The eighth episode of LEGO Masters Season 2 has aired. A new episode means another winning build and unfortunately, another team elimination. After each episode, we’ll be meeting these teams as they continue on their LEGO journey with the show behind them. This week the contestants were tasked with building a puppet out of LEGO and performing a short show with another team.
We sat down for a talk with the seventh team to leave this season along with our friends from Brickset, BZPower and True North Bricks. We chatted about childhood memories, building with siblings and the importance of storytelling.
If you haven’t seen last week’s episode, you may want to turn back now! If you’ve seen it already, then you already know that brother and sister team Lauren & Bryan were sent home this week.
What is your LEGO Story? Did you have any favorite themes growing up, or did you go through a dark age?
Bryan: LEGO® started for me when I was about three years old. I got a little town Minifigure set from my dad. It was the best thing I had ever seen. I lost one of the minifigures and it was the first tantrum I ever threw.
Lauren: That’s a story that gets told a lot. It’s memorable [laughs].
Bryan: That was my start with LEGO. I started building my own stuff, probably by age four. Then when Lauren was born and she started building with bricks, I brought her into the hobby. I grew up with Johnny Thunder. I dressed up as Johnny Thunder as a kid. I literally wore a cardboard box, Styrofoam pants, and a painted lipstick moustache.
Lauren: He won a competition at Legoland for wearing that costume [laughs].
Bryan: Johnny Thunder was a big deal. That was probably the earliest theme that I remember being hooked on. Then, I was very much of the generation when the first licensed sets came out. So, when Star Wars landed, when Harry Potter landed, I was a young kid. That was just perfect. I got every single one and was just off to the races. The dark ages didn’t really happen. I went through a phase where I got really into this platform called Little Big Planet on PS3, which is almost like LEGO building. I was really into that, and it was more my thing in middle school than LEGO. But, once that had its time, it was back to LEGO.
Lauren: Then they did the Lord of the Rings line.
Bryan: I never really had a dark age, but when they brought that Lord of the Rings line out, I was like “this is the coolest thing that has ever happened ever before.”
Lauren: I was three when I got my first set. That was a little Belleville set. Belleville is a discontinued line for LEGO. It was geared more towards girls at the time. There’s a lot of fairy tale themed sets, and I absolutely loved those. I had them and continued to get those sets up until the time they were discontinued. Absolutely adored them. They’re my favorite, heartbroken that they’re gone.
Bryan: We built a lot of those together too, a lot of those Belleville sets.
Lauren: Yeah, we built a lot together. We also spent so much time playing all the LEGO video games together. That was a big thing we would do. LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indiana Jones, LEGO Batman, LEGO Lord of the Rings. We’ve grown up going to LEGOland a lot as well. We’re about a 45-minute drive from there. So, a lot of spending time in a LEGO®community with our family and each other.
Bryan: We’d see the builds at LEGOland and go home and try to recreate them, especially those Miniland figures. If you’re familiar with those at Legoland, they are very popular online too.
Lauren: There used to be a workshop in the back and Bryan had some of his things displayed there. As kids, you could build and have your builds displayed. So much of our childhood together had to do with LEGO.
If you could have designed a challenge for the show that played to your strengths, what would that have looked like?
Bryan: We know for sure that it would have been a storytelling challenge. When watching season one, a lot of the challenges would have played to our strengths. That movie genre challenge? Oh my goodness, we loved that. In this season, one of our favorite challenges was the Hero Shot challenge, which was movie related, tell a story, you know? When we get to wrap our hands around something and get into that storytelling mode, that’s when we thrive. If we got to do that movie genre challenge from season one, and we got to meet the directors of the LEGO Movie, I probably would have fainted. That would have been really cool. In watching season one, we saw a lot of ourselves and the types of things we like to build. Season two had some of that, but also a lot of technical stuff.
Lauren: It’s so different. A lot more technical challenges, which we weren’t anticipating. We were anticipating things much more similar to season one. Season two is a whole different ball game.
