Twenty-four hours, one creation, two Lego Masters. Tuesday was the second season finale of Fox’s Lego Masters, a reasonably distinctive constructing competitors present. The ultimate three groups—Zack and Wayne Macasaet, Caleb and Jacob Schilling, and Steven and Mark Erickson… sure, three units of brothers—got near-total freedom. Over 24 hours, they may create something they needed, so long as it had each night time and day components, and the perfect creation would win them the title of Lego Masters.
io9 was capable of get an early glimpse of the finale in order that we might spend some interviewing the winners. We had plenty of burning questions in regards to the manufacturing of the present, behind-the-scenes secrets and techniques, and, after all, all of those incredible builds. For instance, how lengthy did it take to movie the 24-hour problem, have been there any rivalries on set, and the way did covid-19 change the manufacturing? We additionally discovered what occurs to all these unbelievable builds as soon as they’re full…
However contemplating we’re io9 we, after all, received even nerdier. Are there any Lego bricks that aren’t out there to the contestants? One winner informed us, “they have been lacking some elements,” whereas the opposite added, “You’ll be able to request items that weren’t there. However whether or not or not they will really get them was up within the air.” That may appear trivial to most, however to Lego Masters constructing a 40,000 piece creation from scratch, it performs an enormous function. Beneath you’ll discover our large deep-dive with the successful siblings in addition to an unique video displaying simply how private the ultimate construct was.
And the winners have been… Mark and Steven Erickson! Right here’s our edited and condensed interview with the pair.
Germain Lussier, io9: Congratulations on the win. You guys have been so assured all through the season and I’m curious, did you go in that method or was there a second whenever you realized you actually had a shot to go win the entire thing?
Steven Erickson: We went in fairly assured. We have been feeling actually hyped, actually good. We’d competed alongside a whole lot of season one individuals in a bunch of various stuff. And we had feeling, I’m not gonna lie.
Mark Erickson: Yeah, I might say in distinction to in all probability a number of different groups on season two, we type of knew that if issues went proper, we must always go actually far. Our aim was to get to the finale. Profitable it? That’s a complete different story. However we actually needed the finale.
Steven: We might have been a little bit upset with ourselves if we hadn’t gotten that far but.
io9: Simply since you needed to do each construct?
Steven: That particularly. We needed to do each problem. However whenever you make it to the highest three, it’s fairly particular. Let’s simply put it that method.
io9: OK, another little incentive. I perceive. Now, as I watched the present every week, I used to be at all times curious in regards to the timeline. Are you capturing these in subsequent days? And the way lengthy did you shoot the complete season? Inform me a little bit bit about the way it all works out.
Mark: Yeah, so it was a reasonably tight schedule. There wasn’t a whole lot of time to only hang around. Each week we might attempt to do like two or three episodes and so that you’d be breaking that down in several construct chunks. The time that you just see is actual. We solely get to construct that period of time and it is likely to be damaged up by a lunch break. So the entire constructing course of was a month and a little bit bit extra. Nearly a month and a half. So it was an intense schedule. It was robust. It’s troublesome. However, you already know, it’s a part of the Lego Masters problem getting via all this.
io9: Inform me a little bit bit in regards to the bodily and psychological toll of holding that inventive, aggressive mindset all that point.
Steven: Oh, it’s no simple process. Initially, it’s a must to be further inventive. It’s important to go above and past, proper? You actually should deliver all the pieces to the desk. Secondly, you’ve the judges. They’re supplying you with recommendation, you’re pondering what’s of their heads, what do they see that I don’t. Then you’ve about, at any second, 5 cameras, however as much as 30 cameras on you at anyone time. So it’s a whole lot of strain. You’re in a loopy surroundings. This wonderful studio set with shifting elements in all places. It may be distracting. So it’s a must to actually keep centered. And it was not simple.
io9: How did you’re feeling in regards to the deadlines? It can take me days to complete a Lego with directions and you’ve got eight to 12 hours complete to utterly create a brand new construct. How did you go about coping with and balancing the time?
