Preparing for LEGO Masters Denmark: Casting and Challenges - BrickNerd - All things LEGO and the LEGO fan community (2023)

Today’s guest article comes from Esben Kolind who competed on LEGO Masters Denmark. In a short series, he will share his experiences as an AFOL on the show from casting to filming and everything in-between.

Making Contact

In the summer of 2019, almost two years before Danish LEGO Masters (LM) would eventually air, I was contacted by a casting agent from the TV production company owning the rights to produce the show in Denmark. She came across my name during her initial research of the Danish AFOL community, and - as fate would have it - she had cast me as a contestant on "Jeopardy!" more than fifteen years earlier! We met for a long chat about the TV format and the Danish LEGO scene.

With a population of 5.8 million, Denmark is a small country. Although it is the motherland of our beloved brick, the AFOL scene is not as large as one might think with only one major LUG and a few local communities. I had seen short online videos of the impressive models from the first season of LM in Australia, and while I could name a dozen Danish builders on that same level, would they want to participate? Would they want to be on camera, building something unfamiliar, under time pressure? And would they have the opportunity (or desire) to spend two months on the project? In many ways, LEGO Masters is the exact opposite of how you normally build with LEGO bricks!

I gave the casting agent a list of skilled builders. I know she contacted most of them, and a few of them later ended up on the show. She was also looking to find a diverse cast and did not want 16 male contestants all in their 30s or 40s. Although LM is a building competition, it is primarily a primetime family entertainment format where casting is very important.

Finding a Teammate

When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, I forgot all about the LEGO Masters conversation until September 2020 when a message from the casting agent hit my inbox: “LEGO Masters is happening! Apply now!” I actually briefly considered not applying. My LEGO hobby has never been a secret, but did I really want to reveal my inner child in front of everyone in Denmark?

It was, however, an easy decision. I'm a life-long LEGO fan without a dark age. I displayed my first MOCs online on LUGNET in the late 90s and have exhibited large layouts at conventions for over a decade. This was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up. Incidentally, very little was happening at my job in Copenhagen Airport at the time (due to COVID-19) so I was able to take time off if I was selected.

Preparing for LEGO Masters Denmark: Casting and Challenges - BrickNerd - All things LEGO and the LEGO fan community (1)

I knew exactly who I wanted as my teammate. I consider Lasse Deleuran to be the best and most versatile builder in Denmark, having produced a vast number of high-quality MOCs throughout the years. We had met and talked a few times at conventions and competed in MOC competitions and speed-building challenges (he is also incredibly fast!). We had never actually built anything together, but I had a feeling that we had the same standards and ambitions and would make a great team. I was thrilled when Lasse sent a positive response to my invitation.

Preparing for Casting

Our joint application with pictures from our MOC portfolios was well received, and we were invited for a casting session. As we are both highly competitive, our shared goal was clear from the beginning: we wanted to win LEGO Masters.

First, we had to prepare for casting, however, we faced one slight problem. At the time, Lasse lived in Southern Germany while I lived in Copenhagen. Not being able to meet in person, we would send each other weekly building challenges. We focused the challenges on building out of our comfort zone, building organic models and with a tight time constraint.

We tasked ourselves with a range of challenges: Build a space monster in two hours. Build a 1:1 layer cake with a cut-away piece in two hours. Build a 1:1 ice cream cone in 90 minutes. Build your left hand in one hour, then build your right hand with a different technique in the next hour.

Preparing for LEGO Masters Denmark: Casting and Challenges - BrickNerd - All things LEGO and the LEGO fan community (2)

The Rat and the Mole

The picture above shows my solution to one of the challenges proposed by Lasse: build a life-size rat in one hour without looking at reference pictures. Then look at reference pictures and build one more rat in an hour. Almost all of my MOCs have been modelled after real buildings, trains, or cars, so it was actually pretty hard to not have a reference when building.

I was quite happy with the result of my first attemptbut then I Googled “rat” and realised that my model did not look like a rat at all… it looked more like a mole! The overall proportions, the size of the head, the position of the eyes… all wrong. I found it a lot easier to build the second version from a reference picture, and I even had time to experiment with colour variations and grill tiles for the fur. The challenge was a good LM lesson. If at all possible, I would prefer to build fantasy creatures instead of real-life animals, unless I had a very strong recollection of the specific animal or frequent access to reference pictures. It would be easy for the judge on the show to dismiss a model of an animal if the proportions or colours were off.

