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A feature length documentary about the diverse world of people who make stop motion animated films using LEGO® toys.
A feature length documentary about the diverse world of people who make stop motion animated films using LEGO® toys.
A feature length documentary about the diverse world of people who make stop motion animated films using LEGO® toys.
270 backers pledged $12,800 to help bring this project to life.

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Bricks in Motion - A Documentary about LEGO® Filmmaking

$12,800

270

We've reached the majority of our stretch goals and the Kickstarter fundraising campaign is now over.

Thank you to everyone who supported us! Keep up with the project via our Twitter account and BricksInMotion.com, and on Kickstarter via the updates page.

$10,000 - Base funding met  

We get to make the documentary and you get your backer rewards!

Goal 2: $11,000 - Additional Film Equipment

Currently we already have almost all of the equipment we need, and we've already budgeted for renting the rest of the required essential equipment for the interview shoots. With $1000 more, we will be able to rent a second camera, the new Sony A7S. This full-frame camera shoots in 4k and is the best performing camera for low light conditions ever made. Additionally, we'll rent a GoPro for additional shots, such as point-of view shots and even maybe some crane shots with a monopod. If we meet this goal, we'll be able to rent:

  • Sony A7S camera
  • Zoom lens for the A7S
  • GoPro Camera

Also, if we get a little extra money, we'll be able to rent a car at some of our locations, which will allow us to travel to more areas for additional land and cityscape footage.

Goal 3: $13,500 - European Tour

Brickfilming is an international interest, and is just as popular in Europe as it is in North America. We absolutely want to include European animators in our documentary, but unfortunately international travel is not cheap, so we couldn't include it in our original budget.  

If we meet this stretch goal, we will be able to interview Chris Salt, creator of such films as Out of Time and Bowling for Sandercoe. He also created an animated Exo Suit video for LEGO. Chris Salt has also made an animated music video for Darren Hayman and his work has been featured on the BBC Technology website. Chris Salt's work inspired some of the other people featured in our documentary to get into brickfilming, so he would be a great additional perspective to include.  

We're also delighted to announce that we would also be able to interview Tim Drage of Spite Your Face Productions. Tim Drage is the co-creator of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in LEGO, One: A Space Odyssey, and The Peril of Doc Ock, which was made as a promotional video for The LEGO Group and Sony.

We're looking into other potential interview candidates in Europe, and we'll let you know when we have additional news.

Goal 4: $14,000 and Beyond - Building Bigger and Higher

The previous stretch goals are almost entirely about improving the quality of the interviews part of the documentary. This final stretch goal is dedicated to the short LEGO® film that will be interwoven into the documentary. This film will be a collaboration between director Philip Heinrich, and producers Nathan Wells and Zach Macias.

The animated segments of the film will help provide structure to the documentary through visual, thematically parallel storytelling. We really want to make these stop motion animated segments push the boundary of what has been accomplished with LEGO® animation. Any additional funds we earn beyond the European Tour will go toward improving and enhancing the animated segments of the documentary.

Concept art for the film's animated segments
Concept art for the film's animated segments

Some of the animated scenes we are planning will require extensive and elaborately-built sets, all of which require lots of LEGO, in vary particular shapes and colors. Every bit of money that helps offset the cost of more LEGO is appreciated.

In order to shoot this documentary, we must travel to several cities in the United States and Canada in order to film interviews and a look into the lives of several filmmakers. We want to introduce you to a diverse group of personalities in this documentary, which will feature Seattle bicycle messenger Chris Boyer, mother and vintage video game collector Rachel Dew, YouTube animators Dylan Woodley, Forrest Whaley, Sean Willets, James Morr, and Brotherhood Workshop, and television animation director Jay Silver, among others.

Concept art for the film's animated portion
Concept art for the film's animated portion

We’ll shoot the documentary portion of the film before the end of this year. After this, award-winning animators Zach Macias, Nathan Wells, and Philip Heinrich will also create a series of new, animated segments to help tell the story of the documentary in visually exciting, cinematic fashion.

I love stories about insightful, memorable characters. It’s part of the reason documentaries are compelling to me.

Some of the most unique and intriguing people I’ve met are people I encountered in the world of stop motion LEGO® animation. They’re a diverse group that defies what you might expect from those who spend countless hours moving tiny yellow plastic people. Exploring these real lives will allow us to share with you a universal, human story that is both compelling and thought-provoking.

Many documentaries I’ve seen and enjoyed have relatively low production value, focusing on good content but without technical expertise behind the camera. I love the artful cinematography and editing of documentaries like Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Gates of Heaven, and for that matter pretty much anything by Errol Morris. As a cinematographer, I want to make this project as cinematic and beautiful as it can be. Creating a film that also sounds good is important to us as well, and Zachry Karisch is one of the most talented audio professionals I’ve worked with.

