Monday, February 15, 2010

The Brick Show: Thinking outside the LEGO box

As soon as the first child received the first LEGO set, the world's first LEGO critic was born. Since that time, reviewers have gotten slightly older, more sophisticated and uploaded their videos to the Internet by the thousands (20,000+ on YouTube currently).

Brothers Jason and Stephen Forthofer are hoping to change the way we look at LEGO set reviews and potentially launch a new business in the process on The Brick Show. Their videos begin with a WWE-style introduction that lets you know the brothers have a sense of humor, before they get into the piece count and unboxing of the set. They give you a look at the finished set and their thoughts on the end result.

It's also nice to see adults play with LEGO bricks -- people of every age roll a car on a desk -- but most grown men aren't comfortable enough to film it. I caught up with the brothers Forthofer via e-mail (Jason is in Georgia, Stephen is in Florida) to find out the story behind The Brick Show, which launched last month.

What inspired you to start shooting the videos?

As LEGO fans ourselves, we realized just how popular the reviews were on YouTube. We noticed that some review that were awful would have like 300,000 views. So we thought, hey, let's do this but do it so much better. Let's show our faces, create a branded name and create a consistent release of the videos. Really, we just noticed how popular it was to post LEGO reviews on Youtube and wanted to make them better than what was currently out there.

Would you consider yourself an adult fan of LEGO?

Absolutely. We both ask for LEGO sets for our birthdays/christmas presents and buy sets that we like and would buy even without the show.

I noticed that there are a few sites attached to the podcasts. Is this a business venture, a hobby, or both?

Right now, we are trying to spread the word everywhere we can. I (Jason) am a web entrepreneur for my day job so I'm pretty savvy with getting the web traffic so I'm using my experience with search engines and social media to help get the word out about The Brick Show. As for a business, we would LOVE to one day have this as a full time gig, but right now it's just a small business venture/hobby.

What's been most exciting or surprising about shooting the review videos?

We've been surprised with how much positive feedback we've been getting just a month into this and how quickly we've been able to get a little following. Just 4 weeks into the show, we've had 10,000 YouTube views already. We also initially planned to do just 1 show per week, but we've been enjoying it so much we've been doing two per week.

Do you have a build room or a place designated for storage? You've been opening a lot of sets...

I have an office were I do all the shows and I've been storing the sets there. We typically sell them after we do the show so we can offset the costs of buying in that volume.

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