We're back with 10K Club Interviews as we await the next LEGO Ideas review results expected in early 2021.
In this week's edition, we meet the 38-year-old Australian builder Mark Fitzpatrick (aka seemarkgeek), whose motivation to create this Schitt's Creek - Rosebud Motel model stems from values projected by the TV show.
Be sure to congratulate Mark in the comments as per usual, down below!
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
- What do you do for a living?
I work in marketing for a company that supports Australian not-for-profit organisations and charities.
- What hobbies do you have?
I enjoy reading, jogging and indulging in the world of LEGO.
- Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud it and do you have a photo of it?
I don’t have enough space to dismantle sets and build my own MOCs just yet, so I mostly create virtual models. I’m most proud of my digital recreation of Will Truman’s apartment from the TV sitcom Will & Grace. I enjoyed the challenge of recreating this interior as faithfully as possible in minifig scale and think it turned out about right.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
I grew up with buckets of bricks that belonged to elder siblings. When I didn’t have my nose in a book, I was elbow-deep in that pile of plastic.
The first LEGO set I remember as truly my own was Forbidden Island (6270) which I received at Christmas time and played with all summer. I lost touch with LEGO as a teenager but came back into the fold when I received the Forbidden Corridor (4706) for my 21st birthday.
- What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games.. or 'just' watch the cartoons.
When friends or colleagues ask me about my interest in LEGO, I usually explain that my interest in virtual building is akin to mindful colouring. I find it relaxing and destressing. I’m a very solitary builder. It’s something I do at home, usually in the evening and generally with some music on and a cuppa on the go.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
Favourites change over time. Now, I’m most interested in the LEGO Ideas themes for the sheer diversity of the models we’ve been treated to over the years.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
Will you accept two? I nominate the original Knight Bus (4866) for its purply-ness. Second, Polar Scout (6586) for punching above its weight in terms of play value.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
The Pirate theme monkey, for its curly-wurly tail.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I really appreciate Marcos Bessa’s work. I’m most drawn to colourful designs, and many of his creations are bursting with bright colours, like the Joker Manor (70922), the Kwik-E-Mart (71016). His recent contribution, Diagon Alley (75978), may be his most colourful yet. What a visually stunning model.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
While my building is solitary, I enjoy seeing the work of others and swapping ideas with a bunch of online communities. I’d like to shine a particular light on the GayFOLs Facebook community, which has also branched out recently to Instagram. This is a diverse, kind-hearted group of LEGO lovers who represent, in my view, the best values of LEGOdom – creativity, supportiveness and individuality.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I appreciate the themes in Schitt’s Creek. Its central message is about finding where you belong and helping others to do the same. It’s also about family, creativity and making do with what you have, and I think these values align closely with the world of LEGO.
I like to create models that resemble real-world settings, I like to inject fun colours, and I like larger than life characters. For all these reasons, Schitt’s Creek seemed like great material for a LEGO Product idea.
- How long was the process of making the project did, and what did you have to research as well. What kind of prep, research and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?
Could you call re-watching each season of this gem research? If so, then that was my research :)
I started with a loose pencil sketch to outline the structure of this concept. Then I watched some episodes and searched online for reference images of the motel interior and exterior that I could return to, to check layout and details as I created.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
Fans of the TV program will know that the Rosebud motel exterior is incredibly plain, but also very distinctive. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve nailed this aspect in my build and, in particular, the roofline and motel signage isn’t right and needs expert revision.
I also find the process of designing minifigs really enjoyable, but my graphic design skills are a limitation. I’d just love to see the LEGO design team take on Moira Rose and her collection of wigs, and to see David and Johnny with even bushier eyebrows, and so much more.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I took some artistic liberties with the layout of the motel to make the isometric interior views work (as best I could.) This means that the rooms are slightly out of order - the motel office should be to the left of the motel rooms when looking at the exterior.
