Tai Freligh interviews this week’s eliminated LEGO Masters contestants…
Hosted by actor and producer Will Arnett, season two of LEGO Masters airs every Tuesday (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX, bringing imagination, design and creativity to life when teams of LEGO enthusiasts go head-to-head, with infinite possibilities and an unlimited supply of LEGO bricks. Once again, teams of two will compete against each other in even more ambitious brick-building challenges – including an earthquake tower challenge, a demolition derby, a LEGO fashion show and more – to be crowned the country’s most talented amateur LEGO builders. Each week, Flickering Myth’s Tai Freligh will be chatting with the eliminated contestants. This week Tai talks with Randall and Syreeta about their time on the show, lessons learned and more about the build that ended their time on the show.
Talk about auditioning for the show and what it was like to get selected?
Syreeta: It was breathtaking when they reached out to us. I never dreamed being on national TV building with LEGO would be in my future. so we went through a process and when we were finally selected it felt like a weight off our shoulders.
Randall: Auditioning for the show was such a thrill – a casting associate reached out to us on Instagram last winter, and Syreeta and I talked about what it might take for both of us to take the plunge. Once we decided we were in, it was off to the races. We looked at the entire process as a learning experience in how we might need to improve our skills and what’s to be expected from a LEGO Master, as well as thinking “well, let’s just keep going until they tell us no” because the chances are SO remote for a show of this caliber….and they never told us no! Being selected was such a surreal moment; the show wasn’t even a figment of someone’s imagination in my childhood for me to ever dream of this possibility, but I took it as a sign that I did the right thing my entire life by following my passion, and it reaffirmed that bringing what I had to the table in just being myself was enough.
What was your experience like being on the show?
Syreeta: Certainly an experience I would have never guessed for me. it was amazing I was really honored to play a role in the LEGO community in such a profound way.
Randall: It was fun, exciting, stressful, worrisome, and everything in between. I wanted to try my hand at building things that I’d never built in circumstances I’ve never experienced, and we definitely got that in spades. Being pushed to be technically sound while having a clear story was such a rush; I’ve never displayed at a convention before so I learned a lot when it comes to display models and what usually reads well on those floors. Plus building on a clock…..you wanna talk about stress? You’re leaning on years/decades of knowledge to have instant recall of pieces, colors, techniques to do the best you can in the time allotted. This ain’t for the faint of heart, I’ll tell you that! To that end, it was really fun to essentially have a new LEGO convention after every episode! Walking around and discovering details people put into their builds and talking about what they did felt so familiar to just striking a conversation up with somebody because they made something cool. Building with Syreeta for the first time, this consistently, also ended up making our friendship stronger – we learned more about each other in this pressurized environment than in the past couple of years knowing each other. What makes us tick, how each person works under pressure, how we like to communicate, etc. I also enjoyed getting to know my castmates and becoming friends with them over time. Before the show, I didn’t have a rolodex of friends that loved LEGO in my phone, but what a way to finally discover your people in an environment like this! Net positive all around, 5 stars, would recommend.
What build are you most proud of?
Syreeta: I really appreciated the parade build it really gave Randall and I an opportunity to showcase what we’re passionate about from the start. I also really appreciated the hat challenge my grandma who passed when I was 21, who was a first believer in following your dreams and passions, made it to the show. That was a phenomenal experience for me.
Randall: I’m most proud of the tower build we did – we were able to marry our shared interests of architecture and hip-hop and blend them in a way that made sense and hit the pocket we’re known for. I was particularly proud of my structure inside, holding the build together. There were a few things that I wish I’d had time to do to improve it, but for the most part, you could read my satisfaction in my reaction on the show, haha!
Tell us what you were trying to do with the build that ended up getting you eliminated?
Syreeta: Our goal was to make a hot air balloon but with Randall injuring his calf I think it just slowed us down profoundly. Had we had more time (the neverending story) we really would have spent time on the best strategy to connect it.
Randall: What I wanted to do specifically was build a large spherical sculpture in the form of a hot air balloon and have it read well across the room; I’d planned on including a stepped pattern with some primary colors which you can hopefully see in the middle of the balloon. I’d also wanted to add some built clouds around the balloon to give it some counter-balancing to make it float on the level. Ironically, all of this was in service of trying to keep it simple, as a reaction to the previous challenge where we merged two concepts for a hat that we didn’t like in the end. Where it started to fall apart was that I built it TOO big, which required Syreeta to help after I didn’t communicate my plan in full. Add to that the very complicated technique of building concentric circles to make a round figure over time, with a pattern on top of THAT, and it was going to fall apart given the time constraints. Two people building a sphere can get messy really quickly, and once I injured myself, we lost some time and had to divide the labor in a way that was aiming for completion first. We had to make too many concessions in terms of aesthetics, and the story wasn’t quite there, which got us eliminated and was the right call. I AM proud of building this thing with a rigid structure to keep the center of gravity at or above the hanging brick, so I was headed in the right direction, in a way.
What lessons will you take with you from your time on the show with the judges?
Syreeta: Always be open to what’s possible. Being on this show, rocking with the contestants and judges was certainly a reminder of that. Also just stay ready. Specific lessons were Technic bricks should probably be included in everything lol
Randall: The main thing I learned while being there is that so many people build so many different ways! I loved walking around and seeing how people thought about pieces and how they used them – the system is so versatile that there’s going to be new things people discover. There’s a lot of techniques that I’m going to outright steal and use in my own MOCs in the future. I looked forward to Amy and Jamie giving us feedback because it was so reminiscent of my architecture school days, where I learned how to apply creativity in a critical way. They let us play and gave thoughts that allowed us to discover and display more of our own styles without being TOO restrictive; the hints they’d give would usually point you in the right direction. And from their feedback and watching everybody else do incredible things, I learned that I don’t play enough at home; there’s building, and then there’s playing. Most of my time with LEGO as of late has been spent making products to sell, instead of spending a lot of time making something just for fun, and I need to get back to that more often to lean more into that childlike joy.
Hosted by actor and producer Will Arnett, Season Two of LEGO Masters premieres Tuesday, June 1 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX, bringing imagination, design and creativity to life when teams of LEGO enthusiasts go head-to-head, with infinite possibilities and an unlimited supply of LEGO bricks. Once again, teams of two will compete against each other in even more ambitious brick-building challenges – including an earthquake tower challenge, a demolition derby, a LEGO fashion show and more – to be crowned the country’s most talented amateur LEGO builders. In each episode, Arnett, alongside expert Brickmasters and LEGO employees Amy Corbett and Jamie Berard, will encourage the builders, introduce incredible challenges and put their creativity and skills to the test. The competing pairs who impress the Brickmasters the most will progress to the next round, until the finale, during which the top teams will face off for a $100,000 cash prize, the ultimate LEGO trophy and the grand title of LEGO MASTERS.
PHOTO CREDITS: FOX