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Brick by colorful brick, Sean Martin is building his dream career at Legoland Discovery Center Boston.
An indoor entertainment center located in Somerville’s Assembly Square, the iconic attraction includes Lego rides, play areas, a 4D cinema, and of course, Lego-building demonstrations.
That’s where Martin comes in.
The 24-year-old started his job as Lego Master Builder in June. He’s one of a dozen Master Builders in the U.S. and one of about 40 across the globe. Originally from Winter Park, Florida, Martin first came to Boston to study writing and publishing at Emerson College. He was working at Barnes & Noble at The Prudential Center when the pandemic hit — then he was laid off.
“I was looking for something to pay the bills, and got way more than that when I got this job,” said Martin.
His brother sent him the job listing last spring, after seeing a TikTok promo by Arizona Master Builder Alec Posta.
“My brother was like, ‘Sean likes Legos and he’s unemployed,’ and I went for it,” said Martin.
To snag the gig, he had to compete with eight other builders to construct three different Lego creations. He ultimately won over the judges with his epic Lego creations.
It’s the first job where I’ve never once woken up and been like, “I don’t want to go to work today.” I’m always excited about something going on, whether it’s putting the finishing touches on a project or teaching kids a new model in a creative workshop. My favorite thing is just being able to inspire kids and challenge them to do new things.
Definitely. As a kid I got my first little Lego set when I was 5 years old, and it’s more or less been non-stop ever since. There was a time at the tail end of high school and undergrad where I thought, “I’m too old for this.” Then I realized “You’re never too old for it. Just go get your Legos.”
There’s not enough time in the day. There are so many cool ideas and things I want to do but I have to restrain myself and rein it back in and think about what can I actually get done and what will be the most exciting thing to create for our guests.
There’s a lot of cool stuff coming up at Legoland. We’re finishing up a winter-themed Boston display for our Holiday Brickacular, which begins Dec. 4. I’m excited to build some big models next year. We have a pirate-themed event happening in 2022, and lots of cool ideas.
Because of COVID, the competition was smaller and closed to the public. We had to do three rounds of competitive buildings. We did two 30-minute elimination rounds, then a traditional job interview. Then another final hour-long round.
In the first two rounds, we had to build “something about yourself” and “something about summer.” I built a book to represent myself, and I had extra time so I also built reading glasses. For the summer theme, I built a Boston Common park scene with a picnic basket. For the final round, I died a little inside when they told me it was Boston-themed because I had built the Common the day before. So I built vignettes from various things around the city: The Old North Church, USS Constitution, a Swan Boat, then my favorite was a skyline of Boston. I included brownstones with The Pru, and an Orange line train with a little lever so you could move it around the city. (Editor’s note: Wow.)
One thing I always like to mention to kids is to do something you love. My background is in creative writing. I always loved science, but I can’t do math to save my life. We have a lot of amazing engineers at Legoland, but I’m not one of them! I’ve been able to combine my Lego skills with my storytelling and share new ideas. So my advice is, don’t feel like you have to give up something you love for something else. When it comes to Legos, the toy’s possibilities are limitless, so you don’t have to have a limit either.
9 a.m.: Preps and cleans Lego play stations
10 a.m.: Heads to the office to work on projects. Plans a new model for a special event, or prepping Lego decorations for Miniland. Then he hits the Legoland floor and mingles with guests and does some building demonstrations.
12 p.m.: Puts on a Creative Workshop, which is “a really cool class where I get to teach guests how to build a special model I design each month — right now the model is a scarecrow to celebrate fall, and I’ll be designing a new model for the holiday.”
2 p.m.: He typically offers several classes spaced throughout the afternoon, and in between classes tries to work on projects, do creative exercises, or do some housekeeping to keep Lego bins in his office under control.
“Most afternoons I try to check in with our marketing manager to see if there are any special events or projects that need my attention coming up, but usually, it feels like I blink and it’s suddenly 5 p.m. They do say time flies when you’re having fun, after all. Once the building is clear of guests, I usually end my day by working with our team members to check that the Lego bricks in our play areas are clean and organized for the next day, and if we have time I try to organize a building challenge or Lego-based game for the staff to play before we head home for the night.”
Legoland Discovery Center will kick off its 2021 Holiday Bricktacular on Dec. 4. The event will feature a Lego replica of a Boston winter wonderland. Over 50,000 Legos will comprise the displays. Guests can build their own holiday Lego creations at creative workshops Visitors can purchase tickets online.
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