Voice Actors Vote for Strike Action | Giant Fire Breathing Robot

Voice Actors Vote for Strike Action

You may not have noticed, but over the past few months, there has been a growing sense of dissatisfaction amongst voice actors working on video games regarding their terms and conditions.

Now, members of the SAG-AFTRA union, primarily those involved in video game voice work, have voted to authorise strike action should the union call for it. According to the official announcement by the guild, over 96% of their members voted in favour of this move They are keen to point out is not a vote for strike action now, but rather an agreement that the union now has the authority to call a strike.

The reasons behind this move are actually fairly straightforward. In short, the SAG believes that voice actors have not been receiving the compensation or the conditions that they are entitled to, especially now that voice acting has become a well-established part of video game development. Bad voice acting may not be enough to sink a game on its own, but it can certainly make a game less enjoyable — just ask Bungie and Peter Dinklage.

One of the main points of the SAG’s demands is that voice actors be entitled to bonus payments, dependant on how successful a game is, with an initial bonus at 2 million copies sold, and additional payments at 2 million copy increments, to a maximum of 8 million. On top of that, they’re looking for voice actors to be given stunt pay for “vocally stressful roles,” and that such sessions be limited to a maximum of 2 hours.

Just in case you’re thinking that video game voice acting couldn’t possibly be stressful, look at this behind the scenes clip from Bioshock Infinite, jump to 5:40 for the kicker:

Stunt co-ordinators are also being asked for, in cases where motion capture performances warrant them, along with extra transparency around what actors will be asked to perform.

All told, I don’t think there’s anything excessive or out of the ordinary being asked here, and I hope this paves the way for more positive change in the video games industry.

 

Follow Craig on Twitter, @d20shapedheart or email him at craig@gfbrobot.com

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