It’s Totally a Real Job: Elle, Nerd Out App Founder

it's totally a real job...

We’ve been talking to a bunch of geeky women in this series, and a lot of the women like the Geek Girl Brunch founders and Stewie from IGGPPC have created geeky things for you to take part in all over the world. While those are awesome, sometimes I always wonder what fun and geeky events are happening in my very city. I remember searching fruitlessly several years ago for other conventions or meet-ups in my area, but I just wasn’t sure what to search for because I wasn’t looking for a specific event. I just wanted to know what fun and geeky options I had within a short driving distance. That sort of fruitless and frustrating searching is a thing of a past ever since Elle created the Nerd Out app. I’m sure by now you’ve at least heard someone mention this app, which is essentially a nerd calendar that is filled with user-submitted events. So whether you’re going on a vacation, moving, or just want to know what’s happening in your area, this app can help you scope out the nerd scene in your area (of course, the calendar is populated with user-submitted events, so if you are hosting a geeky event, be sure to submit it to the app to help get the word out). It’s a genius app. Most of all, I think it’s going to help a lot more people get involved in geeky things they’ve always been interested in, but never knew how to plug in. So OF COURSE I had to talk to the app’s founder, Michelle–aka Elle–about making this rad app a reality. So let’s all meet Elle!

Elle

Where did the inspiration for the Nerd Out App come from?
Back in April 2015 I had been invited to a few events because of my blog Your Friend Elle. I was driving home from work talking to a friend about how hard it was trying to keep track of all these events because their information was so scattered (twitter, Facebook, tumblr). It then hit me, all of the events were nerd related. I then thought how awesome it would be to not only have a way to keep track of events, but to discover new ones! Before I had the blog I didn’t really even know there was a nerd community. Everyone knows about San Diego Comic Con, but not so much about more local events. And what do you do for the rest of the year? I know a lot of people have anxiety about large events so SDCC is not conducive for them. Also, it’s harder to connect with people when you’re running from panel to panel so it’s nicer to have the option to go to smaller and larger events. So to solve all these issues I created Nerd Out.

Did you work on this project yourself, or was this more of a team effort? If it was a team effort, what was the story behind how you all met? Was this a group of friends who always talked about starting something like this, or did you find people specifically to help with this project?
I’m mostly been a solo project. I have a friend who does help out with searching for events, but the day to day maintenance and development is on my shoulders. It’s been 5 months since we launched the app and we’re starting to slowly bring people on board. I can’t really say too much other than that because nothing is solid yet, but the important part is we’re always moving forward. We’re always trying to make a big and better app! It’s been a big learning experience because I’ve never created an app or started anything (other than my blog) from scratch, but it’s been a wonderful experience I would never trade anything for.

You were able to fund the app in large part thanks to people backing the app. Were you surprised at how well received it was?
The indiegogo campaign didn’t go as well as I hoped, but I am super thankful to those who did donate. I’ll always be thankful to those people who believed in the app even before we had the physical product. I covered some of the startup costs with that money, but a majority has come out of my own pocket. It’s been hard, but I truly believe in Nerd Out and will continue to do so. I still get excited when people tell me they really love the app. It is really wonderful to hear from people across the world. I had a really lovely lady tell me a story about how the app helped her brother make friends in a new city by going to an event we had listed. I was so touched by the story that I teared up.

You also blog in addition to working on Nerd Out. When you started your blog, did you hope to see yourself starting a company like this, or were you hoping to just kick off a blog that was successful?
I actually started Your Friend Elle because a high school friend had started her own blog. At the time I was working at a job I could have done in my sleep so it was a nice way to do something creative after I had finished my day job. She stopped her blog after two posts, I keep mine going. I had become unemployed for a time after that job so the blog became my daily accomplishment. When you’re unemployed it’s easy to sit around and just wait for the phone to ring. I instead chose to at least write a blog post so that I felt I was accomplishing something. I don’t do well with just sitting around. I never really thought that the blog would lead to anything other than maybe some free travel stuff. I’ve been lucky to meet some awesome people through the blog, but never foresaw a company because of it.

What has been the most challenging part of getting the Nerd Out app out to the public?
Getting the word out on a daily basis is something you continually work on. Luckily, I had a little knowledge of social media because of the blog, but apps are a different ball game so it’s been a learning experience. I’ve also had to learn that some people will love the app, some people could care less, and some you’ll just never win over. I’ve only had a couple of the latter, and thankfully the people who love the app are in the vast majority. Note, we’ve gotten with far without a single major news outlet (ie. Nerdist, Mary Sue) posting about us. I can only imagine when the rest of the nerd world catches on!

What advice do you have for those wanting to create their own app?
Research, research, research. From April to August I did a ton of research. First step I took was defining the app’s purpose in one sentence. Then I dug into other apps and websites trying to find something like it. I found nothing like Nerd Out. There are some sites that list cons, but many of them are outdated. A few websites list events but only for certain cities. They’re nothing as vast as Nerd Out which covers everything from large cons to smaller intimate events. I was actually shocked no one else had come up with the idea before. From there I’d say to start really digging into how it should function, which is where research is really helpful. I looked at several other apps and websites to see what I did and didn’t like. The current version of Nerd Out is not everything we have in store, there will be much more for our users in the future!

How much work do you put in each day maintaining the app? I assume with updates and bug fixes, it’s nearly a full-time job.
I have a full time job on a TV series currently so I really have to juggle the two. Some days there’s not a whole lot going on at work so I can get app work done, others I have to wait till I’m at home. It varies on hours. I do also work weekends on it, so it is basically a 24/7 job. I’m on call all the time. I do hope someday to do Nerd Out full time and have a team with me. I believe we’ll get there by the end of the year if not sooner. Updates and big fixes luckily aren’t a daily thing. When we do have users email with issues we try and resolve them within 24 hours. And let me just say, I do truly appreciate when users email us. It tells me not only are they using the app, but they care enough to report an issues they’re experiencing. And it’s likely an issue that may affect others so they’re helping everyone.