Mark: Proper. So we often take a number of days, weeks, even months on a big creation. So the time-frame, you already know, eight hours is nothing.
Steven: It’s nothing!
Mark: It’s important to actually, actually hurry. Like even giant Lego units take greater than eight hours, so having the ability to construct the perfect which you can inside that timeframe takes a whole lot of planning and a whole lot of data of how briskly not solely we will construct, but in addition what will be inbuilt that point. How a lot you’ll be able to accomplish? You may need to have a stretch aim. Like if now we have further time, it might do that, but when we don’t, now we have to chop that out and give attention to the necessities. So, yeah, a whole lot of pondering that goes into that.
io9: Did you’ve any private objectives or regiments with that? Like if we’re not constructing in X minutes we’re in bother?
Mark: So a number of the objectives have been to plan in a short time, as a result of planning time is in your construct time and it is vitally fast, so we attempt to get our plan finished inside 10 to fifteen minutes and we just about caught to that to the detriment or advantage of our planning. However that was considered one of our objectives. And principally simply to have the ability to accomplish the primary necessities to every problem as successfully as doable throughout the timeframe.
io9: This finale was a 24-hour problem. Did you shoot in eight-hour blocks or how did that work?
Steven: It was 9, eight, and 7, is that right?
Mark: Sure, there was three totally different days of constructing and a whole lot of that was on digital camera, a few of that was off-camera as a result of the crew doesn’t have to be there for the complete construct course of. So, yeah, it was three days of constructing just about a lot of the day.
Steven: And a few days value of judging if I recall. It’s all getting a little bit bit fuzzy as of late.
Mark: But it surely was a reasonably large ordeal. And in contrast to what lots of people suppose, we’re not constructing for twenty-four hours straight. Most individuals wouldn’t be capable to deal with that.
Steven: Or wouldn’t be capable to do this a lot handsome stuff in that period of time.
io9: This is likely to be a hack query however what was essentially the most troublesome problem for you? What was the one which type of gave you guys the largest issues?
Steven: There have been two. First was the tower. Eight hours to construct one thing of that quantity was simply insanity. After which one of the vital troublesome ones was the land and sea problem, the place we merged the 2 creations that have been separate. We actually constructed ourselves right into a nook and that was a little bit irritating as a result of I favored my construct and to make one thing that… you noticed the episode, you perceive.
Mark: It was arduous, each constructing two very various things and matching them collectively with out planning, as a result of if we will plan for that, we’d do nice. We don’t essentially anticipate to mix issues in a sure method. It makes it troublesome, particularly with solely 5 hours.
Steven: Sure. holy cow. Quick period of time.
io9: So clearly, as you stated, you’re feeling strain constructing in these time frames and being inventive. However what in regards to the competitors general? Do you’re feeling strain mounting as you get additional on within the season?
Steven: Yeah. So the quantity of stress or anxiousness or strain we’re feeling all through the competitors, it was really fairly intense proper after the start—the start was all adrenaline. We constructed a pleasant construct and received second on the primary problem. Nice. Doing good. Second and third challenges. We type of faltered a little bit bit. We have been type of fearful that, wow, perhaps we aren’t as sizzling as we thought we have been. We’re not doing as nice. However we ended up rallying a bit on episodes 4 and 5 and as soon as we received into that groove, we felt we did fairly robust all the way in which out. Apart from like, episode 9 and episode eleven. That was very troublesome, however we nonetheless felt like we had a reasonably robust efficiency type of within the center. Then in direction of the top, as soon as we received the finale, it really feel just like the strain was off. It actually did. Proper as much as the finale, we have been similar to sweating bullets. However then as soon as we received to the finale, it was like, that is our aim. We received right here. Now we’re simply going to construct the perfect factor we will. And it actually felt good. It’s like within the NFL. The playoffs are at all times extra tense than Tremendous Bowl for some cause.
io9: That’s true. So that you suppose that was simply since you needed to discover your legs, like, entering into this totally different mode of constructing from what you’ve finished your complete lives?