Preparing for LEGO Masters Denmark: Casting and Challenges - BrickNerd - All things LEGO and the LEGO fan community (3)

Casting Day

I suggested to Lasse that we bring the preparation models we built to casting day. Bringing our models would demonstrate our dedication and serious approach to the competition.

We were the only team to bring models to the casting, and while I have promised not to reveal the casting procedure, if you can imagine that it includes several creative building challenges with a time limit and a limited selection of bricks… you wouldn’t be all wrong. I do believe that the experience from our weekly challenges served us well. Throughout the day, the casting team with members from the production company, Danish national TV, LEGO, and the Danish LCP (LEGO Certified Professional) would visit us several times to discuss our builds, ideas, and approach, which also gave us an opportunity to present our preparation models. To be honest, I don’t know whether bringing the models had any impact on us being selected for the show.

As anticipated, it proved difficult to get enough qualified builders to audition for the show, and the casting agent had to do several additional calls for applications in LUG forums and Facebook groups, especially for more female builders. She also reached out directly to many builders posting MOCs online.

In the end, Lasse and I were selected to be on the show, along with fourteen other wonderful and talented contestants. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had never come across half of the group of contestants in the Danish AFOL community.

Preparing For The Show's Challenges

With our participation secured, preparations entered a new phase. With about a month to go before the start of filming, we started watching episodes from the international versions of LEGO Masters and took notes. Lasse had access to the first season of the US version, while I would watch Season 1 and 2 from Australia as well as the Swedish version, which was being broadcast at the time. Lasse created a shared online Google Docs file named “LEGO Masters Cheat Sheet”, which would eventually grow to be 73 pages of reference pictures and notes taken both during our preparations and during the actual recording period.

For each challenge, we wrote a list of “dos” and “don’ts” based on our observations. Here are a few of the tips and tricks we discovered for each challenge:

  • Mega City: Build BIG, don’t spend too much time on the lower floors, avoid large windows on empty floors, don’t rely only on minifigs to tell the story, add movement, and don’t build in black.

  • Explosion: Don’t build too solid… but not too fragile either! It must look awesome when it explodes.

  • Bridge Challenge: Lasse simply put “Recreate the bridge that Mark and Boone built.”

  • Villains Lair: Can be a diorama with two walls and a back side – don’t hide the action behind walls.

  • Time Travel: Don’t challenge the theme and the scale… and don’t build a large grey castle.

  • Tower: Build two towers and put one on top of the other. Maybe build a telescope mechanism?

  • Hanging Brick: Build a hanging mechanism that allows the model to be built on the table. Think about ways to adjust the final balance of the model.

  • 3D Art: Use forced perspective (foreground, background). Items must come out far from the frame and around the sides.

We took similar notes for all the other challenges we watched. Next, we discussed what challenges we thought were most likely to appear in the Danish version and drafted ideas.

We were both confident that the first episode would include the Mega City challenge. We therefore tasked each other to build the highest possible tower on a 32x32 baseplate in four hours (no breaks), using different facades for each floor. The idea was to test our speed and find possible facade solutions that were both good-looking and fast to build. (We also experimented with facades that could snap onto a Technic core.) The picture below shows my tower with twelve floors (around 1 meter tall) and limited internal reinforcement. I was very tired after building as fast as I could for four hours straight!

We never got the Mega City challenge, however, and I am glad, as my idea was neither very clear nor very original. Much to our disappointment, we didn’t get the Bridge Challenge on the show either, but the Tower challenge was used as a warm-up—and our preparations definitely paid off. We knew exactly how we wanted to construct the tower. We came in second place, some 30 centimetres shy of the winning tower.

Other anticipated challenges included: Explosion, Time Travel and Cut in Half. We prepared long lists of ideas, but none of these challenges were part of the season.

The Swedish season included a challenge where the contestants built creations based on children’s books by the famous Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren. A similar challenge with our famous fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen would be an obvious choice, so we listed his most famous stories (there are many!) and prepared ideas for a lot of them. For the Ugly Duckling, I envisioned building a life-sized grey duckling that could transform into a beautiful white swan by rotating the wings. With different colours on either side of the wing, the mechanism would unfold another neck and head from the body, etc.

Sure enough, the H.C. Andersen challenge was the first elimination challenge, but the fairy tales were selected at random. In hindsight, this was a lucky twist of fate. The “Duck Transformer” would have been too ambitious with a high probability of turning into a disaster. We decided on a much safer, traditional scene for our story “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” which gave us our first win of the season.

