…because I have been thinking about writing this post! (Disclosure)
I had the opportunity to meet Zachary Levi and David Coleman of The Nerd Machine. I was so fortunate to have had this unique experience and I walked away feeling inspired by Zac and David, and I felt spirit lead to this project. Mainly because it was a last minute decision to attend, and I am new to interviewing celebrities and attending press junkets – but I wasn’t sure why I was impelled to go until I heard Zac’s message. Then I had one of those “Aha!” moments. I needed to hear this message. I needed to meet this man and learn about this cause for so many reasons. I spent the last two nights thinking about those reasons and what he said that made an impact on me.
I was really impressed with Zac Levi’s passion for his cause. What an amazing person he is! An accomplished actor in films, television, and on Broadway – he has also established himself as an ambassador for Operation Smile as well as the leader of the Nerd Machine initiative. What impressed me most about Zac is his focus. He spoke primarily about his experiences in Honduras and how Operation Smile changes lives and makes a difference for people around the world. He spoke about the impact that Nerd HQ and the Nerd Machine has had on his life and the lives of a community and culture that formerly was made up of small groups and individuals who felt isolated which now leads society in acceptance and inclusion. Zac and David are passionate about creating a successful business and they are compassionate about helping people along their journey. Zac got emotional when he talked about raising funds for Nerd HQ and doing everything he possibly can to keep it going.
Most celebrities I have met talk about their careers and their projects first, and then they will touch on a charity that they represent. If they have a foundation, they usually know someone who is connected in some way that they direct their efforts towards helping. I respect the celebrities and all people who work with charitable organizations for doing this. I have many examples in my own family and in my own job of people who give compassionately to causes such as poverty, homelessness, illnesses, and human rights. Yet Zac’s drive, passion, and insight touched me deeply. Here is a young man who has a very successful career in Hollywood who cries when he talks about God inspiring him to do something that will make a difference in the lives of others.
Reasons I needed to Hear Zac’s Message:
This is what it is about: Operation Smile.
“Operation Smile mobilizes a world of generous hearts to heal children’s smiles and transform lives across the globe. Operation Smile’s network of volunteers works worldwide to repair childhood facial deformities including cleft lips and cleft palates.”
This is who is involved – Nerd Machine: Zachary Levi, David Coleman and Courtney Coleman:
“The Nerd Machine, commonly referred to as TNM, is an American-based company and website founded by Zachary Levi in November 2010. Levi, along with Chuck prop master David Coleman and Courtney Coleman, launched the online community website to spread the “nerd” culture. It is possible to purchase merchandise from the site, such as t-shirts, posters and hats. The website is home to a community of “nerds” and hosts a forum where people all around the world may discuss hobbies, culture and even start collaborations on large scale projects.”
“We want the fans to have the best experience they can have. We want people to see how we thought about everything. This won’t be a “rinky-dink” event.” The model should always be “take care of people.”
“It’s about organic stuff, it’s about the memories.” – Zachary Levi
Last year they did this:
“Fans and celebrities came together once again at The Nerd Machine’s third annual Nerd HQ at Comic-Con International 2013. Located at San Diego’s Petco Park at 100 Park Blvd in San Diego, Nerd HQ welcomed over 30,000 people from July 18-21.
Nerd HQ provided fans and celebrities with an intimate and engaging experience that was unlike any other event during Comic-Con. The event showcased cutting edge technology, exclusive parties, autograph signings, photo opportunities with celebrities, a screening of “Firefly” on the field at Petco Park, which drew 2,500 fans, and the very popular “Conversations for a Cause” panel series, which raised money for Operation Smile.
Panels consisted of the most talked about films and television shows including “Sherlock,” “Hannibal,” “Orphan Black,” “Doctor Who,” “Haven,” “300: Rise of An Empire,” “Kick-Ass 2,” “The Maze Runner,” “Riddick,” and “I, Frankenstein,” to name just a few. Each panel was packed with curious and excited fans asking meaningful questions anxious to learn more about their favorite films and shows.”
This year they are using crowd funding to raise the money to produce an even bigger and better event:
“The ‘I Want My Nerd HQ’ Campaign is very simple. We need your support for Nerd HQ 2014. The funding strategy we have been using to produce Nerd HQ is no longer viable due to venue deadlines and the commitments required by the Nerd Machine to properly plan the event. We wish we could continue to subsidize the event ourselves, but we simply no longer can. We believe in our hearts that YOU will help to ensure Nerd HQ can continue to offer an amazing FREE experience for fans in San Diego, fans watching online, and all the children we are able to help through the funds you contribute during Nerd HQ for Operation Smile. To date, the Nerd Machine has raised over$415,000 dollars for the charity.”
