Jess Gibson dipped into the world of adult fans of LEGO in his new documentary, AFOL: A Blocumentary. The 30-minute video talks to adult fans about why they build and is a well-crafted introduction to the amazing sculptures being built by the community. I caught up with Jess by e-mail to talk about why he chose adult fans as a subject and what's next for the video production maven, who is based in Portland, Oregon.
Can you tell me a bit about how the documentary came about?
My friend Roger Cameron works at LEGO [you can see his work on LEGO Club TV]. He mentioned something might be happening. I sort of forgot about it and then two months later he called and said "make a video". We had a few broad ideas and not a lot of time. I thought investigating adult builders sounded interesting. The first thing I shot was Jason Ruff and his Mantis at Brickcon.
What surprised you once you began filming?
How nice everyone was. At first a couple people weren't sure but then it was open doors. These people brought me in and shared a lot.
There seem to be a lot of answers -- given the responses of many of the interviewees in the video -- to my next question. But what is about LEGO bricks that you think inspires adults?
Imagination. You can build pretty much anything if you have the right bricks. I'm not sure there is one definitive answer- it's different for each individual. I do think there is something to be said about accessibility. Sure you could do some kind of computer drawing or sculpture but LEGO is more hands on. It's real- it's right there in front of you.
Did talking to LEGO enthusiasts instill any interest in building as an adult?
I had already had an interest and a box of bricks. I do build more often now.
What are you working on right now or what's your next project?
I have a couple videos that are in the working stages that are related to my friend Aaron Draplin. Be warned- if you look him up or come across any of my videos related to him- he uses some colorful language, ie; the videos are rated R. He's an entertaining and interesting dude.