In case you were wondering, I never said I was going to post these every Sunday.
1: If you could be any character in any movie, who would you be and why?
2: What's your favorite color?
3: On a scale from 0 to 10, how exciting is it to be Black Six? (zero being dreadful and ten being the most awesome thing ever)
4: How did you or the artist of your avatar come up with the character's design?
1. Tough question. I might have to go with Indiana Jones, because he's awesome.
2. Blue. No, yellllllow!
3. 6 (See what I did there?)
Just a few questions:
1. Will you ever update the content blocks of your blog?
2. Does this question exist?
3. What do you do for a living outside BZP?
3. I'm a computer engineer working for the U.S. Army.
To: Black Six
You are the “Lego Ambassador”. How is our relationship with Lego going? How do they communicate with us? Do they just call you into a convention and hand out sets to review or do they listen to what you have to say? Or both? Do they think we are a bit crazy for existing now that Bionicle is dead? Pulling back the curtain on that would be interesting.
fishers wins with this outstanding suggestion for a Behind BZP.
Want to see your questions answered? PM them to me and put 'Mailbag' in the subject line.
Being an Ambassador
I had to go back and look it up, but I've been BZPower's Ambassador since June 2008. That's actually shorter than I expected, because it feels like I've been doing this for a while. But since I'm pretty sure that means I've been an Ambassador longer than Kelly was, I guess I'm the best person to talk on the subject.
To start I'll answer fisher's questions: Our relationship with LEGO is great. You can tell this because they spend so much time hanging out with us at fan events. At BrickFair Alabama this year I'd estimate we spent at least a third of the convention time hanging out with Jim Foulds and/or Kevin Hinkle. We talked about LEGO and Bionicle, of course, but also life, the universe, and everything.
There's a bunch of ways they communicate with us. Obviously there's the fan events. Then there's a set of forums LEGO uses for the Ambassadors and other fan projects. Sometimes Kevin or Jim will just email me too if there's something specific they'd like to know. They definitely listen. They want to know how BZPower is dealing with Bionicle being canceled, what we think of Hero Factory and other lines they're working on, and what we're doing to keep the spirit alive. As far as sets to review - we don't get those because I'm an Ambassador. LEGO sends us those because BZPower is still a large LEGO news and community site with a large reach.
They certainly don't think we're crazy for existing. They understand how big of a line Bionicle was and is for many of us. Fun fact: Kevin Hinkle's son still plays Bionicle Heroes, so he's in the know when it comes to our universe. They want to understand what we're doing and how we're reacting and then do what they can to help the community continue to thrive.
As far as the Ambassador program as a whole goes, these days it's kind of a nebulous concept. Back in the day (before I was selected) LEGO hand picked people from the community to give feedback and help give input on new LEGO themes. It was all under an NDA and very hush-hush. When I first joined, they were transitioning to a new mode of operations. There were several projects that Ambassadors could sign up for that were designed to help the community. There were also periodic calls for feedback and just general discussions with Ambassadors asking questions of LEGO.
The projects idea failed when too few of the Ambassadors were actively participating in them and LEGO was unable to provide the level of support we were expecting. So the program shifted to focus more on the discussion and feedback. A couple of times they've tried to encourage Ambassadors to start their own projects, but that's never really gotten off the ground.
All the while LEGO has been letting in more Ambassadors, most of whom rarely post or give off any signs of activity. But with more people come more questions, and the LEGO Community Team doesn't have the time usually to answer everything. As a result, the program has stagnated a bit, which is why you haven't heard anything about it from me of late. LEGO assures us that they're working on things though, so we'll see.
And hopefully that was elucidating, even if it wasn't as exciting as you might have thought. Remember, if you have something you'd like to see me talk about, just drop me a PM!