What's It Like to Write for NMA TV, that Wacky Taiwanese CGI Video Company

Just about every time there's a wacky current event, you have a weird CGI video to explain it for you from the Taiwanese company Next Media Animation. The clips are in a lightning fast production process, as you see fleshed out in the explainer above. But how do they go from idea to hilarious video?


We've got one of NMA's Taiwan-based writers, Marina Shifrin, here to answer all your questions, in between finishing up this video about the royal baby news. She gave us a little background to get started.

Gizmodo: How do you pick your stories?

MS: You know how people want what they can't have? Same is true for the news. We tend to look for stories that are missing the visuals that people want to see. Whether its hard news, or a sex scandal, people are looking for any scrap of information that can help them piece what is going on. Sometimes it seems like there aren't enough hours in the day to cover all the insane news stories we want for NMA.tv. We want our stories to make you laugh or scratch your head and say, "WTF?!" but at the same time, we also want to slip in some knowledge. Subconsciously, of course.


Gizmodo: What's the production process like?

MS: Because we are working in the news industry, speed is crucial. While the typical animation process takes years to complete, we've compressed it into several hours. This is what gives us our competitive edge in the animation industry and keeps us relevant in the media industry. We set up a pipeline of about 300 people who work on the stories at the same time. Our pipeline consists of: story writing > story boarding > modeling > motion capture > animation > editing > SFX. Each story is broken up into sections, so while one section is being written and translated, the other is drawn up for a story board and then modeled; this process continues down the pipeline.

We'll have Marina here starting at 11am EST taking all your questions.

Well, that was fun! The interview is now closed. Thanks for joining us.

Marina Shifrin is a writer and comedian from Chicago, based in Taiwan. You can follow her on Twitter here and read her blog here.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Andrew Liszewski

What percentage of video is animated by hand versus created via motion capture? Or is it all done via motion capture and then refined/tweaked by hand? And is there any rendering time needed? Or is everything left as simple as possible so it can be exported in real-time?