Lots of fans (and I mean, LOTS) reached out to say they’d prefer this to be corrected. So, I’d go back and tell myself to change that around quick smart. I did want this set to be a faithful representation of the Rosebud Motel, so really, I should have got this right first time around.
- How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters?
I started work on this after-hours project shortly after entering the first work-from-home COVID-19 lockdown here in Melbourne. I worked on it for a handful of hours every other day and then, when it really started coming together, put in more hours to polish up the details. I'd estimate it took around 90 hours all up.
After I finished my building and rendering, I spent a week organising my promotional plan. I then got to work campaigning to find votes.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It took 25 days to reach the 10,000 votes, and mostly I felt surprised that this was achieved so quickly. I put this down to people being widely stuck-indoors all over the world and, because of that, having more screen time.
I was really, really pleased to reach the 10,000-vote milestone. This project helped me keep my mental cogs turning and gave me happiness and, in reaching so many people, I hope this means it gave lots of others some pleasure too.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Including minifigs, there are just over 1500 parts used.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I most like the use of turquoise coloured gold ingot element to create the distinctive brick wall in the motel rooms. I’d love to see what other people do with this colour/part combination.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I built and rendered this model using stud.io. After the renders were completed, I compiled some images in Photoshop to layer on custom stickers and to arrange compositions for sharing on social media.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I tried to mostly stick within the existing decoration library for this build. I created a few unique decals for some of the minifigs (to increase their likeness of the actors involved) and for signage for the motel exterior and its vending machines.
For the latter, I used a website to detect likely typefaces from screengrabs for episodes of Schitt’s Creek and then found freely available versions of these to create photoshop artwork.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Build what you know and what you love. I think it’s clear when a Product Idea has been a labour of love. Also, consider the little details that you’d be pleased to find (either in plain sight or hidden within the design) if you were looking at someone else’s take on your subject matter.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I approached this task just as I would any marketing task for my day job: I researched where possible voters might congregate online and documented what I found. There are some amazing and motivated Schitt’s Creek fan communities on Facebook, Reddit and Instagram, and they all received the idea well when I shared it with them and helped the votes along.
I circulated a press release about the Product Idea, and that led to a handful of media outcomes, including the project being picked up by some large social media publishers like Apartment Therapy. These outcomes had a noticeable impact on the vote tally.
I also reached out to the creators, producers and stars of this project and was humbled and thrilled when a number of them engaged with the project and shared it with their other fans. This kind of endorsement naturally helps votes along too.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
Of the LEGO Ideas Product Ideas that have had success so far, my favourite remains Andrew Clark’s Doctor Who (21304). It has enormous play and display value, fun minifigures and his brick-built Daleks are perfect.
Looking back over the Product Ideas that have reached the official review stage but not hit our shelves, there are so, SO many deserving options that haven’t come to fruition. (I don’t envy the role of the selection panel at all! These decisions must be agonising to make.)
If I had to pick just one, I’d want to get my hands on lostsleep’s Golden Girls tribute. I would love to have his proposal in my collection.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I really like the diversity of models that LEGO Ideas has created space for over the years. No two review rounds have been the same, and that continues to be the case with a great variety of concepts being voted on. I think it’s commendable, and important, that the LEGO Group provides a place for amateur designers of different skill levels to put forward all sorts of ideas.
With this in mind, my main tip for would-be0designers is to build what you know, love and understand. I don’t know a thing about spacecraft, for example, so I’m not submitting space-themed Product Ideas, even though they are regularly some of the most popular amongst users.
By building what we know and love, we’ll all be contributing to a diverse Product Idea pool, and we’ll have cool ideas to get behind, vote on and wish for!
- Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?
I’ll keep working on Product Ideas and submitting them as I can find the time. I don’t have firm plans for future submissions at this time, but I do have some ideas forming for a movie/music related project and also something that would require me to build in a more architectural style.
- 10k club interview
- schitts creek
- the rosebud motel
- mark fitzpatrick