30 Years: The Story of the Minifigure celebrates the 30th birthday of the LEGO minifigure and features a montage of important historical events in human history recreated with LEGO, including the building of the pyramids, Arabian astronomers charting the stars, the discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, World War II, and the launch of Sputnik. It was commissioned by The LEGO Group and has been featured on Comcast On Demand's LEGO channel.

Credits

Directed, Animated, Written and edited by
Nathan Wells
Music
Nikolas Jaeger
Backgrounds by
Bethany Wells
Made for
The LEGO Group
  • Camera: Canon Powershot A85
  • Capture software: Stop Motion Pro
  • Editing software: Adobe Premiere Pro CS4
  • Frames per second: 15
  • Production duration: June 2008 - August 2008

Behind the Scenes

The first shot animated: Ancient Egypt
The first shot animated: Ancient Egypt

It was the end of spring 2008. I was wrapping up my semester at community college and preparing to go to San Jose State University in the fall. I knew my LEGO wouldn’t fit in my dorm room and I was preparing myself for several years without regular contact with my LEGO. I had just won the fourth Twenty-four Hour Animation Contest with Unsound, and I didn’t expect to make another brickfilm until well after college.

And then the LEGO Company contacted me out of the blue, asking if I was interested in making a short promotional brickfilm. I was floored. This was a huge break for me, and very exciting opportunity. I was also worried. They needed the video near the end of summer, and starting in August I was moving to go to college, so I had two very real deadlines to meet. One conference call with other animators (including David Pagano) and LEGO representatives later, I was ready to go. I was to make a short, 1 to 5 minute video that celebrating the life of the LEGO minifigure, which was turning 30 in 2008. As long as I kept within LEGO’s core values (no inappropriate violence, etc), I had complete creative freedom. The LEGO company sent me a box full of minifigure parts and $500, and then I was on my own.

Because I wanted to appeal to the widest audience, I decided to go with a simple historical montage video with no dialogue that featured important events throughout history. Because of the atypical nature of the “story,” I didn’t write an actual script. Instead, I listed out the events I wanted to depict onscreen, and