Bryan: A whole different thing. We did storytelling where we could.
Lauren: Yes, exactly, we tried to bring it into everything.
It seemed that there were requirements for the builds and performance that weren’t shown on the episode. Can you give us some details around that?
Bryan: Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. Compared to the windmill challenge which had so many technical requirements, this challenge had very few. It really was just build a puppet that had at least one moving part. There were no size requirements, which is why you saw the variance in the size of the puppets. It was very much just build a puppet and make something move. But there was a lot that went into the performing aspects. We were each given a script that we had to fully memorize and perform. The script was also taped behind the stage there if we had the time to look, which nobody did….
Lauren: We were busy doing the show…
Bryan: So we all memorized the script fully. In the script, there were both scripted moments which you hear, the one scripted moment you really hear is with Caleb and Jacob and Mark and Steven the whole thing about VIP and all of that, that was part of the script. Then there were moments in the script that allowed for improv, and in those improv moments, you got to show off your special skill. That was also recommended by the judges – your puppet should have some sort of special skill that it could do. So for our puppet, it could play fetch. So we created a little tennis ball…
Lauren: That was the bedazzled, bejeweled tennis ball to see the princess.
Bryan: So that was really where we got to have fun with it. We got to improvise a little bit and do our own thing, but other than that we were really just following the script and then at the end, both of our puppets could come together….
Lauren: And do the show together. So what we ended up doing was that we sang a song with Natalie Michelle. We got to have a really close relationship with Natalie and Michelle throughout this experience. We wrote a song together backstage, so we’re trying to figure out lyrics that we could do that would sound good, and we wanted to end it with teaching people that the plural of LEGO is LEGO. So that was fun. We were singing it backstage.
Bryan: Natalie has a musical background and I play piano so we’re were both going back and forth with musical ideas. Lauren used to do theater. It just felt like the right thing to do.
Lauren: We had the most fun with it.
What was it like interacting with Billy the puppet on set?
Lauren: It was amazing!
Bryan: We loved Billy!
Lauren: This episode was the most fun we had during a build challenge. There was just such a fun air to the room because there was so much laughter going on – Billy was hilarious and Will had the best rapport. We had a great time when they came to our table.
Bryan: I don’t think they covered it in the episode, but the puppeteer for Billy was the puppeteer for Kermit, so he’s a big deal.
Lauren: He’s a legend! He was so nice and so fun. He really wanted to meet us and know about the builds. I think he and Will had an absolute blast together.
Bryan: We’ve never seen Will having so much fun. Will is doing improv all the time, and none of us have done improv, so we’re all just trying to play along and make it work. But this was Will getting to do improv with someone who does improv, so he was really in his zone.
Lauren: They were doing a lot of improv with us – they were trying to one-up each other with who could take us out to something fancy: ‘I’ll take you guys out for coffee,’ ‘I’ll take you out to dinner,’ ‘I’m going to take you to a five-star resort,’ and eventually Will walked off.
Bryan: It was who could be the best host.
Lauren: I was just crying from laughing. It was just such a great time on set with them and we were so excited. We had a guest on the show, which we didn’t know at the beginning if it was going to happen or not.
Bryan: It just had that buzzy energy that I imagine they had in Season 1 with the guests on set. We didn’t actually have any of the guests in the episodes before this come on set, so to have this guest was really exciting.
What was it like to work with Brickmasters Amy and Jamie?
Bryan: They were so instrumental in guiding our build process. They spoke to us for every challenge right and only some interactions get shown. But every single challenge, they came to us with really valuable advice for how to tighten our stories, how to change our builds. For example, in the first challenge, Jamie told us to add some peril for our prince character hanging off the ledge, so we added these spiky brambles around the base. For the hate challenge they talked to us about how to pose the Phoenix to make it more striking. They were always offering really valuable guidance not only a storytelling perspective but also how to make your build really fit the challenge.
Lauren: They were really great, and they have so much wisdom and they really do want to help you. They are there to try and make you build the best thing you can.