Call to action: YOU CAN HELP with a $5 donation:
“All contributors will be part of the #NerdHQArmy, an exclusive email list that will receive updates, photos, videos and much more throughout our event planning process that can’t be found anywhere else. Your name will also be placed on our ‘Nerd HQ Wall of Honor’ at the event and on our contributor page on www.thenerdmachine.com. But most importantly, for your contribution, you will receive our eternal gratitude, loyalty and our pledge to bring you the best NerdHQ ever!”
I haven’t slept much lately because I keep thinking about all the amazing things that I talked to Zac about with my blogging friends at the Hard Rock Cafe at Universal City Walk. I have been listening to the audio recordings that I took over and over. I am so inspired by his passion and enthusiasm. He is full of life and love. He is a bright shining light. I am proud of him and I hope the best for him.
“Life is an interesting journey. You gotta be true to what you believe in. I believe that integrity is one of the most important things in life. I believe that you live what you believe. If you are trusting that God is doing work in everyone’s life, and it is the way that it should be, have faith in that. If you are living your life and being a light, then that is having the effect that God would wish it to have. You have to stay true to your identity no matter what your vocation is.
“I don’t think that it is hard to be a Christian in Hollywood. I don’t think it is any harder than being a Christian in any vocation. Because I believe that God gives us the tools that we are supposed to have wherever He puts us. I am grateful that He has put me where I am. I struggle with the same things that everybody struggles with, the same temptations in life that we all struggle with, and doubts and fears. I also believe wholeheartedly that this is what He created me to do. I love it! Bring it!”
“My goal is to speak truth to people and hope that it has an impact in their life. It’s always about truth. The more you can seek truth and speak truth and live that truth, that is going to have an impact on people. Whether they agree with you or not. I want people to feel the love that I do in my spirituality, and the peace and the joy that I feel in my spirituality, but I have faith that their life is their life, it is their dream and I have faith that He has that under control.”
“Anything good in me is a gift. Anything good in all people is a gift that we have been given. I am so grateful that I have been given the life that I have been given. I am so grateful that I have been given the platform that has been given me, and I am grateful that God has given me the heart that He has given me, and the thorns in my side He has given me, that I struggle with, and they are hard and they keep me needing Him. I am always recognizing that I need Him. We all do, whether we recognize it or not, we all do.”
“I am grateful, I am thankful, I am scared about things,I am excited about things. It’s hard. I believe in it. It’s what God has in store. All of it is for something greater and bigger. I’m going to fight the good fight. At the end of the day, we have precious little time on this Earth. It can all be over tomorrow. I can look back on my life and know that I did something good and Nerd HQ is one of them. Don’t ever think that a vision that God gives you is for you. It could be to inspire another person. As long as you are being obedient and doing a challenge that is given to you, it can be powerful in ways that haven’t been done before.”
I was so taken by how spiritual this all was, listening to him and thinking about why I was here, I was so glad I had prepared to ask him what I call my “Oprah question.” I told Zac, “You’ve talked about your Broadway experience, your TV experience, your movie experience, Nerd HQ, Operation Smile, and all of this stuff that you have built.” And I asked him, “If there was one thing that people in future generations would remember you for what would you want it to be? What do you want to be remembered for? What do you stand for?”
After hours of talking and sharing his insights with all of his energy and excitement, he had been talking almost non-stop. He listened to my question. He paused. He thought about it. He considered it carefully.Then Zac answered,
“I don’t know that I have done it yet. I don’t know if I ever will. I don’t know that it’s one thing. I would hope that at the end of my life that people would give me the grace to evaluate it in the over-all. There is stuff in my life that I am not proud of, mistakes that I’ve made, that I hope that nobody goes, ‘That’s who that guy was.’ I hope that people will think, I enjoyed him as a performer, I appreciated him as a person and I think he tried to do things that were cool and awesome and fun and powerful and didn’t just relax into whatever the status quo was or whatever the given is.”
Operation Smile: http://www.operationsmile.org/
The Nerd Machine: http://www.thenerdmachine.com/
Read My Monthly Newsletter HERE for more inspiration.