y now my kids’ Lego prowess is well-established around here. No doubt if you follow the blog’s facebook page you’ve noticed the occasional pictures of my smiling children in front of a completed Lego project in your newsfeed at one time or another. One of our favorite projects was “The Shire” (as my kids call it), released in conjunction with “The Hobbit” at the end of last year. As always, when the project was done I snapped a quick picture (pics or it didn’t happen) to document the construction before the inevitable destruction.
Last week while at Comic Con, my friends and I decided to take in the sites outside the convention center (if for no reason other than to get away from the crushing throngs of people just for a moment). Although I did not bring my children, they’re still too young for Comic Con to be appropriate, I spent most of my time keeping an eye out for what might be appealing to them, rather than myself (a topic I’m kicking around for another blog post). As we walked around outside, breathing the fresh air and enjoying the sun on our faces, we came across a display in an open, public space that I immediately knew would resonate with my kids. There for everyone to see was a professionally made version of “The Shire”, only 20x the scale of the version Episode V and I made together months ago. It featured both the interior and exterior details exactly as the were in the store-bough set, including all the accessories, details and characters… only 20x bigger.
Naturally I had to take a picture and text it immediately back home for the kids to see.
I’ve seen these sorts of builds before. Most Lego stores have something like this on display, purely for the WOW-factor. The Lego store at Disneyland has some pretty impressive constructs, as you might imagine. But I’ve never had the opportunity to inspect them close up… to run my hands over them. As it turns out, this construct wasn’t a styrofoam mock-up. It wasn’t sculpted out of plaster to look like it was made of Legos. This was *ACTUALLY* built from the itty-bitty Legos parents with kids of a certain age have all over the house. As I took in the workmanship the thought occurred to me, “Man. Someone actually had to build this. This was someone’s job. Someone got PAID to build this. We’ve all had those fantasies before:
“If only I could be a professional shopper.”
“If only I could be paid to play video games all the time.”
“If only it was my job to travel the country and sample chocolate chip cookies.”
There before me was the realization of someone’s dream along those exact same lines. “If only I could build Legos for a living.” Lego actually employs “Master Builders”. Their entire job is to create… sometimes on a micro-scale, sometimes ginormous. They travel around to expos, store opening and special events to show off Legos and all the amazing things they can do. These are the people who dream up the ginormous builds that spread virally on the internet, as well as the more practical builds that get sent off to retail stores.
Needless to say, those jobs are very hard to come by. You have to be incredibly talented, the screening process is grueling, and you have to be in the right place at the right time. As I looked at that gigantic Shire build out in the middle of a San Diego public park, it seemed to me that for every rockstar Master Builder there has to be dozens of mid-level engineers… guys and girls who may not be rockstars, but are still incredibly skilled and can handle plenty of creative heavy lifting. Those jobs would be just as rewarding, and probably a little easier to come into.
As coincidence would have it, earlier this afternoon this YouTube video came across my feed and connected all the dots. Check it out.
It’s no secret, I’m rather bearish about the advice I’ll give my children when it comes to following their dreams. But if one of them told me they wanted to go work as a Lego Engineer for a career, I suppose that’s a decision I could get behind — just so long as they let me come over and play with their toys.
In fact, now that I think of it, to hell with this dentistry. If I could get a job building Legos all day, I’d sell this damn dental practice in a heartbeat.