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Bricks in Motion (website)

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Bricks In Motion
Bimlogo
The Bricks in Motion logo
Founded by
Current Admin
Years Active
  • 2001 - 2005
  • 2008 - Present
Website Type
  • Forum
  • Film directory
  • Resources
Language English
Link BricksInMotion.com

Bricks in Motion is a website focused on the art of brickfilming. It was originally founded in 2001 as the personal website of pioneering brickfilmer Thomas Foote, and the current incarnation was founded by Jonathan Schlaepfer in 2008 as a new community-focused brickfilming website, featuring a forum and later a film directory. It became the main home of the English-speaking brickfilming community following an exodus from Brickfilms.com beginning in 2008. The current site admin is Seán Willis, though the site is still owned by previous admin, Philip Heinrich.

History Edit

Thomas Foote era (2000 - 2005) Edit

The first website known as BricksInMotion.com was founded in 2001 by Thomas Foote. Thomas Foote was one of a small number of brickfilmers with an online presence before Brickfilms.com, and his first brickfilming website was a page hosted on Xoom.com (later NBCi.com) called "LEGO Home Movies", which was shared on LUGNET on January 13, 2000.[1] This site featured one page with links to download Thomas Foote's animations,[2] and one page with advice on creating LEGO animation and a list of software that he used.[3]

On March 30, 2001, Thomas Foote announced on LUGNET that his LEGO Home Movies page was gone, but had been replaced with a redesign and renamed Bricks In Motion, now hosted at the URL www.BricksInMotion.com. Over time, he added new films he made as well as more pages to help out brickfilmers, including a stop-motion primer, a tutorial on how to create special effects with the program Axogon Composer, a tutorial on creating sound effects, and a software reviews page.[4] In 2002, he added a Custom Software page,[5] sharing software he had programmed himself to help with making animation.[6] This included Java extensions,[7] a program to help with timing audio called SoundAssist,[8] and later a stop-motion animation capture program called MotionMage.[9] The site received its final update in 2005.[10]

Jonathan Schlaepfer era (2008 - 2009) Edit

Brickfilms.com controversy Edit

In late 2007, Joshua Leasure sold Brickfilms.com, the then-main gathering place of the English-speaking brickfilming community, and Jonathan Schlaepfer became the administrator. However, unbeknownst to the community, the site was actually sold to a businesswoman named Cynthia Price, who intended to play a silent background role and let Schlaepfer run the site. The site was not turning a profit, and in early February 2008, many more advertisements began to appear on it, some of which were considered obtrusive. As members began to complain, Schlaepfer tried to explain why the new ads were necessary, and Cynthia Price joined the discussion under the username thickasabrick (commonly referred to as TaaB) to explain that "Brickfilms is now part of a network of educational websites", to elaborate on the economic reality of running the site, and to announce that patrons of the sites would have all ads turned off. Community members generally accepted that the ads were necessary, but were taken aback by the appearance of the unfamiliar member thickasabrick also listed as Site Admin. They tried to ask for elaboration on who TaaB was and the intentions and name of the company that owned the network of educational websites, but were given no answers.

Complaints arose again in late February and early March over unrelated and untrustworthy material being advertised, as well as the Brickfilms.com store being replaced with an Amazon store front selling products including wooden blocks and cement. Community members were used to being consulted on and informed of site changes, which was not happening. Still unsure who exactly owned the site and feeling like an outsider was trying to use them to make money, they again sought answers on who TaaB was and what future plans were. TaaB responded and took credit for the ads, but still offered no explanation of who she was or who owned the site. The community continued to post about their displeasure with the lack of communication, as TaaB was rarely seen and offered statements with very few answers.[11]

On March 11, TaaB announced that Jonathan Schlaepfer was leaving Brickfilms.com to pursue other interests. The sudden demotion of a long-time community member without explanation angered the community greatly, and other staff members began to quit over the coming days. TaaB stated that "Schlaeps is the one that made the decision that he wanted to invest his time and efforts in building a new website", but users who asked Schlaepfer were told that he was kicked out without warning and had his personal site hosted on the Brickfilms server, Schlaeps.com, removed (though he was given back the contents of the site the next day).

