As you might have already heard, there has been a strike by the SAG-AFTRA union which is a union for voice actors. This strike has successfully affected a number of video game development projects that has started after February 17, 2015, which may sting for a few of the biggest gaming publishers such as Activision, Take-Two, and Electronic Arts.
It was noted in our post covering the strike that only about 25% of voice actors works within the SAG-AFTRA union, but it’s with these selected talented individuals who are holding out for safer conditions for all voice actors in the future.
Steve Blum has been in the voice acting business for years and holds well over a hundred credits, a number of those being video game related. In order to be transparent with the strike and giving everyone the demands of his fellow voice actors, Steve posted a new website which offers a seven-minute audio clip going over about four main topics which need to be reevaluated by publishers and developers.
Vocal Stress is the main health issue that came up where it was noted that at times, voice actors may be placed in roles where there is a number of intense scenes such as fighting. It’s within here that a voice actor may be placed in a booth to shout, yell, and scream for hours at a time. Failure to go through the script or duration of time could mean reduction of pay leaving these voice actors with strained throats that could ultimately kill their talents early.
Even Steve Blum has stated his time spent with a continuous voice strain has resulted in passing out, losing his voice for over a week, to even internal bleeding within the throat. It’s with this safety concern that voice actors are demanding no more than two hours of hard vocal demands with no reduction of pay.
Another aspect that the voice actors would like to see more of is stunt coordinators. There’s a number of reasons why having them in the video game industry is necessary. While they are common in both TV and film, the video game industry seems to lack these talented people. By having a stunt coordinator present, actors are able to learn, stunts look better, and overall this translates to a more realistic gameplay experience.
Despite having signed NDA’s to prevent voice actors from leaking any information online, these individuals are still only given the bare minimum of details. Steve Blum, along with his fellow union brothers and sisters would love to know more about these projects whether if they are controversial, vocally stressful, background story, and more. With this information, agents have more to work and negotiate with instead of signing into a project that would still be fairly unknown to the hired talent.
Lastly, the famed voice actor revealed that the strike is also about compensation. As it stands right now, voice actors are given scale pay for their entire work and nothing more. If this strike is successful, voice actors would be given bonus secondary pay for every two million hits for the video game. This means ever two million new subscribers, downloads, or purchases, the voice actor would receive a secondary bonus pay until that video game IP hits eight million hits, making a total of four bonus payments.