Voice Actors Go On Strike Against Several Companies

Friday, October 21st, 2016

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SAG AFTRA Voice Actors go on strike

Starting today the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) have begun a strike against a number of companies. The strike will effect any game that began production after February 17, 2015. Here is a list of the companies that will the strike is directed toward:

•Activision Publishing Inc.

•Blindlight, LLC

•Corps of Discovery Films

•Disney Character Voices, Inc.

•Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.

•Formosa Interactive, LLC

•Insomniac Games, Inc.

•Interactive Associates, Inc.

•Take 2 Interactive Software

•VoiceWorks Productions, Inc. 

•WB Games, Inc

This is what was said in regards to why the strike began:

  “SAG-AFTRA tried for more than 19 months to negotiate a new deal with employers in the video game industry. Meanwhile, performers have been governed by the more than two-decade old contract still in place. That has left voice actors without the protections necessary to work in the modern video game industry. “SAG-AFTRA has gone to the negotiations table with serious concerns affecting voiceover and stunt performers,” said SAG-AFTRA Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez. “It’s time for video game employers to take our concerns seriously and negotiate a modern contract based on actor safety, industry precedent and best practices.” “SAG-AFTRA doesn’t want to strike, who does? But we cannot stand by and watch our members suffer serious injury and put their careers at risk in the current environment,” said Keythe Farley, a voice actor, casting director, and voice director who chairs SAG-AFTRA’s Interactive Committee. “The time is now for a new contract for our members.”

If you’re interested in learning a bit more about the strike you follow a link below to the PDF file that was put out by SAG-AFTRA.

SOURCE

About Walter P

Plays too much, but still has too many games to finish. Will play any type of game and will watch anything, so is of course not good at being productive. Loves anything crazy.




  • Mr0303

    Let them be silent then.

    The voice actors don’t deserve royalties. Some of their other demands are reasonable, but that one is ludicrous.

    I hope this becomes a motivation for publishers to look for some fresh talent, who don’t act like entitled divas.

    • Harkins1721 .

      Every other profession gets them. #Performancematters

    • Mr0303

      No they don’t. The programmers, artists and writers don’t get royalties and their contribution is much bigger than that of the voice actors.

    • Miles

      Unfortunately, you are right. There are no royalties for any of them. In any profession and talent; If you desire to work for someone in the entertainment workplace, you are selling your talents to them rather have any say in it. It’s like saying a cashier deserve more royalties for the food they don’t make. Or a customer have the right to change anything in the game because they don’t like it and want it their way. It make no sense when they have no involvement in the process. Here voice acting is important but it is optional. If they want to they could just make it text base like the old 90s and older games. Some companies do possibly give royalties as they see the talents but in a business sense, it would cost too much for them to afford voice audio.

    • Harkins1721 .

      What they are striking about. Is that they are asking basically for royalties (actually called residuals since they are actors), and pay after the game sells based upon how it sells. That’s something that things like musicians, tv actors, even writers get. When a work of theirs is sold. They get a flat rate, and when something sells they get a small cut. Which in the scheme of things is pretty fair.

    • Mr0303

      The situation is not the same. Voice actors are not the main selling point of a game. They read out the script, they are coordinated by the game directors and most of their performance is adjusted by the animators.

      Musicians and writers in games are not entitled to royalties and neither are the voice actors.

    • Harkins1721 .

      http://www.gameactorsforall.com/

      Interview from Steve Blum. Says more than enough.

      They are asking for better working conditions. And actors have a more stress related job and harmful one. Their entire career depends on their voices. This shit isn’t just 100% scripted. The VAs have a say in the matter for the games, anime and etc.

    • Mr0303

      “Interview from Steve Blum. Says more than enough.” – no it doesn’t. His argument was that Hollywood actors earn more and thus they deserve royalties. This is a non sequitur.

      As for the stress and the danger of the jobs they are not the only ones. Programmers have to spend weeks at the studio with sometimes 18 hour workdays during crunch to actually complete the game. They don’t get royalties, despite being the people who actually make the game. Furthermore, they are the people who support the product after release – the more sales they make and the bigger user base, the more responsibility they have. Once the VA’s job is done, he has no connection to the game.

      “This shit isn’t just 100% scripted. The VAs have a say in the matter for the games, anime and etc.” – citation needed. When have the VA’s actually changed the script in any major way?

    • Harkins1721 .

      I didn’t say any major way. But devs and actors work together to make character more believable. It’s common sense. Actors know their characters in and out and know of their development. Not to say the devs are clueless.

      The contract they ate under is more than 20 years old. If other types of actors are entitled to roalties it should be a huge problem for video game actors. Programmers are in much bigger supply than voice actors when making a game. I don’t know a programmers pay either as it could be at a much bigger base pay. And again this is about more than just royalties. VA do more than one game as well. As well as animes in a day to day buiness. You dont see the FFXV programmers running back and forth to KH3, Nier, FF7R.

      As steve said he is sometimes required to do voice overs for major actors who get paid 10x the amount they do for 10x more the effort. Also requiring to do stunts. Try actually listening to the interview next time.

