This year’s Nerdist panel at Comic-Con was very much about celebrating the growth in content since last year, and about looking forward to the exciting things still to come. As Chris Hardwick says on the Nerdist homepage, the thing started humbly and grew into a many-headed beast. With new video production, the addition of new editors and writers, and the promise of our continued presence on television and an expansion of community interaction, it’s a very busy time for us here and around the net.
Chris Hardwick hosted/moderated the panel, sporting a sweet Marty McFly costume complete with “life preserver” and Walkman, and welcomed with him a whole bevy, a cornucopia even, of Nerdist talent, including Nerdist News host Jessica Chobot, Editor-in-Chief of this here site Brian Walton, assistant site editor and video host Dan Casey, gaming editor Malik Forte, science editor Kyle Hill, managing editor Rachel Heine, podcast producer Katie Levine, and President of Nerdist Adam Rymer. As you might have guessed, there was much to talk about.
First up was a sizzle reel consisting of shows both existing and upcoming and other video productions in which we’ve been involved. The video finished up with a clip of Weird Al Yankovic’s video for “Tacky,” which we happily produced, and Chris asked everyone to give Al a round of applause for his album Mandatory Fun being #1 (which is pretty amazing, don’t you think?!?).
Chris talked to Jessica about how Nerdist News is what they always wanted G4 to be, and how years-old episodes of shows like X-Play and Web Soup are still being shown on the largely defunct channel. Why? Because people want their geek-centric content and nowhere on TV seems to have it. This is why Nerdist News and the rest of the videos are so fun; we get to do what we love without having the pressure of a network. Jessica gets to do interviews and sketches and doesn’t have to wear super high heels and skinny jeans.
On the editorial side of things, Brian has helped turn the site into a place where people like yourself can come to for news and not just a place that aggregates the news. The office has the vibe of the early days of G4 or MTV, a place where people actually want to be and have fun and can be silly together. There are dance parties, people, something which Adam never gets to experience (sorry, sir!), but he does suggest maybe a Big Brother-style show. Chris wants to see that at any rate.
Dan and Malik both talked about their new video programs. Malik, of course, has Nerdist: Play where he talks excitedly and passionately about video games (the man bleeds pixels… but don’t cut him, please), but more importantly positively, something sorely lacking on the YouTubes, certainly about gaming, and that’s something that drew Chris’ attention to begin with.
Dan saw how much fun Malik was having and wanted to do his own show, and hence The Dan Cave was born. The sizzle reel showed a clip of this show, in which Dan talks about how you probably wouldn’t pirate a pizza. (I mean, would you?) He wants The Dan Cave to be somewhere he can go and talk about everything he so desires; like why there’s a slow dance sequence in the BMX movie Rad from 1986. If there was something that was almost a sport, there was a movie about it in the ’80s. Except bowling, Chris laments; although Dan thinks it would have been called Guttersnipes. Own.
Kyle Hill’s only been with us a short time, but he’s got a knowledge and geekiness about science that is unmatched in most sophisticated parts of the world. He met Chris some time ago and asked him to read a treatise he’d written about how the zombie virus as depicted in The Walking Dead and other such undead fiction. I won’t attempt to explain its intricacies here, but rest assured Kyle has thought long and hard about this. His belief is that combining science and nerdery is incredibly easy, and that’s obviously true.
Rachel is our new managing editor here on the site (only three months) and we truly could not get along without her. She took a moment to recognize the writers on the site (hey, I’m one of those!) and that it’s her goal to expand the voice of the writers editorially. She’s also going to be picking up food-based nerdiness for the site, like her recent Game of Thrones piece. Rachel’s the best.
Those of you who listen to the podcasts on the network will recognize Katie Levine’s name and voice, being the uber producer of all the audio-based fabulousness you hear weekly. Chris said without Katie, the Nerdist Podcast wouldn’t have grown to multiple shows a week, so you really have her to thank. There are now 35 podcasts on the network and she personally produces ten of them. She may have been producing a podcast on the panel and none of us even knew it.
Finally, Adam wanted to thank the fans of Nerdist for following us as we expand into new and different areas. He’s committed to making the Nerdist the best it can be and wants to up the ability for fans to get involved and have their voices be heard.
There will be a Phase 2 at Nerdist, and we haven’t even begun. Chris’ dream is to make us a self-sustaining bubble of good and excellent content, and the first step to that is having more video on Nerdist (as opposed to the often toxic YouTube) and more Nerdist on TV. While there probably won’t be anymore Nerdist on BBC America, because Chris is a damn busy fellow, there will be more @midnight, more Talking Dead, and now All Star Celebrity Bowling on AMC. Maybe one day there will be a Nerdist News television show; how would that grab ya? It’d grab us just fine. Ultimately, Chris would like to make low-budget sci-fi comedies. And THAT would be amazing.
So, from all of us to all of you, thank you for making this year the best Nerdist has ever seen, and we hope you’ll keep with us as we continue our upward trajectory. As Chris so aptly put it, it’s about reaching new levels and making those good and sustained before jumping to the next one. We hope you’ll enjoy the climb along with us.