Our Taiwanese Animations, Ourselves

NMA's relentlessly batshit animations give an extra two dimensions to Twitter's non-stop goof session on sports. It can be funny, even if it's not always pretty.
Share |

There are sports and what they provide—the awe and inexplicability and the like—and then there’s a great and growing everything else. The silent chatter on Twitter, the gifs and homemade highlights: the commentary and second experience that attends the thing itself.

It's instantaneous and mostly goofy and generally without shelf life, and its silliness is, in a way we've maybe yet to figure out, actually important. If this didn't exist, then Next Media Animation (NMA) wouldn't exist. You know them—and you almost certainly do know them—as the people behind "the Taiwanese animation treatment."


NMA is based in Taipei, Taiwan, and was founded by Jimmy Lai in 2006 as a unit of Next Media Limited, Hong Kong’s largest publicly listed Chinese-language print media company. The TV channel went live in late 2009 and is Asia’s largest full service 3D animation studio. It is one of many product lines produced by the company, and one of the strangest things on the internet, and it's part of how we do that Everything Else.


"Mr. Lai is always looking to the future, anticipating where our society is bound," NMA’s Julie Huang told me. "Often, there are breaking news stories that have no video footage or there are amazing technological and scientific breakthroughs that go beyond what film can capture. Animation fills that void. Animation can recreate events and even go beyond what a camera is capable of."

Which is one way of putting it. But "beyond what a camera is capable of" is a fairly understated way of describing just how batty and wonderful and goofily obvious NMA's contributions to the sports-watching experience are. It just takes a sampling of their video—I present Tim Tebow’s playoff win  or the studio's jaw-dropping take on The Manti Te'o Imaginary Girlfriend Affair—to understand what imagination means for the studio.

“Our goal is to make everyone laugh with our animations," Huang says. "We want our viewers to come away from watching our animations with their stomachs and cheeks hurting because they've laughed too hard. But at the same time, our writers strive to drive home larger points about values, society, institutions and the people who lead them with our animations. Anything you can imagine, we can animate."

All that, and quickly. NMA's video interpretation/deconstruction/destruction of a given news story often hits the internet while the news story is still at its first-day apex. This is a tribute to the work of over 300 animators, modellers, storyboard artists, motion captures artists and writers at the animation studio.  Stories are selected, researched, written—in English, then translated into Chinese—and then storyboarded; animators base their drawings upon photos and videos that the initial writer finds on the web, and are then set in motion when motion-capture actors perform the script. The animations are finished in a matter of hours. Every 30 seconds of animation can be completed in approximately two hours from scriptwriting to storyboard to animation to final video. So the NMA.tv animations, which typically run between 60-90 seconds, can be completed in approximately four to six hours.

NMA animators are especially proud of their treatment of Danny Boyle’s 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony. The animation was created prior to the actual ceremonies, culled from leaked scripts floating around the Internet (Huang shared the working script for the Olympics video, along with some storyboard shots here, here and here.)

Whether it's "good" or not is mostly beside the point—the animations are pegged to events in the news cycle, but are not quite about news, or information. They're noise, but carefully made, immediate, collaborative, and wildly stream-of-consciousness noise. What we imagine—more to the point, what we bullshit about on Twitter—is what they animate.

"The technology is improving," Huang says. The visual quality is improving and we're also getting faster. Next year, we'll be able to animate within 30 minutes. Pretty soon, there won't be any technological barriers. We'll be able to animate as fast as the facts come in." It's not hard to imagine NMA outgrowing the need for facts entirely.


But if NMA is the visual shape of our goofier internet conversations about sports, and if these internet conversations are increasingly as vital as the sports that are their ostensible subject, what does the popularity of these videos say about that conversation?

The short answer is "nothing much," or maybe "nothing that's any more significant than some in-the-moment Twitter pun or mini-meme." NMA has found its niche because its videos come out fast and weird, as the high-speed news cycle demands. The Manti Te'o story is representative, here—the NMA video, weird though it is, already has the feel of an artifact, something from months or years ago. There's nothing especially re-watchable, there: just the right jokes at the right time, and well over a half-million views on YouTube. This story, which unraveled over a matter of weeks but started to fade in just a few hours, is maybe the perfect NMA story in that its virality depended on its timeliness: if that video had come out 24 or 48 or 72 hours later, the joke would've fallen flat. The story, like a great many others, was a race to the buffet line; by the time the line had cleared, everyone was sated. What's left over is getting thrown out.

The absurdity helps, of course. Sports are as weird as life, or weirder. A less-bizarre video wouldn't do the trick for stories like Te'o's or Tebow's. NMA's psychedelic ridiculousness, in this case, almost qualifies as realism. So when NMA turns Colin Kaepernick’s arm into a cannon, or has Te’o partying with drunken leprechauns, it’s tapping into a weirdness that's already present, if not quite that explicit. We might make these jokes on Twitter, but the jokes also sort of make themselves. NMA just gives them another couple dimensions.

The videos can be funny, but there's another and less-flattering dimension to watching them, if only because of the way in which they make concrete not just the weirdness of the subjects they sort-of-satirize, but their epic insignificance. The sports discourse may yet achieve some sort of elevated consciousness that allows these goofy, gossipy stories simply to filter through us, with the better stories—ones that deserve and demand more reflection, and something other than an instant-reaction mock session—allowed to play out in their own time, with contributions from all sides.

