Interview – “LEGO Masters” Season 2’s First Eliminated Team of Jack and Dawn Discuss Their Experience

The hit reality competition series LEGO Masters returned to FOX this month for its second season, and we here at Laughing Place are extremely excited to introduce a new recurring feature as part of our coverage of the show.

After interviewing Judge Amy Corbett last year and Consulting Producer Nathan Sawaya just a couple weeks ago, for this season I’ll be talking with each team of contestants after they get eliminated from LEGO Masters. And for this first installment, I had the pleasure of speaking to the brother-and-sister team of Jack and Dawn, whose tenure on the series ended with the episode that aired on June 8th.

Mike Celestino, Laughing Place:  What was your history with LEGO before you participated in LEGO Masters?

Dawn:  We’ve each been building, either together or separately, for fifty-some years. We started as siblings building with the LEGO bricks that Jack would have, because it was typically a boy’s toy– you know how things were very gender-specific back then. So we would build together, or he would go off and do other things and I’d still build. Then when my kids got to be five or six years old, we’d get them some sets and they’d build, and I’d try to help them spur creativity. “Don’t just build the set [using the instructions]. What else can you build with it?” I have a picture of one [of my sons], who was probably about ten years old, and he’s got a tower as tall as he is. So it was one of those kinds of things. I’ve had a couple “dark ages” [without building LEGO], and I’ve just come back out of the last dark age within the last year, thanks to our sister who’s very active in the LEGO community as well. It’s been a wild ride, but a lot of fun.

Jack:  I’ve been building off-and-on probably about 57 years. [I] got away from it right before I became a teenager, got back into it again when I had kids, got away from it again when they grew up… until they started having kids and [I] got back into it again. I wasn’t a real big builder even with them– I would assist. And God bless my grandson, when they found out I was going to be on the show, he actually brought me a tub of LEGO so I would have something to practice with. [laughs]

LP:  What was the biggest surprise to you once you actually got on the LEGO Masters set to start filming?

Jack:  That we were there. [laughs]

Dawn:  [laughs] Yeah, that’s about it.

LP:  That makes sense to me. The challenge that got you eliminated this week was called “Hero Shot!” What do you think you could have done differently to ensure that you stay on to compete for another episode?

Dawn:  I guess we’d say ‘not build to our strength,’ because building strong structures is our strength. It was a challenge to build to fail, and I think that was part of it. That’s not something a typical LEGO builder does, build to fail.

Jack:  Well, we were successful then. We failed! [laughs]

LP:  What was it like interacting with judges Amy and Jamie?

Dawn:  They were very open. They were very easy to talk to after you got through the first [moment] thinking, ‘I’m really here talking to Amy and Jamie.’ That’s always kind of a big ‘Whoa.’ But they were very easy to talk to, they gave very good suggestions, some of which we had already thought about doing ourselves already, so we really liked those suggestions. I didn’t feel comfortable doing a couple of the things that they suggested. In my mindset, I had a hard time populating the street scene with figures to get blown up. I have to protect my minifigures! [laughs] That was very hard for me, but other than that I think the suggestions they gave were very viable and important to listen to.

LP:  How about host Will Arnett? What were your interactions with him like?

Jack:  I froze up a lot of times. I’ve spoken in front of groups of over 300 people, but something about when I got in front of Will and the cameras, I would forget whatever I had on my mind to say, or it wouldn’t come out quite the way I intended it to. We had a couple of moments. I don’t think he was pleased with the answers or responses that I gave him [laughs] but he was very easy to talk to… it wasn’t anything on him. It was just my own insecurities.

Dawn:  Yeah, we had some good banter back and forth. He was looking for a tagline or a catchphrase, and I blew that one all to pieces. [laughs] But it was good. He was easy to talk to once you got past the fact that, ‘this is Will Arnett.’ And he seemed to be very caring, especially when we spoke on the first episode about Kelsey. You could tell he’s either a really good actor or he really did feel deeply [about] our story. That warmed my heart.

LP:  Going back to that first episode, the challenge was called ‘The LEGO Day Parade.’ What can you tell me about your project for that challenge?

Jack:  We did a butterfly float to represent our team. We were Team Kelsey and Kelsey loved butterflies– she kind of had a connection with them. So we did that and then populated it with children.

Dawn:  Yeah, we put children around it carrying balloons, because it was a celebration of Kelsey and her love of life and color. Kelsey was leading off. [She] had her butterfly on a leash and everybody was celebrating. We had somebody in the back on a swing in a tree, which didn’t get highlighted at all, but it was more of a natural motion from the float moving that would make the swing move.

Jack:  We had a little glitch due to our lack of experience or engineering knowledge. We had planned on the wings actually flapping, and had we known back then what we know now, we probably could have pulled this off. But we didn’t have enough knowledge, so we found that the wings were too heavy for the motor we had. Somebody seemed to hog most of the motors. [laughs] I’m not going to name him, but we didn’t have a whole lot of choices when it came down to picking a motor. So instead of the wings flapping we ended up having a couple of the legs move, and then the natural motion on the float. Having said that, we didn’t end up in the bottom two. We were safe on that one.

LP:  Do you have any advice for future contestants on LEGO Masters?

Jack:  Go big. Do your research ahead of time, because I feel that was part of our problem. Don’t be intimidated by the stars or the cameras. [laughs]

New episodes of LEGO Masters air Tuesday evenings on FOX.