If you’ve been following the news then you might’ve heard of the SAG-AFTRA(Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) strike against the video-games industry. If you don’t know what this means or why it is important that’s what you’re here for.
SAG-AFTRA is a union for the many voice actors and artists that are in the industry. SAG-AFTRA includes many big name voice actors that are in many of your games and with the strike they won’t be able to work with certain publishers till it is lifted.
Tara Strong – Harley Quinn, Rikku (FFX), Paz (Metal Gear)
The SAG-AFTRA strike has been something that’s been a long time coming. The group had been in negotiations with the industry for two years. They’ve been asking for, among other things, royalties and better safety concerns for actors.
The gaming industry has grown to be a very profitable industry since its inception. The gaming industry has grown enough to rival the film industry and SAG-AFTRA believes there should be changes to reflect that.
Why is this important for voice actors?
It is important for voice actors because better pay and safe working conditions are something that anyone who does any job should seek.
David Hayter – Solid Snake/Big Boss
Well better pay is something that should always be argued for, especially in a growing industry that makes more and more money. Voice actors usually aren’t full time employees of a company and are more like contractors, so they usually get paid for the job and that’s it. Many film actors are paid royalties for how well films may do after it is released. And it’s not like they’re asking for royalties on every game, just on games that sell well, like 2 million copies.
Another thing SAG-AFTRA is arguing for is for the safety of voice actors. They want things such as shorter sessions for intensive voice-acting, better pay to stunt voice-act and wanting stunt coordinators to always be present.
Screaming for hours on end to record the right lines for a character strains one’s vocal cords and as a voice actor your vocal cords are your career, so it is only natural that voice actors try to reduce the strain.
Nolan North – Nathan Drake
Voice acting has become more than just standing in a booth and talking into a mic. These days it isn’t uncommon for big triple-A titles to have voice actors perform motion capture in a suit and perform physical activities. This type of voice acting is particularly dangerous just due to its nature. Wanting better pay for more dangerous work and for a stunt coordinator to be present isn’t a far out idea.
There are many people who argue that voice actors asking for money is unfair to the many animators and programmers that work in the gaming industry but this isn’t a zero-sum game. Just because voice actors get paid more, it doesn’t mean that the developers would get paid less. Both developers and actors should certainly get paid more if their work is excellent, that’s how people should be rewarded for a good job.