Mark: Yeah, we needed to adapt shortly and we figured that out fairly quickly.
Steven: This season has been very technical. You see a whole lot of [Lego] Technic in a whole lot of challenges. And whereas we’re competent at that, that’s positively not our forte or wheelhouse. So we have been hoping for extra inventive or story-based challenges which we type of take pleasure in. We needed to actually adapt to this new fashion of the season and we survived to the finale after which received to essentially present our stuff.
io9: I talked to judges Amy and Jamie before the season and so they have been very, very proud that you just guys have been capable of shoot throughout covid. How did that change all the pieces this season?
Mark: So so far as I do know, based mostly on what I’ve heard of season one’s filming course of, it adjustments the entire course of for filming fairly a bit. Every part needed to be in zones. Everybody needed to put on PPE safety for covid. You have been examined each different day to ensure not one of the contestants received it and all of the crew have been examined as nicely. It was a whole lot of further steps that needed to happen. Precautions. We had separate loos for various departments. So it was all the pieces they may presumably do to ensure there was nothing. After which amazingly, nobody received it.
Steven: So far as we all know not a single particular person on set of employees received it so far as we’re conscious.
Mark: This was earlier than the vaccine was broadly out there. It was simply beginning to roll out so nobody had the chance to get it earlier than so we’re all simply being further cautious, and it paid off.
io9: How would you describe the provision of bricks on set? Was there ever one thing that you just needed they didn’t have? Inform me a little bit bit about that, as a result of it appears like they’ve all the pieces.
Steven: They don’t fairly have all the pieces. There have been professionals and cons. Stuff you like and stuff you didn’t fairly. That they had some elements that we completely couldn’t get sufficient of like darkish blue, they’d a ton of brown components, a ton of elements that aren’t simple to return by within the regular market of Lego. Nevertheless, they have been lacking some elements. They’re lacking, for instance, one after the other spherical plates in translucent clear. It’s a really signature water brick.
Mark: They didn’t have a whole lot of sloped bricks.
Steven: Oh, they didn’t have any orange tiles, smoother orange components, in order that they’re lacking some elements. However truthfully, I’d say it was a extremely wide selection, typically talking.
Mark: My ideas on that might be there are a whole lot of fundamental bricks and in such portions that you just not often see in a single room. So, you’ll be able to construct some actually spectacular stuff after which enhance it with the extra detailed items—stuff you’ll be able to’t do at dwelling, you can do on Lego Masters.
io9: Should you needed a few of these orange items, for instance, might you ask for them?
Mark: That they had a bunch of employees members at all times readily available, at all times refilling. At any level we might pull one apart and say “Are you able to seize some extra of those pink slopes, please?” In order that they’d return ten minutes later, they’ll be again, you’d be able to go.
Steven: You’ll be able to request items that weren’t there. However whether or not or not they will really get them was up within the air. They must be at a later problem. You couldn’t get them straight away.
io9: Which of your builds have been you most happy with?
Steven: Ooh, robust one. Clearly, the finale was simply top-of-the-line issues, if not the perfect factor, I’ve constructed for my complete profession, you simply couldn’t ask for something higher. However off the finale, it was in all probability Bernie the Burnt-Out Dragon. He was simply… I wouldn’t change something and he surpassed my expectations. He was simply an excessive amount of enjoyable to make use of. I actually cherished it.
Mark: For me, a few of my favourite builds have been the primary one we made, which was the large world serpent. I actually loved that one, it had an amazing look to it. After which I additionally just like the pirate hat from episode 5. We had a bunch of nice builds all through the season, however a few them actually stand out.
io9: I do know the successful construct goes to Legoland in Florida, however what occurs to the remainder of the builds on the present.