What has been the most exciting thing you’ve gotten to experience since launching Nerd Out?
Seeing how it affects people. I had a lovely couple come up to me at Comikaze just to tell me my app is awesome. I couldn’t believe they searched out my table just to say that. I’ve gotten to talk to people from Australia to Spain that are asking when the app will be listing for their city. It really blows my mind! I feel very blessed to have created something that is helping people. I sometimes have to pinch myself.

What would you like to see for Nerd Out in the next five years?
Worldwide domination!!!! Just kidding, well, not really. I’d like to be global before that point. We’re adding cities as fast as we can maintain. In the next few weeks we’re doing a big push so we’ll be adding more. Once we really get into team territory I’m sure we’ll be adding cities left and right. I do also have some other fun stuff in the works but can’t talk about it until it’s confirmed. I’m hoping to have some news in the next month or two.

Where can we find you online?
You can, of course, check out the Nerd Out website, you can follow Nerd Out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and you can also check out my blog, Your Friend Elle. I’d also like to note that we are user submitted so if you see a city you’d like on the app, or if you have an event you’d like to submit please do reach out. You can find out how to do both by visiting our website. We currently cover 20 cities and will only be growing. We update on a daily basis to get the most up to date information out there for our users.

Thanks so much to Elle for taking time to talk with us and give us a peek into what goes into making a cool idea for an app a reality. Don’t forget to check out the other amazing women I’ve spoken with (like Teal from My Gimpy Life and The Guild, IGGPPC co-founder StewieAmy, writer extraordinaireJordan, the creator of the amazing Jordandene fashion lineKathleen, author of the upcoming book The Fangirl LifeMari of Sent From Mars, the Geek Girl Brunch founders and Meli from Melificent) in the rest of the series, and stay tuned here every week for another women who proved success doesn’t always come in a cubicle. And if you want to continue the conversation on Twitter, use the hashtag #RealJob. 

WiSH Con: A New Convention All About Women In Sci-Fi And Horror

There are some really amazing outlets for women in the geek industry these days, from Geek Girl Con to the newly-formed Wayward Daughters Academy, and now there is a new, up-and-coming convention dedicated to celebrating women in horror and science fiction: WiSH Con.

wish con

2016 will be the convention’s inaugural year,  and I could not be more excited about what the convention has to offer. The guest list is shaping up nicely with guests like Kim Rhodes from Supernatural, Nicki Clyne and Leah Cairns from Battlestar Gallactica, Gracyn Shinyei from Supernatural, music from Destiny Whitaker and The Salty Caramels, writers and directors will be there, there will be yoga and panels on geeky wellness, fan-led panels, a costume contest, vendors, a red carpet, and much more. I could not be more excited about this convention. I love how the founders are making an entire convention just for celebrating the women who help make horror and sci-fi a genre we all love so much. I got to chat with the convention founders to learn a bit more about the con. Here’s our conversation:

Where did the idea come for starting this convention?
Being fans ourselves, we have gone to many different conventions throughout the years. We have noticed, in those years, that there has been a lack of support for the women in front of and behind the camera that make these shows great. With all of that in mind, we wanted to make a: for fans by fans event. With all of us being conventions goers it seemed like the natural way to go.

How did you take WiSHCon from idea to actual convention?
Kerry (co-chair) and I were talking about it hypothetically for a few weeks to see if it could go from a dream to a reality. First, we came up with the concept with the name following soon after. After we came up with the WiSHCon name, we started to throw out our dream list of shows that we wanted to see participate. Once we took a step back and saw the vast list we had created, we knew that this is a much bigger opportunity than we had initially realized and there are so many women that need to be honored. After that we added in Deb (head of Vendor Relations) and Emma (Head of publicity) as well as a couple of assistants to help make this event work a bit smoother.

What was the most challenging thing you encountered while starting this convention?
In the beginning stages, with this being our first year, the challenge was where to start first and how make sure each step did not become an overwhelming event. Each stage we encounter can lead to ten more things that need to be accomplished. That alone presents multiple challenges that seem to reproduce in the blink of an eye.
Once we got to the point where our website went live and we started sending out invites for panelists, our biggest obstacle was being taken seriously. We have been seen as only fans trying to put on an event for other fans just for personal entertainment or as a hobby. To be clear, we are a: for fans by fans event, but that is not the sole purpose of WiSHCon and it is taken a lot more serious than just a hobby. Along that same line, it’s been quite difficult being taken seriously as women in a male dominated business.

Currently, our biggest challenge has been financial side of things; being that we are not privately funded like a lot of other conventions. So our present-day obstacle is getting sponsors, fundraising on Indiegogo, and maintaining broad exposure.

What do you hope attendees will gain from WiSHCon?

We really hope attendees get an appreciation of what women experience not only in Hollywood but in business in general. It’s not about showing that women are superior but that they are equals and should be treated as such in Hollywood and in life. On a lighter note, we want fans to have fun meeting these amazing women, making lifelong friendships with other fans from across the world, like all of us have.

Who are some of the celebrity guests we can expect to see at the con?
The ones we have currently signed are Kim Rhodes best known for Supernatural, Star Trek Voyager, and the upcoming show Colony. Claudia Christian best known for her role in the Babylon 5 franchise. Shannon Eichorn who is a science fiction author. Luvia Petersen best known for Continuum and Battlestar Galactica. Marita Grabiak – writer/director – who has worked on Firefly, Dollhouse, Smallville, and Battlestar Galactica among many others. Leah Cairns best known for Battlestar Galactica, the movie Interstellar, and Kyle XY.

What kind of panels will you have at the con?
We will have a mix celebrity guest panels and fan panels representing shows past and present. Besides panels, we will have an eclectic vendor room, costume contest and red carpet, Saturday night concert, trivia contest, and a special VIP breakfast with celebrity guests on Sunday.

Where do you hope to see WiSHCon in five years?
In five years, we hope to see an event that happens more than once a year in multiple states across the country.

Where can we find you all online?
You can find us on Facebook,  Twitter, on our website, or just shoot us an email: WiSHConInfo@gmail.com

Can we help fund the con? Where can we donate?
Absolutely! Anyone can contribute by visiting our Indiegogo page where we have perks listed for official swag, discount weekend passes, and autographed merchandise. There are also once in a lifetime opportunities listed among the perks. Fans can also donate through our website, Red Bubble store, and an ongoing Represent campaign.

