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Kearns teacher pitching Muppets as LEGO figures

Published April 4, 2013 3:27 pm

Online contest • Creator needs 8,000 more votes to see his creations come to life.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It started with pen-and-ink sketches, but over the past year, Quinn Rollins' dream has inched closer to becoming reality.

The 39-year-old Kearns man is about 8,000 votes shy of advancing his quest to see The Muppets made into LEGO figurines.

"I think putting those two things together, it makes sense," Rollins said. "The Muppets, it's a very colorful world and with LEGO, I think it's a very colorful world. Really I just like the idea, and I think it would be fun. And to me it would feel like a big accomplishment more than anything else."

The Granite School District social studies specialist, a former Bennion Junior High history teacher, has spent hours of his free time building nearly 40 miniature Muppet LEGO figurines such as Kermit, Gonzo, Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear. He painstakingly sculpts, bakes, paints and seals them. Then he posts the finished product on his CUUSOO LEGO page.

"Once I started, I felt like I needed to make every Muppet that ever existed," Rollins said, noting his pastime has kind of become an obsessive compulsion.

CUUSOO, a Japanese word roughly translating into "wishing into existence," allows anyone over the age of 13 who has dreams of a LEGO creation to post an idea for consideration. Any idea that gets 10,000 votes (voting is free) advances to the next round.

"It's an interesting business model: See what people want and give it to them and see if they actually buy it," Rollins said. "As far as I know, they're the only major toy company that has done something like this."

If an idea makes it into production, the creator gets 1 percent of the royalties, said Amanda Santoro, a brand relations manager for LEGO.

Of thousands of ideas pitched in the past two years, three LEGO CUUSOO projects have made it to market, Santoro said. Those include LEGO Minecraft, HAYABUSA (an asteroid exploration spacecraft), and SHINKAI (a deep sea vessel).

Santoro said all LEGO products are designed for children so anyone pitching an idea should keep that in mind.

"We love that fans are engaged and sharing their ideas with LEGO," Santoro said.

Rollins has put other ideas on CUUSOO, including Superman's Fortress of Solitude and Aquaman, but The Muppets idea is closest to his heart.

"I like the Superman idea, but I'm all about the Muppets because I'm weird," he said.

But not too weird, he jokes. "People can make eye contact with me and stuff."

The father of two boys, 8 and 10, Rollins said his hobby is a family-friendly one.

"It's not an expensive hobby," he said. "It's like an outlet for my creativity."

And sometimes he'll run an idea by his sons.

"I'm sort of childlike, I guess, but they're actually kids," he said.

He said he spent his childhood playing with Muppets and his teenage years with LEGOS.

"I know the Muppets were big in the '70s and '80s," he said. "And there's been sort of a revival in the last few years. LEGO and Disney over the last few years have started working together on things. I think if they already have that working relationship, this might have a shot."

To support Rollin's project, visit his page by clicking here.

jstecklein@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sltribjanelle