Being a part of LEGO Masters is a journey. A long, ridiculous, amazing and ultimately unforgettable journey.
I’m Annie, season 2 contestant, winner of the first elimination and LEGO Ambassador for 'MUGs' - Melbourne LEGO User Group. In mid-2019 I received a phone call asking if I knew any great LEGO Builders that might like to take part in the LEGO Masters phenomenon. I offered some names for some great builders *cough, Runa, cough* and then they asked if I might like to audition myself. I was hesitant at first because I had two kids under 4 at home, but they convinced me to give it a go and put in an application. Still, I needed a partner.
I remember ringing Runa with my crazy question. I was insanely nervous and fearing rejection as if I were in a high school teen drama. But I did it, I called her, and I said those 9 unforgettable words. “Will you go on LEGO Masters Australia with me?”. And despite all the ways she could reject me in my mind, she actually said yes. Forms were filled out and the waiting began. We were both met with beautiful enthusiasm and kindness from the casting team at Endemol Shine. They explained the process of casting and wished us luck as we travelled through the audition chain. First via skype and then in person when we were whisked into a time-sensitive challenge surrounded by watching eyes. Runa and I flew through our build, giggling like schoolgirls and building each other up while our poor LEGO character lost his eyeball, drinking coffee.
Honestly, just getting to audition and be a part of the process was a win for us. We were able to work so well as a team and create something clever and engaging in a really short amount of time. And then the day was over. A few weeks later we received a call asking our availabilities and mentioning that we’d been shortlisted. And then it was a congratulations, and Runa and I had to come to terms with being part of the actual program! What a thought. The brain sisters building LEGO on national TV! We talked about our styles and planned out builds that we might like to take part in. We contemplated our fellow teammates and worried about the actual competition, but ultimately, we decided to just have fun. One thing I am really grateful for was Runa’s ability to say yes instead of no. We developed a really positive way to communicate our ideas and plans with each other.
When we met the cast for the first time, I did a super mum thing and invited them all to dinner. We bonded around a table of delicious Sichuan food and that first night became one of my favourite memories. My heart is filled with amazing behind the scenes memories too. Each morning we’d get up at stupid o’clock and wait for Jen who was always running late. Our bus rides were a blur of sleep deprivation and nerves followed by breakfast together and contemplating what was waiting for us behind the roller door. And every time we walked through that door, we were met with excitement, big energy and warmth. I even had everyone over for Christmas dinner! That was a hoot.
But let's talk about the building and filming. Pressure, heat, fear and adrenalin and the key feelings and motivations on the floor when you’re working to the clock of LMA. There is great satisfaction when models just work the way they’re meant to the first time. Runa and I were so proud of our whole new world, Eos. The turtle island was our mini LEGO Masterpiece, and the twist challenge really showed our strengths in storytelling and speed. Then, we were filled with glitter and dynamite for our explosive short-nosed dragon. The way our dragon's head split into 7 pieces and perfectly framed our hero is still a scientific marvel in my mind.
There’s also great pain when models fall apart at the last minute too. And when it came time for us to work under pressure we aimed a little too high (literally). Regardless, we pulled our mermaid back together and demonstrated our intention with a model that was not in pieces.
If I could do anything again in the LEGO Masters journey, I wouldn’t. Exactly what happened was perfect for me. Today, I can honestly say that the contestants from LEGO Masters season two have become our family. We may have only appeared on tv for 3 nights, but behind those spectacular edits were thousands of hours of building, laughter and friendship that will last forever.