10K Club Interview: Meet Michael Olson of The Office - NBC
Hear from the man himself, Michael Olson (aka theoffice_lego on LEGO Ideas), on the model which made him a 10K Club Member! Hear about his journey below.
And make sure to congratulate Michael in the comments too!
- Where are you from?
I’m from Iowa (USA).
- How old are you?
I’m 22 years old.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m currently studying Criminal Justice at Iowa State University.
- What hobbies do you have?
Some of my hobbies include: Photography, weight-lifting, LEGO, and watching unhealthy amounts of The Office (of course).
- Do you have a personal portfolio website that you can share with us?
I don’t. However, @theoffice_lego on Instagram and Twitter is where I post all of the newest updates and pictures for this LEGO Ideas project.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
LEGO has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, some of the best memories were made when my sister and I would spend hours playing with LEGO bricks. Some of the first sets I remember getting were from the LEGO Spider-Man wave that was first released in 2002. Looking back, I still own every single set from the 2002 and 2004 waves. Since then, my passion for LEGO bricks has only grown, and from there I found myself primarily collecting Star Wars themed sets, among several other smaller themes.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
Oh boy, that question seems nearly impossible. The vast majority of sets I own are Star Wars, and I’d have to say one of my favorites is the new UCS Millennium Falcon (75192). The detail put into that set is incredible. I also love the look of the new Creator Ford Mustang (10265) that was recently released, and it’s growing on me more and more every day.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
My favorite LEGO element has to be the 1x2 Hinge brick. I remember spending hours trying to find these pieces so I could make trap doors, or secret entrances to other rooms in the things I would build. They were also a huge part in one of the first MOCs I ever created.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
I love the work that JK Brickworks does. All of his creations are so unique and intricate compared to the average LEGO builds. I’m also a fan of the work that Chris McVeigh has done in the past. I love his ability to bring just about anything to life with LEGO bricks.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
My primary source of viewing new MOCs and different LEGO creations is Instagram. YouTube is another great place to get lots of LEGO-related news as well. Some of my favorite channels are JANGBRiCKS, BrickVault, and Solid Brix Studios. I also frequent sites like bricklink.com and brickset.com.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
After having watched The Office about five times completely through, the idea of recreating it with LEGO finally hit me. I wanted to combine two things that I’m very passionate about, and this LEGO Ideas project is a direct result of that.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The hardest part about trying to recreate The Office film set was definitely trying to keep it as accurate and realistic as possible. I knew that there would be a lot of criticism about the build if I didn’t make it as accurate as possible, due to the huge fan base that surrounds the show. Therefore, making sure everything was replicated correctly and reflected the actual film set was a large priority throughout the building process.
- How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time?
This model took quite awhile from start to finish. I started brainstorming the idea in the summer of 2016. At that time, I had watched The Office probably 5 times completely through. In September of 2016, I started designing the set digitally on LEGO Digital Designer. I spent the entire fall designing the set, and then in January of 2017, I finally decided to physically build the set. At the time, I had no idea how much time and money it would take to complete it, but by the end of the year, I had finally finished it. Then, in January of 2018, I officially submitted the set to LEGO Ideas.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
Reaching 10,000 supporters felt like such a huge accomplishment. From originally not even wanting to share my model on LEGO Ideas, to suddenly hitting 10k was just crazy. The last 5,000 or so came in within less than a week due to Actor Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone in The Office) sharing one of the pictures that was posted on Instagram. It was overwhelming and incredibly unexpected to wake up one morning and realize I was actually going to hit 10k by the end of the day with how quickly the supporters were flooding in. I submitted the project on January 15, 2018, and reached 10,000 supporters on February 28, 2019, with the majority of supporters coming in within the last month.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The total brick count for this model came out to 2,161 pieces. However, that doesn’t include minifigures or their accessories.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
I think the way you promote and spread awareness about your project is essential to getting the required supporters on a project. I was able to build a fairly successful social media following through Instagram, which really helped in gaining supporters and spreading the word about the set. Understanding and interacting with your target audience will really help drive supporters to the site. Along with that, just make your project presentable and attractive! Take the time to clean up your model, and submit good quality photos, as well as a good description about your project. After all, it is a professional proposal!
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas project (besides your own of course)?
Ship in a Bottle (21313) and Saturn V rocket (21309) are two of my favorites.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I love the whole concept of LEGO Ideas. It’s incredible that LEGO would provide an opportunity for fans to submit their own models in hopes that one day they could be a part of an official LEGO set! I have but the simplest tip for anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea: Go for it! Take a chance, and you never know how far your project could go!