Monday, August 4, 2014

Alec Baldwin's Bike Arrest, Taiwanese Animation Style

Alec Baldwin arrest

Animation of Alec Baldwin's bike arrest.

This is a Taiwanese Animators animation of Alec Baldwin's arrest for biking the wrong way down Fifth Avenue. It happened a few months ago, but it's such an oldie but goodie that we couldn't resist posting it. The sequence where Alec Baldwin calls in the "F-bombers" is a classic.

Some might be wondering, "Who the heck are these Taiwanese guys that make fun of everything?" Well, I was wondering that myself. Turns out there's a story there.

The Taiwanese Animation squad works in Taipei, as you could have imagined. They actually are called Next Media Animation ("NMA"), or more specifically, Tomo News under NMA. NMA is owned by Hong Kong billionaire (aren't they all) Jimmy Lai, who owns a media empire over there. They used to be partly owned by Next Media, a separate publicly listed company, but Jimmy bought them out and they are now completely private.

Move over, rover, let Jimmy take over.

Alec Baldwin arrest
Alec Baldwin calls in the big guns.
NMA has big dreams. They want to set up a national news service in the United States - an animated news service, which is where our interest comes in. They tried once before, in 2011, but only spent six months in Manhattan before figuring out that they were doing it wrong. They went back to Taipei and continued trying to figure out what they wanted to do, and now they're back in New York.

The mistake they made was just trying to capture New York City's news. Now, NYC is big, but it isn't that big. When we say "that," we mean, yes, it's big, but it's not big enough to support a staff of 200 animators working on local news stories. That's what they were trying to do in 2011, and, well, that dog didn't hunt.

They're back in New York again, but this time they are taking a national focus, and they even have representatives in cities around the country. They can churn out one of these videos literally within a few hours, and they also do work for other news organizations like Reuters. So, this staff of 200 animators actually creates a lot of the animation that you see on the Internet, for Reuters and the like.

We'll continue posting the Taiwanese Animators videos from time to time, as this is an exciting new field for animation. It has never been tried before - recreating the day's news in animation form - so it will be fun to see how far they get with that.

Oh, and the Alec Baldwin arrest really was pretty stupid. Sometimes it's just safer for everyone to bike the wrong way down the street. New York isn't like LA, where you can get a ticket for jaywalking. There aren't enough cops in New York City to give all the jaywalkers tickets, and ticketing a guy for biking down the street is just amazingly incredible. Or, "a carnival of stupidity," as Alec put it.


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