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Q&A: The Lego Man with a Lego Plan

Q&A: The Lego Man with a Lego Plan

OU's Lego Man used a yellow foam head and an Instagram account to fund a mission trip and gain a social media following from around the world.

You might have seen him around campus: Big, blocky face. Yellow complexion. A lot less range in expression than your average Sooner.

That’s OU’s Lego Man.

Well, it's actually an OU senior history major who needed some help getting money to fund a mission trip to Nicaragua. The student needed $2,000 to get himself to the Central American country to help build a church. Armed with a GoPro camera, a yellow foam Lego head, an Instagram account and a crowdfunding site, he created a Lego Man alter ego and jumped into online marketing and fundraising.

Lego Man’s a busy guy — seriously, look at all the places he goes — so the University of Oklahoma tracked him down to talk to him before his big trip (which is fully funded now, so yay).

He asked his name not be used and we agreed because, come on, it’s Lego Man and we really, really wanted to talk to him, all right? 

University of Oklahoma: Have you sworn your friends to secrecy about not outing you on social media?

Lego Man: No, it’s not a totally secret thing. I just enjoy it more when people don’t know. I’m not trying to get myself famous. It’s just for fun.

OU: Why “Lego Man?” Are you a Lego fanatic?

LM: Not really! I played with Legos as a kid. I love Legos but it wasn’t like an “I need to be Lego Man one day” kind of thing.

OU: Who is Lego Man? 

LM: Lego Man … We have a lot of similarities, but at the same time there are things that he does that I don’t do. Or that I do that he doesn’t do. It’s kind of weird because we’re two different people. He’s a fun-loving guy. He likes to go out and have adventures and share that with everybody. I’ve done a few photographs that are sort of sad or down and I haven’t really put them out there as much. I had a graphic novel class during intersession so I wrote a comic strip and there’s a few panels where they change the mood and it’s like “Woah, this is a little more intense.”

 

 

OU: That’s pretty neat how you worked that into your class.

LM: Yeah, and my professor loves it. We’ve scheduled a meeting to meet up and go over it a little bit more and see if there’s some more that I can do with that.

OU: On these many adventures, where have you taken Lego Man?

LM: I take him everywhere. I’m from southern California, so the possibilities when I go home are endless. It’s hard sometimes because I could dedicate so much time to going around and taking photos of him. I pretty much just take him everywhere I go. I try to do lots of adventurous things. We went hiking and went behind the Hollywood sign and that was an awesome photo. I took him to Disneyland. I always take him to the beach and take photos of people surfing and skimboarding. I’m just waiting for the right time to get him in the water.

Happy #selfiesunday from Hollywood! (may or may not be auditioning for Lego Movie 3) #legoman

A photo posted by Lego Man (@legoman_iac) on

 

OU: What is your inspiration behind Lego Man? At what moment did you think, “Oh! I should start doing this!”?

LM: Well, Lego Man found me for Halloween this year so that was kind of how it all started. Then one night I was just wearing him and changing the faces and sending all these selfies to my brother and he was just dying laughing. And I thought, “This could be a thing.” Once I started getting people to notice, people were commenting, saying, “This is hilarious” or I would have people commenting and saying, “My son or my daughter makes me check Instagram every day to see Lego Man and what you’re doing.” That’s awesome. That really pumps me up and keeps me wanting to keep getting better and better. People would message me and say “Hey, my son and I really like what you’re doing and would love to meet up and get a photo with you sometime.” It really surprised me how far it went.

OU: When did you get the idea to tie Lego Man into raising funds and raising awareness for your mission trip to Nicaragua? 

LM: It was easy to tie him in because he has a large following. He has a bigger following than I do, personally. I thought if people want to help, great. If not, then no worries. But at least they’re aware of something like that. That’s sort of what our team was looking to do.

OU: Can you tell us about your trip to Nicaragua? What organization are you with and what will you guys be doing there?

LM: It’s with Journey Church in Norman and it’s a group of about 14-15 OU students. We’re heading down for spring break on March 14. We’ll stay at a pastor’s house in San Rafael del Sur. We’re just going to be helping in any way we can. They’re doing a lot of construction on their church. Right now, it’s just an overhang and nothing else. We’ll only be there for a week, but we’ll be doing everything we can. I’ve never been on a mission trip so I’m excited about it.

OU: Is this your first foray into online fundraising? Were you surprised at the reception you got, especially getting more than 2,000 Instagram followers in three months? 

LM: Yeah, I had never really done anything like that before. It’s been good. For a while it was just me, then I brought in some other people to help to raise the following. They basically go on the account and do marketing, liking other photos and commenting. Some people are like, “Why is this guy liking my stuff?” Sometimes I’ll be the only person to like photos, but that’s the whole point.

OU: Is this something you’ll consider — doing the GoFundMe page and keeping up with the Lego Man Instagram account — to raise money for other ventures in the future?

LM: Probably. Pretty much at this point, my friends laugh at me because anything I want to do I’m like, “Oh! Lego Man can do that!” If I need to raise funds for something, Lego Man’s going to need to raise funds as well. 

Wooahhhh 😮 #legoman #disneyland

A photo posted by Lego Man (@legoman_iac) on

 

OU: I noticed when you went to Disneyland, Lego Man was there on the roller coaster. Did they really let you do that? Or is Lego Man a rule breaker?

LM: He can be at times. … 

OU: You have to put yourself in these weird situations where you have to ask people permission to take photos or to have access to something — like getting in the driver’s seat of a bus. What’s that like? 

LM: It’s weird. I do get anxious about it. 

OU: But it’s Lego Man, so it’s all right.

LM: The weirdest one was when I first started, I did a photo of him getting a haircut. So he’s sitting in a chair and you can see the back of his head, but you see his face in the mirror. I basically had to teach this lady how to use my camera because I didn’t have anyone with me to take the photo. And she had no idea — she had never seen this before. That was interesting.

 

OU: If you had a favorite Lego Man photo, what would it be?

LM: I think it would be the one in the telephone booth, in front of Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. I like that one and I wish I could repost it just because I like it so much.

OU: Have you ever had a really awesome moment where you were completely one with Lego Man?

LM: Probably the best moment so far was when Lego Lady and I were at the Huntington Beach Pier and we’re sitting there and I was playing guitar and trying to play to everyone. It was fun, but my face kept falling off. Lego Lady and I were sitting there, and people were walking by, staring at us, like “What are these people doing?” We looked at each other and leaned in and kissed each other and they were all like “Aww!” That was a cool experience. There’s a lot of foot traffic on Huntington, so people were coming up and taking photos. 

 

OU: How many Lego heads do you have?

LM: Only one. You can change the features. I change them to whatever I think would best portray him in that situation, I guess. It’s funny, when we take the photos sometimes I’m making a face underneath the mask. So if I’m making a face that doesn’t work with Lego Man, then he needs to change.

OU: Is this like a Clark Kent situation where you take a photo on campus and then have to steal away to change in the bathroom, as to not reveal your true identity? We really want the answer to be yes.

LM: People don’t really pay attention. I mean, if something is weird here, it’s like they pretend like you’re not there. If they see Lego Man standing there, they’ll look and laugh and then when I’m changing they just don’t even pay attention. 

Keep an eye out for Lego Man on the University of Oklahoma campus and follow his adventures on Instagram (legoman_iac). You never know where he’ll pop up next.