“Funky Web” Interview with David Pagano (October 2017)

Yes, we can show how to build a small set with bricks in a video, but we can also tell little stories with them. First, a little trip back in time. In 1973, two Danish boys aged 10 and 12 shot a short film on Super 8 for the 50th wedding anniversary of their grandparents. A homemade short film, shot frame by frame, in which little bricks are used for the first time. The characters were made of cylinder bricks. Minifigs, as we call them today, didn’t exist yet. And it is between 1985 and 89 that an Australian, Lindsey Fleay, used bricks to create a real story (this time with real characters and a real plot) in a film called “The Magic Portal”. He is the inventor of what is today called a “brickfilm”. Hi Dave, you are a brickfilm specialist. You even have a dedicated studio and you work for many clients. I’m not telling stories… Is that a brickfilm? A brickfilm is, believe it or not, a film made with bricks. “Brickfilms” is the generic term that is given to all sorts of LEGO fan films, and other fan films, too. So any film told through plastic interlocking building blocks, it can be considered a brickfilm. And even something like “The LEGO Movie” can be considered a brickfilm; even though it was all CG, it pays very close attention and almost pays homage to the limitations of tiny plastic figures. You know, they don’t move the way a CG figure can move in any way or shape or form; they move according to the rules of how those real toys are built. Yes, because, well, uh, here’s what the first animated short film produced by the parent company looked like. Let’s just say the 3D hasn’t aged well. It’s ugly compared to the quality of today’s amateur brickfilms. So, how can I make a good brickfilm? We recommend beginners start with a smartphone, because it has a camera built in, and there are lots of apps that you can get to just try out stop-motion for the first time. So, a camera you already have, lights that are in the room, any toys you already have. Anything can be used to make your first film. You write a script, you make storyboards, you design all your characters and sets, you make an “animatic” (or “story reel”) which is where you cut all the storyboards into a sequence so that you can kind of watch it like a film. And then you animate your shots, replace the storyboards, put in sound, finish everything up, make a nice render, and that’s… then you have a film at the end of that. Ha, yes… I may not spend that much time taking photos. It’s a little long. I’ll stop my career right now. Yep, I’d better try 3D, then.