Topic: The History of Brickfilms: The origins of the online LEGO animation community (2000 & 2001)

The History of Brickfilms: The origins of the online LEGO animation community (2000 & 2001)

Watch Now: YouTube
Released: July 31, 2021
Content Advisory: moderate violence, moderate language, moderate sexual content

Note: This video covers some explicit films towards the end, but I was selective with just how much I chose to show.

Directory Link

Re: The History of Brickfilms: The origins of the online LEGO animation community (2000 & 2001)

I posted this as a comment on YouTube, but spent a lot of time writing it so figured I'd just copy/paste it.

What a trip through time again! I got into brickfilming only in 2003-2004, so I missed most of the major events, news coverage, and controversies during this era. The Rick & Steve brickfilms weren't something I had even heard of until the series was remade for TV, and they were brought up on the forums.

However, I did visit the Brickfilms.com website a lot in 2003, before the redesign, and I vividly remember the film directory and resources just as they were shown in this film. There were also some brickfilms from 2000-2001 that I vividly remember.

As the film says, the Spite Your Face productions and Jay Silver's brickfilms were standout products when they were released, and they remained so for years to come. Their other releases from 2002-2004 continued to impress, and they were leagues ahead of most other brickfilmers.

Girl, the brickfilm you mentioned, was the first brickfilm that I really connected to on an emotional level. Twelve year old me really felt for the girl, growing up with such abusive and neglectful parents. I think I may have legitimately cried watching it, lol. I've also always enjoyed Egoless's other films (like SYF/Jay Silver's main body of work, from the 2002-2004 era).

Being young and Dutch, I couldn't really connect to a lot of the dialogue-heavy brickfilms from those days. That's why I particularly liked brickfilms set to music. Brain Damage was one of my all-time favorites, and for me the quintessential most brickfilmy brickfilm from that time. Barber of Sevilla was another favorite of mine, to the point where young me was like "wow opera is kinda cool, I like this Pavarotti guy". (I actually dislike opera now, but whatev.) A Grand And Merry Chase was another of my favorites in this category. The Gauntlet I didn't really enjoy, but that was mostly down to our computer's monitor being very dark which didn't do the film itself any favors.

Really glad you mentioned The Big Match, by the way! That's another film that young me really enjoyed, that I completely forgot about.

One other thing I would like to note. Because the internet worked a whole lot different those days with websites and communities being a lot more decentralized, there were a lot of other websites outside of Brickfilms.com. This included other "general brickfilms" websites that had directories and resources, like the original Bricks in Motion and Coolbrickmovies. But also, if you wanted to watch somebody's brickfilm, you had to go to their website and find it on there. Yellowhead Studios, Stefan van Zwam, is an example of those, and the website is still online to this day! Egoless and Jay Silver also had their own websites like this. This continued to be the "normal way of things" right up until YouTube and other social media, like MySpace and Facebook, came along (in the late 2000s).

A lot of these were hosted on spaces provided by ISPs, but there were also places like Geocities where you could build your own website. The video files were often hosted on these personal websites as well. The problem with this was that video files were big, and web hosts usually only allowed limited bandwidth to be used. This meant that if you had a new brickfilm online and it was being downloaded by a lot of people, your website (including video downloads!) could suddenly be offline for days or weeks with visitors getting a "Bandwidth limit exceeded" message.

The early days were wild, man.

An excellent video, Penta. I'm always impressed at how in depth you manage to go without the subject matter becoming boring or slow paced. The amount of detail you put in this is staggering. The interviews with Jason Rowoldt and Jared Gilbert (and Jay Silver) were excellent additions. The editing was great as well, I noticed how well you lined up some of the smaller things with the narration, like the blinking from the Godfather film and the climax of The Gauntlet.

Re: The History of Brickfilms: The origins of the online LEGO animation community (2000 & 2001)

I find that while the technical and other qualities were lower back then, it does produce a warm and fuzzy feeling going through the history of the scene.
Plus the different director’s styles have always been so varied and the ideas and concepts in the early movies remain impressive to this day.
All of this with the limited and hardly animatable basic minifig…
By the way the segment on the Technic fig was sweet. I have pointed out elsewhere that the taller figure would be perfect if it was not for the brittle feet.

Re: The History of Brickfilms: The origins of the online LEGO animation community (2000 & 2001)

I am glad that people are receptive to this video, as it is the most niche one I have made yet. Thanks Bert for the long post and insight; I do worry about getting too deep into old technical things, as I want to keep these approachable to people who have no idea about any of this stuff, but I might see what I can do in the next video.

Here is the list of links to watch the films that are shown in the video. The ones that get a specific mention are in bold.

Pre-Brickfilms.com (minutes 1 - 6):

Founding (minutes 6 - 12):

Growth, TECHNIC films, Star Wars, and other topics (minutes 12 - 18):

Spite Your Face Productions (minutes 18 - 23):

Streaming sites, BrickFest 2001, and further growth (minutes 23 - 29):

Classical Movie Contest (minutes 29 - 32):

The Gauntlet and Jay Silver (minutes 32 - 39):

Site expansion, The Rescue, Rick & Steve, and Girl (minutes 39 - 46):