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It felt to me as if the documentary didn't really know who its intended audience were. It seemed that the elements such as the interview and product design processes weren't covered in sufficient detail to excite most AFOL's (well, this AFOL at least), and there was nothing new in the details of the manufacturing process that hasn't been covered many times elsewhere. Half of the screen-time that Mark got for Bricks Culture seemed wasted with him building the Helicarrier, surely that could have been better used showing more of the trials and tribulations of setting up the magazine(s)?
I presume it was down to Equity rules that Huw was relegated to a non-speaking part!
I felt like the documentary spent too much time chasing the "is lego cult-like?" angle and trying to create an impression of a secretive company while nudging the viewer to conclude that "secretive" equals "sinister" somehow.
Pity really, I was looking forward to the programme but having watched it I'm struggling to think of anything revelatory contained in it. Certainly I don't think those in outside the UK are missing much! Did anyone else learn anything substantively new about Lego from it?
Of course it didn't hurt that I made a few cameo appearances, so I'm happy with that :)
@snowhitie - I struggle to believe that Justin would already have a set on the shelves so soon after his employment began, although we don't know exactly when that first interview section was filmed so it could be over a year ago, in which case he may well have a set out now. For his sake I just hope it isn't #76037 Rhino and Sandman Supervillain Team-up.
Also, not quite sure how so many of us that were at the magazine launch managed to avoid getting any on-screen time ;-)
The documentary was appearing during a primetime weekend evening TV slot on a major terrestrial channel, and was therefore very much aimed at the general population rather than the likes of us. It certainly didn't set out to provide anything which might be considered "revelatory" from our perspective.
I'd feared that it might be a bit of a hatchet job, if I'm honest, but other than the rather forced "secrecy" angle (which might have been more interesting if they'd actually explained WHY LEGO are so protective of their IP) I thought those responsible for the documentary did a decent job. I've had a bunch of messages from non-AFOL friends and acquaintances over the past 1-2 hours and most said that they enjoyed the programme, so job done from Ch4's perspective I'd say. I wonder how many viewers it got?
To be honest I could have done without the Bricks Culture bits, or else had it covered in more detail, there's a great story there but it was rushed I felt. It was basically.... man wants to launch magazine, man launches magazine, friends at the magazine launch are happy with magazine. What happened next?!!!! [Yes I know we know]
My only real criticisms are that I didn't really like that they started with the beach combing...has anyone on here gone and done that? I live closer to that beach than the chap from London and never once have I even considered going to look for some really rough old weather worn LEGO (no matter how often I get sent links about the story on social media) so it seemed a little like an 'obsessive weirdos' type starting point - as in they put in something very extreme to start off. There were also a couple of comments made by the fans that they interviewed that played to that a little...it was only a couple of comments though so I don't think the community came off too badly as a result.
I also think it's a shame that there was nothing about AFOL run events - considering how many there are now and given that a lot of them do a lot for charity it seems to me that it would have been a nice way to show the best side of the community.
I do appreciate that as has been mentioned this was initially planned as a multi part series and had to be reduced down to a single one hour slot, but it could have shown a wider range of the community - not all of us want to be LEGO set designers...I know I sure don't want to!
That's sadly a part of all documentaries about a 'group' - any news or documentary cameraman filming coverage of a Doctor Who convention for example completely ignores the vast majority of attendees and instead makes a beeline for the grinning loon dressed as Tom Baker offering everyone jelly babies...!
In all fairness I was expecting more of it as well, so in that respect it really is a minor criticism.
As such, I suspect it was more intended as an introduction to the world of Lego and it's adult fans to the general public more so than it was aimed at giving us AFOLs something interesting.
To us AFOLs pretty much every bit of information in it was old hat, but to the general public it probably opened up a whole new world of knowledge.
For this reason, a focus on quirky personalities is typically thrown in to keep the general public interested even if that person is a bit of an outlier to everyone "in the know".
The biggest revelation to me was that TLG would hire someone who'd created and proudly displayed something as hideous as a set of Wils and Kate Lego busts, so maybe he is responsible for Rhino and Sandman Supervillain Team-up after all @CapnRex101 :smile:
If I ever attend a group interview, and spot a camera team following one of the prospective candidates, I'm grabbing my coat and leaving. LOL
One couldn't help but feel sorry for those other candidates, (assuming they weren't also a bunch of stooges for the docu-team's benefit).
I got to meet Justin when I was in Billund this February for a recruitment workshop (I was applying for a job in girls' play themes, but I didn't end up getting it), and then got to see him again during the LEGO Inside Tour. Nice guy. Unfortunately I can't remember which Super Heroes set it was that he designed — sorry, I know a lot of you are curious!