Where can we buy tickets?
Currently, the only place to buy tickets is through our Indiegogo campaign. Once our campaign has successfully ended, regular price tickets will be available come April 2016 link will be posted on our sites. In the meantime, the hotel location where the convention will be held, The Hilton Columbus Downtown, is currently taking reservations at a discounted price, rooms are limited.

Thanks so much to the WiSH Con team for taking the time to chat. Be sure to check out their website, and donate to the con if you can! What do you think of WiSH Con? Do you think you’ll attend? What would you like to see at the con this year or in future years? Let me know in the comments!  

Landfall Freight Is Your New Favorite Subscription Box!

There are LOTS of subscription boxes out there, and even just in the geek space alone, the market is pretty darn crowded with the different types of boxes you can get. Even though there’s a lot of awesome out there, after a while they can all start to seems somewhat similar. A geeky shirt, a collectible of some sort, same old same old. But then Landfall Freight came around and shook things up a bit.

Unlike most of the other “geeky” subscription boxes out there, Landfall is a comics-focused box that not only gives you awesome comics, but it also celebrates women in comics–from women creators to some of our favorite female characters out there. So when I got the chance to check out one of their boxes, I just couldn’t pass it up.

First thing I noticed was the box itself was absolutely adorable. I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for cute packaging, and Landfall Freight definitely caught my eye with their presentation.

Landfall Box

But even better than their packaging were the prizes that waited for me inside. My box contained three books: an issue of Lumberjanes, an issue of Plutona, and a hardcover graphic novel called Honor Girl. They also sent along a Landfall Freight patch, a super yummy smelling candle, and their signature: a caramel apple pop.

Landfall 2

So why should you pick Landfall Freight out of ALL the other subscription boxes out there? Because Landfall is different–it’s providing you with “geeky” things, yes, but they’re things you can actually use, not just more geeky tees to stuff into your already overflowing drawers or more collectibles to jam onto your desk. Plus, it’s all about celebrating awesome women in the comics space, which I think is fantastic.

If you want to try out Landfall Freight, head to their website. And, because I love you guys, if you enter in the promo DISTRACTED10, you’ll get 10% off your first box! So what are you waiting for? Check out Landfall Freight

Book Review: The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy

I’m all about lady geek empowerment up in here, so when I had the opportunity to review Sam Maggs‘ upcoming book, The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, I jumped all over it. I first met Sam through my Walking Dead recapping at The Mary Sue, and I was thrilled to see that her awesomeness had transferred over to the book world. Here’s a basic summary of what the book is about:

Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes, including:

• How to make nerdy friends
• How to rock awesome cosplay
• How to write fanfic with feels
• How to defeat Internet trolls
• How to attend your first con

And more! Plus, insightful interviews with fangirl faves, like Jane Espenson, Erin Morgenstern, Kate Beaton, Ashley Eckstein, Laura Vandervoort, Beth Revis, Kate Leth, and many others.

Fun fact: Female Geek Blogger G+ group co-founder, Fandom 5 co-inventor, and Nerdy Girlie herself Megan Gotch is also featured in Sam’s book!

This book is a great read. It’s fun, it’s easy to get through, and it is empowering. Even better, it’s got some great artwork. Check out the cover:

Fangirl Cover…and check out the dustjacket/hardcover:
Fangirl coverEvery inch of this book has design in mind, and it’s awesome. Still, the content is what makes this book shine. Sam takes the time to talk about all the different areas of fangirl-ness, and she takes the time to explain and validate all of them. I saw my own fandoms represented incredibly well in the book, and I was able to learn more about fandoms I’ve heard about, and some I didn’t even know existed. Even cooler, she offers her readers tons of ways to get involved in the geek girl community, and gives readers tons of resources to get involved in the geek girl world in whatever way they’d like.

In short, Sam Maggs’ The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is a celebration of the female geek, it’s an explanation to some of those new-fangled fandom terms you’ll find on the interwebz, it introduces various fandoms to readers, and it helps readers take their knowledge and make some friends IRL. This book is truly a fangirl’s guide to the galaxy. I highly recommend this to any geek girl out there, or anyone who has a geek girl in their life that they love and want to understand better. Her book hits stores TODAY, so you should go and buy yourself a copy!

Of course, with a book as rad as this one, no book review would be complete without a chat with the author. So I shot a few questions Sam’s way, and she graciously took the time to answer them. Here’s what she had to say:

sam maggs

Kendall: What inspired you to write Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy
Sam: I really wanted to write the book I wish I’d had when I was 15 and liked comic books and video games and felt like I had no one to talk to about it! I hope that this will make some other girls feel more confident in who they are and what they like.
K: You are a pretty prolific blogger. What drew you to turning Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy into a book rather than a blog series?
S: I actually had never considered writing a book before my agent approached me! She found me through Twitter and liked my writing, and asked me if I had any ideas for a book project. Fangirl’s Guide came to mind right away!
K: What are some of your favorite parts of geek culture? 
S: I love the passion, and I love the sense of community. It’s great to be able to be unapologetically excited about the things you love with other people who love them too!
K: Who are some geeky women that inspire you–women that are alive and shaking up the geek world today, women of the past, or even fictional women?
S: Felicia Day is a huge inspiration to me as someone who blazed her own trail in the geek community. Amanda Tapping is a wonderful role model for women as an actress and director and mom, too! Hayley Atwell is my current favorite – she’s so eloquent about women in Hollywood and in history.
K: What is the best piece of advice that you’d give to young women pursuing some sort of a so-called “geeky” career. be it something in tech, writing, games, comics, or anything else? How would you advise them to stand out in an often male-dominated field, and have their voices heard?
S: Never let anyone tell you that you can’t because you’re a woman. You can. You should. You will.
K: Because you’re vocal on the internet and you write for The Mary Sue, I’m sure you’ve gotten some hate on the interwebz for your intersectional feminist ideals. How do you deal with that?
S: For me, the number one thing is to keep yourself safe. If you feel like you can fight back and still keep your mental health and your safety, then you absolutely do it. For me, the block button is my best friend.
K: If readers only takeaway one thing from reading Fangirl’s Guide, what would you like it to be? 
S: Be who you are, and if the people around you don’t like it, there are a million other people out there who will.
K: What was the most surprising thing you encountered, moving from blog writing to book writing?
S: The back-and-forth process of working with an editor! Blair Thornburgh, a full-fledged geeky girl herself, edited the book, and constantly improved upon my writing and though of creative new ways in which to organize the book. It was such a positive and exciting experience.
K: What advice would you give to young writers–bloggers or future book authors–on how to succeed in this field? 
S: Be prolific! You don’t have any of the barriers to success that we used to have, because of the internet. Put your writing on a blog, put your art on Tumblr – before you know it you’ll be making your own books and comics too!
K: For all the awesomeness, there can also be some awful stuff that happens to women in the geek world. What advice do you have to offer women on combating it? 
S: Find a supportive community, either in person or online (or both!). It is so helpful to just be able to vent to people who understand you and have even had some of the same experiences you have.
K: Where can we find you online? 
Y’all, Sam has crafted an awesome book, and it’s definitely a must-read for any geek girls, fangirls, and young nerds. It celebrates the awesome diversity of the female geek community, and it helps bring us all together. If you haven’t done so already–and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for–head over to the Quirk Book website to buy yourself  a copy from your favorite retailer!

