I happened to be home in Indianapolis on March 31, 2012, celebrating my birthday with my friends and family. My friend Caroline and I decided to go see a movie, but instead of going to the theater I usually prefer, this time we went to the local arts theater that also has a bar (this being my 21st birthday, it was something of a novelty). After sitting down in the theater, I heard a familiar voice from a few rows behind me. At first I couldn’t place it, but then I realized who it was: John Green, one-half of my favorite YouTube vloggers, the Vlogbrothers. Instead of panicking, I spent the whole movie planning how I was going to talk to him afterward, which I did, and he was incredibly nice about it, despite how awkward I was!
After recounting this adventure to my parents the next day, my mom commented on how passionate I was about the community of people who are fans of Hank and John Green – the Vlogbrothers. At the time, I felt merely at the fringe of Nerdfighteria – not entirely a part of it. I admired the work done by the brothers and their followers, and their dedication to each other and the things that they loved. My mom suggested I make a film about them as my senior honors thesis. I scoffed at this idea, knowing how much I had to do my last year of school. But, slowly, the idea grew until it dominated my thoughts and exploded into actuality in the form of my initial proposal, which I sent to John Green and his publisher.
By the end of April I had two videographers, Kayla and Paul, and a faculty advisor on board! I created a website and social media pages. In late April, Kayla and I filmed a video that explained what I wanted to do for the film. The video also asked Nerdfighters to help by participating in a social media campaign to gain permission from the Vlogbrothers to make the film.
In the end it took less than 24 hours to get a response, via Twitter, from John Green. My father was the lucky one to get it! (Maybe he had unknowingly appealed to John’s parental instincts!) John gave their permission, but said that they were unable to sit for interviews for the foreseeable future due to busy schedules. This comment helped me form the idea for the film to be made more by Nerdfighters and about Nerdfighters. I decided that by filming at VidCon (the online video convention started by the Green brothers), and receiving submissions of vlogs by Nerdfighters, telling us what being a Nerdfighter means to them, I could tell the story of Nerdfighteria.
In May, we launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to send Kayla, Paul, and myself to Anaheim, California, to VidCon. My grandparents collectively donated $500, but the film was going to cost around $2,000 total. We set our Kickstarter goal for $1,000 and we continued our social media campaign, this time to get the attention of Nerdfighters who would contribute money to the film in exchange for rewards (such as credit in the film, posters, and copies of the film).