this is his way of giving back to the fans, and giving back to society, by raising money for charity. Once they finished with the opening remarks, they passed around a microphone so audience members could ask questions.
I managed to snag the mic and asked Vik Sahay if he ever got a script with some Jeffster antic that made him think “do we really have to do this?” Apparently, he had that thought nearly every day, and he thanked me for recognizing that fact. After I sat down, I looked back up at the panel again and he was looking straight at me. When I caught his eye he nodded, pointed at me, put his hand on his heart, and mouthed “thank you”. It was such a sweet gesture and it really made my day (as my question apparently made his, or at least the panel for him!).
Zac talked about the ending of the show and polled the audience as to whether they thought Sarah remembered or not and said that he thought that she did. He related how emotional those last episodes were to film. An audience member asked if any of them took anything from the set as a memento, and Zac took a wooden Indian (ahem, Native American, as Vik made him correct himself). He wanted the Tron poster, but Fedak had dibs. Adam, of course, wanted some of the prop weapons. McKenna wanted a certain plaque that hung in Morgan and Casey’s house, but was told that she couldn’t have it. One of the other cast members later joked that he brought home this great plaque…
After the panel, Melvin, Levi, Sahay and Christopher Lawrence stayed after the panel to sign autographs. When I got to Vik, I handed him a picture to sign and he looked up at me, recognized me, and said thank you again. Zac then chimed in that Vik never gets any questions on panels and thanked me for showing him some love. He wasn’t the only one feeling the love!
All told, the Conversations for a Cause and Nerd HQ raised $140,000 for Operation Smile. Check out my rather inexpert pics below. My camera wasn’t so happy focusing with the available lighting, apparently.