The Legendary Thing!
by Chris Hardwick on July 10, 2012
Hey! If you don’t read Deadline, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap, Mashable, or other entertainment reporting outlets, then I’ve got some stuff to tell you! Even if you do, I want to tell you in my own words because it’s kind of a big thing and I am pants-crappingly excited about it (OK, that’s figurative. mostly). You may have questions! I will provide answers!
To begin, please be charmed by this photo of me in a Tauntaun sleeping bag. Next, some history: Nerdist started as a wee Typepad blog four years ago this month, and with the support of kindly humans like yourself, we’ve grown quite a bit. Nerdist isn’t just an idea, or a podcast or a website or whatever else — I see it first and foremost as a community. As such, I feel like there’s a “we’re all in this together” vibe. So here’s the news:
Legendary Entertainment has acquired Nerdist Industries.
“What the shit, Chris Hardwick?! How could you sell your thing???” You and your yelling! But there are no dumb questions (except, “Should I punch that gorilla?”). First and foremost, you need to know that I’m not selling it OFF. Legendary — the company behind The Dark Knight, The Hangover, 300, Inception — is acquiring the existing structure of Nerdist. They’re like our older, bigger brother now. My business partner Peter Levin and I will have absolute autonomy over the running of our company. In that sense, it’s still ours. Additionally, we’ll get fancy executive roles at Legendary running all things digital for them — I’m heading up digital content and he’s heading up digital strategy. This is an amazingtastic opportunity for all involved.
Short story long: When I merged with Geek Chic Daily last June, it allowed me to scale up to do bigger things. I partnered with Peter because we had the same philosophical outlook on nerd culture and its role in entertainment — it should be represented authentically and made by those of us in its demographic, not some shit-ass corporate entity on a land-grab to exploit and capitalize on its recent popularity. Also, our personalities and companies PERFECTLY complemented one another. Peter was very business-minded with some creative ideas, and I came from the creative-y side with some business ideas. GCD had a business infrastructure and an email newsletter but no other content. I did nothing BUT make content, and had always intended (for reals) to establish a daily email newsletter. In one short year together, we managed to launch a YouTube channel with over 25 shows (in various stages of production), create and expand the podcast network, build out this here website to a respectable level, grow the newsletter, have a theater space, have a TV show, and create a 5-day lightsaber run to San Diego Comic-Con International for charity. It’s been a delightfully busy year!
But we’ve grown so fast that the company needed to scale properly. We now employ around 30 people. Making free content is expensive. So we started looking at options to be able to not only sustain the company but also continue to expand it. Why? Because it’s fun. I’m a creator-type, and I’m happiest when I’m creating and building. It’s kind of like real life SimCity to me, which still hangs near the top of my all time favorite games. So I guess it’s a real life expression of a real life simulator. I’m weird.
Enter Legendary. Sort of. They came over with Peter’s camp, and ultimately were Nerdist’s biggest investor. I can truly say that I always liked them as a company, long before they were involved in my affairs. Even with films that didn’t hit as big as The Dark Knight or Inception, I still always felt that they were trying to do something unique in a landscape of sameness. A few months ago, I went to their offices to podcast their head banana Thomas Tull, not really knowing what to expect. What happened was that we totally hit it off. Though on a MUCH bigger scale, Thomas was like me — a guy making stuff that he wanted to see exist in the world because he thought whatever it was would be a fun idea. I planned on releasing the podcast around Wrath of the Titans, but shortly after the recording a bigger conversation began to take place, so I held onto it. (I’ll release it soon.)
Legendary is a massive small company, if that makes any sense. They make huge films but aren’t corporate-y. The issue they faced is that they are somewhat top-heavy, in that it’s all blockbuster and very little street view. In other words, there isn’t much of a digital arm. Enter Nerdist. I see the same complementary relationship between us and Legendary that I saw between GCD and me. We’re not just an acquisition to them that “hopefully will pay off.” We’re a solid partnership that will help them grow just as much as they will help us. We will simultaneously pull Legendary into the digital space while extending our nerdy tendrils into film and television. Symbiosis! [read last word aloud in robot voice]
You won’t notice any change in the way we run things. Legendary was already an investor and you didn’t notice that. This exercise will be no different. The change you WILL notice is the breadth and quality of things we’ll now be able to create. And no, we will not become a trumpet solely to pimp Legendary’s properties. Thomas specifically told me NOT to do that (conveniently before I had to say that that was not my goal with this). We will cover them fairly, as we had in the past, and will remain impartial in our coverage of all things. I still love Marvel, IDW, DC, et al. That’s not going to change. What we WILL be able to do is have better access to stories, scoops, and behind the scenes goodness. Nerdist News is a particularly interesting piece of the puzzle for me, and this will help us build that out into a respectable li’l news engine that breaks stories and gets exclusives.
So that’s the whole story! I hope you trust me and understand that I would never haphazardly throw this all away. That’s not what’s happening at all. It means too much to me, and so do you. This is a HUGE thing for us and I’m nervously excited — kind of like a Chihuahua when he knows he’s about to get to go outside. Yeah, yeah, it feels slightly weird to sell your thing, but, editorially, it’s still 100% ours. And now we get to make cooler stuff. I really believe this is the best decision to help grow the company in the most positive way and ensure its longevity with a group of like-minded humans we respect. We hope to achieve some truly breathtaking things in our endeavors in the near future, and I sincerely hope you’ll stick with us!
I am now and always shall be your friend,
Chris “Wrath of Khan Spock” Hardwick