When Tricia Ennis started her blog “All Geek to Me,” she didn’t plan on bringing the different facets of geek culture into one place – she was just a bored college student who wanted to write about things that interested her.
“I was spending all my time going to classes, going to work and going to my internship, and not really spending any time doing a lot of creative stuff. I really needed to write,” Ennis said.
The Temple class of 2011 class graduate wanted to do something outside of her film major. Yes, she loved to make movies, but she also liked to write. A personal blog appeared to be a legitimate choice.
She felt a kinship towards nerdy entertainment ventures but, unlike other geek-centered media, she felt no need to find a specific niche. Instead, she wrote a little bit about everything – covering blockbuster movie mega hits, zombie-infested television shows and the fantasy novel that has become the most pirated TV show of all time: “Game of Thrones.”
“It was just somewhere where I could write about stuff without talking the ears off my family and friends who did not care that some crazy thing just happened on a game show, or that Joss Whedon was making ‘Much to Do About Nothing’ a movie, which was one of my first posts,” Ennis said.
The small personal project lasted a few months and was updated when Ennis had the time. However, she said the turning point occurred when some of her blog posts were retweeted by celebrities, including Syfy president Dave Howe.
“It was something that I posted on maybe a couple times a week until one of my posts got tweeted by an actor, and got read by a couple hundred people and I was like ‘oh, maybe I should write more,’” she said.
It was a catalyst for Ennis. Now that her work was gaining attention, it was the opportune time for expansion. Her blog evolved into an actual magazine-style website and two friends of hers, fellow Temple alumna Kait Calabrò and Arcadia gradate Monica Piluso, joined her editorial and writing team.
“I started writing for the blog summer of 2012 right after I graduated Temple. She wanted to do more stuff on the blog, and she needed more people than just herself to be doing it,” Calabrò said.
As “All Geek to Me” grew, it started reaching more than 4,000 visitors per month. Several other correspondents were brought on board to help manage and create content. In addition, “50 Shades of Geek,” an original web series created by Ennis, Calabrò and Piluso that focuses on fandom pick-up lines, began releasing on an almost monthly basis.
Then, while browsing the Internet one day, Ennis came across a new award show, the Geekie Awards. It was their first year and they were calling for nominations. When she first brought it up to her writers, Ennis only considered entering their web series. A few months later, they entered the entire website instead.
“I figured, ‘what have we got to lose?’” Calabrò said. “It’s a great way to get the site out there. So I think we submitted late February and we didn’t find out we were nominated until June.”
It was in June that the ladies received word “All Geek to Me” had become a major nomination in the ‘Best Retail Store/Website’ category. With this nomination, they also received tickets for the award show in Los Angeles on Aug. 18.
“We’ve never been to an actual award show. We said, you know, it’s the first one and it wouldn’t have all the grandiose like the other award shows. And then we go there, and there’s a red carpet, R2D2 and the Star Trek Enterprise bridge,” Piluso said.
Although “All Geek to Me” lost the category to the “Nerd Machine,” no ill will is held towards their competitors. In fact, the team hopes to use their nominations as a steppingstone. They plan on adding more site content, including introducing more multimedia projects and a podcast. They also plan on re-entering the Geekie Awards next year.
“When we got nominated for the Geekies it was like the first time people other than myself, [Piluso] and [Ennis] were reading our posts,” Calabrò said. “So it was kind of a surreal moment where you’re like, ‘oh my god.’ You always dream that people are going to read what you write but I never thought people actually were.”
Samantha Tighe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SamTighe.