Here's a clip from our interview with Joshua Leasure, who ran Brickfilms, a community devoted to LEGO animation, for many years.

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Making a feature length film isn’t cheap, and our $10k goal is modest considering the ambitious scope of this documentary. We own a lot of our own equipment which helps keep the budget down, and we are working on the film on a volunteer basis out of a passion for the project.

Though we have a crew of professionals and a group of people ready to appear in the documentary, we need this campaign to provide the resources to produce the film.

The Kickstarter money raised will go toward travel expenses and accommodations, equipment rentals and purchases, festivals and marketing, Kickstarter fees, and the rewards we’re giving you, our backers, as a thanks for your contribution.

Like LEGO® bricks themselves, the animators are diverse and unique, and we want to reflect this in the documentary. We’ll be interviewing Joshua Leasure, a former administrator in the online LEGO® animation community, Rachel Dew, a mother of two and animator in her free time, YouTube animators Sean Willets (filmyguy), Forrest Whaley (forrestfire101), James Morr (spastikchuwawa), Kevin Ulrich (Brotherhood Workshop), and Dylan Woodley (NXTManiac94), as well as television animation director Jay Silver, bicycle messenger and animator Chris Boyer, and father and former LEGO® animator Errol Elumir. LEGO® blogger and enthusiast Tommy Williamson of Bricknerd.com will also be interviewed for the documentary.

In return for your contribution to this project, we're offering a variety of exciting rewards. The dollar totals next to each tier are a minimum for that tier. Additional shipping charges may apply for backers outside the United States. 

Every little bit helps! This pledge gets your name listed in the documentary’s credits. You also get PDF building instructions for the custom LEGO® models (director’s chair, digital camera, studio light, clapper) seen on this Kickstarter page! Instructions available as soon as the campaign is complete!

Just want to watch the documentary? This pledge is for you. You get a SD digital copy of the finished documentary, plus your name in the documentary’s credits, and the custom LEGO® model building instructions.


Are you an animator who uses LEGO® and wants to get noticed? We will highlight you in a featured blog post on the front page of BricksInMotion.com, an online community devoted to the art of stop motion animation with LEGO® bricks. You also get your name in the documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, and a SD digital copy of the finished documentary. The website promotion award is exclusive to this tier. If you'd like to receive this reward in addition to rewards from a higher tier, see the FAQ for more details.

Time to pop the popcorn and watch some films! This pledge gets you a HD digital copy of the finished documentary, and the Bricks in Motion Collection DVD or Blu-ray/DVD Combo, which features 2 hours of LEGO® animation films from the cast and crew of the documentary and others. You also get your name in the documentary’s credits and the custom LEGO® model building instructions. To receive the Blu-ray/DVD Combo instead of the DVD, add $10 to your pledge total.

Let’s build! This pledge gets you a digital copy of the soundtrack, as well as pieces and instructions for a custom miniature LEGO® model designed by producer and animator Nathan Wells. You'll also get your name in the finished documentary’s credits, custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the finished documentary, and the Bricks in Motion Collection DVD. This LEGO® model is exclusive to this tier and will be shipped December 2014. To receive the Blu-ray/DVD Combo instead of the DVD, add $10 to your pledge total.

Just want to talk? This pledge gets you a 30 minute Skype call with director Philip Heinrich and/or producer Nathan Wells. You also get your name in the documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, a HD digital copy of the completed documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection DVD. To receive the Blu-ray/DVD Combo instead of the DVD, add $10 to your pledge total.

This is your chance to appear in the documentary, in the plastic! We'll make a minifig of you, put your figure in the movie as an "easter egg," and then send the figure to you afterward. Some restrictions apply, please check out the FAQ for more info! You also get your name in the documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, a HD digital copy of the finished documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection DVD. To receive the Blu-ray/DVD Combo instead of the DVD, add $10 to your pledge total.

Build your own LEGO® studio! You get the pieces and instructions for a custom miniature LEGO model designed by producer and animator Nathan Wells, plus your name in the documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, a HD digital copy of the completed documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection DVD. This LEGO® model, also available at the $500 level, will be shipped December 2014. To receive the Blu-ray/DVD Combo instead of the DVD, add $10 to your pledge total.

This makes a great gift, either for you, or a friend or family member! Director and composer Philip Heinrich will compose a song about you or or a friend or family member, set to a custom-made 30 second animated short film by producers and animators Nathan Wells, Zach Macias, or Doug Vandegrift, or animator James Morr. We’ll work with you to customize the message and content of the short as desired. You also get your name in the finished documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the finished  documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection Blu-ray/DVD Combo. First come first serve. Production of personalized song and video begins January 2015; see the FAQ for more information.

