Frame By Frame: Brotherhood Workshop Documentary (LEGO Stop Motion Animator) | Zachary Fu


– A lot of the times
people who have a dream will pursue that dream, and
when they hit a closed door they’ll just sit there
and knock on that door. While I was knocking on that door, the other one next to me opened. (electronic music) Lego was actually one
of the very first toys I was introduced to. My parents when they
took us to the toy store, they saw Lego, they recognized
it from their own childhood and that’s what they would buy for us. Growing up as a homeschool military kid, I didn’t have a lot of friends and because we moved
every three to four years whatever friends I did have, I would be uprooted from very quickly. I ended up spending a lot of time developing my skills as a stop motion animator because that was something that I could carry with me. They were the stories that I came up with in my own head when I was feeling lonely and they were a way for
me to have adventures that I wasn’t necessarily
able to have as a child. I was a big fan of Star Wars and the Indiana Jones movies and Lord of the Rings when that came out. My dream was never actually
to be a stop motion animator. Stop motion was the means that was readily available for me to be a filmmaker. It wasn’t until midway through college that I said you know what? I’m over Lego now. I don’t need toys anymore, I’m an adult. (pleasant music) In that timeframe I was just feeling discontent with where I was at work, that I wanted to move
on to something better but I didn’t know what
that something better was. I took a day where I
just spent the entire day in prayer and expressing my heart to God saying I can’t keep working this day job while feeling I need to do
something bigger and better. And as I was driving home, I
just had a burst of inspiration it was hey, stop by the Lego store, buy a Lego Lord of the Rings set and I made a one minute
video and put it on YouTube. Within the first week it
had almost 100,000 hits. My hope was to do some
Lord of the Rings parodies and get in front of Peter Jackson. The Hobbit movies were in production at this point and I really
wanted to work on them, but that’s not who actually
ended up finding the videos. It was the Lego group,
who were at that time producing the toys for The Hobbit. And so they contacted me and said hey, you obviously love Lego, you obviously love The Lord of the Rings. Do you want to do some
advertisements for Lego The Hobbit? We are going to include
them on the Bluray editions of the second Hobbit film, and I said yes, yes I would very much like to do that. That really is what jumpstarted my career and got me to where I am now. My life just kind of went full circle. My very first animated video
was a Lego lightsaber battle and now I am one of the primary vendors doing video content for Lego Star Wars. A lot of people talk about how patient stop motion animators are. For the record I don’t feel patient. Stop motion actually
is one of the few forms of filmmaking where you
actually get instant results. As I’m shooting it, I see each frame as it’s progressing. I am getting instant gratification,
24 frames per second. My favorite video that I’ve done to date is called The Aggravation of Smaug. It was the fourth video that
I did for Lego The Hobbit. I have a relationship with the Lego group where they’ll send me the script and they’ll send me the storyboards, but then they’ll say
do your thing with it. One scene in particular,
the storyboard shows shot of ruins, hobbit runs across screen, dragon runs across screen. What I ended up doing in my video was camera following the hobbit as he runs across the bridge. Hobbit runs through an
archway, dragon gets stuck in archway, loses the hobbit, busts out, gets angry, starts smashing things, starts scaring orcs. Hobbit comes running back, he sees him. Trips, falls down, and
then goes after him again. Figuring out how the
character’s gonna saunter, what sort of expression
they’re gonna have, that’s something where I feel like my attention to detail really
adds value to the project and just lets me have fun with it. I didn’t get to where I am easily. There were so many days, so many weekends that are spent hardly seeing sunlight, just in a dark studio and a lot of the time I ask
myself is this worth it? Should you just cut
back, just work a normal 40 hour week like other people do and be content with where you’re at? But when I look back on the
past four years of my life and say if I had asked
myself that question then, I would not be here where I am now. I have no regrets with those decisions. (pleasant music) Life has a habit of working out. Everything hard will pass some day. I know that at the end of my life I’m going to be with my creator and I’m going to be satisfied
with how life turned out. That just gives me a lot of peace each and every day. (electronic music)

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