Lego Masters landed on our TV about the same time the pandemic landed in America. It’s a show about, well, Lego Masters. In each episode teams were given a LEGO building challenge, Build a Fairy Tale! Build a Theme Park! Build a Bridge! Contestants could use as many bricks as they wanted, their only limit was time. Every week when we sat down to watch, we poured out a a big pile of bricks so our girls could build something while they watched the show.
Builds lasted six to fifteen hours. Around hour one or two of the build, judges wandered from station to station to offer feedback. Usually, they’d just suggest a little change, one element wasn’t quite dramatic enough or perhaps the motor used to move a special feature wasn’t powerful enough. But sometimes, the judges would look at a build, glance at one another and shake their heads. The builders bit their lips as the judges explained that the build story didn’t make sense. In a Lego build story is everything. The build wasn’t big enough or open enough. A good Lego build is large but also open, you are invited into the scene instead of feeling like you are peeking into it. They often finished their critiques by waving their hands over the build while sighing because the build simply didn’t have enough color and Lego is all about color.
These criticisms, so far into the competition, were always devastating to the builders because whether they got one or all three criticisms (and so many got all three), they had to rebuild. They needed to take apart their work brick by brick and make something new. Something with a better story, something more expansive, something with more color.
The successful builders took the judges’ advice, even though they were two hours into the game. They pulled down what they’d built and built again. Successful teams were smart about it. They reused many of their original bricks while returning others to the bin. They added new bricks too as their concept became richer. Sometimes a feature they loved from their original build had to be scrapped, it just didn’t fit into their new design. A shame at first but by the end it was always replaced by something better.
The unsuccessful builders kept on building their original build. So much time had passed, after all. And…