Interview By Amber and Autumn Topping
A couple of weeks ago, here at The Silver Petticoat Review we had the opportunity to talk with Kristen Nedopak, the creator of The Geekie Awards! A woman of many talents (hosting, acting, writing, producing, designing AWESOME costumes), she can do it all. Not to mention, that she is fighting for us geeky underdogs in a world where geeks (particularly when it comes to award shows) can FINALLY have their time to shine and promote their fabulous indie work from Art, Websites, Short Films, Video Games, to SO MUCH MORE. Kristen was an actual sweetheart to talk with and I know you will love her (and everything she is trying to accomplish) just as much as we did! So, take a few moments to learn about Kristen as she talks Stan Lee, what her favorite interview was, what vampire show she’s obsessed with, favorite Doctor and her awesome web series’ Fight Class and The Skyrim Parodies. Then of course there are her fabulous projects such as The Geekie Awards and how you can get involved (submissions for this year start in March) and her new project with Nerd Machine.
Amber: First of all, can you tell us a little bit about your background? And where your interest in the arts may have come from?
Kristen: Absolutely! I have actually been an artist my whole life. You know…when I was younger, my mother was always letting me draw. She actually used to inspire me by drawing princesses and castles, and dragons…
Kristen: She was very much into Sci-Fi and Fantasy and I do attribute my love for Sci-Fi/Fantasy to my mother cause she’s the one that showed me Labyrinth and Dark Crystal and bought me books on fairies. And so, I actually started drawing and doing art at a very, very early age. It started kind of with costume design. When I was in 4th grade, I actually I did a lot of writing as well, but in 4th grade I actually put together my own play. My Mom helped me write a play, and I did all the costumes and I cast all my friends and then we went around classroom to classroom. So I was kind of a mini-producer even back then.
Autumn and Amber: [Laughs]
Kristen: In art, you know I wanted to be—in high school, there’s all these really cheesy things that we like to give each other honors like best athlete or most likely to succeed. Well, I got artist.
Kristen: You know, like the artist of the class, and then I went on to college to get a degree in Fine Art and Illustration. So I’ve been doing art forever. My background is essentially painting and design. When I left college, I went and I started working as a graphic designer in technology and so I sort of learned a lot about not just design but user experiences and technology….To this day, I actually still do a lot of freelance work as a user experience designer and an architect, working with companies to get their technology at a usable state for humans. I had this huge fascination, not just in the arts but again I still do costumes, I still paint, I still do all sorts of crafty things but at the same time, that developed into a love for technology and how people interact with it. Because that to me is still a form of art.
So that is actually my background, and it wasn’t until about…let’s see I went to Syracuse University. I moved to Boston and then I started doing theater because I was in costume design. I started getting into a lot of theater and then in high school, I was booked in a musical. And I started asking around that time as well. Probably 2000-2001, I moved to Seattle and I started doing film and commercials and that sort of catapulted at the same time that my other career was happening…catapulted me into the world of entertainment. And, I went from being an actress, to moving down to L.A. to be an actress, to starting to host and loving that even more. But I don’t really act much anymore…
I’m more of a host, which got me into creating my own work, producing… And that ultimately led to producing the show, The Geekie Awards. I’ve got a pretty crazy background.
Amber: You pretty much do everything.
Autumn: Very versatile.
Kristen: Well, you know it comes in handy…
Kristen: I’m just sitting here; we’re just working on our submission site. And you know, I’m the tech person that’s in there working it all out, making sure that it works for everybody. So it really comes in handy to have all of these skills, especially for something that’s big.
Amber: So out of all of those skills you have, what do you personally find the most fulfilling? Acting? Hosting? You said you like hosting over acting…
Kristen: You know, I wouldn’t say, I don’t know if I would label as any specific job….For example, hosting is a combination of getting to know the person you’re talking with.
Kristen: You’re on camera; you get to be yourself, which is what I really love about it. You get to have energy. But at the same time, when I’m producing a show like the Geekies, I get to meet a lot of artists, and like I just said earlier, we change their lives. I mean, we take people that are extremely talented who no one knows about and we use our show to get them seen. And so even interacting with those people brings me such joy. So I have to say, if I were to take a trait from all of the jobs that I have, it really, really would be interacting with people in a positive way and helping make a difference in their lives. Whether that’s interviewing somebody and helping them get the word out about their projects or making them smile… allowing them to have a good day because they had a great interaction with you. OR, if over here creating technology that someone is gonna be happy using. I think just changing people’s lives in a positive way is what I love about all of those things.
Amber: That’s awesome!
Autumn: Is that how “Geek Girls Create” came about?
Autumn: That was really cool! You put a panel together encouraging woman. What kind of message did you want to put out there? I just totally loved the whole idea.
Kristen: Thank you! Well, for anybody that doesn’t know, “Geek Girls Create” was a panel that I put together to really inspire female creators. In the web industry, I had been doing web series, Stephanie Thorpe is a really good friend of mine. She’s been doing web series forever and we found that in that industry, the art industry, females were very accepted but when you’re talking about Hollywood, old traditional Hollywood Film and Television, there really still is that divide between men and women, that you really don’t find in what I like to call newer age businesses like the digital space, like things on Youtube, you know?
Kristen: That’s very, very equal. That’s a place that has a lot of equality….So, we found that a lot of women were just assuming that the industry that we were working in: doing web series, doing your own art, crafts, that sort of thing was similar to what they had experienced in film and television. And so I got a bunch of powerhouse ladies together and that was essentially our message: you know you can do whatever you want and you have the power to do it.
We called it ‘Geek Girls Create’ because we were representing ourselves; however, our message was also for men. You know, we were not… we do not talk about a lot of female issues. We really wanted to promote the process of creating and demystify what it’s like to create your own work so that people weren’t so scared to start. And we wanted to talk about how you could follow your passion and give advice on the next steps to take to get you on your way. So that was really the message of ‘Geek Girls Create,’ which just happened to be a panel of powerhouse ladies because I felt that we haven’t always been able to be on panels of that nature. A lot of times there’s panels of a whole bunch of guys and one girl. And so I was like, you know what? They’re going to be all chicks.
Autumn and Amber: [Laughs]
Kristen: But I meant this to be very cool for everybody that wanted to create.
Kristen: And you know what? Yeah, it was this part of my goal to inspire people, to get out there and follow their passion.