Video Game Actors Contemplate Strike Action
John Williamson / 2 years ago
The voice talent behind many leading titles including Call of Duty could go on strike over working conditions and the pay structure. Many of the actors who provide voices for the gaming industry are demanding enhanced protection for roles which involve “voice stress”. This mainly revolves around heavy emotions such as shouting. The Screen Actors Guild agreed to strike if more than 75% members agree. The demands include stunt pay for demanding vocal recordings and these sessions will be limited to two hours to protect each actor’s voice.
Additionally, the draft calls for pay bonuses when a game exceeds two million copies sold. In a blogpost, Wil Wheaton described the situation and explained the reasoning for these demands:
“If you’ve done this as I asked, it’s now six or seven hours after you started. Don’t talk at all for the rest of the day and don’t make any plans to go audition for any other voice work for the rest of the week, because your voice is wrecked.”
“Asking us to go into something with absolutely zero knowledge about the project, or what we’ll be expected to do if we are cast, is completely unreasonable,”
“Maybe someone has a moral objection to the content of a game, and they’d like to know what it is before they commit to it.”
This is an interesting situation and reminds me of the stand-off between many actors and studios in the TV and film industry. Gaming is now such a huge art form, that we now expect the best voice actors to help the writing and create an enriching narrative. I can imagine how repeating the same lines for hours in a studio can get quite tedious and apply pressure on the individual’s voice. Arguably, this should be protected, as an actor’s voice is their career. Although, it could be argued they are already on a very good salary.
Do you think these demands are reasonable?
Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.