A signature figure, or sigfig, is a LEGO minifigure that a brickfilmer uses as a calling card for cameo appearances in their films or to represent the director starring as themself in animated form. Sigfigs are most commonly designed after the appearance of the brickfilmer creating them, but certain characters from brickfilms or other original designs have been used by brickfilmers as sigfigs. Sigfigs are also often used in logos and avatars.
Early use of sigfigs Edit
The idea of representing yourself in LEGO was not a new one, and the name "sigfig" is not exclusive to brickfilming. Use of sigfigs can be seen in early brickfilming in places such as Greg Perry making representations of himself and his friends for films such as The Hei$t and The Mysterious Secret Treasure of the Lost Pyramid, and Thomas Foote using images of a sigfig on pages on his website. The way sigfigs would become used in brickfilms can particularly be seen in the films of Nick Maniatis and Nate Burr, starting in 2002. Maniatis' first two brickfilms starred Ned Kelly, and so he made the Ned Kelly figure his logo and his sigfig, and began to give it background cameo appearances in many of his future films. Burr went by the online handle Bluntman, the name of a film character played by Kevin Smith, whom Burr closely resembled. Burr created a LEGO figure of Bluntman which doubled as resembling Burr himself, and he used it for a splash at the end of his films and for background cameos. Burr and Maniatis were friends, and Burr gave a nod to Maniatis by including the Ned Kelly figure in The Game. Ned Kelly also later appeared in Copyright Craze and Cleaning Time: The Janitorial Contingency, two films with many brickfilming community references. In early 2003, Doug James and Jared Gilbert released some clips of an awards show for the Horror Animation Contest, which starred their sigfigs as presenters, and they also included their sigfigs in their co-production A Grand and Merry Race.
Increased popularity Edit
2005 saw the release of Da Europeans Part I, a co-production between Bert Loos and Roland Szentesi who star as themselves in sigfig form. Sigfig cameos became more popular among people who began activity in the community around 2005/2006. Zach Macias and Nathan Wells made a point of including cameos of their sigfigs in every film they made, sometimes only for a handful of frames. Brothers Jason Boyle, Colin Boyle and Ryan Boyle made co-productions starring themselves as their sigfigs, such as Birthday Cake and Groundhog Trouble. There were also more uses of other peoples' sigfigs to give shoutouts to friends in the community. For example, Marriage Problems by Jeremy Wisoff includes the sigfigs of Bert Loos and Nathan Wells who both voice act in the film, and Flashbacks by Nathan Wells includes of the sigfigs of Wells, Zach Macias, Nikolas Jaeger, and Krick. The community project The Day Brickfilms.com Crashed featured several brickfilmers as the main characters, mostly utilizing established sigfigs. This era influenced similar sigfig usage for a number years afterwards, with more people putting background appearances of sigfigs of themselves and sigfigs of other community members in their films regularly, and more co-productions created starring brickfilmers as themselves via sigfigs, including another community project released in 2012, Brickfilming is Just Awesome.
Later uses Edit
In later years, with YouTube growing in popularity, another use of sigfigs has been to create animated vlogs to provide updates to subscribers, with some examples being My Patreon Video by James Morr and What's Going on with Zoot101 by Harry Bossert. They were also used for Kickstarter pitch and update videos for Bricks in Motion: The Documentary, and one part of the documentary's Kickstarter rewards was for backers to have their sigfigs appear in the documentary's animated segments.
Sigfigs have also been used in commissioned brickfilms as a calling card to indicate who created the film.