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Tag: LEGO Ninjago

How Would You Handle These Impossible Video Production Challenges?

If our heroes from LEGO NInjago were video producers, I bet they would solve production obstacles differently than me. You can always learn a thing or two from Sensei Wu!

My seven-year-old son is a big “LEGO Ninjago” TV series fan. We also watched the movie in the theaters when it came out, and I recently bought it for him on iTunes. So, we’ve been watching it a few times…

For those of you who believe it’s the weakest of the three LEGO movies so far… I originally felt that way too, but I find that the more times I see it, the more I enjoy it. (Who doesn’t like Jackie Chan?) The interactions between hero Lloyd and his ‘evil’ father Garmadon actually have a fair amount of emotional depth. And the story contains some good lessons for kids (and adults too)!

Like when Sensei Wu says to Lloyd, his Ninja in training… to look at a problem “from a different point of view.”

Not Impossible
So, I share Sensei Wu’s wisdom as a lead up to an article I just wrote on LinkedIn –






Leadership Stories from the Field: How to Handle Impossible Gauntlets

I recalled a few scenarios where I faced these seemingly impossible video production challenges…

  • Someone steals your equipment
  • There’s a Hong Kong misunderstanding
  • One of your teammates is about to miss your flight
  • You lose all of your video footage

I didn’t have Sensei Wu to guide me, but I did try to see things in a new way….

And how did it all work out?
Well, please click through to see!

And always remember what “LEGO Ninjago” teaches…
“You have the power. Look within. Harness what you already have inside and let it out!”

Thank you, Green Ninja and Sensei Wu.

What The LEGO Ninjago Movie and Star Trek: Discovery Have in Common

As both media properties switch distribution platforms, it’s clear that change is coming. Properly communicating some of those details ahead of schedule is always critical. Otherwise, you’ve got worried fans writing posts like this…

As both media properties switch distribution platforms, it’s clear that change is coming. Properly communicating some of those details ahead of schedule is always critical. Otherwise, you’ve got worried fans writing posts like this…

I just watched “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” trailer online. It’s based on the cartoon TV series about five young ninja warriors and their sensei who battle evil forces.

LEGO movies are seemingly starting to churn out faster than your kid can build a 500-block LEGO fortress. First there was “The LEGO Movie,” which I thought was a super fun family flick. Now, “The LEGO Batman Movie” has just been released to solid reviews, and “Ninjago” comes to theaters in September.

If you like these LEGO movies, (or your kids do) this should all be great news, right? My six-year-old son loves to watch the Ninjago TV series, and I can’t even imagine how excited he’ll get when I reveal there’s a movie version coming out.

But I’m not sure I’m going to tell him.
Well not yet.

And why not?
Well, I’ve identified a little problem in the trailer…

This is Not My Son’s Ninjago Universe
The voices of the animated characters in the movie are voiced by different actors than in the series.

While this might appear to be a subtle change, I’m not so sure I like it.
Plus, the animation design aligns a closer to the LEGO movie universe. Again, not in huge ways, but it’s noticeable.

Now, it’s not the first time a TV series has been changed or ‘upgraded’ as it morphs into a big-time movie. Often there’s a bunch of years between the two… So change is inevitable. But we’re talking about a current cartoon series about to release its seventh season.
(“Hands of Time”)

Shouldn’t the Ninjago transition to movies be a little more seamless?
(And speaking of the seventh season, my boy is extremely eager to know when it’s being released. Any ideas out there?)

Now I get that the producers of the LEGO movies want to create a product that’s distinct from and ‘better’ than its TV counterparts. (Otherwise, why would you choose to spend some serious money to schlep your family to the cinemaplex when you can stream it all for ‘free’ on your iPad.
(With a Netflix subscription)

I get why you’d sign up some big time talent like Jackie Chan to play Sensei Wu to help the marketing team sell more tickets.

“Jackie Chan?! COOL! Let’s go….”

But they’ve messed with my son’s Ninjago universe.

This is ‘another’ Ninjago.
…An alternate reality Ninjago.
…A ‘Kelvin’ Ninjago.

The Needs of the Many
Truthfully, I’m not sure that my son will really care about any of this.
But obviously I do…

Yeah… I think this actually may be more about me.
I‘m not a big fan of gratuitously messing with a formula that already works…

Which is why I’m still concerned with what’s happening with the new “Star Trek: Discovery” series.

Even from the distance as a “once and always Trekie,” I acknowledge that the Star Trek formula needs to continue to evolve as the original blueprints eventually ran out of steam with “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

Yes, the new movie series took some big-time chances to mix things up a bit. But J.J. Abrams successfully rebooted the franchise in a fresh way with its “Kelvin’ alternate timeline, while also respecting the original ‘Prime’ timeline.

“Discovery” is apparently not connected to the new movies in any way.
It reportedly takes place in the pre-Kirk ‘Prime’ timeline.
(Ten years before the original five-year mission.)

Have you got that?
…Because I don’t.

The timeline split off on the day of Kirk’s birth.

So this assumes the original timeline still exists somewhere… intact.

Hailing Frequencies Are Open
The problem is I still have no sense or feeling about this new Trek.
And it’s launching in May.

Sure there’s casting announcements and some vague plot elements.
(Young Sarek will be a part of the story.)

But the whole kit and kaboodle still feels like a black hole to me.
The marketing machine has given us almost nothing to get us excited about.

