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 |

Comments

Hi I am so charmed I found your online journal, I truly found you by misstep, while I was watching on google for something else, Anyways I am here now and could simply get a kick out of the chance to say thank for an enormous post and an overall captivating site. Kindly do keep up the immense work. tatuaggi braccio

"Boredom is a killer—which is why a cure for boredom can be a lifesaver.

The truth is, portable Bluetooth speakers have been the handheld solution to elevate the moment, whether at the beach, the middle of a party, or a lazy afternoon at home for years now—and your brand can get in on that excitement.

Right now—with C2BPromo.com, you can put you logo on a wide array of Promotional Bluetooth Speakers, in all different shapes and sizes, from waterproof to resilient wood—with models coming in at 6-7 dollars all the way up to high-end luxury designs. Multiple surfaces on almost every customized Bluetooth speaker can showcase your logo—so no matter which way it’s turned, your name is always center staged." Logo Speakers

You know your activities emerge of the group. There is something extraordinary about them. It appears to me every one of them are truly splendid! cheap womens clothes

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here. discounted hand bags

Its my great pleasure to visit your blog and to enjoy your great posts here. I like it a lot. I can feel that you paid much attention for those articles, as all of them make sense and are very useful. font converter

I truly value this superb post that you have accommodated us. I guarantee this would be helpful for a large portion of the general population. elderly care in tacoma

can you not handiest purchase all your packaging materials inside the hot Prints store but also dispatch your parcel after that too. cheap flyer printing philippines

Very useful post. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. Really its great article. Keep it up. PAN Card Status

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. real estate agents

If you've got been trying around for a fairly priced building campaign to skyrocket your rankings within the search engines, then we've the most effective answer for you! With our Blogcomments packages we tend to develop an extremely effective link building campaign!
High Authority backlinks
Do Follow Blog Comments
Trust Flow Blog Comments

Thanks for writing this article today. The information from this has helped me to complete my project on this topic. You are one of the best writers out there, my friend. I just hope you can continue to work like this. free credit reports from all 3 bureaus

Fantastic work guys im a fan of your website.svx car covers

It is an indispensable piece of today's correspondence organize, similarly as the phone and email got to be distinctly vital for communication. free followers for twitter | clash of clans tipps deutsch

A debt of gratitude is in order for this article extremely supportive. much appreciated. escort in lebanon

I feel that a debt of gratitude is in order for the valuabe data and bits of knowledge you have so given here. escorts lebanon

A debt of gratitude is in order for the important data and bits of knowledge you have so given here... hiring a pr firm

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. best exfoliation

The more backlinks you hold the easier you faculty feel it to attain a higher billet in the examine engines. local seo packages

Doubtlessly this is a magnificent post I got a considerable measure of information in the wake of perusing good fortunes. Topic of online journal is fantastic there is just about everything to peruse, Brilliant post. full swing

It is basic that we read blog entry painstakingly. I am as of now done it and find this post is truly stunning. top pr consultants

I can recommend primarily decent and even responsible tips, as a result view it: Aktetas

A debt of gratitude is in order for the important data and bits of knowledge you have so given here... cool iphone 6 plus cases

I haven't any word to value this post.....Really i am awed from this post....the individual who make this post it was an extraordinary human..thanks for imparted this to us. lebanon escort

Pleasant post mate, keep up the colossal work, simply imparted this to my friendz tattoo supply

A debt of gratitude is in order for the important data and bits of knowledge you have so given here... iphone 5/6/6 plus/7 book case

A debt of gratitude is in order for the important data and bits of knowledge you have so given here... medical video production orange county

I recently came across your article and have been reading along. I want to express my admiration of your writing skill and ability to make readers read from the beginning to the end. I would like to read newer posts and to share my thoughts with you. green house cleaning services

Cool stuff you have and you keep overhaul every one of us. iphone 4 cases

A debt of gratitude is in order for the important data and bits of knowledge you have so given here... lebanon escort

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.
minecraft gratuit |
free psn codes

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Real Estate Agents Rankin Park

The answer he found nearly a decade ago surprised him: Angola. It was so shocking, in fact, that he decided to start a website dedicated to the Organic Food Mcallen texas

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article. real estate newcastle

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."minecraft gratuit |free psn codes

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!! Seo Cincinnati - https://scottkeeverseo.com

That’s really amazing and extraordinary blogs & can help those who get issues in searching this type of information.
women

Truly, this article is really one of the very best in the history of articles. I am a antique ’Article’ collector and I sometimes read some new articles if I find them interesting. And I found this one pretty fascinating and it should go into my collection. Very good work! https://disqus.com/home/channel/bestsites/discussion/channel-bestsites/rehab_in_florida_seeking_to_connect_people_looking_for_rehab_services/

Really nice and interesting post. I was looking for this kind of information and enjoyed reading this one. Keep posting. Thanks for sharing. long island linen

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. Best Money Lender in Promenade

We believe that everyone deserves a chance at moving ahead with their lives. Best Money Lender in Clementi

Thanks a lot very much for the high quality and results-oriented help. I won’t think twice to endorse your blog post to anybody who wants and needs support about this area. Best Money Lender in Little India

I was very impressed by this post, this site has always been pleasant news Thank you very much for such an interesting post, and I meet them more often then I visited this site. Best Licensed Money Lender in Singapore

I will again come to visit your website that’s so awesome and precious that I couldn’t stop myself commenting on this.
women

I thought haven’t read such distinctive material anywhere else on-line.
buy essay online writing service

This is a splendid website! I"m extremely content with the remarks!.. trust flow backlinks

I had been trying for the good information and having come to your blog I have found everything which I wanted.
type my essay

The blog with the best stuff is provoking the people to give the good remarks.
best essay writing site

This is a good post. This post gives truly quality information. I’m definitely going to look into it. Really very useful tips are provided here. esurance homeowners insurance

Whatever you have provided for us in these posts really appreciative.
best essay writing site

I read this article. I think You put a lot of effort to create this article. I appreciate your work. shuttle service emory ga