Kristen Nedopak Talks The Geekie Awards, Hosting and Nerd Machine

Amber: So, about The Geekie Awards, that just started last year so congratulations on that!

Kristen: Thank you!

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Amber: But, what brought that about? What’s the story of The Geekie Awards?

Kristen: Well, The Geekie Awards is interesting because I feel … I sort of have this dual life. I feel I have two purposes in life. One is to create, one is to inspire and I feel that everybody has to have both. If you’re working on just yourself and it’s me, me, me, me, you’re never going to provide value to the world.

Amber: Yeah.

Kristen: If it’s all about inspiring and helping other people, you know, you’re gonna run out of money to pay your bills. [Laughs]

Autumn and Amber [Laughs]

Amber: Right.

Kristen: No, you’ll feel depleted and you’ll eventually feel that you’re not contributing and you’re not doing something. So, having said that, I [had] been working on my own stuff for a few years at that point; that’s when I started producing. I did Outta This World which is a blog/host show of Art and Sci-Fi/Fantasy cause that’s my background. Then I moved into hosting a bunch of other different geeky shows. I was doing TV reviews and then I decided I wanted to do scripted content and that’s why I came up with The Skyrim Parodies. I had been playing video games…


I had this really funny idea for a skit and I did it and I put it out there and I had rave reviews by fans. There’s almost 2 million views on my Youtube channel and that’s the only thing that’s on it. So people really loved it. But I wanted to get the word out there to a larger audience, so I started promoting it to other award shows that were not geek related: to festivals, that were more global….I generally got the response that ‘Well,’ and these are exact words that an agent told me when … we pitched it to him and we wanted him to pick it up and try to pitch it to festivals and whatnot. He said “I don’t play video games. I don’t get it, so I’m not gonna watch it.” And it really frustrated me that I feel a lot of times even though geek has kind of become this popular thing by culture, it really is the passion that we have for these things: for video games, for swords and dragons. And how many times have we had a conversation where somebody that wasn’t into that, they kind of looked at you like you were a little cuckoo?

Amber: Oh my gosh, yes!

Autumn: Yes.

Kristen: All the time, right?

Amber: Yeah.

Autumn: All the time.

The Skyrim Parodies
The Skyrim Parodies

Kristen: I felt like I kept getting set aside because the nature of the work was and I’m just going to use the word geeky. It was an action adventure fantasy video game and so that sort of initially spawned the idea. I had been talking to a publicist at the time and I said ‘I’m really frustrated. I feel like no one will take my work seriously because it’s about dragons and swords and video games. And she says, “Well, why don’t you create something on your own?” She said “Girlfriend, if anybody can do it, you can do it.” And it just kicked off this idea in my brain of this award show for geeks. And I started talking to people and I started asking around conventions and I sort of took a step back and I looked at the environment and said ‘you know what? Look at all these conventions, even Comic Con, super popular but it’s popular because of Hollywood.’

Amber: Right.

Kristen: And so, all of these artists there that pay to be in booths and this is the only time some people get their work seen. But you have to be at the con to see their work, to experience their work. And they just make enough money to survive. They don’t always have this thing that we have in Hollywood. This big powerhouse called publicity which is what gets your work out there. And a career coach once told me, “It doesn’t matter how good you are if nobody knows who the hell you are.” And those words struck with me forever.

Richard Hatch on the Geekie Awards red carpet.
Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica) and the Winner Twins on the Red Carpet

I wanted to use that concept in a show to help promote independent artists in all of these different industries that couldn’t really get that exposure by themselves. You know, as a group when we started using celebrities as guests as a group to use as media and all these people have been seen and we have our album on Facebook where each one of our winners and some of our nominees, the ones that actually told me about their stuff, they’re out there making waves because their work was seen. The guy who was our comic book artist, he got picked up by Dark Horse Comics because he won a Geekie Award. His issue is now gonna be on the premiere of the next season of Big Bang Theory. All of these things are happening for people because they got their stuff out there.

And so far, this is sort of what I’m going for. We have indie video games, web series, short films, videos – things like trailers, music videos, commercials, skits; podcasts, comic books and graphic novels of course, art & craft, this year we’re adding fashion clothing & accessories, so geek fashion.

Amber: Oh, that’s awesome.

Autumn: Awesome.

Kristen: Yeah! We’ve also added…finally again, we tried to do this last year and it didn’t work. But we are now officially adding cosplay back in as a category, table top games, website, and then one that I’m debating doing but I think it’s going to happen is best online personality. And that would go to an individual geeky person.

Autumn: I like that award! I do, I like that. [Laughs].

Kristen: There you go…I mean everybody is gonna want to be that person. And within these of course, the nature of the Geekies is, we’re not the Academy Awards who just does film. We’re not the Emmys that just does television.

We try to cover every industry imaginable that geeks participate in, and yes, there are some out there that we haven’t quite reached. But, over time, I feel we will because again we’re a small pea trying to do a ton of outreach. But within each of these categories, for example, if you take artists and crafters, one person is going to win that’s art/crafters. Based on their portfolio, is kind of best in show and that’s the person that gets to take home a trophy. But within that, we are going to give honorable mentions to very specific things like…best graphic designer, best crafter, best photographer. And it’s sort of our way of fusing recognitions to more than just the five people that become nominees and the one person that becomes the winner. You know, somebody, the best photographer might not even be nominated but now he gets the best photographer honor by our judges. And it’s again, another promotion, another level of promotion. So we’re actually releasing these soon and we’re going to open submissions in March. I’m so excited.