On March 12, Schlaepfer launched a new site with the placeholder name I ♥ Brickfilming (located at the URL ILoveBrickfilming.com). Here he explained that he had been unhappy with changes being made to Brickfilms.com and had seen plans for future changes including the development of a YouTube clone and the disabling of the site wiki, and deemed Brickfilms to have become "now a commercial venue. A way to make money."[12] A week before being ejected, he had started development of a new brickfilming website for the community, to hopefully bring back how it used to feel to him. This site was being developed on Brickfilms.com server space and used the Brickfilms.com logo as a placeholder. Schlaepfer said it was not meant to be in direct competition with Brickfilms.com, but also that he had expected to be demoted upon announcing it. When finished, he had sent a link to the placeholder for the site to another member via a private message on Brickfilms.com, and believed that the new owners had learned of his new site by viewing his private messages. His Brickfilms.com admin status was revoked (and his title briefly changed to "Wannabe"), and the only message he received was a request to remove the logo from his website, shortly after he had just done so. He messaged back with some questions, and the Brickfilms.com owners told him they were going to try to hide the events from the community to "salvage [Schlaepfer's] dignity".[13]

Refugee Camp era Edit

ILB

The I ♥ Brickfilming Refugee Camp in April 2008

Community members began to migrate to Schlaepfer's placeholder site, with over 150 registered users in the first week,[14] though many split their time between the two sites at this point. I ♥ Brickfilming was still listed as "Coming Soon", and featured only a forum called the Refugee Camp and a link to an IRC chat. Schlaepfer had asked for suggestions for a final website name, with Brickfilmers.com being suggested by Brendan Henry and bricksinmotion being one of many suggestions by Doug Vandegrift.[15] The name Brickfilmers.com was chosen by the end of March, and work began on the new site. The then-community-run Twenty-four Hour Animation Contest was moved to the Refugee Camp for its fifth installment, and received its largest number of entries ever at the time.

Mock1BiM

A mock-up of how Brickfilmers.com would look

Over April and May, development of Brickfilmers.com continued, and I ♥ Brickfilming seemed to be more or less coexisting with Brickfilms.com. Jonathan Schlaepfer posted the first site development update in two months at the start of June. However, on June 10, Schlaepfer shared an email he had received from Charles "Chuck" Price, president of "Adirondack Manufacturing Corporation" and husband of Cynthia Price, claiming that the domain name ilovebrickfilming.com was infringing on his "Brickfilms" trademark, threatening legal action if Schlaepfer did not cease and desist by either deleting his site or moving its contents to a new domain.[16][17] The community was enraged, as they viewed "brickfilm" to be a generic term that was now under an attempt to be controlled, potentially for monetary gain. For a period of time, they were unsure if they were still allowed use the term on other websites such as YouTube, and often hesitated to call their films brickfilms in forum posts, sometimes using joke names such as "moving-brick-movie™" instead. TaaB compared the name "Brickfilms" to a brand name such as Pepsi, but the community viewed it in a manner more akin to "cola". Joshua Leasure, who had registered the trademark not long before selling it along with the site, tried to explain that it only covered the website name and not the hobby name, and that it was being protected in line with his original intentions. However, this did little to calm the fears of the community, who had always been skeptical of the intentions of the new owners of Brickfilms.com.

I ♥ Brickfilming required a new name immediately, and Schlaepfer knew that he could no longer rename it to Brickfilmers.com. It was decided that they would revive Thomas Foote's old website name www.BricksInMotion.com, and Foote was contacted with a request for permission, which he gave (and he also paid for the domain, until 2014). Community members began leaving Brickfilms.com in droves, with most moving exclusively to what was now the Bricks in Motion Refugee Camp, but some petering out of community involvement altogether. Schlaepfer later received further contact from Chuck Price, who wanted the login information for a YouTube channel called "brickfilms", which was owned by Chris LaRocca. Schlaepfer was asked to obtain the information from LaRocca and send it to Price, as an exchange for Price having allowed ILoveBrickfilming.com to stay online while the community sorted out a new domain name. Some community members were angered once again, considering Price's email to be blackmail and threatening in nature, but the issue was resolved amicably between the two sites' owners.