The ultimate gift. You are credited as Executive Producer in the documentary’s credits. You'll also receive the LEGO film studio set designed by Nathan Wells, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the finished documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection Blu-ray/DVD Combo. The title of executive producer will be in return for your financial backing, and does not include any further creative input or involvement in the film.

Philip Heinrich is an independent director and cinematographer. He received his degree in film from Baylor University, and his films have succeeded in festivals worldwide. Heinrich’s animated shorts have won the Filmflick, Black Glasses, and Nickelodeon Animation Festivals, and his work was selected as a finalist in competition at the 2010 Cannes Lions festival. He also operates an online community devoted to the art of stop motion animation with LEGO bricks, BricksInMotion.com.

Nathan Wells is a graphic designer and independent animator living in McKinleyville, California. He received his degree in graphic design from San Jose State University and currently works as a graphic designer. His films have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Nerve.com’s The Screengrab Blog, WSJ.com's Speakeasy Blog, ABC's I-CAUGHT, and Gizmodo.com. His film 30 Years: The Story of the Minifigure was commissioned by The LEGO Group and has been routinely featured on Comcast OnDemand.

Zach Macias is a freelance animator and filmmaker in Novato, California. He graduated from UCLA in 2013 with a degree in Design Media Arts. He has accumulated over 36,000 subscribers on YouTube, and his animated shorts have been featured in the Wall Street Journal as well as the inaugural Platform International Animation Festival in 2007. He has also won awards at UCLA’s Campus Moviefest and Shorttakes Film Festival.

Doug Vandegrift is a full-time communications consultant by day and a freelance filmmaker by night, currently living in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from the UCLA School of Film and Television in 2010, and won the MPAA Scholarship for his graduating thesis film. His animated rookie effort, America: Outlawed, has been featured on ABC’s I-CAUGHT and WSJ Online. He is a member of the Screen Writer’s Guild of America, and has worked in several entertainment industries such as feature films, television and video games.

Zachry Karisch is a freelance audio and sound technician based in Austin, Texas. He received his film degree from Baylor University. Over the past three years, Zachry has been working within the sound departments of a variety of independent feature films, national and international commercials, and music videos. Karisch has worked with Alex R. Johnson (director, Two Step), actors Beth Broderick, James Hebert, and Jason Douglas, and basketball superstar Tony Parker.

Michael Macasa is an independent photographer and cinematographer. He received his degree in film from Baylor University and has won awards in the Black Glasses film festival. He has worked in camera and lighting departments for numerous commercial sets in NYC for clients such as Beneful, Crest, and Make Up For Ever and conducted interviews with celebrities including Peter Dinklage. He is currently working as a freelance photographer in Texas for international clients.

Joseph Frank is a cinematographer and composer from Indianapolis, Indiana. He graduated from Bob Jones University in 2011 with a degree in Cinema & Video Production, and has been a film music enthusiast and composer for several years, composing film scores for two award-winning films and various other independent and personal projects. He got his start both in music and in cinematography in the LEGO® stop-motion animation community in 2006, and has been active in both fields ever since.

The LEGO® Group is not in any way involved with this project. This documentary is a product of our love and appreciation of playing, building, filming and animating with LEGO®. LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO® Group, which does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse us or this project.

We’re excited about this project, and we hope that you will be, too. We appreciate contributions of any amount, and we also encourage you to help us get the word out about this project. Sharing with friends via Facebook, Twitter, and word-of-mouth is what will allow this campaign to be successful.

The pieces are in place. It’s time to put the bricks in motion. Let’s get to work!

Risks and challenges

With any feature length documentary involving travel, there will be some challenges. Documentaries are especially difficult to predict, since we're telling a true story and discovering it in the process of making the film. However, Philip Heinrich has completed a feature length movie in the past, the indie drama film In Paradise, and all of us are experienced filmmakers. We intend to fulfill the majority of rewards before the end of 2014, excluding the digital copies of the completed documentary and the short films at the $250 tier, both of which will be provided when they are finished.

We aim to ship all DVDs and LEGO sets in December 2014, complete the documentary by November of 2015, and deliver digital copies of the documentary in December 2015.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    THE FAN - Every little bit helps! This pledge gets your name listed in the final documentary’s credits. You also get PDF building instructions for the custom LEGO® models (digital camera, studio light, clapper, headphones, and boom microphone) seen on this Kickstarter page! Instructions available now!

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    THE VIEWER - Just want to watch the documentary? This pledge is for you. You get a SD digital copy of the finished documentary, plus your name in the documentary’s credits, and the custom LEGO® model building instructions.