A Distracted Blogger 2014 Year Wrap Up

It’s been a great year, guys, and I’ve made some amazing new friends and done some awesome new things out here in the land of geek blogging. I’ve got some big plans for 2015, but 2014 was such an exciting year for me on Distracted Blogger that I wanted to talk about some of the highlights. Thanks for reading, you guys. I think next year will hold some exciting things around here! Happy new year!

1. Most Viewed Post: The Inaugural Women In Geek Interview with Sarah Rodriguez

sarah rodriguez

This one was the first in my Women in Geek series, where I chatted with the awesome Sarah Rodriguez from Geek & Sundry, Nerdy But Flirty, and The Rebel Base Podcast (also, be sure to check out the interview with her Rebel Base Podcast co-host, Catarina Dennis). I loved doing this series, and I got to meet and interact with so many awesome women doing some really cool stuff in the land of geekery. I hope y’all liked it, too!

2. Busiest Day on the Blog: GeekGirl Con Coverage

geekgirlcon

I had the pleasure of attending the GeekGirl Con this year as press, and I had a blast (I also tried my hand at casual cosplay for the first time). It would seem you guys enjoyed reading about my coverage, too. My coverage of the con brought me the busiest day of my year. The con was amazing, and I really hope I get to attend next year!

3. The Post That Brought The Controversy (sort of, anyway): The Milo Manara Spider-Woman Piece 

manara cover

I wrote this as a guest post for Outright Geekery, but I got a lot of traffic here (and my first real taste of some serious pushback, especially on Reddit) for this post. However, I was so stoked to see the amount of women and men that spoke out, calling out Milo Manara for this variant cover. This was a pretty cool year for comics, to be certain (can we talk about how much I LOVE the new Thor???), and I’m glad I got to talk about it on Distracted Blogger.

4. The Post The Surprised Me With How Well It Did: My Defense of Danny Pink

danny santaI loved Danny so much, and apparently you guys did, too. I was just surprised to see how many of you all resonated with the feelings I shared in the post. If only we could have saved Danny from the fickle hand of Moffat…

5. My Favorite Post: For Those Of Us Who Aren’t At San Diego Comic Con

leoThis was, without a doubt, one of my favorite posts to write of the entire year. I wrote it in a fit of melancholy as I watched my Twitter and Facebook blow up with the amazing time people were having at SDCC. More than that though this post, to this day, still makes me laugh–which, making yourself laugh is what matters right? Also, that Leonardo DiCaprio gif from Romeo + Juliet is my favorite.

Other Places I Blogged This Year: 

Girls of Geek12

Outright Geekery

Nerdophiles

The Mary Sue

Project-Nerd 

Cinema Blend 

Sites That Featured Me: 

Her Universe Fangirl of the Day

Being Geek Chic’s Lady Geek of the Week

Top 5 Traffic Drivers for Distracted Blogger

1. Twitter

2. Facebook

3. Bloglovin’

4. Google +

5. My Author Page At The Mary Sue

So thank you again for all of you who read, comment, like, and share my blog posts. You are all wonderful. I can’t wait to continue growing this site and creating content that you guys enjoy engaging with. And, of course, filling your lives with tons and TONS of gifs. Seriously, I have a gif for just about everything.

Brittany_100%_True

I feel like I think in gifs now. I might have a problem…

Gif addiction or not, it’s been a great year, all thanks to you lovelies. Can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store! Blog hug!

GeekGirlCon 2014

geekgirlcon

I’ve talked a bit about my own personal preparations for GeekGirlCon 2014, but with the con coming up this weekend (this weekend!!! yeaaahhh!!!) I thought I’d talk a bit more about the con itself. So what is GeekGirlCon? In short, GeekGirlCon celebrates and honors the legacy of women contributing to science and technology; comics, arts, and literature; and game play and game design by connecting geeky women world-wide and creating community to foster continued growth of women in geek culture through events. I’m all about celebrating and honoring women in various aspects of geekery, be it science, tech, or the arts. The con is 100% about building community. No “geek cred” required; it’s all about supporting one another. I love that. Obviously, this is my first time going to GeekGirl, but the brains behind this convention (made up largely of volunteers, by the way) have got some pretty awesome stuff planned for this year’s con. They’ve got programming for everyone, guys, girls, young, and old. Here are some of the highlights:

1. The DIY Science Zone
science

Okay, this is the coolest thing. The DIY Science Zone is open to all ages, and it is a place where con attendees can go to get some hands-on experience when it comes to the world of science. At GirlCon ‘13, there were more than 350 people playing in the DIY science zone, and the experiments ranged from making your own neurons, to crime-scene fingerprinting, to dancing raisins. This year the con plans to bring in some invisible ink, DNA extraction, dice roll science, slime-making, Cartesian drivers, making light, laser rules, and pocket solar systems, to name a few. The DIY Science Zone is run by men and women in different scientific professions, and they will be there help coach and guide those participating. While I think it will be totally fun to play around in the Science Zone, I love that this will make science seem more fun and accessible for younger kids, especially girls. We can definitely use more Jane Fosters in our world, right?