Bryan: I just love seeing Jamie just like nerd out on details.
Lauren: He freaked out in first episode with Bryan, when he saw our prince, rotating obviously moving and he said, I honestly don’t know how you did that.
Bryan: That was such a cool moment. Jamie noticed something and said, “I have never seen that before” and so it was really cool to get that feedback.
Lauren: You were awesome.
What are some of the details of your builds that weren’t seen on TV?
Bryan: In episode one, that was our sibling storytime build where we built a huge Rapunzel tower. But really the core of that build was that it all started with the little minifigure scene in the bottom corner of the build that didn’t really get shown. That the minifigure scene was of our mom reading us a bedtime story. Then that story is coming to life out of this giant story book on the float. So it’s like we’re hearing this story as little minifigure kids and then the story is coming to life.
Lauren: You actually see the little minifig mom holding a little blue book, and that was supposed to connect into the blue book that we built, to have the story come to life. It was a tribute to our parents helping us be creative by telling us stories. That whole story wasn’t shown in the episode and it was something that was really meaningful to us.
Bryan: In episode three, that was so fun. We had a story about our birthday cakes. It was the tower earthquake episode. We are big storytellers and we wanted a reason for why we were building a big cake. it couldn’t just be that we’re building a big cake that shakes, there had to be a story. So we created a story about Georgina the giant and so every year the royal bakers make an extremely amazing big cake for her every year. She’s so excited that she comes bounding in, and the cake topples over because of all the shaking. So the royal bakers wanted to make the cake that can withstand Georgina’s excitement and so that’s why it’s shaking. And the royal chefs, prepare the cake with all of Georgina’s favorites, one of which includes human, aka minifigure, sprinkles all attached to the side.
Lauren: We love fantasy, so we were thinking of the land of giants. To have this giant Princess get all her little human mini sprinkles I thought they would all be scared. I spent quite a bit of time digging in those minifigure bins to find every terrified face, and it took quite some time to find every one. Some of them had personality, some were taken from the beach and so they have a crab and a lobster with their hands.
Bryan: For our derby car which was another built more focused on strength, the stories of the builds didn’t quite make their way into the episode. We built “Beware the Bull”, and the story there is that this bull has stolen the matador’s cape and is wearing it into the arena. So that cape that’s flying off the back of the build is stolen from the matador and it has all the intricate gold stylings.
Were there any fun or memorable moments that didn’t make it into the show?
Bryan: The big one that we mentioned before was when Will called our mom, that was so fun for us. He brought out Lauren’s phone…
Lauren: …and I called our mom and I remember I wasn’t sure if she would pick up or not, but she did and I said, ‘Hi mom, you’re on LEGO Masters, here’s Will!’ And I just handed him the phone.
Bryan: And Will just took the phone and said, ‘Hi Margie!’
Lauren: From that point on, that was his bit with us, which sadly got cut. He would be acting like he was part of our family and asking how Margie is.
Bryan: He’d be like, ‘I’m so proud of you, your mom is proud of you.’ It was his bit with us for the entire rest of the time we were on the show.
Lauren: We were heartbroken that it didn’t make it in, but we have our memories of it!
Bryan: Will and I had this running gag too about me being in a blazer, and how we were both in blazers, and I was ‘Blazer Bryan.’
Lauren: Bryan doesn’t wear blazers.
Bryan: Will caught on to that very quickly and continued to mess with me about it. One time I took the blazer off on camera and Will was like, ‘No! No! Put it back on! We can’t look at that!’
Lauren: We always had a blast with Will, there was always so much laughter, he was so funny. I know there was one time in our last episode when we were partnered with Natalie and Michelle and Will was trying to get us to practice with our puppets together and said, ‘Well aren’t you all friends in real life?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, the four of us have a group chat and we’ve gotten real close, we talk all the time.’ And he said, ‘Are you serious? I’m really touched by that.’
Bryan: And we are to this day, we’re so close with all of our fellow contestants. We made some really, really strong friendships on this show.