    • Mr0303

      “I didn’t say any major way.” – so they don’t have major influence over the characters, story and game as a whole and my point still stands. Good to know.

      “If other types of actors are entitled to roalties it should be a huge problem for video game actors. ” – other actors are a major selling point. In a movie seeing X actor on screen is part of the marketing. Voice actors don’t have that kind of influence. I doubt anyone other than hardcore gamers who visit websites daily know many of the VAs involved in the creation of the game. Plus voice actors are replaceable.

      “Programmers are in much bigger supply than voice actors when making a game.” – yes, because they are more needed and they are the people who actually create the game. None of the voice acting will matter if the game is unplayable.

      ” And again this is about more than just royalties.” – if it was just the other demands, I would be more sympathetic, but the royalties one is the deal-breaker – this is why I’m focusing on it. They can have better conditions without the entitlement for royalties.

      “VA do more than one game as well. As well as animes in a day to day
      buiness. You dont see the FFXV programmers running back and forth to
      KH3, Nier, FF7R.” – because programmers can’t. Again – 2-3 hour recording sessions for a couple of month vs 18 hour days for years and support after the game launches.

      “As steve said he is sometimes required to do voice overs for major
      actors who get paid 10x the amount they do for 10x more the effort. Also
      requiring to do stunts. Try actually listening to the interview next
      time.” – I did listen to that part. This is not an argument for royalties. Is it unfair? Sure. But this is how show business works – high profile actors are paid millions for small cameos. The average person has no idea who Steve Blum is, but will surely know Robert Downey Jr, despite Steve being one of the highest profile voice actors around.

    • Harkins1721 .

      Hence the entire Performance Matters comes into play. If you can just replace the VA’s go ahead there is a reason why Troy Baker, Nolan North and Steve Blum are often in video games. They do great work. VA have many, many anime panels, video game panels and etc. VA’s are well known. Thats why those VA’s are asked over and over to do work for many many animes and video games.

      The royalties has a minimum and a cap. From 2 million to 8 million.

      http://wilwheaton.net/2015/09/this-is-why-i-support-a-sag-aftra-strike-authorization-for-video-games-and-it-isnt-about-money/

      Just like people judge a movie on its actors the same can be said for some video game titles. Why do you think you see more and more famous actors voicing video game leads or minor characters like Kiefer Sutherland or Kevin Spacey? People buy movies and video games for good voice acting as well. If you want more Chaos Wars or Mega Man 8 then this is the way to go.

      Theres a difference from stressing your voice and working code for 18 hours. I dont think the programmers should be paid less or anything because like you said they make the game. Good or bad. But great voice acting can do a bad game justice. And terrible VA’s can be a pain to sit through. Take Ni No Kuni for example. The VA’s isnt anything special for the main cast. However some of the main bad guys have great voice that keep me interested in the game even if the combat is a bit lame.

    • Mr0303

      “VA’s are well known.” – not to the general public, they’re not. A random person on the street wouldn’t know who even the big names in VA community are.

      “The royalties has a minimum and a cap. From 2 million to 8 million.” – so? This doesn’t change the argument whatsoever. They still are not entitled to royalties.

      “Just like people judge a movie on its actors the same can be said for some video game titles.” – not really. An actor is a selling point for a movie. The same can’t be said for video games – they are not the main selling point of a video game – that’s the gameplay. You can have games without VA. You can’t have movies without actors.

      “Why do you think you see more and more famous actors voicing video game
      leads or minor characters like Kiefer Sutherland or Kevin Spacey?” – to attract mainstream attention. It’s the same reason COD has celebrities in the trailers. No voice actor is on the level of infamy of Sutherland or Spacey.

      “Theres a difference from stressing your voice and working code for 18 hours.” – yes. One is more work than the other and requires dedication, knowledge and teamwork. Coding is also stressful on your body – eyes, forceful position and lack of sleep.

      “But great voice acting can do a bad game justice.” – citation needed. Give me one bad game that was saved by voice acting and sold well.

    • Harkins1721 .

      You have hit movies like Avengers and The Dark Knight just like video games The Last Of Us, Halo, Call Of Duty.

      And again the voice actors arent just doing voice overs anymore. Motion capture has started to play a big role in video games and will only grow.

      Still not asking a lot for the royalties. If you read the link I provided it reads the VA’s would literally get less than 1% of the money profited from the sales.

      Gameplay isnt just the main selling point for video games now. Otherwise you wouldnt have top quality voice acting in games in high profile games.

      How is programming more work than voice acting? Any other programmer can pick up where the previous person left off and finish or add code. There are not many people that can pick up a voice of another actor and get the same acting or skill from them. You have said programmers can work up to 18hr days. VA’s sit in a booth looking at screens as well. I dont know if they do 18 hr days but ive heard some actors work 14 hour days.

      Most fans dislike Assassin’s Creed 1 as do I but agree it has some great voice acting. I do not know if it sold solely on the VA. But do know that the game was really repetitive.

      Video games are a billion dollar business. Most people like to do some research into a game before they buy it. Same with movies.

