Video Game Voice Actors Authorize Strike

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by HardOCP News, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. HardOCP News

    HardOCP News [H] News

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    It must be that time of year again. ;)

    “It is important to note that the referendum result does not mean that members are on strike, rather, it gives the National Board the authority to declare a strike,” the union said. “A 75% ‘yes’ vote was required to give the National Board that authority. With this result in hand, the Negotiating Committee will seek to return to the bargaining table and continue to press for a fair resolution on behalf of performers working in video games.”
     
  2. NickJames

    NickJames [H]ardness Supreme

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    I am ok with this. Most voice actors really get screwed on pay.
     
  3. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

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    Oh well. Their demands range from logical and reasonable to insane and laughable.

    I think the massive expansion of VO has hurt games in the last ten years.
     
  4. Nolan7689

    Nolan7689 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I support them if they decide to strike.

    http://www.thejimquisition.com/2015/09/the-jimquisition-performance-matters/ Relevant. A lot of games greatly benefit from talented actors who are still treated as if they're second tier compared to say, graphics or multiplayer. And then there are the weird choices of using Hollywood famous in games when acting chops =/= voicing acting chops. E.G. MGS Snake David Hayter being dropped for Keifer Sutherland, or Destiny's use of Peter Dinklage. Conversely Nathan Fillion is a solid enough choice (though he always just sounds like himself, he does it well.). Another odd example, Mark Hamil. Known for playing Luke, but a far and away better VA than he ever was an Actor. I'm rambling...
     
  5. DarkAngel_ZERO

    DarkAngel_ZERO Limp Gawd

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    Soo....the voice cast for Fallout 4 has dropped from 10 to 6?
     
  6. Exavior

    Exavior [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Having heard about this a few weeks ago. While I agree with some of there things, I do not agree with them all.

    First off, companies can't use a mix of professional and their own employees. Which might seem like a so what. But look at something like Halo. You have professional voice actors, then you have something like an employee who said go go go, that they play backwards for the grunts. Then you have something like Borderlands where claptrap is voiced by one of their employees. With the new regulations the voice actors would have to actively join the voice actors guild.

    Also like somebody else pointed out on something I was watching, what about everyone else that works on the game? The animators, the writers... if you are going to do profit sharing it should across the board, not just to one group.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. People might just decide that they won't use as many SAG people anymore for voices in games.
     
  7. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Why the hell do so many videogames use movie star actors for voices anyway. There's only like a million great voice actors out there.

    Seriously. Not saying voice actors don't work, but compared to the workload involved with programming or animation, it's just not on the same scale even.
     
  8. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    So they basically want bonuses if video games do really well, so does that mean they get pay cuts when video games do really bad?

    No one is going to want to voice some small time game, because CoD and all the brainless console monkeys is where the money is at!
     
  9. Kwaz

    Kwaz Whine & Cheezy

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    Good on them. I hope that their reasonable demands are met. There is much abuse of power within the video game industry that tends to land on the heads of employees and actors alike.

    Now if only the video game industry as a whole could form a union. From my experience, the really sad part is that as a whole, the abuse stems from very few, but it has a domino effect where many are put in positions to do what's said or else. Many of the people I'm speaking about have worked from a few to several years as a temporary employee to earn something as simple as a full-time position, and don't have much to fall back on.
     
  10. Protoform-X

    Protoform-X [H]ard|Gawd

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    Um... Naive much?

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/07/17/fallout-4-voice-actors-recorded-over-13000-lines-of-dialogue
     
  11. Stiler

    Stiler [H]ardForum Junkie

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  12. Protoform-X

    Protoform-X [H]ard|Gawd

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    So what? Many programmers, animators, and graphic artists only contract for a few assets and get 500-700'ish dollars for that work. Often times much much less. Point is moot.
     
