If you’ve been keeping up with me on social media all summer, you’d know that I’ve been working tirelessly to create a quick stop-motion animated parody of Legend of Zelda breakfast cereal!

This is a mixed-media stop-motion LEGO brickfilm animation that I’ve gradually animated and edited throughout the course of over two months in summer 2019. The LEGO puppets, scenery, backdrops, and props were all built by me, and shot with two different cameras. Some of the shots feature chroma key effects and a homemade stop-motion animation rig that I’ve built with DIY techniques:

George Lucas would be proud.

Additional footage consisted of guerilla filmmaking-style shots taken in Intercourse, PA, with help from my friend Mike Lomardo and his girlfriend Lex Watters as production assistants. Big thanks to Turkey Tom and Rusty Cage for lending their voices!

Fact: that’s actually soy milk for the closeups (don’t judge me). I didn’t want to use real milk, since it would spoil under the hot studio lights and cause my LEGO bricks to smell rancid.

Here’s some more behind-the-scenes shots of the animation set with Link in his tree house. As you can tell, the whole set was made mainly of round LEGO bricks taped to the stage:

And now for something completely different. . .

In not-so happy, jolly, elfin news, I’m actually currently living in exile!! Yes, that’s right, the reason why I haven’t been very active in updating this site or making new social media posts for a while is because I’m in a very strange and uncomfortable living situation. Long story short, since summer 2010 I’ve been living in a small 2-bedroom 3rd floor attic apartment in a suburban house in Flushing, Queens, NY; my apartment was a separate partition that shared the same entrance and kitchen as a few other roommates on the 2nd floor, whereas I had two rooms and a bathroom to myself. The first floor of the house was partitioned as a completely different apartment, and the people on the 2nd floor were a frequently-rotating group of roommates that would randomly come and go. At some point in 2015, the landlady got sick and tired of two problematic roommates for making messes and not paying rent, so they were removed – leaving the entire 2nd floor to a single roommate, and the 3rd floor to myself – as the 1st floor apartment had its own tenants.

Things were going okay until 2017 when the new 1st floor tenants moved in – and these awful people were extremely loud, dirty, and lazy – which meant interruptions in my sleep schedule, as well as garbage all around the front yard! By the end of 2018, my 2nd floor roommate moved out completely – leaving me as the only tenant in both the 2nd and 3rd floors, as the gross people on the 1st floor remained (and our rivalry continued and got worse). Since I couldn’t afford to rent all of the rooms on the 2nd floor by myself, the landlady decided to force me to swap places with the scumbags on the 1st floor, since their apartment was smaller; her logic was that I could live alone in the 1st floor, whilst those filthy animals could move into the 2nd and 3rd floors together, as they had more people including frequent guests.

After much back-and-forth and protesting, the scumbags on the 1st floor decided NOT to switch with me – but instead moved out permanently! However, with them gone at last, my landlady still forced me to move into the crummy 1st floor apartment alone, so that she could rent out the 2nd floor and my old 3rd floor attic to a new family! After days and weeks of gradually transferring all of my stuff into the 1st floor apartment, I was shocked to see how horrible of a condition the previous tenants left the place. There was a serious cockroach infestation that required numerous visits from the exterminator, and the rest of the apartment was horrid and unclean to say the least. I eventually cleaned up the place a dozen times, and although I haven’t spotted any insects in a few weeks, the apartment is still a complete dump!

So, I’ve been living in these squalid conditions since early May, and I refer to it as “exile”, as I’ve been forced out of my comfortable apartment and stuck into this smaller, crappier place with few amenities. Hell, I don’t even have a microwave. I never travel, I never have guests over – I’m kind of stuck here in squalor and isolation. Most of my stuff is still packed into boxes, as I’ve deliberately kept things in such state so that I can move out at a moment’s notice if I find a new apartment in my budget. Unfortunately, the housing market completely sucks here in the US – especially in major cities like New York. Based on my current salary as a graphic designer for an investment bank, I can barely afford to rent a tiny studio apartment – even if I were to have a significantly longer commute time, I’d still be outpriced. Hence, why although I hate my current living conditions, I didn’t move out immediately as I first came into this decrepit 1st floor apartment with the roaches. I can rant for hours about the economy and how Baby Boomers really screwed things up, but I’ll save that for a different time. Until then, I’ll continue looking for a new graphic design position with the hopes of finally being able to afford to move the hell out of this foul place.

Well, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel: I’m currently auditioning to be a contestant on Fox’s LEGO Master Model Building Competition this fall/winter. Who knows, this could be ticket out of New York.

-Baron von Brunk

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