2. Career Connections

jobSadly, we live in an era where a lot of people are either unemployed or underemployed, and job hunting is one of the most awful things in the world–especially if you don’t have any “contacts” with whom you can network your way into a job. GeekGirlCon is trying to help its con attendees find a job, and a job they love. Networking can be huge in finding a new gig, so the con will be hosting various Career Connection events for con attendees to hopefully make some meaningful connections. It’s tough to be a woman in a “geeky” field if you don’t have a job, right? GeekGirlCon is trying to help fix that, and I think that’s awesome.

3. Programming for Parents, Too

IT CrowdParents are geeks and nerds, too. GeekGirlCon has stuff for geeky parents or parents of geeks. From the DIY Science Zone to kid-friendly games on the gaming floor, paint and take miniature paintings, or lively readings, there will be a ton of geeky stuff for your kids to do. However, just because you’re a parent, it doesn’t mean that you don’t get to have your own fun. There are also panels about “Geek Girl Transformation to Geek Mom”, panels equipping parents to talk to their kids about representation in comics, books, and film, and cosplaying as a parent/parenting a cosplayer.

4. Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds! 

black girl nerds

If you’ve never checked out the site Black Girl Nerds, you should probably remedy that right now. Jamie runs an awesome site filled with great geeky content, and brings her unique perspective as a woman of color in the geeky/nerdy world. Though there are some exciting changes within the comic book world with things like Storm getting her own comic, Kamala Khan’s reign as the current Ms. Marvel, and Sam Wilson taking over as Captain America, there isn’t a great deal of representation of people of color within the geek world. Jamie works actively to fix that. I cannot wait what she has to say on her panel at GeekGirl.

5. Programming for Writers

writing-is-hard-gifThere are a ton of geeks out there who have the perfect comic book story line, the next big fantasy novel, or the next big YA story camping out in their brains, and GeekGirlCon wants to help them out. The con will have a ton of programming helping writers with editing, discussing fan fiction, a YA author panel, panels discussing female heroines in sci-fi and fantasy, and live readings and spoken word sessions for kids and grownups alike. Another cool offering this year is a panel bringing the connection from writing stories to creating games. As a pseudo-writer and gamer myself, I can’t wait to check out that panel.

These are just a few AWESOME things that are coming up at GeekGirlCon this year. Check out the con’s website to learn more, and you can view the official schedule here. Also, if you’d like to donate to keep this awesome convention going, go here.

One last thing: I’ve officially decided on my outfits for the con. If you didn’t check out my last GeekGirlCon post, I mentioned that I’ve decided to attend the con in “everyday cosplay” rather than full-on cosplay (which history says I suck at). While I’m not going to post any pictures of my actual outfits until the con, my official decisions were:

Sam Winchester

I all but confirmed this choice in my last post, but I’ve officially decided on Sam everyday cosplay. Jeans, boots, and flannel? It was too easy to pass up.

 

sam winchester everyday cosplayThe Twelfth Doctor

This one wasn’t on my original post, but after an searching for other everyday cosplay choices on Pinterest, I found everyday cosplay choices for Twelve that seemed too cute to pass up.

Everday.12th.DoctorI’ll be putting my own spin on these two outfits, but I think they will both be awesome choices for the con. I can’t wait to share outfit pics! Stay tuned here on the blog and on my Twitter for con updates. I’ll be using the hashtags #GeekGirlCon and #KenAtTheCon.

Are you going to the con? Have you attended in the past? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

 

 

Women in Geek: Catrina Dennis

Women in Geek CD

For the past month, I’ve been featuring women working in various geeky professions here on my blog. If you’ve missed any, you can find them all here. It’s been an awesome month, and I’ve loved getting to talk to so many amazing women doing cool things in their corner of geekery. Alas, I’m going to be giving the series a break. I’m probably not done with it forever, but I wanted to give it a rest for now. I couldn’t think of anyone better to close out our month of geeky ladies than Catrina Dennis (who gets extra credit points for sending me several pics and gifs of her).

catrina iron throne

I “Twitter-met” (that’s a thing, right?) Catrina back when she was working for Geek & Sundry. When I decided to start up this blog series, she was one of the first women I approached. I’m so excited to get to have her as a part of the series, so let’s get to it!

What do you do in geek culture (on your own time and professionally)?

I work as a geek culture journalist and host, primarily covering comics-related media. Outside of that, I’m a blogger, vlogger, a huge comic fan, and an angry gamer. I’m also a pretty outspoken activist for inclusiveness in geek culture, and every once in a while, I like to cosplay.

catrina khaleesi

 

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

I’m the Channel Manager of all things Superhero over at Moviepilot! It’s a great mix of managing editor and community manager, which is right up my alley. Before this, I worked with the team over at Geek & Sundry as their Social Media and Community Manager.

How did you get started in your geeky line of work, and what got you interested in it?

I honestly fell into this by accident: I answered a craigslist ad for an on-camera personality to conduct interviews at E3, then ended up staying with that outlet for a while. I eventually started writing for them and other gaming outlets, while holding a day job in social media. After a while, I ended up with Geek & Sundry, which gave me more of an opportunity to do journalism based around comics thanks to a new show that had launched (Amy Dallen’s Talkin’ Comics Weekly check out Amy here! She’s awesome). I met my bosses-to-be thanks to my work with Geek & Sundry, and now I’m at Moviepilot! 🙂

catrina movie pilot

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

Gail Simone is the first person that comes to mind thanks to her vocal and at the same time completely charming activism when it comes to making comics more inclusive. She’s also one of my favorite comic writers of all time and has an incredibly inspiring tenacity in her work that I hope to someday possess, as I’m currently working on my first title.  Other names that come to mind are (of course) Felicia Day (one of the most passionate creators I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing), Janelle Asselin, Amy Dallen, Kelly Sue DeConnick, G. Willow Wilson, comicbookgirl19, and Ashly Burch.