Lauren: All twenty-four of us still talk every day.
Do you have any disagreements on what color schemes to use?
Bryan: Color is something we think a lot about in every challenge. We want to have bright bold colors that are contrasting and that stand out. The only challenge where we kind of ran into trouble with our usual color chemistry was in the turbine challenge. In that challenge we had this concept that we would build something where the characters would really be allowed to pop. We would have these bright colored characters and a bright color turbine. And that would kind of speak for itself but it was built on grey rocks. We got some guidance from the Brickmasters that they wanted to see a really bright colorful world. We had to adjust our plan and we ended up making these colorful kelp forests. That wasn’t in our original plan so we struggled with adapting and figuring out how to work more color in when we already had our colors planned.
Lauren: I spent a good five hours building some rocks, so we considered whether to ditch the rocks, but we decided not to make it realistic.
What did you want to get out of being on LEGO Masters?
Bryan: We are storytellers. That is such a foundational part of what we want to do, what we want to do with Lego, and what we want to do with our lives. We love telling stories and bringing these imaginative colorful worlds to life. With the unlimited opportunities of 5 million bricks in the brick pit it was the perfect chance to tell as many stories as we possibly could in the time that we got on LEGO Masters. That was really our mission: we’re storytellers. So, even if it was a technical challenge, even if it was a strength challenge, we tried our best to put as much story as we possibly could into every single build. That’s something that we’re hoping can last and hopefully it was enjoyable for people who watch the show.
You were known for having a lot of small details. How did you find all the pieces you need with the time constraints?
Lauren: A lot of running back and forth. (laughs) Sometimes as well asking other contestants if they know where something is. Likewise they would ask us if we knew where something is. Everyone was very helpful, but I would say it was a lot of just getting used to where pieces were, and a lot of trial and error. It’s interesting to think about now, to put myself back in that brick pit. I can actually picture where different things were. We tried to have a lot of creative parts usage. In the second build, when I was working on that lily pad flower I really tried to be inspired by what I was seeing in the brick pit, and to grab those pieces and then to just build it with what I found. Sometimes we would get inspired by bricks, we would actually find in the brick pit to use in our builds because there were so many.
Bryan: I think there are two approaches that you could take to something like this. You stick to your guns, you go right to the bricks that you know are there, you’re not searching, you just know exactly what you’re looking for, so we did that a lot. I love to sculpt and I’m very comfortable with traditional bricks and sculpting round curved shapes. So if we were in a pinch and we needed to create something that was curved or rounded, I knew that was a go to. But then there were other times, like building the under the sea world, where it’s like Lauren said, we would just go to the brick pit, and look around. You just find pisces that work. It’s really two strategies, but it depends on how much of a time crunch you’re in and what you’re most comfortable with.
Lauren: In episode one we were getting used to the brick pit. I remember we couldn’t find pieces that we needed. So in the end to attach our book on a diagonal, we ended up having to use little jumper plates very strategically placed so that the book would sit diagonally.
If you had had two extra hours on any challenge, which build would have benefitted the most?
Bryan: The hanging brick, definitely. That is by far the one we were the most strapped for time. We had this idea and we were really excited to execute it. It ended up taking much longer than we thought to create that fluffy cloud design. It took a long time and we didn’t anticipate it. So that cut into everything else. I made sure I worked on those rainbow things along the side and made sure I had time for that, but other than that, we had to let some things fall through the cracks. We would have smoothed out some of the edges around the cloud on the bottom. Our tower broke and we didn’t have time to rebuild it, so our crystal palace would have been much taller. Plus I would have done some more work on the characters.
If you could give advice to your past self, what would you tell yourself going into LEGO Masters?
Bryan: Get really good at Technic. Every single challenge. Neither of us are Technic builders. That’s just not in our wheelhouse. We like to build things that are very aesthetically pleasing, and the function is kind of secondary. That was not the vibe for season two necessarily. It was very much a Technic build centered thing for the episodes that we got to experience. Every episode we ran straight for the Technic bin and were figuring it out. I was learning how a lot of the Technic connections even worked to begin with. I was finding parts I’d never seen before. That would have been the advice.
