Over the last six weeks, we’ve been on a fun ride. Through a series of posts we’ve been exploring our chosen medium from a communicational point of view. In case you missed it, here are links to the other instalments:
I’ve argued that all LEGO models can be considered messages (post #1) to an audience (post #2), designed (post #3) and presented (post #4) in a way that enhances or dehances the models’ effect. Deathdog exemplifies this brilliantly in a comment on post #1. His creation was bashed at Classic-Castle. To Deathdog, the people there misinterpreted his model – which really just means that they interpreted it differently than he did. Not wrongly. Time to either a) appeal to a different crowd, or b) create the next model so that they interpret it the same way he does. (The hidden alternative c) “educate” the existing audience is not only rather time consuming, but also ethically dubious.)
Analyzing your own builds like this, and the builds of others, help uncover flaws they might have. But remember, as I wrote in the disclaimer (post #5) – following this “guide” like a mindless drone will only result in good models. To create the great ones you have to add your own kind of magic. I’ve just preached for one way of thinking that could help you hammer out your build better.
It’s a way of thinking professionals have been using for ages – successfully, even - but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
Before I started to actually write this series I sat down and thought about what I wanted to achieve with it all. I divided the readers of this blog into three categories:
- Active builders
- “Sleeping” builders
- The interested public
I assigned each of these groups one core effect I wanted to achieve, and ranked their order of importance. The things I learned from doing this let me decide how to present the thoughts. From least important to most important (you might be surprised):
3. “Sleeping builders”
Sleeping builders are those who might become a LEGO builder, but perhaps don’t realize it yet. I wanted to, with luck, wake some of you up. The Brothers Brick showcases a lot of nice models every week, and that combined with some food for thought can make for an interesting stimuli. I cannot describe the joy I felt when Alan R wrote:
I’d just like to thank you for this series, and this blog in general.
From when I was around 5 until about 2 years ago (when I was 14) I played with LEGO non-stop, but then for whatever reason, I fell out of love with it, and took a long hiatus. However, thanks to (for a large part) this blog, I recently restarted my building, and am really happy to have done so (especially with 3 months of summer looming ahead).
I just recently finished an approximately to scale LCVP (WWII Landing craft, think D-Day), in a large part due to this series’ ideas of “message/ audience/ build”
As my audience is mainly me (but showing off to my friends b/c i’m proud of my work), I dunno if I’ll set up a flickr acct / MOCPages acct and share it with the world, but that’s not the point. Thanks in a large part to this blog, and especially this series, I went from vaguely thinking about LEGO once-a-month to actually getting back into the thick of it, and I’m really happy to have done so.
Thanks for writing that, Alan. The best of luck to you in your LEGO endeavours. Don’t hesitate to let us know about the things you’ve built in the future, if you feel so inclined.
2. Active builders
Those that are already “in the thick of it” are active builders. I wanted to show you a new way to think about your models, away from all techniques, greebling, SNOT, studlessness, (and SNOTlessness!) and whatnot. I wanted you to see a bigger picture and get you to understand that if you want to, you really can do whatever with the medium.
It is you who have been most active in the discussions, as expected. You’ve questioned me, agreed with me, helped me twist and turn the arguments, and reminded me of things I forgot. In the end you made me think, both as a builder and as a communicator. Just how I like it. Thank you for that. I hope I made you think as well.
1. Interested public
Paradoxically, the people I considered the most important to reach are also the ones most likely to scroll past these posts: the interested public that mainly comes to see the fantastic models featured on TBB. This group constitute the bulk of our readers. What I wanted to show these people was that while LEGO is a toy, it is also a serious medium for expression. Even though most of you in this group don’t read these posts as carefully as the other two groups, just knowing that serious discussion is being held make you perceive LEGO differently – if only at a subconscious level. And nothing says intelligent discussion like lengthy written ramblings.
Now I’d like to your input again. This type of post was a first for The Brothers Brick. If I have my way it was the first of many meta-theoretical posts, but it was also a way for me to establish a framework in which I could post more concrete tips on building, presentation and much more on a regular basis. Tell me: do these kinds of posts belong on this blog? Why? Why not? What would you like to see discussed in the future?
Thank you for reading this far.