You’d be hard-pressed to find a family home that doesn’t have some form of LEGO in it, and - at least for the Sixty40 team - the toys feature heavily in the half-remembered (and very weird) playtime stories concocted by our childhood selves. So when the team at CHE approached them with the opportunity to bring the LEGO Christmas story to life, of course they dived right in.
The brief initially began as a 30-second spot, but as we began to expand on the possibilities and the team’s collective imagination went berserk, they quickly realised that a longer ‘extended’ version was going to be needed to allow for all the fun and silly moments we wanted to include (everyone’s inner seven year old heartily approved of a noisily pooping reindeer).
Alongside the main brand film Sixty40 were also tasked with creating three standalone 15-second spots for Duplo, LEGO City and LEGO Friends, so all-up they had almost three minutes of stop-motion content to create over nine very long shoot days, with three separate animation tables running concurrently. They called on master animator Norman Yeend to help them breathe life into their little plastic stars, and - considering their action ability is limited to moving their arms and legs straight up and down - the subtlety of character and emotion he was able to draw from the figures was incredible. Special mention must also go to Nigel Hill and Tess Simpson, who built the majority of the sets from approximately 12,000 individual LEGO pieces, and waited patiently in the wings to fix all of the things that Kyra broke in her over-enthusiastic animation style.
“This was a truly (and wonderfully) collaborative project,” Sixty40 stated on its website, “all the way from brainstorming story inclusions with CHE and LEGO, to figuring out how to make LEGO lights that don’t light up…light up. Everyone really gave it their all to make sure we did justice to our childhood imaginations, and the final product is a testament to that. To quote our tireless compositor Young (whilst cheerfully cleaning up the millionth piece of blu-tac left in the scene), ‘this is just like a normal job, except better because it’s LEGO.'”