Lauren: Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty accurate. But I’ve got to give it to Bryan, actually. One other thing that didn’t make the final cut of the show was during the memory build. We actually got second place for the Lamborghini, which they didn’t show, and Bryan really did that well. I was really not very helpful. I was stressed out with building that car. Bryan, who is also not a Technic builder, was like “we still have to do it, so let’s do it!” and I was like: “I can’t!” So, that’s another thing I would tell myself. Just go for it, which we did. But remind yourself that you can do this, you’re creative, you can keep moving forward even when you feel stumped.
Bryan: That’s great advice to any LEGO Masters contestants. Whatever you’re doing, just commit to it and go all in. It’s like what Will was saying to Caleb and Jacob in this last episode, whatever you’re going to do with your story, just commit. I think LEGO Masters encourages that as well. You just really have to go all in on either creating your idea or selling your idea. If it’s something you are not sure about, you just have to commit.
What did this experience mean to you to be able to do it together?
Bryan: It was special. Lauren and I have been building together for a really long time. To see what we could do when we were pushed to our absolute limits, both endurance and in our building ability, doing these crazy challenges we could never have imagined. Lauren rose to the occasion so amazingly.
Lauren: It’s a really extreme test. It’s building on new levels and new ways we never have before. There’s such extreme pressure. It’s something that we’re always going to remember for our whole lives. We went on this crazy adventure and built these things we can be so proud of.
Bryan: To be there with family, with people that you feel so close to and you’re so comfortable with is special. We have this telepathy where we know what the other person is thinking. We had a moment on set where Will called our mom. That was so great because she got to talk about our interaction with Will. He was asking her “What do you do when they’re acting out?”, and he asked who her favorite child was. We’re a Lego family and we go to LEGOland and we all love it. To have this experience with Lauren, and to have that moment with our mom. It felt like a culmination of this lifetime of being a LEGO fan, and loving this creative outlet for so long.
Lauren: We hope it inspires other families to do the same and build together, and I think it was a really great experience.
Has building under pressure for the show changed your feeling toward LEGO?
Bryan: We’re still building. I’ve been doing a lot of MOCs as well having fun with all the builds for every show to relive some of that. I have yet to delve into a big MOC. There’s something where it feels almost a little bit too close after the show. Having to do these epic projects every single week, right now I can only wrap my head around small.
Lauren: It’s definitely a bit of anxiety right now over building something really big because it puts you back into that world of just hype, stress and time pressure. We were used to building on a smaller scale, because Lego is expensive. It’s hard to build on such a big scale on your own. Most of these challenges that we did on the show was the first time we’ve ever built that scale. It’s a whole new mind space and just having to figure out how things are,
Bryan: We were joking on the set that we couldn’t remember the last time we used a two by four because of the type of small stuff that we typically do. But in LEGO Masters that is it – you use it for everything.
What is next for you both on LEGO journeys?
Bryan: I feel like collectively, we are both new to the convention scene and the expo scene and we are so excited to get to be a part of it. That just seems like an awesome world that we really want to explore. We’re in California, so we’re really excited for BricksLA coming up. We’re just going to try to get to as many as we can and meet fellow AFOLs and get into the community. We have our community of friends from the show that we can attend with, and it seems like something that’s the next step for us in our LEGO journey.
Lauren: It’s going to be really exciting – it’s going to be so fun to reconnect with all of our friends from the show and to meet so many other incredible builders. It’s going to be a blast. Besides that, we’re actually headed to LEGOland soon, which will be fun! But yeah, I think conventions are going to be the biggest thing.
Bryan: And with those conventions I’m going to have to start building big again – I’m going to have to build some awesome stuff to show there. So we’ll be bringing it!
Images courtesy of FOX
LEGO Masters airs in the US on Wednesdays at 8pm. Stay tuned to The Brothers Brick for more interviews with the remaining teams.