Preparing for LEGO Masters Denmark: Casting and Challenges - BrickNerd - All things LEGO and the LEGO fan community (5)

Our meticulous preparations really paid off in episode six, with the hanging brick challenge. Lasse badly wanted to build a giant dragon (in fact, a wyvern) and he invented the Modular Dragon Platform (MDP) for the occasion: a rack of modules built from Technic bricks allowed us to easily extend the body if needed. The wings, neck, and tail could be clipped on and off and finally adjusted to give the wyvern the perfect balance and position. In that way, we could build the individual parts independently on the table, assemble them, and only very late in the challenge mount the completed model on the hanging brick. This was a huge advantage, while some of the other teams struggled with building the model up in the air and correcting the balance in the end. The wyvern secured us another episode victory.

In what other ways did Esben and Lasse prepare for the show? All will be revealed in part two, coming soon!

How would you prepare for being on LEGO Masters? Let us know in the comments below!

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FAQs

Do they get to keep their builds on LEGO Masters? ›

What happens to the builds after each episode? Hours and hours of work and skill go into building the models, but sadly they don't go off to a LEGO Masters museum. (Sometimes they get smashed by a bowling ball.) What really happens is each team has a sorter to break down their model after the episode.

Do they build for 16 hours straight on LEGO Masters? ›

"People keep asking does each episode get filmed for 15 hours straight? And no, not really. It's done over a whole week," he said.

Is LEGO Masters filmed in one day? ›

All the filming was done at weekends or in school holidays, and as me and Nate were both teachers this suited us perfectly. By the end, to make just 4 hours of TV, we had done 32 days of filming! All the builds were done in the “Build Room” a TV studio, set up with 8 workstations, and around 1 million LEGO Bricks!

What happens if you win LEGO Masters? ›

What's the prize for winning LEGO® Masters? The winning LEGO® Masters team receives the LEGO Masters Trophy, a cash prize of $100,000 and their winning build displayed in LEGOLAND® Florida!

Are Joss and Henry Brothers? ›

The little boy who grew up playing with the iconic blocks in his bedroom is Australia's Lego Master. And now Joss Woodyard - who took out the title with his younger brother Henry on Monday night, May 16 - says he's one step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming a Lego designer in Denmark.

Do they build for 24 hours straight on Lego masters? ›

They're usually around 8–12-hour builds. We were trying to think of something that's really much bigger than we would normally do for these challenges, but also not too big, so we don't run out of time.

Do LEGO Master Builders get paid? ›

Lego Master Builder Salary

Typically a Lego Master Builder makes between $16-19 per hour plus benefits. That's a $35,000-40,000 annual salary. Many of Lego's executives have come up through the ranks as a Master Builder.

Are Nick and Gene a couple? ›

Video editors Nick and Gene are best friends and lifelong LEGO® lovers. When they realised they shared this passion they became obsessed with what they could create.

Are Caleb and Alex a couple Lego Masters? ›

Port Macquarie's Caleb Campion had a very different relationship with his partner Alex, who he described as a lifelong friend. Caleb didn't know Alex prior to the show and they bonded over creating different builds. He said they laughed and had a lot of fun together on the show.

How long does it take to tape Lego masters? ›

The series was shot in the spring in Hiram. The challenges on Fox's “Lego Masters” often take 10 to 12 hours.

How long do they get to build on Lego masters? ›

In the Grand Final episode, the three surviving teams will be given 28 hours to create their last epic build, a gruelling task, after which a room full of Lego fans will choose their favourite build to crown the 2022 Lego Masters. Alex from Sydney is a makeup artist with a love and natural creative knack for Lego.

How old do you have to be to go on Lego masters? ›

* You must be aged 15 or over to register your interest. * Anyone under the age of 18 must ask their parent or guardian to register interest on their behalf.

Do the couples on Lego masters know each other? ›

Lego Masters 2022 is underway and we are already 'blocked' to our screens. Dan and Kirsti have very different building styles but were excited to get into the grove of working together.

What does the titanium brick mean in Lego masters? ›

The Titanium Brick will ultimately save one team from elimination. ( Nine) This is a big change from the Gold and Platinum Bricks that have featured in past seasons. Traditionally, these bricks have been won by a team in an early challenge.

Did Tyler and Amy have their baby? ›

Tyler and Amy Are Now Parents to a Baby Boy.

Is Joss from Lego Masters married? ›

JOSS, 23, & HENRY, 20 NSW

For the Newcastle brothers, winning Lego Masters is all about setting themselves up for the future. "My girlfriend and I recently got engaged, so my share would easily cover the wedding," says Joss.

