There was no better way for Nerd HQ to get things started in 2016 than to have their benevolent nerd overlord do the first panel. Zachary Levi kept things energetic, fun, and somehow managed not to cry even when he made several members of the audience weepy.
As always at Nerd HQ, the price of admission to the panel goes directly to the charity, Operation Smile. Right off the bat Levi thanked attendees for their help in paying for 16 smiles aka operations for children with cleft lip and/or cleft palate. Throughout the panel, he regularly gave the praise and love the audience heaped on him to his team, the volunteers and the attendees themselves.
He spoke poignantly about a time years ago when he felt led by God to start supporting Operation Smile, saying learning that 1 in 10 kids die from cleft lip or cleft palate tore him up. So did the idea that so many other kids “die inside” because they feel like they can’t smile and enjoy life. Levi is proud to see his vision come to life each year and flourish thanks to the tireless work and involvement of so many other people.
After that answer though, Levi laid down some ground rules for the audience. Having answered questions about Operation Smile many times before, Levi asked for fresh questions for everyone’s sake and in deference to the limited time they had. The audience came through.
At one point they opened it up for Levi to give some heartfelt and profound advice to anyone out there, especially middle school kids, who feel like they’re awkward, alone, picked on, or worthless. He said not to let what anyone else thinks about you hold you back or drag you down. Reach for the right things in life, pursue your passions, find “your people,” and you’ll be amazed how much better your life gets. Several members of the audience thanked him for providing them that very opportunity at Nerd HQ, and Levi sniffed away tears.
There are some standard questions that need answers too. One question always on the mind of any Zac Levi or Chuck fan is, will we ever get a Chuck movie? In an offhand comment, he said he’s working on it or at least trying to. With a mind always awash with ideas, he’s also got something cooking that has to do with Broadway steaming service of some kind that benefits charity.
But what’s coming up next for him? An indie comedy and a period drama mini series that he couldn’t talk about. Right now of course he’s got a lot on his plate with four full days of programming for Nerd HQ. Check out their YouTube channel to watch live streams of the panels.
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