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The History of Brickfilms: LEGO Studios

Directed By: Seán Willis

Genre: History
Length: 52:25
Released: May 9th, 2020

Content Advisory:  mild violence.

Director's Comments

The 2000 release of the LEGO Studios Steven Spielberg MovieMaker Set is the clearest turning point in brickfilming history, greatly influencing LEGO animation to become a widely practiced hobby. This video chronicles the history and impact of the LEGO Studios theme, both in regards to brickfilming and in regards to how the theme fits in the overall LEGO canon. It also aims to cover some of the general brickfilming practices and struggles of the era, and features interviews with David Pagano of Paganomation and Kevin Ulrich of BrotherhoodWorkshop, explaining how LEGO Studios helped to influence their hobbies and eventual careers.

This video is the culmination of coming on half a decade of on-and-off researching, collecting, and contacting. I cracked some of the longest-running mysteries in brickfilming for this video, as prior to my hunting, it was unknown to the community who created Dino Cop, and who created the brickfilms included on the LEGO Studios software CD. Trying to find the answers to those felt like banging my head against two separate brick walls, but we had a bit of a mantra that we could not make this video without that information, and so I persevered and eventually found the right chains of people to contact to get the answer to each. Additionally, before I got on the case, there were only two Studios contest finalists known to be available, but now all nine are located. Similarly, there were only two of the user-submitted films from the LEGO Studios website known to be around, but now all but one are located. Also, Scary Thriller: Director's Cut was only around in horrendous quality, and Dino Cop wasn't around in the best quality either, but I managed to acquire higher quality copies of those films for this video (in addition to the Dino Cop theatrical trailer, which I never even expected to be able to acquire).

An absolute godsend for making this video were a number of LEGO Studios brickfilm YouTube playlists compiled by Bernardo Ensoli (who seems to have seen and commented on just about every LEGO video on YouTube). Further Studios films shown came from my own searches of YouTube, Archive.org, Brickshelf, and from having compiled archives of the old online brickfilm directories and many brickfilmers' filmographies for the Brickfilms Wiki. Sebastian Segura also assisted in tracking down some examples of Studios films featuring specific things I wished to show.

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