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Video Game Voice Actors’ Strike Could Be Imminent; David Hayter and Other Major Names Lend Their Support

David Hayter

Some of our favourite games could soon sound very different indeed, as a number of prominent voice over artists are currently voting in a general ballot on possible strike action.

Conducted by the SAG-AFTRA, the largest union that represents video game actors, the vote comes following stalled negotiations with the gaming industry over performance bonuses and worker rights.

The hashtags #PerformanceMatters and #IAmOnBoard2015 have been gaining traction on Twitter over the past 24 hours, with industry veterans including David Hayter, Steve Blum, Grey Griffin, D.C. Douglas and Ken Lally all lending their support to the campaign and voting in favour of industrial action.

According to the SAG-AFTRA, they have had several rounds of negotiations with big-name companies including the likes EA, Activision, Disney and Warner Bros. concerning the Interactive Media Agreement its members were bound by until the end of last year as far back as February 2 and as recent as June 23, but were able to unable to come to an agreement over proposed changes to the contract, originally drafted in the mid-1990s.

Amongst the list of the SAG-AFTRA’s proposals include greater compensation in the form of sales-based royalties, the limitation of ‘vocally stressful’ recording sessions, greater transparency during the audition process, and the presence of a stunt coordinator on set for all performance capture. For their part, the video game companies have put forward a list of proposals of their own, including being able to fine performers $2,500 for instances of ‘inattentiveness’ and lateness.

Votes are due to be tallied by October 5, at which point SAG-AFTRA say they will offer a final round of negotiations before escalating to full industrial action. At least 75 percent of members must vote ‘yes’ to authorise a strike, which could then be imminent.

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  • tplarkin7

    Another reason for a developer to stop making AAA games. This move is anti-consumer.

    • http://www.dcdouglas.com/ D.C. Douglas

      ? So, I think you should be paid far less than the industry standard for what YOU do. It’s anti-consumer… Seriously?

      • IamTylerDurden1

        I agree that in particular situations performance bonuses are necessary and i believe that voice actors in general are underpayed.

        Troy and Ashley made TLoU special and really did the work of two star actors in a Hollywood movie, they should’ve been diving into piles of gold like Scrooge McDuck after that game. Troy DOES do well for himself, but when the Michael Jordan of your industry is only making a few hundred K a pop, you got a problem.

        There are many variables to be considered though, and there are many voice actors in every game. You often have different voice actors for each language, each role, and it can be difficult to quantify a monetary value for each.

        Regardless, voice actors do deserve to partake in the success of their games and they deserve to be treated as the valuable employees that they are…especially the guy who voices Albert Wesker and Legion from Mass Effect, i love Legion!

        • Andrei Salamon

          Legion was voiced by D. C. Douglas, the person you replied to XD

          I was surprised by this article. I naturally assumed all this time that AAA game VAs had similar (maybe a little lower considering the amount of characters in one game) salaries to Hollywood actors. But a few K for a role is ridiculous.

          • http://www.dcdouglas.com/ D.C. Douglas

            Thanks. Yes, I have a soul. 😉

          • Mitchell Stephens

            Did you have to pull in additional local units to achieve this level of awesome are was it just part of your core being.
            Less nerdy note, hi, you’re voice acting is awesome and is always tempting me to pursue it as a career.

        • Andrei Salamon

          Legion was voiced by D. C. Douglas, the person you replied to XD

          I was surprised by this article. I naturally assumed all this time that AAA game VAs had similar (maybe a little lower considering the amount of characters in one game) salaries to Hollywood actors. But a few K for a role is ridiculous.

      • tplarkin7

        The answer to getting a raise is not to join a union and go on strike. Nobody is forcing them to be voice actors.

        • http://www.dcdouglas.com/ D.C. Douglas

          You don’t seem to have a grasp on how this industry works. We want video games to be compensated on a par with all other mediums. Instead of whining, we are proactively pushing the industry to bring interactive up to the same level the other ones are at. We aren’t asking for a raise, we are asking for what was promised 20 years ago when the producers said “we’re losing money on interactive! We have no idea how this will pay off in future. Take the financial hit with us!” Now we know they are making millions. Have known for 15 years. In addition, just so you can wrap your head around what it is to be an actor, we have forgone 9-5 job security to pursue a field in which there is no security OTHER than our union pension and residuals. This ALLOWS us to better our craft and be available for all the 4 hour to 3 week jobs we get. We are ALWAYS looking for our next job. But we LOVE being performers and that’s why we take the risk. But we aren’t stupid, either. That’s why we fight for a piece of the pie so we can continue. Try making great games with Joe the data entry guy who has never had an acting class. Joe may be awesome at data entry, but he has no experience nor education in being a performer. Maybe give him a year off to learn… Maybe 5… Or in my case, how about 30? Ya dig?

  • blackdreamhunk

    this would bad news for gamers because we end paying more.

  • Spiku

    Huh? WTF??? Had no Idea voice actors where getting ripped off!!! I agree for AAA games but not for indie games…

  • BIG BOSS

    I hope David Hayter isn’t going to put his career to an end, We need you Boss!

  • Deukish

    Meanwhile there is no voice for the people who actually make video games happen (programmers) and are treated little better than dogshit.