Steven: They get sorted out and put again within the brick bin.
io9: No method.
Mark: Yeah. Even after, like, episode three, we might have used up virtually all of the items from the brick bin in the event that they hadn’t taken them aside every episode.
io9: Yeah I suppose that is smart. However I’m curious simply how massive these builds are. I constructed the huge Lego Millennium Falcon which was virtually 8,000 bricks and it took me almost 40 hours. So utilizing that or different Lego units can you place into context simply how massive the builds on the present are?
Mark: So I construct massive stuff as a part of my job as a Lego designer. I don’t work for Lego, however I design Lego stuff. And so we’re working with larger items on Lego Masters. Largely a two by 4 dimension items versus the smaller plates and Technic pins on like a Millennium Falcon.
Steven: Usually talking.
Mark: So a number of the builds have been really in all probability not too far off that 8,000 to 10,000 piece mark, particularly on a shorter problem. However then on some challenges, for instance, the tower problem or the finale, we had extra time for larger builds to make. You would see issues in all probability within the 20, 30, even 40,000 vary, and it’s simply because we have been constructing so quick and we had a little bit extra time so as to add tons of items intimately. So much more than just about any Lego set that’s come out, though some of the new ones are in that huge thousands range, it’s not too far off. Though these are typically smaller items that may match inside a field versus desk dimension creations.
io9: Do you guys nonetheless purchase off-the-shelf Lego? And if that’s the case, what are your favourite units of all time?
Steven: Oh, yeah. We nonetheless purchase Lego on a regular basis. We purchase separate items, Lego units, however I don’t often purchase Lego units except it’s one thing I actually need. Like, it’s been some time, however considered one of my favourite builds is the Wall-E from Lego Ideas. I like that one. Favourite set? I’ve at all times needed Cafe Nook. It’s a extremely good modular set. It arrange a brand new renaissance for Lego. Mark, do you’ve a favourite?
Mark: Yeah, I like shopping for units on a regular basis. I really purchased some new Star Wars Mandalorian-themed units. I like The Mandalorian TV present and people figures are nice. After which I additionally purchase units for items. Like I purchased the flower bouquet as a result of that has all these wonderful plant items in there.
io9: So whenever you purchase these units do you construct them? Do you strip them for items on your personal builds? How does that be just right for you each?
Mark: I say most of our units, we often construct them initially, however then we’ll take them aside for items. , we need to benefit from the construct expertise. We additionally need to use the items in our operation fairly quickly after. However a few of them, for certain, we prefer to maintain collectively completely, like behind us now we have a whole lot of the basic castles units. Steven has his Wall-E and a few these different favourite Mechs and robots and stuff. So we save our favorites, however we typically take them principally aside and use the items on our personal creations
io9: Proper now on the earth of Lego, what’s the toughest problem you’ll be able to tackle?
Mark: So there are many totally different challenges and contests in Lego which can be very troublesome. I’d say the 2 that stand out to me are going to a conference and successful an award.
Steven: Oh yeah.
Mark: Since you’re competing in opposition to a whole lot of different very skilled grownup followers of Lego. To win one thing implies that it’s a must to impress not solely the individuals working the present however the individuals attending the present and the individuals exhibiting. So it’s a must to be actually good. Secondly, on-line, there’s a contest known as the Iron Builder, and it’s after they pit two very expert or typically pairs of actually expert builders in opposition to one another—it’s a must to compete for a month with a seed half, which is type of like what they did for the episode 10 home problem. So that’s actually troublesome. We really competed in a single a very long time in the past in 2013 and we misplaced, so we’re used to dropping. It was an amazing problem. We had a whole lot of enjoyable. However, you already know, it’s like that problem is so arduous that even actually expert builders like us, you get completely toasted.
io9: What about technically? Is there one thing that’s very troublesome to do?
