Lego Masters star didn’t know there was prize money
Move over Game of Thrones, there's a new challenger to the small screen's Iron (ratings) Throne - and it's something the whole family can watch.
LEGO Masters debuts on Channel 9 on Sunday. Hosted by comedian Hamish Blake, the show features eight enthusiasts and pit filled with 2.5 million tiny plastic bricks.
Clayfield, Brisbane, contestant Cade Franklin said being on the show is "freaking awesome".
"It is so cool to be given the opportunity to practically build whatever I want with infinite LEGO," Mr Franklin said. "We are competing in teams of two and are thrown a challenge and have to build something amazing.
"It has been a blast."
Cade is no stranger to using his imagination to build new worlds. His day job is designing games for award-winning Brisbane games company Defiant Development, and helped create the popular Hand of Fate 1 and 2.
He said he loved LEGO so much, he auditioned for the show not realising he could win $100,000.
"I have been a fan of LEGO since I was little kid - I was never without a brick in hand - and I think that lead me to a creative career designing video games for a living," he said.
"As an adult I still buy and build and collect LEGO and that lead me to hear about the auditions for the show. I thought, 'that sounds like me in a nutshell'.
"I didn't know there was any prize money, just getting to play LEGO all day was a draw for me."
He said the competition was fun but also unexpectedly taxing on the body as much as the mind.
"It's funny actually, I did sustain injuries," he said. "When in the heat of competition, I was scraping my hands through a big vat of LEGO bricks and surprisingly got a few little cuts.
"Normally at home I would be building LEGO on the floor, but on Lego Masters I was running back and forth getting parts, which I have never done before. I don't want to say I was out of shape beforehand, but I think we are all a little better for it.
"And we had fun with everything we built. Every build was a surprise - that was the crazy thing about the format.
"Everyone was given the same brief (of what they had to make) but we'd all make something completely different. It was interesting to see how everyone interpreted it.
"It was weird having a competition where you couldn't wait to see what other competitors had made."
He said even though the show hadn't as yet aired, he was starting to be recognised as "that guy on the LEGO show". That, he says, has something to do with the almost mystical appeal of LEGO to people of all ages. And Hamish Blake.
"People love LEGO because they played it as a kid. And with craft and things like that you can make something in 2D but with LEGO you literally make a new toy. Anything you want - a dolls house or a car, and you can pull it apart and make something new again," he said.
"It's funny how LEGO people are coming out of the woodwork and are curious about it and people are inspired to give it a go again.
"But then I was at the local coffee shop the other day and the attendant said 'You are that guy on that LEGO show', and I said 'Maybe', and she said 'with Hamish Blake. I want to marry that guy', and she talked about it for an uncomfortably long time."
While he wouldn't comment on how he did in the competition, he did say his future was looking busy.
"I would say that more LEGO is on the cards definitely … and absolutely back into game development," he said.
But at home, he's more likely to be found playing with LEGO's little sister, Duplo blocks, with his son Duke, 2 years.
"We give it a good shot," he says about building with his son. "He does play with it but doesn't yet understand how it comes apart."
Does that mean his home is awash with little plastic bricks?
"I would say no but my wife (Melissa) would beg to differ with that. I will leave it up to your imagination - I do have a lot of LEGO and a small space to live in. Let's just say it's a big part of our lives."
LEGO Masters airs on Channel 9 on Sunday at 7pm.
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