Lego Masters: Paras and Moto’s Exit Interview
How do you think your engineering background helped you in challenges?
Paras: Hi Sammi… thanks for the question!
As a trained Engineer, I think we think a bit differently, more critically about our experiences and the world around us… for better and for worse! I enjoy looking at things and understanding how it was designed, how it was made, and the thinking behind how it was created. These are extraordinarily useful skills to have on LEGO Masters. So Moto and I prioritized structural integrity and how our build was going to hold together above all else. This was exactly what was needed for the Shake Table on Episode 3; but as we all also saw, its aesthetics were significantly lacking. So it’s definitely important to know when something is “good enough” structurally and then to put it aside and incorporate creativity and storytelling!
Moto: Many of the challenges needed engineering. The robot motion had a great gearbox from Paras. I think understanding explosives and designing a shaped charge using LEGO to throw a rainbow was interesting. The modern “rebar” stressed columns really made that building core stand for a long time. But I’m also a designer with a BFA and think the Art part of STEAM learning is very important as well.
Do you think you’re going to inspire kids and other fellow engineers to be on the show?
P: I certainly hope so! I’m known relatively well in Connecticut through my non-profit, NextGen SmartyPants. We use LEGO and Technic to teach STEAM Education programs to kids and have had about 4000 kids come through our programs now. Our community has been so fantastic and many of the kids and families that have learned with us over the years have reached out to wish me well and say that they love seeing me on the show. But truthfully, it’s the kids that inspire me to do what I do every day. So if I can give them a little inspiration back, and help them to be excited to create and make and take their own shot at being on LEGO Masters, I would be pretty stoked about that!
M: I don’t know, but I really hope so. I really like meeting young engineers and designers who are on a track to outbuild me in the coming years. I do hope engineers take up LEGO to understand the fine arts and aesthetics of design.
What are some of your favorite memories from the show?
P: Many of my best memories from LEGO Masters are moments that weren’t on television. Getting our robots dancing in Episode 1 and seeing our Skyscraper achieve 11 on the Brickter Scale in Episode 3 are definite highlights. But mostly, even though we were competitors, all of us on the cast actually helped each other quite a lot off camera. People reached out to me for assistance with their knowledge of Engineering, robotics, and coding, and they helped me a ton with thinking like an artist. The camaraderie from these shared experiences was exceptional and our cast became very close, really quickly. In fact, we still talk and text every day.
M: Right after the clock ends there is a space of time where I am able to walk around the gallery and see all of the builds up close and take them in. It’s incredible to see these builds in person. They are so much more beautiful and interesting than air time allows to see how they are constructed.
What is next for you?
P: Hmm… well, my goal in participating on LEGO Masters was to bring attention to the use of LEGO in STEAM Education and to show kids just how fun Engineering can be! I’m still on that train and am looking for opportunities to continue to elevate the conversation. I have a number of projects coming out; more press interviews; and some really cool collaborations through NextGen SmartyPants that we’ll be showcasing in the coming months that I think people will love!
M: I’m still building and turning out art pieces as well as getting ready for going to my first LEGO conventions around the country.
What are you watching on tv?
P: This is going to sound dorky, but I didn’t have a television until recently. I invited my friends and family over to watch the premiere episode and then realized I didn’t have a television on which to show them! Well, I have one now! So far I’ve been watching this really cool program called LEGO Masters Season 2… it’s pretty cool! The cast is very talented… except for that Indian Engineer guy! He could use some work!
M: I’ve recently watched the entire run of the MacGyver reboot, and I’ve caught up on all the Star Wars and Marvel TV shows. I’m always looking forward to The Expanse. There are so many good things to watch!