My kids love to watch those super-catchy, incredibly inventive homemade Lego movies. You know the ones — they’re stop motion, full of action and they constantly make you say, “How did they do that?”
At the risk of completely embarrassing myself, I want to share the story of the homemade Lego movie that I recently made for my kids. And if you ever wondered why my blog is anonymous, watch the video below and you’ll know why.
Consider this a primer on how to create the world’s worst homemade Lego movie. If you decide to follow in my Fellini footsteps, know that your first few movies will likely bomb at the box office but they will win you a special place in the hearts of your kids. It will also give you a much deeper respect for those true Lego auteurs who can nearly coax an Oscar-winning performance out of a 1-inch piece of plastic.
First, the premise of the video we made was my kids idea: “Daddy, we want to make a Lego movie where a monster eats the Lego guys.” Sounds perfect for their target audience — fellow 5- and 3-year-olds. They designed the monster and I worked on a compelling storyline — all the Lego dudes that we have are at a dinner party, mingling and chatting with one another. At one point, one of the characters notices a monster outside the window and the monster proceeds to eat up as many Lego dudes as he can. Seems fairly straightforward, right?
Once we put this plan into motion, I got my Nikon D40, set up the Lego table and gathered our cast of characters. As I started snapping photos, my kids could not contain their excitement. That meant that the camera got bumped repeatedly, the Lego dudes moved too much from shot to shot or not at all and my creative process got disturbed. I’m pretty sure that Scorcese would not have put up with that.
I continued to snap away and tried to maintain my sanity — which is not easy to do when your 5-year-old tells you 52 times to “make sure the monster burps out Robin” at the end. I can’t stand when assistant directors try to give you notes mid-shoot. We stayed true to our vision but, let’s just say that the production values were compromised. In other words, the guys at “Mystery Science Theater” would have a field day with this movie. Actually, though, it might be slightly better than “Ishtar” with a much lower budget.
So, we got the shoot completed, I imported the photos into a video editing program and added some sound effects for fun. But my vision of a homemade Lego movie rivaling the creative geniuses found on YouTube and elsewhere on the web was destroyed more quickly than a Lego tower in the hands of my 3-year-old.
What we wound up with is the world’s worst homemade Lego movie. However, it’s also a Lego movie that my kids laugh at each and every time they watch it. And at the end of the day, that’s what truly matters.