  13. Exavior

    Exavior [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Took me a moment to figure out if you were trying to agree with that statement or argue the opposite of what I stated. :/

    It is not being naïve but is looking at the time. Some games sure there is a lot of stuff recorded. And the people get paid for their hours there recording. There are also stunt voice work, where they are not only doing voices but are in motion capture so that they can map that to the model. Which they should get more for that. But looking just at line reading alone. Peter Dinkledge did his records for Destiny in one day, actually think it was said to just be an afternoon. So 4 hours and he is done. How much work went into creating the levels, creating the music, creating the characters, creating whatever story they made up and decided to hide online instead of putting into the game, and all the other work. Are you saying that 4 hours of voice recording should entitle them to extra money based on how the game sells but the people that spent 60+ hours a week for a few years working on everything else should be fucked over and receive no bonus? That the 4 hours of recording he did is what made the game what it is far more so than any work done by a single person in any other part of the game?

    Lets look at something a little different. Nintendo's main characters, Link, Zelda, Mario, Lugi, Princess Peach.. How much voice work goes into those characters? Remember making a sound or just saying "Its a me Mario" is voice work. Even "Hey, Listen" from the fucking fairy is voice work. So you are saying that those voice actors should receive the most benefits from the creation of the game and are the single reason that the games are what they are?

    A great game is a great game because everything comes together. GTA doesn't sell what it does 100% because of voice actors. It sells because of gameplay which means that the people responsible for giving us that should be respected also. Then you have the environments that the graphical artist create drawing you into the world. All mixed with the story that you follow along as you play through the game. Trying to say that voice actors are the single reason that games sell and that they should be paid the most, be given the most benefits is crazy. There are lots of people that are very important to a game coming out and being well. Many people that put lots of hard work into the game. All of them should be given equal benefits if you think that one part deserves a bonus for the work they do.
     
  14. Tyler-Durden

    Tyler-Durden 2[H]4U

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    I messed around with Call of Duty Advanced Warfare just because of the Kevin Spacey angle. Lost interest in less than an hour. A good actor doing the VO can't rescue an awful game from its own awfulness.
     
  15. Zorlag

    Zorlag Limp Gawd

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    Cue to robot voice actors that will first take over their jobs and THEN THE WORLD!
     
  16. ShamisOMally

    ShamisOMally [H]ard|Gawd

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    I don't believe voice actors are screwed at all

    Most voice actors for games, I shit you not, finish their work within a week or two. GTA 5's voice acting was done in less than two months.

    These voice actors want ROYALTIES for two weeks of 6-8 hour recording sessions, meanwhile game devs who work 60+ hour work weeks for 3+ years don't get royalties at all.

    This whole thing is a joke, ppl demanding far far far more money than the work they put into the job.

    What about the writers? Sound engineers? Sound directors? Recording directors? You know, all those OTHER people that make sure the voice actors sound good. Why don't THEY get a cut.

    Voice actors are trying to pretend they're hollywood big screen actors, and should be paid the same. Nope, sorry.

    FYI - Frank Welker takes hundreds of jobs a year, he works 40 hour work weeks because he always has 10-20+ jobs lined up.

    Look, I get it, voice acting is important to games, but I can live without it, a bad game is something I won't put up with.

    Link's never talked over 10+ games, he's turned out fine.
     
  17. bloodhawke83

    bloodhawke83 I Strike Fear into the Hearts of the Masses

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    sounds like they'll have future job openings. :D
     
  18. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    It looks like they want their unions..

    ... to have a voice.

    :cue CSI Miami opening:
     
  19. krotch

    krotch [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm fine with them getting an hourly wage for their work. Royalties? Ummm...no. Sorry, but how many games does anyone even remember their voices from?

    Really, few times do I remember a voice actor from a game. The robot thing from Portal, Mister Torgue from Borderlands, and the random radio ads/talk shows from GTA. Everything else, I don't remember crap. I'd rather they just grab volunteers from current employees and pay them extra to do it.
     
  20. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    Royalties are a bit much: Some iconic voices definitely have the bargaining power to ask for it, but it should not be a given.
     
