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Joshua Hanlon

RLFM Ambassador
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  1. Joshua Hanlon

    HK visit!

    Hong Kong LEGO fans are amazing! We had the chance to visit with them last year and record a video in the Ins-point LEGO shops.
  2. By Beyond the Brick’s Boone Langston I was in Billund when I first heard the LEGO® Ideas Pop-Up Book would become a reality. It was my first visit to Denmark. I was standing in a medium size break room in the LEGO Ideas House where about two dozen members of the fan media community were sitting around tables, sharing stories, setting up laptops and using the coffee machine. We were each handed a single-page printout featuring one image and a brief announcement heralding the coming release of the latest project to be approved through LEGO Ideas; a pop-up book designed by Grant Davis and Jason Alleman. While the individuals in the room representing fan websites, blogs and social media accounts scrambled at their keyboards to be on the bleeding edge of publishing written content about this news, I wasn’t sure how to immediately turn the announcement of the set into video content for a YouTube channel. Little did I know, the opportunity to create compelling video content around that set would present itself several months later at the Pop-Up Book launch event in Portland, Oregon. Several factors laid the foundation for a successful interview with the fan designers that day in October. First, Beyond the Brick had already established a positive relationship with one of the fan designers, Grant Davis, primarily through interactions at fan conventions over the years. Second, I lived close to the event location and had a personal contact at the LEGO Store where the release event would be held. Finally, while I wasn’t 100% sure I’d be able to capture enough meaningful footage at the event, I went determined to capture whatever I could on the day, and I planned to buy a copy of the set in the event I needed to shoot close-up footage later to fill out the final video. The LEGO Store was quite busy on the day of the release event. Among those present were the set designers, some of my closest AFOL friends, plenty of people I knew from my local LUG and many customers I didn’t recognize. Everyone in the store was purchasing their copy of the set before lining up in a large common area of the shopping center to have their Pop-Up Book autographed. My friend Davey, an employee at the LEGO Store, had an assembled copy of the set. I captured some footage of the book in Davey’s hands, just in case it was my only opportunity during the event to interact with a fully assembled version of the set. In the end, it was exactly that; I was glad to have captured that footage while I had the chance. I asked Davey if the fan designers would have time to shoot a brief interview before the signing event began. He assured me he would ask as he disappeared into the back room of the LEGO Store, where the designers were signing a few sets for store employees. I joined the line to purchase a Pop-Up Book in the store, just in case I later decided I wanted more close-up footage of the assembled set. As it turns out, this was a good choice. After a few minutes, Davey emerged from the back room and told me the designers would have less than 15 minutes for an interview. I quickly set up my camera and tripod just before the fan designers appeared. I gave Grant and Jason a quick orientation to what we would talk about. I hit record and introduced the two men on camera. We were off to the races! I wanted the interview to be long enough to provide as much information as possible to our viewers, but I new we didn’t have much time. I asked questions about the set and questions about the process of moving their project through the Ideas platform. I asked Grant questions about the origin and evolution of his idea and I asked Jason about his involvement in the design development. We had a fantastic time talking about this set, which was clearly a labor of love for the fan designers, being celebrated now by The LEGO Group and a great number of fans. Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this interview was that we weren’t simply talking about a kit or a design, but rather two people were telling their story of a journey. Stories of journeys are both easy to tell and easy to listen to. In this case, the beginning of the journey was an idea and the end was a unique set – in an official LEGO box – being sold on shelves worldwide. A little over 7 minutes into the interview, I knew our time was running short and I sensed we were at a natural stopping point for questions. I thanked Grant and Jason and ended the recording. They were whisked off to the autograph area and I picked up my equipment to follow in the same direction. On the way, I saw a couple crouched at a table building the set, so they could take the completed model to the autograph table. I asked for their permission to capture some B-roll of their build and they obliged. A decent crowd was already waiting in line to meet the fan designers and have their kits signed. I turned on my camera and shot as many clips as I could of the designers setting up some models on the table, people standing in line, people getting their boxes signed and anything else I could think of. I stood in line and got one large panel from my kit signed as well. Overall the event was great fun and felt a bit like a miniature convention. When I returned home, I edited the interview and started splicing in B-roll clips using the footage from the store and the autograph line. The content was interesting, but what I lacked was close-up shots of the model. That was where bringing home my own copy of the set came in handy. I assembled the set and shot footage of it on my infinite white table, only after I had edited the rest of the interview and knew exactly what fill-in shots I needed. I shot tight angles of the set in multiple different configurations, as well as clips of the minifigures, box and building instructions. In the end, the video ended up a well-rounded narrative look at the LEGO Pop-Up Book and the people behind it. More than just a set review or an interview, the video tells a story, and what better way to take a deeper look at a book than to tell a story! The LEGO Ideas Pop-Up Book is available now at shop.LEGO.com!
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