SDCC 2012 Nerd HQ — Zachary Levi Panel Recap & Gallery

Zachary Levi at SDCC Nerd HQ

Conversations for a Cause at SDCC 2012 was a selection of panels hosted offsite at Nerd HQ by Zachary Levi’s The Nerd Machine, which raised money for the international children’s charity Operation Smile. Money was raised through the $20 panels, photo ops at the HQ, and spontaneous auctions. It has been reported that around $140,000 was raised.

If you would like to join the cause and donate to help a child gain something we take for granted every day — a smile — you can do so here.

As San Diego Comic-Con 2012 wound down, so did the offsite panels at Nerd HQ. Appropriately, the panel which capped off Nerd HQ’s extraordinarily successful effort to both give con-goers a cool place to wind down and help Operation Smile with their mission to restore smiles across the globe was Zachary Levi’s own.

Now, I’ve always been a fan of Zachary Levi. A fan of Chuck, a fan of his cheerfulness on Twitter, and a fan of how he just makes being an awesome person look so effortless. And in true Zachary Levi fashion, he delivered on that whole “awesome person” thing when he spent a good amount of time during the panel doing a last second auction with items from his own closet in an effort to eke out a last minute bit of fundraising for Operation Smile.

Zac was tired and ragged and his voice was nearly gone. He got teary multiple times. His laid-back panel was enjoyable all around, and an exclamation point on the amazing weekend of programming at Nerd HQ. With all the various question-askers standing up to compliment him on his spirit and his soul which shows through in his work with Operation Smile, it was almost a love-in!

As is the case with all of the Nerd HQ panels, Zachary Levi’s is worth the watch and I highly suggest you check it out. The full panel is embedded below our photo gallery (which includes shots of Zac from throughout the weekend) and archived courtesy

Some highlights:

  •  He was “spun around” by the question asked at the Twilight panel: “What color would a Smurf turn if he was choked?” This came out of a more lengthy answer about what his goals were with Nerd HQ, which actually spawned from his experiences at Con over the years and the want to be able to give back to the community that supported him with more intimacy than the huge panels at SDCC can afford.
  • Why Operation Smile? He was invited to a lot of charity events (poker matches and the like), but didn’t have a go-to charity to play for. Then, one week he saw a lot of mentions of Operation Smile and thought that God was trying to tell him to take a look at it. He thought about how the simple act of smiling is something that can be taken for granted, and the idea that somebody may be ashamed of their smile and how that could affect their ability to enjoy life freely hit him hard. He also liked the fact that it’s so cost-effective to treat oral deformities that he could change so many more people’s lives with the money he is able to raise. (Note: $140,000 is around a whopping 583 smiles. Go Zac!)
  • If Zac could play any Marvel character he wanted? Well, the man loves Gambit. He would run around as a kid pretending to be Gambit while all his other friends were Wolverines. Another possibility? Havoc.
  • If he could follow in any other actor’s footsteps career-wise, it’d be Tom Hanks. He likes that he does everything under the sun (directing, producing, acting) and that he plays characters with heart.
  • If he had the power to bring back any The Walking Dead character (Zac has appeared on Talking Dead), it would be Dale.
  • Is Zac up for doing anything with his talent for singing down the line? He says he would like to, but it’s very hard to put himself out there. He’s not making any promises, but he probably will. If you’ve never heard Zachary Levi sing, go check out his movie Tangled, or his duet with Kartharine McPhee on “Terrified” (I believe on the studio recording it’s a different artist).
  • The auction was cut out of the archived video, it seems, but it included Zac auctioning off his weight in Chuck apparel, as well as two pairs of Chuck Taylors that he’d previously worn which raised enough money for three whole smiles just on their own!

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