  21. drakken

    drakken [H]ard|Gawd

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    I know several VO actors and actresses. Most notably a buddy of my mine I played SWTOR with for years who worked on ESO. The thing is most of them are not part of fag or sag, and like studio artists get dropped from the cast when "professional" actors find out. A lot of video games used to use their own developers as cameo pieces but when they leaked parts of the story on their demo reels the studio gets in trouble. Lee roy jenkins was a professional actor and got in trouble for a youtube video even though he did not say a word. Which lead to the SWTOR part so I think it was for the better. Yes I'm skipping the name it was bad enough I know who he was... he was actually a good player but got told he had to be on set for a movie when the expansion was coming out. Actors usually get burned by their agents when they try to have a personal life because it effects what the agent can cast them in. The good ones do not care about your personal life which is why I try to avoid hollywood. It mostly works. But anyway the real issue is that because they are a digital character they often do not even own the rights to their voice so they have to disguise and then they can not use it on their show reel because the production company usually owns it as a work for hire, which is why most ask for more than they can get because they have one less voice they can do well that they can sell to another company, and the company that owns the voice usually has them over a barrel. With "professional" actors they at least have an agent who wants their 15 - 75 percent cut depending on how they original agreement was made. Personally I went to the ave of stars back in 2009 as an artist and they tried to make me an underwear model... still not sure if the money would have been worth it.
     
  22. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    That's a very rare example, whereas how many games do you think have 2+ years of work going into the animation and programming spread across a TEAM of people? On average, the workload for an animator or programmer is going to be a lot higher than any given voice actor. I mean jesus, you don't hear "EA Spouse" stories about voice actors. Do voice actors frequently have to work a mandatory 85 hours a week during crunch time for weeks at a time the way other developers can?

    I definitely agree, sorry about the confusion. I was sort of voicing another thought how I think the fact that we use hollywood actors in videogames is kind of ridiculous when we always hear about ballooning costs of games.
     
  23. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Do the programmers get royalties? Or the animator? Or concept artists? Or even designers?
    The why should the va? They're just a cog in the development of a game, as the rest of the team, and they should be treated accordingly.
     
  24. dewbak75

    dewbak75 Limp Gawd

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  25. Kalabalana

    Kalabalana [H]ard|Gawd

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    Do not use famous actors.
    Do not use actors.

    This is voice acting, it gets difficult when emotion is thrown into the mix, but honestly, the bulk of video game dialog is normal conversation, which anyone can do.
     
  26. Nolan7689

    Nolan7689 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Do you remember some of the early days of voice acting in games? Pretty atrocious for being Normal dialogue
     
  27. Netrat33

    Netrat33 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I know you think it's that easy, and admittingly I did too. But believe me, you can tell when someone is just reading lines from a script if you don't get someone who can do a little acting.

    I don't think you need famous actors however. I don't understand royalties unless they do the initial job for free hoping that the game does successful. Stuff you would work out in a contract before doing the actual job.
     
  28. ShamisOMally

    ShamisOMally [H]ard|Gawd

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    I've heard lots of PS3/360 games with terrible voice acting, so I dunno what you're talking about.

    Hell Deus Ex HR most of the voice acting is awful.
     
  29. Parja

    Parja [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I've seen lots of recent top tier movies with terrible acting, too.

    The point is, quality voice acting adds a ton of value to a game. Shitty voice acting can many times be distracting and devalue a game.
     
  30. twonunpackmule

    twonunpackmule [H]ard|Gawd

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  31. Babbster

    Babbster [H]ard|Gawd

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    No. No. No, no, no, no, no.

    Not only are you wrong but you're incredibly wrong. If you want proof, print out a few pages of any script you liked seeing and/or hearing and have people with no acting experience read for you. The speed with which you find out that reading "normal conversation" is difficult should surprise you...either that, or you've got an untapped vein of natural actors.

    And what kind of "normal conversation" are you having that don't have emotional content? At the very least, you have to care enough to talk about something and there's something causing you to care.

    Acting is both a talent and a skill, and actors deserve to be well compensated when they do it well. Just as bad acting can ruin a movie or TV show, it can turn an otherwise fun video game into an unpleasant experience.
     