You work (and have worked) in some cool places like MoviePilot and Geek and Sundry. What is that like? Do you get sick of asking questions about working with people like Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton?

I love what I do because every new day is very different from the last: there are always new problems to solve, or new pieces of information to put out. Since the core of my work is within journalism, I essentially get paid to geek out over new bits of news that come out in regards to comics. In regards to getting questions about the people I’ve worked for/with, I actually don’t often get bombarded with them! When I do, it’s rarely too probing or weird. I get to work with some extremely inspiring people and I count my lucky stars every day because I’ve gotten to learn from many whom I consider the best in their fields.

Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance, and do you find that your readers are more critical of your opinions because you’re a woman?

For me, luckily, the negativity I receive is the least painful and the easiest to combat: fact-checkers. Often, I’ll have commenters who doubt certain aspects of my articles, but a quick citation usually clears things up. What’s funny is that sources and facts are things i always make sure to include, but often end up repeating — because, you’ll find, most people who throw shade at you just skimmed your work before forming an educated opinion. On-camera, though, people can get a little vicious — I’ve been called fat, or boyish, ugly; sometimes, an actual threat to my life or body will make it’s way into the comments section. So, I’d definitely say that women and those of us who don’t fit the norm are given a much, much harder time when we out ourselves out there.

What is the best thing about your line of work?

Oh, this is a tough one. I think the coolest thing about what I do is that a chunk of my job just involves geeking out with other people like me. The sheer excitement you get when it comes to sharing a fandom with another person is one of the best feelings ever. I think my MOST favorite thing about what I do is when someone who’s seen my work decides to read a new comic that I had suggested. Their reactions are a total thrill for me to see.

What is the coolest/most meaningful thing you’ve experienced since working with G&S, Moviepilot, and starting your own vlog?

Really, it’s just that I’ve met so many people who are as passionate about their fandoms as I am. I’ve made some incredible friends, gotten advice from people I’ve looked up to since childhood, and have honestly had my career molded by the way geek culture is progressing. If you told me that I’d be doing what I’m doing years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you at all.

catrina mario

What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

Getting younger people into comics and crafting a world where everyone is welcome to geek out is my overall goal when it comes to what I do. Being a geek (for comics, video games, movies, and music) has not only provided me with the makings of a great career path, but also helped me lead a positive, goal-driven life working in a field I am so completely in love with. Everyone deserves to find joy in their hobbies and passions — especially if it means they can create something and lead a life that coincides with them — so that’s what I want to help provide for all geeks everywhere.

How do you handle, if you’ve encountered it at all, the negativity against women in geek?

I’m not a very confrontational person, nor am I nearly clever enough to come up with witty/hilarious Gail Simone-essque comebacks to trolls. A lot of times, my initial reaction is just to talk to the person that’s throwing shade my way, but more often than not people aren’t around for the sake of debate — they’re around to make you feel like crap for no reason outside of the fact that they don’t like to see someone that they don’t feel belongs. It’s mind-blowing that anyone would want to exclude another fan based on their gender, looks, skin color, or sexuality. I mean, why does it matter? But it happens often, and it can get scary. It’s ridiculous that I have to report people for physically threatening me just because of my gender or body type. It’s fandom, guys. Chill out.

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

Be tenacious. Be open to advice and critique, but don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something — especially if they’re saying it because you’re a woman. Get every idea on paper or in some kind of physical form before you consider quitting it — seeing it comes to life in some form or another helps you make educated decisions and learn for the future. Put yourself out there and use the incredible tools we’ve been given as a generation to do it with. Most importantly, be supportive of your colleagues. It’s a huge challenge for women of all sorts to break this industry, so encourage other lady creators and help promote their work as well if you enjoy it.

catrina sdcc

 

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

I’m honestly unsure of what could be a common misconception about my line of work, but what I do hope is that others know that this work isn’t just hanging out and reading comics all day: it’s being awake when a story breaks, cranking out content at 4 am, and having a deep-rooted knowledge of your passions. When you’re in a position like mine, your responsibility is to create content that fans like you want; entertaining, engaging and informative. You’re both the voice of your community and the central point of information for them, so being able to keep up and deliver your best to them can be both exciting and extremely tough. I love what I do, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, because challenges like these are a thrill for me.

A big thank you to Catrina for talking with me, and thank you to the other amazing women that I’ve gotten to chat with: Sarah Rodriguez (who, incidentally does a podcast, the Rebel Base Podcast, with Catrina), Lindsay Cummings, Christina Janke, Megan Gotch, Kat Miller, Marissa Reynolds, Vicky Connolly, and Tiffany Wangerin. You can read the entire Women in Geek series here! 

Women in Geek: Kat Miller

Women in Geek KM

 

I’m talking with Kat Miller the Creative and Marketing Director at MuggleNet today! I’m so excited to feature her on the blog and give a glimpse into the life of someone who gets to actually have a paying job that is dedicated to Harry Potter. Ah-mazing. Remember to go here to check out the other Women in Geek interviews I’ve done with Sarah Rodriguez, Christina Janke, Megan Gotch, Vicky Connolly, Tiffany Wangerin, Lindsay Cummings, and Marissa Reynolds. Now let’s chat with Kat!

 

kat miller

What do you do with MuggleNet, and what does that mean?
I am the Creative & Marketing Director, which means, well, I do a lot! Basically, it comes down to publicity, giveaways, media, and staff. I handle the majority of giveaways on the site, from setting them up, securing the prizes, executing the giveaway, and contacting the winners. I am the media contact for all of the major outlets. So, when a press release comes through from Bloomsbury, Pottermore, the Studio Tour, etc., they come to me. It’s my job to make sure that they are acted upon in an appropriate manner (we have the BEST news team on this planet, BTW). This also means that if there is a major public event, I will most likely be the one to attend and represent the site. We do try to spread the love between our volunteer staff, but we also need to be sure there is someone there who knows the parties attending, for maximum benefit. Speaking of our awesome volunteer staff, more often than not, I am the one who handles and sorts out issues not only amongst them, but with any issue they have with their jobs. I’ve hired or recruited all except about six people that are on staff now (out of around 45) with our Managing Editor Keith. So, really, it’s a very varied job – but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

I do have a day job, but this does help to pay the bills! I am a photographer, graphic designer, and soon to be publicist (just landed my first few clients!). It’s a very exciting time in my life, and if you ask me this question in another 3 months, the answer will be very different I imagine.