What I need is a decent trailer to settle me down a bit…
(And something more than concept animation…)

Maybe a few photos with the actors in uniform. Something!
Come on guys!

I know all about “The LEGO Ninjago Movie,” and that’s not coming out until September!

Settle Down, Barrett
It seems clear “Star Trek: Discovery” is going to be somewhat ‘disruptive.’
But I’m a little worried, because it continues to be so quiet.
Like something’s wrong.

The new “In Production” teaser makes me feel slightly better…

But it still doesn’t give much up.
Except a promise to maintain the tradition…

Birthday Wish
Change is inevitable… Whether we’re talking about animated Spinjitzu masters moving to the big screen or some version of the two Federation universes moving back to the small screen.

As a father of a kid and as a kid at heart, all I ask is to simply respect the ‘elemental powers’ that have made both franchises successful.

From there you can’t go wrong…
And your fans will continue to feel like it’s their birthday every time they tune in…

Which Robot for Your Six Year Old?

Is it too soon for a first grader to receive a personal robot? Perhaps he/she could just build one. On the other hand, how many humans today can construct their own toy android? So this daddy has taken a different road to introducing robotics at home…

Is it too soon for a first grader to receive a personal robot? Perhaps he/she could just build one. On the other hand, how many humans today can construct their own toy android? So this daddy has taken a different road to introducing robotics at home…

My six-year-old son is really into robots these days. He’s especially fascinated with the Zane character in the Lego Ninjago universe.
(Technically, Zane is a ‘Nindroid’… but let’s not get tripped up over details…)

Last week, my boy declared he wanted to build his own Zane.

He walked up to me with his Ninjago book in hand. He opened up the book to a page with a blueprint of Zane and pointed.






Uh oh.

I suggested using cardboard, paper and paint. My response was clearly way too simple and old fashioned for him…

He declared he wanted to build his Zane out of metal.

Uh oh.

Well, I didn’t happen to have any scrap metal lying around…
(And I typically don’t ‘work’ with metal… I tend to just buy gear made out of metal!)

Nevertheless, I decided to embark on a daddy/son mission, (admittedly half baked) and I took my young Frankenstein to Home Depot to get some small metal mending plates and nuts and bolts. I figured that might do the trick.

Note to other parents out there:
Don’t try this!

You’ll encounter sticker shock at the checkout register and end up becoming the proud new owner of lots of scrap metal. Sure, my boy had some fun screwing sharp metal parts together, but he didn’t create anything close to a robot.

The Influence of the Lego Universe
However, he did create a Ninjago ‘Shurikan’ by bolting together three pieces of metal into a large triangular ‘tool.’
(He actually made two.)

And in that moment, he couldn’t be more proud of himself.
So perhaps I shouldn’t dismiss the entire venture so easily…








But as grand as this spontaneous creation was, it’s a little too real. Much like Shurikans in the mystical Ninjago story that were so powerful and originally banished, our newly created 3-D Shurikans will need to be dismantled and made into something else.
(The parts redistributed for less ‘impactful’ purpose)

And there’s another problem… Remember, we didn’t build a robot. Perhaps if I were an AI genius, I might have had greater success, but it was time to look for help with this quest elsewhere…

Time to buy a toy robot that some other AI genius built.

Welcome to the Commercial Lab of Creation
There are a variety of aspiring toy robots out there for kids, but I quickly focused on an established solution… one of the robot toys made by a company called ‘WowWee.’

WowWee’s designers have come up with a variety of tech toys since 2004, including their WowWee MiP Robot.

The MiP is a cute little balancing guy on segway-like wheels with ‘GestureSense’ technology that allows you to control its actions with your hands. Plus you can use an app on your smartphone to control it.

There’s also a newer WowWee Coder MiP Robot, which is translucent, sports a rechargeable battery pack and comes with a cool plastic ramp to play with.








This ‘Coder’ version has every capability of the original MiP, but you can now also ‘code’ actions and sounds with the app based on how you interact with your MiP.
(It’s not really coding… it’s simply selecting your “when/then” choices.)

Whether my six year old is ready for even this basic kind of coding is questionable, but I figure the functionality will still be there for him in a year or two to explore.
(Assuming the Coder MiP is still a functioning member of the Lester family.)

Amazon has the Coder MiP for $44.90.
(MSRP is $99.99.)

That’s actually way less than my metal mission to Home Depot set me back.
(Let’s speak no more of that.)


Fueling the Mad Scientist
Okay. So I’ve checked the robot box.
But again I still haven’t solved the building need.

WowWee also makes mini versions of their robots, called RC Minis.
And they make sub versions of the mini robots called “Build-Up” editions.
(They come in pieces.)

There’s a small “Build Up” clone for the MiP and one for their ‘Robosapien.’

These “Build-Ups” are much simpler than their cousins, and you control forward and turning motion using an included remote.

Pretty basic.
But you do actually build them…

For my six year old, he may need some help getting it all together. So it’s probably going to be a family activity… but that’s just fine with me.
(That said, I don’t want to sell him short. He’s already a pro at building Lego Bionicles on his own.)

The WowWee Robosapien RC Mini Build-Up edition goes for $29.96 on Amazon.
Not a bad deal…
…If it gets the job done.


Daddy Time
The bottom line is there’s now a young tech builder in the family. So these two WowWee bots are just the beginning.

Any other ideas out there on technology-based building projects I can line up for my son? I’m thinking that this is where things can really start to get interesting…

Wow Wee!

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