Thanks @Legoboy for uploading and posting that doc.
I thought it was entertaining and interesting. To me it was not all 'old hat' info as it appears to be to other Lego fans, having seen and read already a little bit of stuff about the business philosophy of TLG etc. not all of it was totally new either. Though I have never been to Billund. Nor have I ever attended some AFOL event, so it was nice to catch a glimpse of the release of the magazine, as well as what goes on in Billund and London.
Of course a documentary just like a fictional film, also relies on a narrative, so things portrayed in documentaries are not only edited but even sometimes staged, and worse sometimes/often manipulated to such an extend that they to varying degrees distort the things which are portrayed in them. It would have been more honest if the makers of this TV program disclosed to the viewer that Justin Ramsden (this guy from London) already worked as a model maker at Legoland Windsor. At least they were candid about the re-enactment of the collectable Minifig Series 13 development meeting. But I suppose that is because that fitted in with the docu.'s chosen angle of highlighting the company's secrecy. BTW I love seeing how those elements are sculpted in clay, I remember seeing this older/middle-aged Danish women also in a clip on youtube or Lego.com working on the The Hobbit Warg (wolf) animal, while back. Really fun to see how much bigger these clay figures are, and then scanned and digitally shrunken down to actual Lego size.
Those faults where all the sets from history are stored are so cool! I would really love for TLG group to re-release some of those classic space and castle sets from the eighties I never had as a little kid!
Thanks! Yes I believe I have already seen that clip, or there might even be more clips where they visit the fault/Lego archive. Great nostalgia!
Didn't National Geographic also do a Lego documentary a couple of years ago?!
That space monorail #6990 , and that #928 or/and #497 Space Cruiser are so cool, and Blacktron #6987 of course! (Did they even show that set?!) As well as all those big Castle sets from 1984 and upwards untill about 1993. I probably would not pass on that 1970's Yellow Lego castle either if they were to re-release that set. Even though when they did release that Yellow Castle and #928 back then, I was still playing with Duplo and Fabuland.
Getting back on topic, I loved the visit to the archive in the C4 show, especially as they seemed to focus on sets I owned! Anyone fancy joining me in planning a heist to raid the vault? :)
Yes a heist! Totally! Lets open up Cookie store next door in Billund, and in the meanwhile during after-hours dig a tunnel to that vault, utterly fail, but yet unintentionally become multimillionaires from baking and selling cookies to all those sugar starved Lego employees, and with the profit buy out the Christiansen family and end up with the whole Lego group. Sort of like Woody Allen in 'Small Time Crooks'.
The workshop took place February 23–24, and included applicants for both the job I was applying for in girls' play themes and a job in preschool themes (Duplo/Juniors/Classic). There were twenty-some applicants altogether. Right before the workshop began we were naturally given a non-disclosure agreement, so I'm not entirely sure which of the specifics I'm free to talk about. Suffice it to say, we were given a range of building and drawing exercises testing our creativity both individually and in teams. Applicants were also called aside at various points during the workshop for in-person interviews, which had more specific questions than the Skype interview did.
Lots of designers were on hand so we could present the things we drew and built (and after our last exercise they brought in even more designers, including some friends of mine, so we could showcase our creations to them). There was a presentation towards the end discussing the practicalities of living in Denmark (places to live, government services to help us transition, employee perks, etc). And finally, we did get to see the LEGO Idea House (but not the vault — I didn't get to see that until the LEGO Inside Tour).
Overall, it was an incredible experience. Let's be honest, how could an all-expense-paid trip to Billund to meet lots of LEGO designers and spend two days building LEGO creations with fellow design-minded people not be incredible? Not sure if the "mildness" of the departments people at the workshop I applied for was a factor, but nothing about it felt "cutthroat" or intimidating. We were just a bunch of creative people getting together and putting our LEGO design skills to the test. There were lots of meals and other opportunities to socialize with each other and with the LEGO designers. I don't know about everybody, but I certainly left there looking forward to my next chance to visit.
I was told that I'd find out in the next three weeks whether I'd gotten the job, and apparently they meant that because it was pretty much exactly three weeks later that I found out I hadn't. I don't know how many people were hired, but I know one of them hired for girls' play themes was a fellow AFOL who had previously worked at LEGOLAND California. I was one of the younger and less experienced participants in the workshop, but rather than being intimidating, it made me feel honored and privileged to be there, because it told me that my experience as a builder and artist in the AFOL community was valuable enough to LEGO that they included me alongside all these other people who had been studying or working in design fields for so much longer. I hope that will work in my favor the next time I see an open design position to apply for!