How did you get started at MuggleNet? Were you a part of starting MuggleNet, or did you join in after it had been created? 

I got started with MuggleNet back in October of 2006 as a gallery coder, 7 years into the site’s life. My job was to update the gallery to the latest and greatest software. That’s it. It took around 10 minutes once a month. Easiest job I have ever had! From there, I took over small jobs on the site, and eventually ended up taking over and revitalizing Fan of the Week. That’s how most of the staff has moved up, small, odd jobs, wherever needed. Being a self starter is a big deal in a volunteer organization like this!

 Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

She’s not a geek, but my mother. She is the strongest, hardest working woman I have ever met, and I would not have the resolve, tenacity, or strength that I have today without her. Her struggles and bravery has taught me what is means to be a strong woman. I really respond to woman who are honest about who they are, what they like, and where they want to go. Life is WAY too short to be cagey, dishonest, or sheltered. I learned that young, and have my mother to thank for that. Also, Jennifer Lawrence because “Where’s the pizza?!”

 What is the best thing about working with MuggleNet?

There are so many amazing things, but I think my favorite is making people happy. We are in a unique position at MuggleNet. Having been around for so long and having a reputation as the World’s #1 Harry Potter Website allows us to do things that other sites don’t have the capacity to do. We recently gave away a package retailing over $1000, and that’s not even counting the intrinsic items like autographs. Nothing makes me happier than making someone else’s dream come true.

 What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

I am the co-creator of MuggleNet’s global re-read podcast, Alohomora!. We are reading one chapter of the series every week, and taking Potter fans around the world on the journey with us. It has been an unparalleled experience. I’ve always been lucky to have friends to chat Potter with, but not everyone has that. Hearing from listeners that we are their friends, the light of their week, or the only people they have to discuss Potter with is so inspiring. Discussing new theories and crazy ideas is a highlight of my week, and I’ve never been happier to be a part of this fandom!

 You are now a full-grown adult working on creating original content within a community based on a series of children’s books. Why? What made Harry Potter so impactful for you that you’ve continued to be so incredibly active in the fandom?

It’s hard for me to put my finger on why Potter has made such an impact on me. When I first started the series, back in 2000 (Goblet of Fire was my first midnight release), I had just graduated high school and was setting out on a new path. Most of my friends were going off to college, moving away, and I was staying at home to go to community college. I was perfectly happy with my decision, as back then, I wasn’t the independent person I am today. However, Harry allowed me to get out of my small world, to live a life that I didn’t yet know that I wanted. It sparked my imagination, presented ideas that were bolder and bigger than I could ever dream. I still find it funny that people continue to call them children’s books. The themes in Harry Potter aren’t children’s themes – they’re life themes. Bravery, Love, Friendship. These are traits that all people should strive to have and acquire. I’m thankful to have found Harry, and have grown into the loving, selfless, brave person that I am today, partially in thanks to him.

 Do you encounter any negativity in your fandom based on your gender?

None whatsoever. Potter fans, I’ve found, are among the most tolerant, caring, thoughtful individuals that I’ve ever met. Equality, FTW.

 There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, podcasting, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them? 

Don’t focus on your gender, or make it an excuse. When I started at MuggleNet, there was ONE other woman working for the site. The boys ran the show, but just I did my work, sent in my ideas, and kicked ass along the way. Gender isn’t what is going to get you recognized for being awesome – your work ethic, enthusiasm, and creativity will. So, do what you do, what you love, and never, ever stop. I have a card that was given to me at the college graduation. I never save cards, but I took the front of it and stuck it to my bulletin board. I’ve had it for 11 years now. It reads, “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” – Maya Angelou. I look at that every. single. morning, and live my life by this philosophy.

 Have you gained friends since working with MuggleNet, or did you go into this already knowing the individuals you work with?

Some of my favorite people on this planet are friends that I have made through MuggleNet. They live all over the world, and I don’t get to see them often, but we make magic together quite literally every day. I’ve taken road trips with them, laughed (and cried) at all hours of the day, and danced the night away. These people are my family, and will always be a major part of my everyday. I’ve never felt more lucky to have people I care about so much in my life.

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

I think that sometimes people don’t understand exactly how much hard work has gone into getting to where I am today. They see my tweets or my Instagram photos from some great place, at a special event, or with a cast member and say, “OMG. I am so jealous. I want your job!” – but really, those moments are few and far between. Usually, it’s phone calls at 2AM, around 300 emails every day (90% of them are legit, too), and working around 50 hours a week – and that’s just for MuggleNet. I also have a full time job PLUS am self employed, go to school, and at some point have to eat, sleep, and exercise. My job may be fun and sometimes glamorous, but it’s hard – in the best, most challenging, fulfilling ways possible, but still, it’s hard. Blood, sweat, and enough tears to fill a swimming pool have gone into my years thus far at MuggleNet, but I would happily live it all over again, to end up right where I am today.

Thanks so much to Kat for taking the time to talk with us! Remember to check out the other Women in Geek interviews, and be sure to check out MuggleNet and Alohomora!  

Women in Geek: Tiffany Wangerin

Women in Geek TW

I’ve not been shy around here about my desire to cosplay, and I’ve also not been shy about my complete inability to do so. So I am so incredibly excited to be able to bring an actual, real, amazing cosplayer here to the site for my Women in Geek series, since, apparently, obtaining a red dress for a shoddy attempt at cosplay is too much for yours truly (I am still bitter about this). I met Tiffany at Denver Comic Con. Like Vicky, Tiffany was also on the Women in the Geek Industry panel that inspired this series. Tiffany, or Evil Mech Meru, is an AMAZING cosplayer, and and you should absolutely check out her facebook page to get to know her better (and check out her steampunk fairy–the wings are AMAZING). You can also shoot her an email at em2cosplay@gmail.com. So, without further ado, let’s get to chatting with Tiffany.

tiffany tiffany cosplay

 

 

What do you do in geek culture?

