The last week has left me spinning so fast that I cannot think exactly where to start!
So I’ll tell you where I have ended up: in a hotel room in Geneva, overlooking the park near the lake. It’s just got dark, around 10 pm in evening. It sounds like there are a few people having a good time over there, and traffic rumbles by under my open window. What started off as a cold and drizzly morning became a sunny day. But I missed most of that. I have been attending a conference. Even learning things! As I sit down to type it is Sunday evening, and my glass is empty. It only contained water, so I can probably top it up simply enough. Or perhaps I’ll put the kettle on: let’s do that.
It all started last Tuesday when I arrived in Billund. Eventually. I arrived after only 26 hours of travel. Melbourne-Singapore-Frankfurt-Billund. In an attempt to see how many characters represented in LEGO I could see in movies, I managed to watch at least some fragments of : ‘The LEGO® Batman™ Movie’, ‘Logan’ (not a bit like that mighty micro Wolverine who was racing Magneto), ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (Disney, 2017), ‘Moana’ as well as ‘Fantastic Beasts, and How to Find Them.’
I checked into the LEGOLAND Hotel: not a themed room, but I suspect at this stage I may have been a little overwhelmed by that!
But what was I doing there?
Recognised LEGO Fan Media Days.
These were the second Recognised LEGO Fan Media meeting that had been organised by the Community Engagement Team at LEGO, and the first I attended. A chance to meet the team face to face, as well as to network with other RLFMs from around the world.
There were representatives from Australia, Chile, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA. Some blog, some provide news, some answer questions. Others are online communities. There were artists, YouTubers and print magazines represented. The thing we all had in common is the love for the LEGO Brick, and sharing that love with others
What did we get up to? No time to tell you all of it now! Here is a quick(?) summary. Some parts will inevitably become further posts in the future.
We spent a little time getting to know each other, meeting in the LEGO House – an experiential centre in the middle of Billund, over the road the LEGO Ideas House. CEO Bali Padda came by for a conversation: as much to hear about what was important to us as LEGO fans as to share some thoughts with us.
The LEGO House is set to open in September this year and we were fortunate to have a tour of the new facility. We visited the basement, full of great examples from the LEGO History Collection.
Then we went upstairs. The centre piece of the LEGO House is a Giant Tree Sculpture: one of the largest LEGO Sculptures ever made.
Walking up the stairs felt like climbing the tree, with layouts of popular themes over the years to bee found on the branches. We reached the Masterpiece Gallery to see where some special statues will go… following a common theme, reiterated in Duplo, standard system bricks and Technic.
We visited the World Explorers area: imagine an area where mini figures rule the world mind went wild, taking you all sorts of environments in just a few tables. We climbed up the outside of the house and tested the strength of the skylights. Fortunately they held.
That night we went out for Dinner at Restaurant Billund for a special unveiling with the LEGO Ideas Team and the designer . You have probably seen some of the images we took that night. If not, you can see them here.
On the second day we visited the LEGO Ideas house for a day of interviews. I had the
chance to interview representatives from everyone’s favourite competition website: LEGO Rebrick, our favourite place to put our stuff: LEGO Life, the forthcoming Robotics system, Boost; Some of the designers from LEGO Friends, and part of the team from TT Games, involved in putting together LEGO Worlds. A chance meeting with Jamie Berard resulted in clarification on the topic of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ building techniques. In between I visited the museum, with examples of sets from throughout the ages, as well as memory lane: the archive in the basement, where virtually every set ever made could be found.
I will bring more from these interviews to you over the coming months. That night we shared a traditional Danish meal, and enjoyed the chance to get to know each other better.
We started our final day with a short tour of the LEGOLand park. We met the Chief Model Maker in charge of the Miniland: the Heart of the Park. After some further exploration we had lunch in the family buffet (unlimited food, unlimited ice-cream…) That afternoon, we went shopping, to ensure we had all we needed.
We completed our presentations, and then moved to the LEGOLAND hotel for dinner, with members of the Community Engagement team.
After deboxing a Saturn V, the new Carousel and Assembly Square, to allow them to fit in my case, I retired for the evening. Then I was up at stupid o’clock the next morning in order to be at the airport by five am.
And then I slept.
This week was a fantastic opportunity for all of the RLFM who attended: a chance to make online friendships real, and discuss common challenges. This is a small blog in the scheme of the RLFMs around, but I have certainly gained a lot from the experience. I would like to thank Kim Thomsen of the LEGO Community Engagement team, the other Fan Media and all of the team within the LEGO Group, who gave up their time to share their interests with us.
And now we return you to our normal service.
PS: Other RLFMs in attendance this year included:
You should so go and check them out too! Some may not use a language you are used to…