Steven: There’s one. It’s really Lego flight. Lego flight is close to unimaginable as a result of as a component it’s too heavy. You can also make sizzling air balloons and different stuff and a few airplanes right here and there, however Lego flight beneath its personal weight is borderline unimaginable. In order that’s one factor that’s I don’t know if anybody will ever do it.
io9: Was there a technical downside you’re most proud to have solved on the present this season?
Mark: I’ve one. For the haunted home problem in episode 10—nicely, we known as it the haunted home problem—considered one of our motions was a type of shifting tentacle and I’ve by no means constructed something that advanced with Technic. However with a little bit bit of additional time dedicated to it, I feel it was an hour or two of our time, it ended up working nice and that type of movement actually helped put us excessive and win that problem.
Steven: In relation to methods for me, I’m going to return to Bernie the Burnt-Out Dragon and his face. I received the eyebrows and the mouth to be impartial from one another with sliding rods and components and rubber bands and all the pieces and all the pieces simply got here collectively so nicely for that. And that’s the place I used to be actually proud. I received these facial options good.
io9: What was essentially the most memorable on-set second? For me personally, when Caleb and Jacob crashed their radio-controlled automobile, I couldn’t get sufficient. We should have rewound it 20 occasions. Was it that or one thing else?
Steven: OK, so that really beats the one I used to be going to say as a result of that episode, all our automobiles have been getting caught and we have been fearful it was going to be type of a dud. This Gladiator Match, nevertheless it was completely unscripted, completely unplanned. They actually fell off. It was hilarious. However considered one of my favourite elements was really arguing with the Caleb and Jacob over who copied who, going backwards and forwards over the floating island. That was really actually enjoyable. That was the way in which for us virtually to destress a little bit bit and simply yell at one another for enjoyable.
io9: That goes to my subsequent query, really, which is what’s the camaraderie like on and offset? Did individuals hang around, did you make mates, how did issues work with the opposite groups?
Mark: So I’ve received to provide props to the casting division of the season as a result of everyone was so nice, so superior, so good. They have been all actually followers of Lego, proper? We actually amazingly received together with everyone on set. Everyone actually loved one another’s firm. We nonetheless have an enormous group chat that we chat with each day. So we’re simply buddies. We even say prolonged household ranges of friendship.
Steven: That’s what we name one another, yeah.
Mark: And likewise in all probability the truth that we have been in a covid scenario. We have been mainly in a bubble. It actually, I feel, really contributed to our being so shut. We have been all collectively and we weren’t actually allowed to speak to anybody else. So whenever you’re trapped in a room with anyone, you both hate one another otherwise you’re greatest mates. And all of us turned greatest mates.
io9: That’s superior. What was it like working with Will Arnett, Jamie Berard, and Amy Corbett?
Steven: So Amy and Jamie have been superior. They get some flack on-line, however they actually know their stuff, they’re actually good at what they do. We knew from the beginning, from any expertise we’ve had in a problem or a contest, you hearken to the judges. You actually take note of what they are saying. And that’s what we needed to do. That they had a whole lot of nice recommendation, which was very nice to have.
Mark: They spoke with every contestant a number of occasions throughout every problem. You don’t at all times get to see that within the ultimate edit, however they have been at all times giving us suggestions on what they have been on the lookout for and what they have been hoping to see on this problem. So, yeah, in the event you might hear and discover a strategy to implement their recommendation, you instantly have been going to do higher.
io9: And Will?
Steven: Ahhh, Will was superior. He’s an enormous movie star, an enormous comic. It’s an expert job. He’s bigger than life however very skilled on set. You’d be shocked. You suppose he’d be a goofball on a regular basis, however he actually knew his stuff. [It] was a whole lot of enjoyable to work together with him. I’ll say it was, particularly at first, it was a little bit tougher for us to speak and type of establish virtually with Will as a result of he was simply so off the wall. It’s really simpler with Amy and Jamie since you might virtually discuss store with them about Lego methods and colours and story.