Who won Lego Masters 2022? ›

Bricksmas 2022: Poh Ling Yeow opens up about winning LEGO Masters Bricksmas special. Season 2.

Where are Jackson and Alex now? ›

Since winning, Jackson and Alex have been working with not-for-profit organisation FORM in Western Australia on various projects. Their biggest is an immersive exhibition called Relics: Bricks of the New World, which runs until the end of May at The Goods Shed in WA as part of the Scribblers Festival.

How long does a Lego build take? ›

Standard orders will normally arrive in 11-15 business days but may sometimes take up to 28 days to be delivered.

Does Lego masters start at 9? ›

LEGO Masters airs on Sunday at 7pm and continues Monday at 7:30pm on Channel 9 and 9Now.

Who is the girl on Lego masters? ›

Her current project with her design team is Lego DOTS, customize daily items like jewelry and picture frames. In 2020, she started her role as judge “Brickmaster Amy” on the American edition of Lego Masters; a television reality show in which teams compete to build the best Lego project.

What is the highest paying job in Lego? ›

At Lego Group, the highest paid job is a Director of Sales at $234,260 annually and the lowest is a Receptionist at $37,288 annually. Average Lego Group salaries by department include: Operations at $102,068, Communications at $100,517, Design at $115,132, and Product at $162,214.

How much do Lego engineers get paid? ›

Work From Home LEGO Engineering Salary
Annual SalaryMonthly Pay
Top Earners$101,000$8,416
75th Percentile$75,000$6,250
Average$59,559$4,963
25th Percentile$34,000$2,833

How much money does a Lego designer make a month? ›

How much does a LEGO Designer make? As of Nov 18, 2022, the average annual pay for a LEGO Designer in the United States is $53,653 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $25.79 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,031/week or $4,471/month.

Do Lexi and Rachel know each other LEGO Masters? ›

Rachael, 37, and Lexi, 33, are LEGO® Masters teammates from New South Wales. Rachael is an auditor. In 2015, her second son was born and since then their LEGO collection has exploded as they enjoy building together.

How old is Henry and Joss from LEGO Masters? ›

Joss, 23 and Henry, 20. From: NSW

Joss is obsessed with all things LEGO, working at a LEGO store and having one of his builds exhibited at the LEGO House Masterpiece Gallery in Denmark.

Does Brickman have kids? ›

The Brickman is a team of skilled LEGO® brick artists and craftspeople led by Ryan McNaught, aka “The Brickman” who never really grew up! Well that's not quite true, he has twin sons, but for decades he has been playing with those little plastic bricks called LEGO®.

How are Gabby and Ryan related on LEGO Masters? ›

Gabby and Ryan might seem like they get along like old friends, but they actually met just before filming on LEGO Masters started. The pair revealed they got along from their very first conversation over Zoom and remain friends today.

Are Nick and Gene a couple LEGO Masters? ›

Video editors Nick and Gene are best friends and lifelong LEGO® lovers. When they realised they shared this passion they became obsessed with what they could create. While Nick tries to bring his sense of humour and creativity into each build, Gene is more focused on getting his builds done as quickly as possible.

How do Alex and Caleb know each other? ›

Alex and Caleb. How we met: Caleb and I met in kindergarten. We went to a small private school together our entire lives.

How much do Lego brick masters make? ›

So how much does a LEGO master builder make? Reportedly just $37,500 per year salary. Yes, one of the most exclusive jobs in the world can barely make a living wage. So when LEGO Masters awards the winners — the most skilled team of LEGO architects — $100,000, it's a huge deal for these LEGO aficionados.

Do LEGO Masters use instructions? ›

And because “Lego Masters” is a show with no instruction manuals, it would be beneficial to challenge yourself to make different things with a limited brick selection. “It doesn't have to take a tremendous amount of time,” said Berard.

Will there be a LEGO Masters 3? ›

Production. Alongside the renewal in December 2021, it was announced that Will Arnett would return to host. The season was originally slated to premiere on May 31, 2022, but was later pushed to the 2022–23 season. On June 6, 2022, it was announced that the third season will premiere on September 21, 2022.

Why is LEGO rated 18+? ›

The 18+ line of LEGO sets is a marketing effort aimed at bringing adults into the LEGO community, by communicating the message that LEGO sets are not only for children. These LEGO sets are typically more difficult to build and are often highly displayable sets that look great on a shelf.

