I’ve been interviewing contestants from LEGO® Masters for three seasons now, but this interview is special. This is the first time that I got to speak with CANADIAN contestants on the show! I took part in a roundtable session along with other LEGO® fan media outlets. We chatted with Emily and David Guedes. The brother-sister team from British Columbia made it all the way to the top three this past season, representing Canadian AFOLs with red and white all season long. Read on for our Emily and David interview!
You were the most visibly Canadian team on the show. How did your Canadian identity factor into the planning and execution of your LEGO® Masters experience?
David: For the whole experience, we were kind of branded as “the Canadians” or the “Canadian siblings”. So, it was kind of like our bit getting on there. I chugged maple syrup with Will on the second episode. Maple syrup was in the theme of our spaceship. The NASCAR was red and white, 1867-themed, it was very Canadian right there. We didn’t do a ton. We were the Canadian team a bit more towards the beginning, even though we still wore red and white with maple leaves right up until the final episode. It was more being that cooky sibling couple towards the end.
What was your favorite build from the season and why?
David: I had a favorite run of builds. It was the four episodes kind of in the middle. Pirate ship, summer camp, golf, and Castle. I don’t know exactly which one was my favorite of those four. But I think that chunk of filming with a lot of fun, and I didn’t feel a lot of pressure with those.
Emily: My favorite build was our Marvel build. But I didn’t like the challenge. We were all super stressed, in terrible moods the whole time. We were super close with the Docs since day one and they got eliminated last. It was kind of weird to be in the build room without them. I love the build that we completed though, I think it’s gorgeous. It was identical to the pictures. I think we did such a good job on that. But my favorite challenge obviously was the dogs. I don’t think that’s a secret.
Were there any details from your builds that you loved, but that did not make the final cut of an episode?
Emily: My answer is the Brussel scouts. The Pirate ship had Brussel Scouts training at the back.
David: Yeah, the Brussel scouts, or even the rabbits attacking and eating the front of the Pirate Ship.
Emily: That was totally glossed over! There were rabid rabbits eating the front of the ship. There were so many fine details that made the whole story come together. We had some guy puking over the edge because he was seasick. I remember at the judging, Amy kind of criticized the story saying: “It would have been good if a guy was puking over the edge because the veggies are so disgusting and he needs the dressing for them, and that’s why he’s sick.” And Jamie was like: “It was there.”
David: Yeah, both of them missed details that the other caught and corrected them for when they were criticizing our build.
Emily: Like the Pirate Ship hull was eggplant. Jamie said: “Make sure it’s not just a purple pirate ship.” And Amy said, “No, there’s a zucchini stump on the end of it.”
David: But also going forward, with the Castle, there were so many stories on the different tiers of the castle. Every plant and animal that we had on set was there. In that forest haven, the forest maiden would bring all the plants and animals into the castle. None of that was featured.
Emily: With the spaceships, one of the criteria was that it had to open, and the build had to tell your story. One side had our family story, and the other had a full hockey rink with a Zamboni and everything. But you never saw that.
David: It comes back to the classic LEGO® themes: space, pirates, castles. Those were some great builds with great details, and great stories in them.
Where do you get inspiration from for your builds?
David: I find inspiration in everything. I’m often limited by time, both on the show and in real life. There are just not enough free hours in a day, days in a week, whatever it is. I just want to build everything.
Emily: As an inspiration for the style of building, Jamie Berard is inspirational. The sets that he designed, the modulars, got us as adults back into LEGO® after our dark teenage years. The modular series really inspired our whole style of building. I think that’s why we went with the city for our final build. We really wanted to feature our interests and our style.
David: I build a lot of city creations based on real buildings. I build a lot of landscapes based on what I see. Or sometimes, I build things that I dream up out of no where. Often, it’ll be night and I’m trying to sleep, and I’ll have an idea in my head. I’ll be like: “Okay, I have to get this idea out of my head.” Write it down, draw it, or start actually putting bricks together. Sometimes I don’t know where the ideas come from. There’s inspiration everywhere.
Emily: We both like to travel. You’ll see some crazy building somewhere, and be like: “Hmm, I could do that.”
David: I have pictures on my phone of architecture in foreign cities. Either I liked a window frame, or a balcony, or an archway. I just store it for something later.
What was the most challenging aspect of building on the sets compared to building at home?
David: I have an answer for that one. Wearing a shirt. Honestly, I normally build at home in basketball shorts, and that’s it. I’m quite hairy, so I’m always wearing a natural sweater. I’ve lived in this house for six years and I’ve never turned the heat on in my LEGO® room. When you’re there working for hours on end, it gets warm. I’ll strip right down to shorts. I’ll have pants on, but no shirt.
Emily: Comfort for sure is a big one, because as the opposite, I like to be bundled in a blanket, sweater, and sweatpants. We had to be onstage and, in the morning, it was freezing on set. It’s hard to get your creative juices flowing when you’re shivering. And then in the afternoons it was stifling.
