Austin and Justin Interview

After a major pivot and a valiant attempt to recuperate in Episode 9 of LEGO® Masters, season 3, Austin and Justin were eliminated from the competition. Along with Brickset and other fan media outlets, we caught up with Austin and Justin for an interview. We chatted about their experiences in the hobby and on the show, as well as the infamous pivot!

Austin and Justin in Episode 4
Austin and Justin in Episode 4, “Out on a Limb”. Image used with permission, ©2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Tom Griscom/FOX

How did you get into the LEGO® hobby?

Austin: I played with LEGO® sets when I was young, and then stopped. I had two boys, and I remembered this is really fun. So, we’ve built a few sets here and there and started acquiring the mound that stays in the center of the playroom, because that’s what all kids ended up with. That’s pretty much it. Then Justin said: “hey, so I do this thing. I do LEGO® and I may interview for a TV show, want to go with me?”

Since this whole thing, my LEGO® experience has grown. Just yesterday, the kids were like, “hey, can we go to the store for LEGO®?” I love seeing what they can create. It’s a really good bonding experience for all three of us. The mound’s gotten a lot bigger. Don’t ask me about anything organizational.

Justin: I’ve been building since I was a little kid.  My mom was interviewed by our local paper and she told them that every birthday and every Christmas all I asked for was LEGO® sets. So, that’s kind of where it was. I went through some dark ages in high school and college. Once I was in medical school, I started buying sets again. Then I rediscovered my passion for it. I joined the Albuquerque, New Mexico LUG. From there, it’s just really taken off. It’s really just become an integral part of my life.

Austin and Justin with Will Arnett
Will Arnett, Justin, and Austin in Episode 2, “Jurass-Brick World”. Image used with permission, ©2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Tom Griscom/FOX

You had to pivot in the middle of the episode as a result of some feedback.  What was it like like hearing that sort of feedback?

Justin:  I really was expecting them to like the idea of our wizard taking over someone else’s castle. It did not fly; they did not like it. What they didn’t show was Austin and I really putting our heads together for a half an hour with no building whatsoever. How are we going to do this? Maybe that was a little bit lost in the production, I guess.

Austin: I guess I can see their point of view in: “hey, you’re building someone else’s castle.” But at the same time, it’s a fun story that we could have expressed well. I like throughout the season, our story-telling ability was kind of hit and miss. Sometimes, they were like “oh, this is fantastic!” Other times, it was like “we don’t know where you guys are going with this.” I don’t know if that is a downfall on our storytelling abilities or just a difference of opinions. But anytime you have to do a switch in the middle of a build, it is so hard to recover, especially that farther you get along in the competition. It only gets harder; the competition gets better. Everyone else had fantastic builds and we were like: “I guess we’ll restart… again.” That was the common theme for our team.

Austin and Justin in Episode 9.
Austin and Justin in Episode 9, “Wrecking Balls to the Walls”. Image used with permission, ©2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Tom Griscom/FOX

You said that pivots were common for your team.  What is the pivot that you are most proud of on the show?

Justin:  Definitely Billy the Squid. That was the best pivot. Unfortunately, for better or worse, we had to rebuild almost all of our builds at some point. With Billy the Squid, we had to rebuild not once, but three times because of those dang ball sockets. Jamie called us on it – he came over said “that may not work.” We swung it, and it didn’t work. We had to rebuild the whole base. Then, we had to rebuild another thing and another, it was endless. But, Billy the squid lasted the second or third longest, and I was like: “yes, redemption!”

Austin: That pivot was really great. But my fingers hurt so bad after that episode because I was just slapping down brick as fast as I possibly could. Honestly, I think the other pivot that I’m most proud of, even though we got sent off for it, was the wizard hat. That thing looked so good on TV. When it gets hit by the cannonball, it just floats off. I want to act like we planned that.  We didn’t plan that at all, but it looks so good on TV. I’m really proud of that, despite us being sent home on that episode.

Billy the Squid. Image used with permission, ©2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Tom Griscom/FOX

What are some of the details of your builds that you wish producers had shown?

Justin: The magmen. In the camp episode, we made these little camp counselors.  They were the magma men, or the magmen. I made them around light bricks so they actually glowed like lava would.  All the camp counselors glowed, except there was one that was just charred black.  He was the burnt-out camp counselor. I’m so mad that they cut that from the show because I thought it was really funny.

Austin:  I completely agree.

Justin: Our Jurassic World episode had some really cool stuff too. I felt like that episode, they glanced over a lot of people’s builds. For instance, we had this nest with for pterodactyl that we built on top of the buildings. Inside that nest were different pieces from all over the rest of the scene. It actually looked like the pterodactyl was building a nest out of pieces from within the build itself. I wish they would have shown that too.

Austin: The inside of the spaceship had rock climbing wall.  We also had a robot who was moving giant medicinal items around the back. They were like tongue depressors and pill bottles. None of that made it in. The thing that was also interesting was how they shot the angle of our builds. Sometimes we built thinking that the camera would be in one particular location. And then they were like, “no, we’re shooting it from this side.” That was kind of an interesting part of building-slash-production. 

The magmen were awesome. The castle – the fighting between the two wizards. There’s so much wizard spell action going on that they didn’t really describe on air. But there’s only so much time within the show, right? And you can’t just focus on us the whole time, even though they should [laughs].

Austin and Justin’s Jurass-Brick World build. Image used with permission, ©2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Tom Griscom/FOX

What advice would you give to others who are just getting into the hobby?

Austin: Budget.  Always budget.

Justin:  It’s like anything else.  It takes time to get to get good at.  From my standpoint, going from building sets to building MOCs was a really big step.  It can get frustrating at times because you’re trying to figure out how to do things.  It really just takes a lot of a lot of dedicated practice like anything else. If you work on building, you’ll figure out the techniques, and eventually you’ll get to where you want to.  Just keep at it and keep spending time with it.

Austin: As a serious answer, just make sure you’re having fun. There are so many different avenues that LEGO® can provide, whether it’s building MOCs, sculpting, mechanical, Technic, or even murals or portraits. They’re like different art mediums. So, do you like painting with watercolors or oils? Or do you like sculpting clay? Well, LEGO® can provide avenues for both of those. And as long as you’re having fun and being creative, then whatever doesn’t matter.

Austin and Justin’s build in Episode 7, “Camp Click-A-Brick”. Image used with permission, ©2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Tom Griscom/FOX

There’s more to come!

While we’re sad to see the doctors go, five teams remain in season three of LEGO® Masters! Be sure to check out our full coverage of season three if you need to catch up. For more from Austin Willis (@austin.block.doc) and Justin Sommer (@blockdocjustin), check them out on Instagram. A huge thanks to both for taking the time to chat with us. Be sure to check out what happens next Wednesday night on FOX and CTV!

Until next time,

-Tom

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