What is LEGO age restriction? ›

LEGO Ideas is designed specifically for our older builders, and sites for an older audience are subject to various child safety laws around the world. The rules for this site don't allow a person under the age of 13 to have a LEGO Ideas account. If you're not quite 13 yet, we're really sorry for the disappointment.

Is there a LEGO Masters Jr? ›

This weekly ongoing class will be a junior version of the wildly popular TV show, Lego Masters.

How are contestants chosen for LEGO Masters? ›

Teams of two will complete for a chance to raise the Lego Trophy and become The U.S. Lego Master. Lego Masters is holding an open casting call for contestants. You can apply online at legomasters.tv.

Are Miller and Kaitlyn still together? ›

Kaitlyn Lee and Miller Keys, the two young LEGO Masters contestants who became a couple after meeting on last year's inaugural season, are still together and as cute as ever.

Are Jess and Anthony a couple? ›

"It was a weird kind of role between sister/mother-hen/bestie, it was an interesting space to fill." Now that filming on LEGO Masters has finished, Jess and Anthony remain friends and are thinking about doing more builds together.

Do LEGO Masters build for 28 hours straight? ›

"People keep asking does each episode get filmed for 15 hours straight? And no, not really. It's done over a whole week," he said.

What does the Platinum brick do in LEGO Masters? ›

The Platinum Brick is like the Golden Brick in that it can protect its holders from elimination, but whereas the Golden Brick had to be used before a build, the Platinum Brick can be used after building and even after hearing Brickman's final comments.

Do the builders actually build for the whole time in LEGO Masters? ›

So yes, these builds often do take just as long as they say they do — but the contestants aren't expected to build them without any breaks in between, luckily. That being said, with the sheer size and scale of some of these builds, it's likely not an easy process.

What does Amy and Ty name baby? ›

Well, now that we know Ty & Amy's baby is named Lyndy Marion Borden, say "hi" to Ruby & Emmanuella Spencer, who play her. They are precious. Did you and the other cast bond with them some before filming so they would be familiar with you all on screen?

Do Lego Masters get breaks? ›

We now know that even during the long rounds, Lego Masters teams are not hangry, and do get breaks. Considering creations take so much brain power, it's great that they're able to take a break every once.

Do Jake and Amy have daughters? ›

Mac is Jake and Amy's son who was born sometime in September 2020. He is approximately two years old at the end of the series due to the time jump.

How long do they get to build on LEGO Masters? ›

In the Grand Final episode, the three surviving teams will be given 28 hours to create their last epic build, a gruelling task, after which a room full of Lego fans will choose their favourite build to crown the 2022 Lego Masters. Alex from Sydney is a makeup artist with a love and natural creative knack for Lego.

Do the couples on LEGO Masters know each other? ›

Lego Masters 2022 is underway and we are already 'blocked' to our screens. Dan and Kirsti have very different building styles but were excited to get into the grove of working together.

How long does LEGO Masters shoot for? ›

The challenges on Fox's “Lego Masters” often take 10 to 12 hours.

Are Caleb and Alex a couple LEGO Masters? ›

Port Macquarie's Caleb Campion had a very different relationship with his partner Alex, who he described as a lifelong friend. Caleb didn't know Alex prior to the show and they bonded over creating different builds. He said they laughed and had a lot of fun together on the show.

Who won LEGO Masters 2022 last night? ›

NEWCASTLE BROTHERS CROWNED AUSTRALIA'S 2022 'LEGO MASTERS' | NBN News.

Are Gabby and Ryan a couple on LEGO Masters? ›

No, Ryan and Gabby are not married

When the first episode of LEGO Masters aired, Ryan and Gabby made it very clear that they were not the 'married couple' viewers would assume they were.

Do Gabby and Ryan know each other? ›

We thought it was lovely but we knew it wasn't a LEGO Masters build." Gabby and Ryan might seem like they get along like old friends, but they actually met just before filming on LEGO Masters started. The pair revealed they got along from their very first conversation over Zoom and remain friends today.

Who is the girl on LEGO Masters? ›

Her current project with her design team is Lego DOTS, customize daily items like jewelry and picture frames. In 2020, she started her role as judge “Brickmaster Amy” on the American edition of Lego Masters; a television reality show in which teams compete to build the best Lego project.

Is the golden brick in LEGO Masters made of real gold? ›

Reportedly, the Golden Brick isn't actually real gold. In an August 2021 interview with Nylon, judge Amy Corbett revealed that the coveted brick is simply a regular Lego Block that is painted gold.

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