Awards-Winners stan and seth green
Amber: So it’s going to be even bigger than last year then? More categories?

Kristen: I hope so! Well last year, you know, it’s something that is a really great thing to touch upon because again, ‘Geek Girls Create’ was very much about telling people, “Look, it’s really hard to get started but keep going.” And Geekie Awards is the number one most insane project I have ever done because for me to come out of the blue and tell Hollywood and tell, you know, the Geek world: “Hey, there’s a new award show and I need you to believe in it because it’s gonna happen. And this is what we’re doing….” So we had a lot of people support us; we had a ton of people think we were a joke and think it was never gonna happen. And so, having done this for a year already, this is already been so much easier. [Laughs]

Amber: Yeah.

Kristen: We can say, but look we did it!

Amber: Well, you were able to give Stan Lee the Lifetime Achievement Award, how cool was that?

stan lee
Kristen: Oh, God. It was so great. We, since the very beginning of this project, we had Stan Lee in mind, actually I had Stan Lee in mind. We wanted to give him the award. Yeah, when I say ‘we,’ there is really no team ‘Geekies.’ It’s me. [Laughs]

Autumn and Amber: [Laughs]

Kristen: You know and I hired a production team, marketing people and all that. But it was really cool because, I’ll tell you I come across this all the time because they’re like, “You have Stan Lee there; amazing!” Oh, no, it was really hard work. I mean, Stan Lee is an icon and that man has the right to choose where he’s going to go and what he’s going to put his time into. And you can imagine how many people want him at their show! So in the very beginning, I met with POW and they, since day one, not even Stan, just team POW.  You’ve got Darren and the rest of his POW social media team. They’re amazing. They’re like his right hand people and they help him with all his social media. Stan Lee, by the way, does do all his own tweets. He might dictate them to somebody but just so everybody knows, that is an awesome fact.

Amber: That’s cool. Yeah.

Kristen: What I love with POW is they were so on board with this idea and so incredibly supportive, and they’re like “You know what? We don’t know if it’s going to be big enough, except this was where like: It’s ridiculous. It sounds crazy and I don’t know if we’re going to make it happen but we’ll do what we can to get Stan there, and we’ll tell you right now, if it’s big enough, he’ll come!” And, for the ENTIRE time that I was doing this project, I just kept in the back of my brain: “If it’s big enough, he’ll come. If it’s big enough, he’ll come.” And probably, a week before the show is when we really got confirmation that he was going to show up. When his handler started calling me and setting up instructions on when he was going to arrive and what we needed to do, I was like “Holy crap! Stan Lee is coming.” And they were absolutely blown away.

stan lee red carpetBut again, such the nicest guy on the face of the earth, probably, at his age, probably somebody that has more energy than like any five year old I’ve ever met.

Autumn: Wow.

Kristen: An insane amount of energy, an insane amount of positive energy. You know, that man loves his job and he is nice to every single person he even says a word to. He is incredible and I see why people love him. So, for him to come to this show and put time into creating a song… I mean, it just meant everything.

Amber: I loved his hymn!

Kristen: Yeah!

Autumn: That was so much fun.

Kristen: I think at that point, I was like almost crying. I was like, “I can’t believe this is happening right now.” [Laughs]. He had put in all this effort and I appreciate it, but…he’s so amazing, so we hope he comes back.

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Amber: Besides the new categories, are there any other changes to the event this year?

Kristen: Well of course. There’s two parts of the Geekie Awards: There’s the Geekie Awards brand and submissions, and the independent creators. That’s what we’re talking about with the categories. We have most of the same returning judges. They are our ‘Geekie’ experts. And that’s something that I really want people to know is: when they enter a category, the person looking at your work is an expert in that category, so if you’re an artist and crafter, you know the judges are artists and crafters. Those are the people looking at your work. So it really validates that we don’t just have random people that don’t have an interest in that topic looking at it. We legitimately have people in that industry, scoring and voting on your work.

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But aside from that, I can’t say anything unofficially yet, but we are planning obviously the event. Right now our challenge is how do we incorporate sponsors to cover the show? Because last year was very indie, very self-funded; and that’s just the nature of the show. We are not a giant Hollywood production, nor do we work for a television studio. We are one of the only independent companies that puts on an Awards Show. Because we want to keep it independent and we really want to keep that spirit of the geeks alive. We don’t want to hand it off to somebody else.

Amber: Right.

Kristen: A lot of work goes into sponsors and brands and who to partner with. So I think a lot of people are going to see in August, the show is going to be even bigger and crazier than ever. We have some people interested that are just going to bring in amazing elements and aspects. And this year’s theme, last year’s theme was Sci-Fi. This year’s theme is going to be fantasy.

Amber: Nice.

Kristen: Every year we’re going to switch it up. So other than that, I can’t tell you anything else! [Laughs].

Amber: Well, I think that’s a lot. I know I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

Autumn: Yeah, it’s a nice tease.

Kristen: Oh gosh, I already have the script for the initial video written and if we can pull it off, I’m blown away already! I think everybody is gonna freak out and be like “That’s so cool!” And I just have an incredible team of people helping. It’s funny, I just said to my husband the other day, “Thank God I know so many talented producers and directors and filmmakers because we actually have to compete with the people that entered the show.” Our work for the show, the videos that we create for the show, has to be just as good, if not better as the people entering, and the people entering are phenomenally talented. So that’s a challenge, you know…You don’t think about it but it’s a challenge.

Amber: Yeah, I could understand that. I mean, wanting to be able to keep up and make it look amazing. There are so many talented people out there, you know?

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By on February 16th, 2014

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