David: Yeah, it got really warm in there when the lights finally heated up. Then there are other challenges, like I’m used to how I sort my bricks and knowing what I have in my collection. So, getting to know the brick pit was a challenge for the first couple of weeks, and then it became easier.
Emily: And the limitations of the brick pit, because not everything is there.
David: Or maybe it is, and you just don’t know where.
Emily: Other challenges? Time is the big one. You have to create basically a commissioned piece. Here’s what we want you to do with your creativity but do it in these time constraints. It would be better if they told us the idea beforehand and we could go home and come up with idea, then go back and build it.
Did you go home and continue building, or did you need a break?
David: I have done a lot of LEGO® things since being home from the show. As a LEGO® fan you go through ebbs and flows of your desire to actually hit the bricks when you do this over decades. But being on the show and building LEGO® intensively for a hundred and forty nine hours really reinvigorated my desire to have time to build LEGO®. You don’t always have time when you’ve got a job and kids and everything else that goes on in life. But when I found pockets of time, I spent a lot of time working on stuff. None of those projects I’ve been working on have actually come to fruition. So maybe one day you’ll see some new things for me. But not in the immediate future.
The experience was exhausting in a good way. We got to sit there and focus on just building LEGO®, not doing any of the other responsibilities in the world or life. We just had to play LEGO®, and that was awesome. Also, to build LEGO® with friends, it was like a weeks long slumber party.
Emily: Like summer camp when you’re a kid, but we’re in our 30s.
Emily: Well, I definitely went home and built a lot of LEGO®. All summer David has been trying to thin out his… I want to say “collection”, but we’ll call it a “hoard” of LEGO. So, every now and then the LEGO® fairy will come and drop sets off at my house. I got home the other day and the Parisian Restaurant was here, which I’m pretty excited about. That’s my next project. I’ve always been more of a set builder, but I was really inspired after the show to come up with MOCs. I’ve got ideas upon ideas for one day when I get a little more organized with my LEGO®.
What do you think are the top factors that make a successful LEGO® Master?
Emily: Creativity, you have to have creativity. And you need to have a crazy imagination.
David: Stamina, I would say. And endurance, because builds get long and the schedule gets long. Aside from creativity, just having an open mind. I think it’s important to everything in life, especially with whatever weirdness they’re going to throw at you in LEGO® Masters.
Emily: You need to have a really good team dynamic. A lot of what benefited the final six teams, is that one person on most of the teams was a little bit ignorant to the limitations of LEGO®. And we noticed that a lot, especially for final three teams. We’d ask, “Why can’t we just do this?” I would say it a lot. I know Crash [Stephen] would say it a lot. David and Yoyo [the other Stephen] would be like, “You can’t do that with LEGO®. That’s not a thing.” We’d be like, “Well, why not? Let’s just do it.” And sometimes it worked out great. Other times, if it didn’t work out, it would kind of push you to try something different. It brought that innovative mind out of the more experienced builder.
David: Yeah, that’s fair.
What advice do you have for adults who are either just getting into the LEGO® hobby or returning to it after a dark age?
David: I would say connect with people. Whether that is from going to a convention, or joining a LUG, or LEGO® Canada Facebook groups. See if there’s people in your area who are into LEGO®. And I say that for a few reasons. One, it’s someone to share your passion with. Two, it is someone you can build collaboratively with, and trade and lend bricks, whatever you need to do. And three, people share deals. You find out there’s a deal on LEGO® at this store or that store. That’s a good way to build up your collection. You find out Walmart’s got a discount, or Superstore’s got stacking points or whatever. Go out and buy all that LEGO® so you can add to your collection and have more bricks to build with.
Emily: But not just sharing deals, you share ideas. A lot of what wasn’t captured on camera for us is that we bounced ideas, especially with the Stephens. In the final build near the beginning, I was working on something, and David was so focused he was like: “Yeah, it looks good.” But he wasn’t paying attention. I was like: “Stephen, get over and give me your opinion.” He came by and we brainstormed it together and worked it out.
David: Even Nick and I bounced a lot of ideas for the entire series, going back to the first episode.
Emily: Yeah, you and Nick did that a lot. Stacy and I did that a lot. But even if its your idea, and you have something that you think is crazy, and you’re not really sure how to do it, someone else’s brain might see that idea better. It’s good to have a support group. Join a LUG, that’s the best advice.
There’s still more to come!
That’s it for our Emily and David interview. A super huge thanks both of them for taking the time to chat us. You can follow their ongoing LEGO® exploits on Instagram through @emilylettucebricks and @bricklettuce. You can also catch up on all our LEGO® Masters, season three coverage on the dedicated page here at True North Bricks. Finally, be sure to check back because we still have two more interviews to share with the top two teams (also Canadian) from season three!
Until next time,
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