There will, hopefully, still be room for goofy jokes in that enlightened future. But it is decidedly not the present. And in the present, we have NMA. They succeed at what they do because they’ve tapped into a need. They understand the same thing that ESPN understands—that what's Now and Next is what matters. NMA's animators, unlike ESPN's bickering pundits, just have the good sense to make jokes about whatever that Now/Next happens to be. Maybe that's progress.

Share |


The gorgeous post learned a great deal Thanks greatly!

Manic Depression therapy methods

This is very useful, although it will be important to help simply click that web page link: Obsession Phrases Review

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article trucchi boom beach

I'd like to take the power of thanking you for that specialized guidance I've constantly enjoyed viewing your blog.
opulence for life bonuses

Thankfulness to my dad who informed me relating to this blog, this website is really amazing.
opulence for life

Your blogs and its stuff are so notable and worthwhile it can make me return.
opulence for life reviews

Welcome! Incredibly accommodating direction within this article! It's the little changes that will reveal the best enhancements. You're really great to share mod hungry shark evolution

I really enjoy reading and also appreciate your work.push button influence bonus

You completed certain strong centers there. My pleasure to landing on your blog..I wanna come beck here for new post from your site.Thanks for a great offer. instagram followers | free instagram likes

Hmmm really marvelous post! I love such information which is also helpful for my education as well.
Inbox 2.0 Bonuses

Well, it’s a nice one, I have been looking for. Thanks for sharing such informative stuff.

short term payday loans

Thanks friends, for providing such enlightening data.
how to get discounts on car insurance

I wanna thanks to a great extent for providing such informative and qualitative material therefore often. juegos olimpicos rio 2016

I truly enjoyed reading most of your posts and I consider your blog great. Please, keep on producing such a quality content. Consultant

It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work Bus From Miami To Key West

Thanks for compiling such nicest information in your blogs. Articles are very informative and hope again I’ll find more like that.lifeinsurancerates.com

I have really seen a number of crappy posts but this is the special one for me because it has really favorably influenced me. Good luck….
mind movies matrix fascinating secrets

I love this blog because it is user friendly with appreciative information.http://virtualceolifestylebonuses.com

Whatever you have provided for us in these posts really appreciative.cash loans

If you should be opting for finest contents like me, just visit this blog site daily because it provides the feature contents, thanks.
Videos Porno

I havent any word to welcome this post.....Really i am inspired from this post....the individual who make this post it was an extraordinary human..thanks for imparted this to us. cccam server Europe

designers hundreds of dollars and wait days for them to make you a logo. The app is also on the cloud so you can access the software while you're on the go from any electronic device.how does solar PV Cells work

Good blog along with the excellent quality stuff and I’m sure this will be greatly helpful.
whole life insurance

Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts. Clearwater Plastic Surgeon

So it is interesting and very good written and see what they think about other people. Lovetraction Lines

Anyways in a nut shell guards steal from prisoners, from the commisary and if you speak up you get thrown in the hole.
cubefield 2
scary games
happy wheels demo
fireboy and watergirl 5
super smash flash
temple run online

Hats have emerged as a trendy fashion accessory across the globe today. Apart from adding to your fashionable look, ajmer tourist places

Thanks for sharing.This is genuinely brilliant. I would have never thought to be any of these if I didn't keep running over this. http://www.luxtime.su/chanel-bags

You make this information interesting and engaging. You give readers a lot to think about and I appreciate that kind of writing. supreme garcinia cambogia

You make this information interesting and engaging. You give readers a lot to think about and I appreciate that kind of writing. club flyer template

You have a genuine cutoff for framing excellent substance. I like how you think and the way you relate to your perspectives in this article.Test Imprimante Photo

It was excellent to see the old print shop and everyone who performs there again. I am thrilled to see a publishing company still working and increasing club flyer design

The story, like a great many others, was a race to the buffet line; by the time the line had cleared, everyone was sated. What's left over is getting thrown out.
summoners war cheat no survey |
clash of clans hack gems

This is very appealing, however , it is very important that will mouse click on the connection: baby doctor

I am extremely appreciated for this online journal. Its a useful subject. It help me all that much to tackle a few issues. Its chance are so phenomenal and working style so fast. how to get followers on instagram instantly
| how to get a lot of likes on instagram

I invite you to the page where you can read with interesting information on similar topics. The Psystrology Method

You guys present there are performing an excellent job.www.carinsurancerates.com

Excellent effort to make this blog more wonderful and attractive.
cash loan for car title soledad canyon santa clarita

You bear through a awesome vacancy. I sanity definitely quarry it moreover personally suggest to my buddys. I am self-possessed they determination be benefited from this scene Los Angeles DUI Defense Lawyer

For many people this is important, so check out my profile: Obsession Phrases

Your composing is purely awe-inspiring that I desired to read such high quality material... club flyer prints

I have not been on this web page in a long time... however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. packers and movers aundh

Awesome article! I want people to know just how good this information is in your article. It's interesting, compelling content. Your views are much like my own concerning this subject. scary movies

Your composing is purely awe-inspiring that I desired to read such high quality material...timothy marcus trade fusion

I have learnt various good stuff right here, and I’m sure everyone will get advantage of it.
bundle home and auto insurance

Efficiently composed data. It will be gainful to anyone who uses it, including me. Keep doing awesome. Without a doubt i will look at more posts folding a tri fold brochure

I invite you to the page where you can read with interesting information on similar topics. Wrap Him Around Your Finger

I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge . Los Angeles DUI Defense Lawyer

I have not been on this web page in a long time... however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals...55printer

ot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. ivc filter complication attorney