Mark: Finally although we received extra comfy with the movie star man we all know as Lego Batman.
Steven: Yeah, all of us began to heat up one another and a little bit simpler as we went alongside.
io9: And so they’re clearly not there the entire time proper?
Mark: Many of the interactions you see are on digital camera, a few of them clearly don’t make the lower, however in addition they would solely be on the set for some time. They’d take a look at stuff, discuss to individuals, then they’d head off for some time. That they had a separate again space the place they have been capable of entry the reside digital camera footage after which watch everyone. In order that they have been paying consideration 100% of the time to what we have been doing. However they weren’t at all times in the identical room. They have been usually off by themselves.
Steven: As a result of they have been a little bit of a distraction, truthfully. You’re being attentive to the place they’re wanting. In order that they understood that and exited after they thought it was acceptable.
io9: So in the end, what does successful Lego Masters win to you guys?
Mark: Okay, so my massive takeaway is we’ve been constructing Lego for 20 plus years, each of us. Earlier than everybody was occupied with what it was I constructing I’d go to a conference and other people would say “Good construct!” I’m like, “Thanks, bro” and so they’d maintain strolling. No massive deal. Now they don’t care in regards to the construct as a lot, they’re like “Oh, you’re on Lego Masters!” It’s a very totally different scenario. So it’s been actually thrilling, actually fascinating, and actually wild to have that type of enormous change in how individuals work together.
Steven: Yeah, the artist has outrun the art work basically for us, which is absolutely bizarre, however I’m certain we’ll get used to it fairly quickly. However for me, as cliche because it sounds, it actually was a dream come true as a result of I at all times type of contemplated, like, method again, 10-15 years in the past, “I’m wondering if Lego will ever actually take off? Will it’s seen for what it’s? Will it’s within the public eye as one thing actually fascinating and thrilling?” For a very long time, it was a distinct segment factor. It was only for children till Lego determined to increase. To be part of that enlargement…holy cow, who would have thought, you already know? It’s enjoyable to look again and return into your reminiscence and simply to see the place it’s all come. Yeah, it’s wonderful.
io9: Yeah, Fox has a TV present in primetime about Lego, proper?
Steven: Precisely [Laughs]
io9: And what’s subsequent for you each?
Steven: Properly, not simply all of the enjoyable stuff that comes with successful a TV present however I wrote a e book. It’s known as The Interior Workings of a Lego Thoughts. It’s a gallery e book of a few of my larger builds. It’s on Amazon. And likewise my web site, BrotherStevenBuilds.com and I hope to do extra approach books. And it’s enjoyable to deliver the group to children and stuff. They actually take pleasure in it and see it as a result of that’s what occurred to us. We noticed the Masters do their factor 15 years in the past and felt like we’re going to do that, too. So I need to be that for the following era of youngsters as a lot as I can. However, Mark, you bought some stuff too.
Mark: I work at a retailer that sells Lego. I design stuff associated to Lego day by day. So I’m simply carry on holding on and stick with it. [Notice: Mark additionally has an incredible website.]
io9: All proper. Last item. On-line you’ve been often known as “The Fort Bros” however you misplaced the title on the present to Caleb and Jacob. Are you formally giving up the title of Fort Bros as per your settlement?
Steven: We actually are. However, you already know, it’s humorous, I’ve a little bit backstory—you’re the primary particular person to listen to about it. So on set, particularly close to the top, proper after that complete Fort Bros factor, there was a few days earlier than it was throughout. During that point, Jacob particularly, he has a really dry hilarious humorousness. He’s nice. He’s a extremely humorous man. However he stated, you already know, “We received that Fort Bros title.” He was beginning to rub it in our face a little bit bit. So I stated, “Properly, perhaps we’ll commerce it in for Lego Masters.” I completely received him with that and guess what? It occurred.
Lego Masters season two is now streaming on Fox and Hulu.
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