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    THE ANIMATOR - Are you an animator who uses LEGO® and wants to get noticed? We will highlight you in a featured blog post on the front page of BricksInMotion.com, an online community devoted to the art of stop motion animation with LEGO® bricks. You also get your name in the finished documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, and a SD digital copy of the final documentary. The website promotion award is exclusive to this tier. Promotion starts in January 2015; see the FAQ for more details.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    THE MOVIEGOER - Time to pop the popcorn and watch some films! This pledge gets you an HD digital copy of the documentary, and the Bricks in Motion Collection DVD or Blu-ray/DVD Combo, which features 2 hours of LEGO® animation films from the cast and crew of the documentary, including Jay Silver, Chris Boyer, Philip Heinrich, Nathan Wells, Zach Macias, Doug Vandegrift and James Morr. The DVD will ship in December 2014. You also get your name in the finished documentary’s credits and the custom LEGO® model building instructions. To receive the Blu-ray/DVD Combo instead of the DVD, add $10 to your pledge total.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    THE BUILDER - Let’s build! This pledge gets you pieces and instructions for a custom miniature LEGO® model designed by producer and animator Nathan Wells. You'll also receive a high quality digital copy of the soundtrack composed by Joseph Frank and Philip Heinrich, plus your name in the finished documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the documentary, and the Bricks in Motion Collection DVD. This LEGO® model is exclusive to this tier and will be shipped December 2014. To receive the Blu-ray/DVD Combo instead of the DVD, add $10 to your pledge total.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    THE INTERVIEWER - Just want to talk? This pledge gets you a 30 minute Skype call with director Philip Heinrich and/or producer Nathan Wells. A time to talk LEGO®, filmmaking, favorite foods, whatever! You also get your name in the final documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection DVD. To receive the Blu-ray/DVD Combo instead of the DVD, add $10 to your pledge total.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    THE CAMEO - This is your chance to appear in the documentary, in the plastic! We'll make a minifig of you, put your figure in the movie and then send the figure to you afterward. Some restrictions apply, please check out the FAQ for more info! You also get your name in the finished documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection DVD. To receive the Blu-ray/DVD Combo instead of the DVD, add $10 to your pledge total.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    THE MASTER BUILDER - Build your own LEGO® studio! You get the pieces and instructions for a custom miniature LEGO model of a film studio designed by producer and animator Nathan Wells, plus your name in the documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the finished documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection DVD. This LEGO® model, also available at the $500 level, will be shipped December 2014. To receive the Blu-ray/DVD Combo instead of the DVD, add $10 to your pledge total.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE MOVIE STAR - This makes a great gift, either for you, or a friend or family member! Director and composer Philip Heinrich will compose and sing a song about you or or a friend or family member, set to a custom-made 30 second animated short film by producer and animator Nathan Wells. We’ll work with you to customize the message and content of the short as desired. You also get your name in the documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the finished documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection Blu-ray/DVD Combo. First come first serve. Production of personalized song and video begins January 2015.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE MOVIE STAR - animated by Zach Macias - This makes a great gift, either for you, or a friend or family member! Director and composer Philip Heinrich will compose and sing a song about you or or a friend or family member, set to a custom-made 30 second animated short film by producer and animator Zach Macias. We’ll work with you to customize the message and content of the short as desired. You also get your name in the documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the finished documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection Blu-ray/DVD Combo. First come first serve. Production of personalized song and video begins January 2015.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE MOVIE STAR - animated by Doug Vandegrift - This makes a great gift, either for you, or a friend or family member! Director and composer Philip Heinrich will compose and sing a song about you or or a friend or family member, set to a custom-made 30 second animated short film by producer and animator Doug Vandegrift. We’ll work with you to customize the message and content of the short as desired. You also get your name in the documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the finished documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection Blu-ray/DVD Combo. First come first serve. Production of personalized song and video begins January 2015.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE MOVIE STAR - animated by James Morr - This makes a great gift, either for you, or a friend or family member! Director and composer Philip Heinrich will compose and sing a song about you or or a friend or family member, set to a custom-made 30 second animated short film by animator James Morr. We’ll work with you to customize the message and content of the short as desired. You also get your name in the documentary’s credits, the custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the finished documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection Blu-ray/DVD Combo. First come first serve. Production of personalized song and video begins January 2015.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE PRODUCER - The ultimate gift. You receive the LEGO film studio set designed by Nathan Wells, and are credited as Executive Producer in the documentary’s credits, plus the custom LEGO® model building instructions, an HD digital copy of the finished documentary, the digital soundtrack, and the Bricks in Motion Collection Blu-ray/DVD Combo.

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Funding period

- (30 days)