      I digress. The contract is 20 years old. It needs updating to protect more VA’s as the work load gets more demanding. And as the article states the companies have dismissed every new contract even ones without royalties.

    • Mr0303

      “Gameplay isnt just the main selling point for video games now. Otherwise
      you wouldnt have top quality voice acting in games in high profile
      games.” – again give an example of a crap game with good voice acting that sold well. Also this is a non sequitur – high quality voice acting was there since the PS1 days and gameplay was and still is the main selling point. Even if other factors go into the appeal of a game, graphics, music and story are still well above the voice acting.

      “Still not asking a lot for the royalties. If you read the link I
      provided it reads the VA’s would literally get less than 1% of the money
      profited from the sales.” – the amount doesn’t matter. They are not entitled to royalties and you have provided no argument why they should get them.

      “How is programming more work than voice acting?” – 3 hour sessions for a couple of months vs 14-18 hours work days for years.

      ” Any other programmer can pick up where the previous person left off and finish or add code.” – you don’t really know much about programming, do you? You can’t magically bring in a new person to finish the job when somebody has already written thousands of lines of code and knows how to work with everybody on the team. A new programmer usually needs a couple of months to get adjusted. It’s the equivalent of bring a new writer to finish a series of books.

      “VA’s sit in a booth looking at screens as well.” – for 3 hours vs 18 for programmers.

      “Most fans dislike Assassin’s Creed 1 as do I but agree it has some great
      voice acting. I do not know if it sold solely on the VA. But do know
      that the game was really repetitive.” – the gameplay in AC1 was good and no different from the rest of the series. It was still the main selling feature as well as the graphics. Being repetitive is a game design issue, not a problem with the gameplay.

      “Most people like to do some research into a game before they buy it.” – citation needed. “Most” and “some” are weasel words in this case. “Most” people may read a game review. “Most” reviews don’t mention the voice acting. This is no proof that “most” gamers can name the voice actors that will be featured in the game.

      “I digress. The contract is 20 years old. It needs updating to protect
      more VA’s as the work load gets more demanding. And as the article
      states the companies have dismissed every new contract even ones without
      royalties.” – I’m all for better conditions for VAs, but this union bulling isn’t the way to do it. In fact the union never even asked for the stunt coordinators and didn’t let the members vote on the demands:

      http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2016/10/23/voice-actors-strike-update-oct-23-2016/

      I’m sure if they removed the royalties the companies will be more willing to negotiate, but as it is their demands will be ignored and justifiably so.

    • Harkins1721 .

      I took programming in college. And as I stated. You can bring in another TEAM member to help the code. Not someone off the street. I dont imply this anywhere. Programming is a team effort.

      AssCreed 2 heavily improves upon the first game. The gameplay was not good. It was repetitive as hell. The gameplay never changed. You had some upgrades that improved the gameplay but it still didnt make it more fun. It got old quick. Thats why Black Flag is so good.

      As for the stunts. Basically you have a he said vs she said statement.

    • Mr0303

      “You can bring in another TEAM member to help the code. Not someone off the street. I dont imply this anywhere. ” – actually, you did. You said “any programmer can pick up where the previous person left off”.

      “Programming is a team effort” – it is and team members aren’t easily replaceable. Even if we move the goalpost, now the programming team is one person short.

      “As for the stunts. Basically you have a he said vs she said statement.” – actually it is not. The union never made a specific demands about the stunt coordinators and they admitted that. Funnily enough they were quite specific about the royalties.

  • Question, do voice actors in other industries get royalties for their performance, honestly want to know.

    • Panpopo

      From what I’ve been reading and what others have said elsewhere, it looks like it – but it also appears to be based on whatever contract terms are agreed to. SAG appears to hold a lot of power to ensure what is best for their members (and more importantly, themselves). Very fascinating stuff. You read their official website for more information.

      Kingdom Hearts may be affected (as they are going after the big studios), but I see nothing on Persona so I am glad about that.

    • j0eeyy_p

      In a sense, I kinda hope Atlus get affected at some point. Maybe it’ll pull their hands to improve their dubs, or better yet replace them with or add Japanese audio.

    • Panpopo

      I’m more of a fan of just giving more options to make the most people happy, but unless something drastic happens like you said Japanese audio is not happening. I would love to be wrong though. For those that are patient, i am certain someone will patch those voices into the PS3 version but that will probably be a long wait.

      However I’m confident this dub will be fine simply due to a couple recent releases that share actors with this game: SMTIVA and Trails Of Cold Steel.

    • Miles

      Depends on when the games actual release date. The Voice work would be done months prior as the rest of the time would be dedicated towards editing. But that aside I do love the English dub to most Atlus games. As for the Japanese voice do annoy me the most in my opinion.

      I agree to having option on the audio to the customers preferance but I do hope English dub do come back. Don’t want to read subtitles during cutscenes. Making me miss any important scenarios. Hoping there would be a middle ground if possible.

  • MusouTensei

    Doesn’t hit anything I care about tbh, but I still have no sympathies for them.