On July 13, Schlaepfer announced the first official Bricks in Motion contest, the Technical Excellence Competition. This was intended to be an annual event in which filmers produce a short, silent clip to display their highest quality animation possible. The competition received 20 entries, but was not wrapped up until the next year, and did not occur again. The BiM Refugee Camp was also the birthplace of the then-community-run Brickfilm Rapidly All Week Long Contest, which took place for the first time in August. Schlaepfer did not post many more major updates about Bricks in Motion for the rest of 2008, while he and Grant "LegosJedi" Butler continued to develop the permanent version of the website.[18]

The Refugee Camp forum posts were available in an archive on Bricks in Motion until 2011, when the archive was removed due to it causing technical issues and taking up lots of space.[19]

Bricks in Motion's launch and Schlaepfer's departure Edit

BiMoriginal

BiM's short-lived original logo, designed by Brendan Henry

Jonathan Schlaepfer officially launched the finished Bricks in Motion site on December 26, 2008.[20] The site had a new design and new forum, but still did not have a film directory at this point. The sixth Twenty-four Hour Animation Contest was soon held on the new site.

Just two months later, on February 27, 2009, Schlaepfer announced that he did not have the time to run the site, and was resigning and appointing Philip Heinrich as site admin.[21] Though he became a rare sight on the forums, Schlaepfer continued to host the site until 2014.[22]

Philip Heinrich era (2009 - 2017) Edit

When Philip Heinrich became site admin, he posted a thread on February 27, 2009 announcing that Chris Boyer had volunteered to build the film directory for the site, and also that the Resources section was in development and that Heinrich would be organizing judging and prizes for the Technical Excellence Competition, which Jonathan Schlaepfer had considered to be cancelled.[23] Heinrich had previously wanted the site logo to be changed as it did not reflect film making,[24] and now he was also concerned that its depiction of recognizable LEGO minifigures was a potential trademark or copyright violation, so he began to design and try out multiple new logo possibilities.

Bimlogo

Heinrich's logo arrived in May 2009, alongside the film directory

Chris Boyer released a screencast of the directory in March, while it was undergoing beta testing.[25] Philip Heinrich announced the first major Bricks in Motion film contest, the Space, Time and Reality Contest, on April 13, and posted results for the Technical Excellence Competition on April 22.[26] The Bricks in Motion Film Directory was officially opened on May 3, and the implementation of the new site logo coincided with this launch. At launch, the directory had a review panel consisting of Jordan Harris, Zach Macias, Jonathan Vaughan, Ross Pearson, Randy "Noodle" Yard, Nikolas Jaeger, and Philip Heinrich.[27]

Dustin Finstrom's two editions of the AniExer-size Animation Contest were held with Heinrich's assistance and in official association with Bricks in Motion, between July and October 2009. The first official Bricks in Motion Awards were held by Dylan Woodley in August, as the successor to previous awards ceremonies held by the community. The second major Bricks in Motion film contest, the Avant-Garde Contest, was announced by Heinrich on September 7. Despite starting in 2009, it was announced as the main BiM contest of 2010, as it had a running time of nearly eleven months.[28] The Twenty-four Hour Animation Contest became an official contest of Bricks in Motion, and the seventh edition of the contest took place on January 2, 2010.[29] Another official contest, the Septemberfest 2010 contest, was held by Sean Warton in September 2010.[30]

Bricks in Motion: The Documentary Edit

Seán Willis era (2017 - present) Edit

On March 30, 2017 (the anniversary of Thomas Foote first launching the site), Philip Heinrich announced that Seán Willis would become the chief administrator of Bricks in Motion, although Heinrich would remain as the site's owner.[31] One of the first changes Willis made was to add "gold stud" icons to thread titles in the Releases forum for films that were recommended by a member of staff.[32] The header link to the outdated Resources page was replaced with a link to the Brickfilms Wiki. The Brickfilm Rapidly All Week Long Contest became an official contest of Bricks in Motion.

References Edit

Brickfilming websites
Brickfilms.com · Cool Brick Movies · BrickBoard · Palikkatakomo · Bricks in Motion · Brick à Brack · WMBF · Brickfilmer's Guild · The Set Bump · ReBrick · BrickVideo Studio

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