  32. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yes. We now have internet access since then, with tens of thousands of quality no-name voice actors hungry for jobs.

    Actors are important, yes. FAMOUS Hollywood actors? Jesus, no.
     
  33. Babbster

    Babbster [H]ard|Gawd

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    I don't know who asserted that they are, but it's pretty irrelevant to this story since SAG/AFTRA doesn't really exist to protect "FAMOUS Hollywood actors." Kevin Spacey - to name a relatively recent FAMOUS Hollywood actor who appeared in a video game - doesn't need the union's protection anymore. His manager, agent, and lawyers will see that he's [more than] appropriately compensated. Most actors, however, do not fall into this category and executives - the types happy to grant themselves monstrous bonuses - will pay them as little as they think they can get away with, treating them as independent contractors by not giving them any benefits whatsoever. They need the union to get decent benefits and to ensure that their skills aren't under-compensated relative to what their contribution brings to the final product.

    Only morons would look at this story and assume that it's about increasing the compensation of "FAMOUS Hollywood actors."
     
  34. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    But that's kind of the reality. I mean quick, look at a list of any major game from the past few years with substantial voice acting and count how many contain multiple actors that have appeared in feature films in theaters nationwide. It's almost all of them. While this could affect a larger umbrella, in the videogame world, we're talking about Hollywood, not every undiscovered Joe Actor out there.
     
  35. Babbster

    Babbster [H]ard|Gawd

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    If you want support for your claim, you go get it.

    Besides that, though, most games these days have voice acting, even when they're not expected to be blockbuster games. If you're going to judge the entirety of the situation by who's in Mass Effect 3, Call of Duty Whatever, etc., you're not bothering to look at or think about the big picture.

    The majority of SAG/AFTRA members have to work, just like people in most other professions. They're not just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring with an enticing offer; at best they're sitting around waiting to be informed of an audition which might lead to work, and more often they're working day jobs to make their nut. Seriously, think about all the actors you see on TV or in the movies whose names you don't know and the voices that you don't recognize in cartoons and video games. Those people should be able to make a living wage in a multi-billion-dollar industry.

    Also, recognize the fact that this is about negotiation. Actors have as much right to collective bargaining as anyone else. If the terms are truly unreasonable, then the union won't get them. If they do get what they're asking for (or a significant percentage of it), then it might be a clue that a) the actors were previously under-compensated and b) the terms actually are reasonable.

    I would finally note that there's one factor that makes me entirely unsympathetic with the corporations on issues like this: They're getting a virtually free ride from terrible copyright law. These companies will get to sell and exploit the fruits of their employees' labors for decades; the idea that they should be able to do so without giving some of that money back to the creators is offensive to me...that includes more than actors of course, but the actors are who we're talking about right now.
     
  36. BettiePage

    BettiePage Limp Gawd

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    move work to a right to work state... problem solved.

    also stop asking voice talent to do motion capture... 2 separate jobs 2 separate checks. <- that I dont have any problems with.

    but residuals for voice talent? get in line after the folks who coded the game and made it. until that is done... no way in hell.
     
  37. Exavior

    Exavior [H]ardForum Junkie

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    yes it is only part of it.

    And some of that is bullshit such as the fining. Hopefully in the end they get a response from the publishers and in the end an agreement that is somewhere in the middle is reached.
     
  38. MrTryfe

    MrTryfe Limp Gawd

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    Dunno about others, but the W40K series is the only series in which voice acting was a deal breaker for me. Thankfully, all of them delivered. That's how good the voice acting is.
     
  39. jfreund

    jfreund Gawd

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    Wheaton has some excellent points. Wanting royalties is a crock, but he raises very valid issues with regard to safety and working conditions.
     
  40. Nolan7689

    Nolan7689 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Blue rahvens praise the Emprah and hide in Mmmmetal bawkses!

    Uhhh most of the games I can think of have notable voice actor talent rather than actors doing voice acting. And the few exceptions typically have one role for the actor and many other important roles filled by VAs.