 I am a Cosplayer under the name Evil Mech Meru Cosplay and I am also a host for the nerd themed podcast Anorak’s OASIS.

What does that mean?

Being a Cosplayer means that I design and create costumes based on works of pop culture, anime, video games, movies, etc. I attend conventions, so far based in Colorado only. I also love to teach others cosplay fabrication skills that I have learned and I often host crafting nights/workshops. Later this month I will be starting video tutorials cosplay projects people can do quickly and inexpensively. As far as the podcast goes, every week I sit on Skype with a few close nerdy friends and we discuss all things geek!

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

Cosplay does not currently pay my bills. I do commissions from time to time that help fund my cosplay passion. As far as my day job I am a part of the team that is working towards opening 8bit Video Game Bar & Grill here in Colorado Springs.

How did you get started in this?

 In 2011 I went to my first convention ever, Nan Desu Kan, and spent the entire time just in awe of all the costumes. I went home after that I decided I was going to make a cosplay of my own.

What got you interested in cosplay?

 I have always been artistic ever since I was young and loved to paint and do any kind of crafts. Once I found out about cosplay and people making their own costumes to go to conventions I was just completely hooked on the idea.

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

Felicia Day, Yaya Han and Svetlana Quindt are 3 geeky ladies that I really admire. They are so amazingly hard working and just create incredible works. They have turned passions into careers and I find that completely inspiring.

Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance? How do you handle that?

 I don’t encounter very much negativity based on my gender in the cosplay world as it is currently populated largely by women but I have had people make mean comments on my appearance whether it be about my body size or the fact that I am cosplaying as a guy and some not liking that. I tend to not let it bother me too much. To be honest I have encountered way more positivity then anything else.

 What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

  I have always struggled with low self esteem and confidence issues so cosplay has really helped me feel better about myself and has allowed me a way to express myself and who I truly am. Through cosplay I have met some of the most amazing people and has opened the door to be a part of some great future projects.

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, cosplay, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

 The best advice I can give anyone that wants to do anything is to just do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. When it comes to cosplay, your skin color, height, weight, age, gender should never, ever be a factor. You can cosplay whatever you want! Follow your dreams, follow your passions and have fun. Seek out like minded people and create a support system. People that lift you up, not tear you down. I will say to that if there is anyone out there that needs a boost or has a questions I am always willing to help however I can.

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

  A big misconception I think with cosplay is that we are all just hungry for attention or we make costumes and know nothing about the character, i.e. we are fake geek girls/guys. That is just not true. Yes all cosplayers love to get recognized for our hard work and artistry but rarely do we put so much blood, sweat, time and tears into our costumes just because we want to be adored. We do it because we are passionate about the characters we portray. We are passionate about creating things and expressing ourselves through wearable works of art.

Thanks again to Tiffany, and remember, if you haven’t already, check out my other Women in Geek posts with Vicky Connolly, Megan Gotch, Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Christina Janke, and Marissa Reynolds! 

Women in Geek: Vicky Connolly

Women in Geek VC

 

In today’s Women in Geek interview, I’m talking with Vicky Connolly! Vicky works at Escape Velocity Comics, and she’s actually one of the women on the Denver Comic Con panel that inspired this series. I’ve been interviewing women in a ton of different geeky lines of work, so if you’ve missed out on my interviews with Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Megan Gotch, Christina Janke, or Marissa Reynolds go here to check them all out. Now here’s Vicky!

 vicky connolly

 

What do you do in geek culture?

I work at a comic book store, Escape Velocity Comics, and I’m also working on starting up a website called ComicShopChick.com

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

Working at Escape Velocity is my day job; the website is just something I’m doing for fun.

How did you get started in this?

I worked at a video game store first. The store had a comic book section, and I managed that. Working there didn’t really work out for me, so I quit. I ended up applying to Escape Velocity, and several  months after applying I got a call asking if I wanted to work for them.

What got you interested in this field?

I love sci-fi, so that’s always been something I’m drawn to. I also played lots of video games as a kid.

What is your ultimate goal with this? Go with the flow. start the blog, dream to work with Image Comics.

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?  Bonnie Burton and Felicia Day, definitely. I also really love Gail Simone and how she’s always so in touch with people and issues.

Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance?

A lot of times customers will ask me stuff like, “Do you actually read comics or do you just work here?” Sometimes customers will flat-out ignore me and go to my co-workers, even the guys who just started, simply because he’s a guy. Most people just genuinely don’t understand how sexist they’re being. I really have a ton of supportive customers that just like to hang. I’ve also found that the energy you put off can also be helpful. I try to not make people feel dumb, and put out positive energy. People usually respond pretty well to that. Ultimately, people will be people, but you have to find the good parts.

What is the best thing about your line of work?

The people and conversations I have. If I was working in any other retail job, I’d just be another peon, but here I really feel like I matter. If you’re not there, it’s noticed. Escape Velocity is really a welcome and loving community.

What’s a big misconception about comic book stores? One of the biggest misconception I encounter is that people assuming comics are only for kids, and while we love kids, 90% of stuff in my store is not meant for kids. It’s a lot of collectibles and valuables.

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

People skills! You need to be able to not always fire back when people says something you disagree with, and learn to get along with people. It’s a close knit crowd, so it’s all about people getting to know you. At the end of the day, people to like you. Networking is important, so stuff like attending cons is a huge thing. You also can’t care what other people think about you. Some people just aren’t going to like you, no matter what you do, and you just have to move on.

Since entering in this line of geeky work, have you met friends or found any new communities to be a part of?

Absolutely. I’ve gotten to know 50+ local artists and I had the opportunity to do that Women in the Geek Industry panel at Denver Comic Con. Really, my  whole community is made up of nerds!

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

I have interests outside of nerdy things. I love comics, ironic tees, and all that but I also love stuff like learning about history and western civilizations, gangster novels, and trail running. I’ve got a lot of interests outside of nerdy stuff.

Any parting thoughts?

Nerds need to stick together! There are a lot of changes out there with the cosplay community and stuff, but there’s a reason we go to cons. We love the same stuff. Let’s stick up for each other and not get caught in the drama.