San Diego Comic-Con Panelists

San Diego Comic-Con 2014 ‘How to be a Nerd for a Living’ Panel

In Art, Business & Marketing, Live Panels, Misc, Podcast, TV & Film by Nerd For A Living

Chris Hardwick talks about the Nerd for a Living panel on @Midnight

We had a fantastic time at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, especially presenting this panel to a packed Room 4 on Friday, July 25th. We had the pleasant surprise of being included on The Mary’s Sue’s rundown of the Top 25 Must-See panels at SDCC, and even received a mention on the Chris Hardwick Comedy Central show @Midnight. (start watching at 5:25)

For everyone who couldn’t make it to the show, we captured it in audio form for your enjoyment. Our amazing line-up of panelists gave the enthusiastic crowd a wonderful discussion jam-packed with real-world experience and useful info. This is definitely a can’t-miss episode.

Click here to download the podcast.

How to Be a Nerd For a Living: Career Paths Within Nerd Culture

Want to work in a fandom-related industry you’re passionate about, but not sure where to start? These professional “Nerds for a Living” discuss careers within gaming, film, comics, illustration, podcasting, and more. Our speakers share their career-building experiences. Topics include training, online resources, networking, and tactics to use (and avoid) for breaking into your dream industry. Moderated by Nerd For A Living’s Wendy Buske.

Our Panelists:

  • Lee Joyner – director of admissions, Cinema Makeup School
  • Tom Kurzanski – art director, TeeFury
  • Claire Hummel – production designer, HBO; concept artist, BioShock Infinite
  • Pat Loika – Loikamania Podcast
  • Brad Herman – Lead Product Designer, DreamWorks Animation
  • Karen Hallion – illustrator and T-shirt/apparel designer

Speaker Bios

Panelist: Karen HallionKaren Hallion is an artist and illustrator who creates licensed work for Marvel, Lucas Arts, Hasbro, and Cartoon Network. Her art can be found on We Love Fine, Etsy, Society 6, and Red Bubble. Her T-shirt designs are also featured on sites like Tee Fury and the Yetee.
Karen is from a small town in Massachusetts just north of Boston called Nahant. She went to Ringling School of Art and Design and graduated with a BFA in Illustration. Up until a few years ago, she was an elementary school art teacher. Now she works full-time as an artist. She currently lives on the north shore of Massachusetts.

Like Karen on Facebook.

Follow her on Twitter: @khallion

View Karen’s online portfolio.


Brad Herman, Dreamworks AnimationBrad Herman leads a new group for DreamWorks Animation focusing on Mobile, Immersive, and Interactive storytelling. Brad brings 16 years of experience in Games, Animation, and Visual Effects to the group. Most recently he headed the Crowd Animation Department on Turbo and Kung Fu Panda 2. An indie game developer himself, he has several titles in app stores and teaches classes at the studio on how artists can build their own Mobile Apps. Previously Brad focused on using Artificial Intelligence in film production for digital extras — his work was seen in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Flags of Our Fathers, X-Men, Speed Racer, and many others.

Read more about Brad on the Dreamworks site.

Check out Brad’s IMDB page.

Follow Brad on Twitter: @Brad3D


Claire Hummel, BioShock Infinite, HBOClaire Hummel grew up in LA, went to school in Rhode Island, and ended up in Seattle where she now lives with her two snakes, Xoco and Rodney. Claire has worked in the games industry for the past six years, working on projects like Bioshock Infinite, Sunset Overdrive, and Fable Legends, and now works as a production designer for HBO digital products. She’s pretty psyched about it.

Follow Claire on Tumblr.

Check out her online portfolio.

Follow Claire on Twitter: @shoomlah


Lee JoynerLee Joyner has been involved in the concept and creature creation business since 1990, yet his soul has been in the business since 730 A.D.​ Crossing genres, Lee has worked with notables such as Guillermo del Toro, Alice Cooper, Disney and Nickelodeon, as well as television classics such as Stargate SG:1 and Star Trek: Voyager. He has been a lifelong fan of H.P. Lovecraft since the age of 10, crediting his eldritch lore for inspiring his love for all things strange and unusual, and not to mention his predilection for ill-fated expeditions.

Lee is the director of admissions at Cinema Makeup School, one of the top makeup schools in the entertainment industry.

View Lee’s personal website.

Follow his work on Facebook.

Check out his IMDB page.


Tom KurzanskiTom Kurzanski is the art director for massively popular online T-shirt store TeeFury. Tom is an illustrator with more than ten years of professional experience, and a degree in film and creative writing. From an early age, Tom’s aspiration became “to entertain”. Though that has not changed, time has cemented the realization that through entertainment – whether illustration, animation, voiceover, puppetry or film – we have the capacity to open minds and learn, accept new ideas, and escape. Globe-trekking during his formative years led to an appreciation of different cultures and regions, with which he combines his passion to amuse in order to create works with wide appeal.

Check out Tom’s designs on Tee Fury.

Like Tom on Facebook.

Follow him on Twitter: @tomkurzanski

View Tom’s website.


Pat LoikaPat Loika is a writer and illustrator based out of San Diego, CA. He hosts the Loikamania Podcast, focused on comics, pop-culture and creator interviews. He also dabbles in photography.

Read Buzzfeed’s amazing profile on Pat Loika.

Visit his personal website: PatLoika.com

Follow him on Twitter: @PatLoika