SAG-AFTRA, the guild that represents voice actors, has officially set October 21st as the date of their first strike against the games industry. The Voice Actor’s guild has been negotiating with game company managers for nearly two years, and the final round of negotiations is set for October 17-19. But the guild is not hopeful that those negotiations will yield any positive results.
The Voice Actor’s guild is attempting to restructure an agreement that was made more than 20 years ago. In an official strike notice, the guild says that then the games industry was only just beginning to use professional performances.
“Since then, games have evolved to provide increasingly immersive and cinematic experiences that compete with television and theatrical motion pictures for consumer dollars. It is time for this now mature industry to pay and treat professional performers according to the standards and precedents that our union has established and defended for generations.”
There are four major concerns the Voice Actor’s guild wants addressed. They want contingent compensation, meaning they want a simple back-end payment that would be capped and apply only to successful games. The guild also wants vocally stressful sessions, aka grunts, painful deaths, barks, limited to a two hour session, but paid at the four hour session rate.
The guild wants employers to be more transparent when hiring voice actors. When the actor doesn’t know anything about the role and if it will be vocally or physically taxing, they can’t negotiate an appropriate contract. The guild also demands that stunt coordinators be on set when stunts are being performed.
If the strike happens, SAG-AFTRA members will refuse to work on any game or production that started after February 17th, 2015. They will refuse to do any kind of voice acting, motion capture work, singing, stunt work, and more. Currently the targets of the strike are:
- Activision Productions, Inc.
- Blindlight, LLC
- Corps of Discovery Films, Inc.
- Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.
- Disney Character Voices, Inc.
- Formosa Interactive LLC
- Insomniac Games, Inc.
- Interactive Associates, Inc.
- Take 2 Productions, Inc.
- VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.
- WB Games, Inc.